Edi Birsan, Concord Mayor

Concord mayor hoping for open dialogue

Edi Birsan, Concord Mayor CONCORD, CA (Jan. 22, 2024) — I look forward to serving you as mayor of Concord. I have set up the following open meetings:

  • 11 a.m.-noon Saturdays at Peet’s Coffee at Oak Grove and Treat.
  • 4-5 p.m. Mondays in the mayor’s office at City Hall.
  • On Tuesdays, I roam the Todos Santos Farmers Market.

I will offer to join my fellow councilmembers for constituent meetings at their district’s favorite coffee/tea shop. I also am willing to come to any neighborhood meet and greet that you want to organize.

If you have a new topic to bring up with the City Council, I strongly urge you to first reach out to your councilmember or myself and go over the issue. The Brown Act prohibits the council from discussing items that are not on the agenda, but a one-on-one meeting can allow for a conversation.

Additionally, I am willing to go over your presentation to help you make your statement a little more focused or polished. One of the reasons I have been going to Toastmasters for the last 14 years is to work on those techniques, as well as listening to what the words are saying and what the person is trying to communicate – which are not always the same.

I especially like to meet face to face and go over things with people who are critical of my perceived positions. I encourage my critics to sit down and talk. Sometimes you can find common ground; other times you can learn from each other and get a clue as to how to get over the ill feelings.

In practice it can work. For example: Politically, I am the only person in this century to set up a public meeting and joint resolution with the Republican and Democratic Parties Central Committees in Contra Costa to stand against some grievous things by PG&E.

Through the game of Diplomacy, I learned starting from my teen years that you need to talk to your opponents or those with whom you are fighting – and there is a difference. After all, when your friends, allies and family betray you, there is still someone to take to lunch.

I saw what non-communication can do, having been abandoned by my father at age 4. Likewise, my mother abandoned me at 15 and I stayed with my stepdad: Dear Ole Dad, Saul Birsan – whose name I took to honor him. Two years later, my mother had a massive stroke and died. I was left to guess what she was thinking.

Now at City Council, it’s clear that there are members of our community who may not understand my actions or motives and it can frustrate them. I therefore offer to sit down with them and go over things.

However, many have figured out that the worst thing you can do to me is to refuse to talk about it with me. I feel sorry for people who want to hold on to their ill feelings toward another.

Meanwhile, the coffee at Peet’s awaits those who want to give understanding a try.

Send comments and questions to EdiBirsan@gmail.com.