1) Tell us a bit about yourself and why you're qualified for this position.
I have a degree in Business and am a DDA. I have lived in Oakley for 26 years, helped incorporate Oakley, and served on the Council since incorporation. I helped form the City Government, set policies (including strong fiscal policies), draft ordinances, build the police, parks and improve local streets. I represent Oakley on the regional transportation committees including CCTA, helped build the bypass, bring EBART to east county, expand Highway 4, and worked for safety improvements to Vasco. I was able to get the Laurel interchange built and helped negotiate Measure J bringing 500 million dollars to East County.
2) What is the number-one issue or challenge facing Oakley and what needs to be done about it?
Oakley's greatest challenge is the poor national, state, and regional economy which has multiple effects on the city. Most importantly, the drop in housing prices and increase in gas prices is devastating our middle class, forcing foreclosures, bad rentals, and driving many families out of Oakley. Secondarily the economy is stopping many companies from locating in Oakley. The loss of Home Depot and the pull out of the developer of River Oaks are the largest of many losses. We need to incentivize business development in Oakley, starting with small local businesses who are the most likely to come to Oakley.
3) What is the second most important issue or challenge?
Oakley has a couple of natural limitations that dramatically curtail our ability to provide standard city level services. One is a dramatically limited financial structure, meaning a very small property tax share and almost no sales tax. Second is our physical location with the river to our north and two larger older cities on our west and south, each sucking up commercial opportunities that otherwise would come to Oakley. Oakley has extremely strong financial policies, which must be maintained, but we must also concentrate on becoming much more friendly to small businesses to get growth.
4) With the economy in a recession, stores on Main Street struggling to survive and the difficulty in attracting businesses to locate here, is this the best time to raise taxes on Oakley businesses?
Generally no, however, Measure L while far from perfect is essentially only levels the playing field and does not raise taxes beyond that faced in our neighboring cities except for the very largest retailers. The reason that it is critical to pass Measure L, is that it gives the City the money to address the extremely poor state of many homes, mostly rentals, in Oakley. Without rapid code enforcement, many neighborhoods will continue to degenerate, and won't come back. In walking Oakley, I am shocked by how bad some formerly good neighborhoods have gotten. We need to act now.
5) The City Council is enthusiastic about converting the Cline vineyards into a shopping center with big-box retail in order to increase city revenue but appears lukewarm on a proposed power plant that might bring in $800,000 annually to city coffers. What's your position?
I remain enthusiastic about getting high end big box retail into Oakley. Re the power plant, I want to purse the option and at the same time explore what can be done with the vast new revenue it brings to Oakley, then have public hearings to see what the public wants to do. Estimates are that the plant will bring $2.4 million annually to the county and $400,000 to Oakley. That amount of money could solve our fire issue, bring needed new police officers to Oakley, or support parks in neighborhoods with none, to name just 3 options.
6) Should Oakley's mayor be an elected rather than a rotating position, and should live and archived video of the City Council meetings be placed on the city Web site?
The short answer is yes or no, whichever the public wants. I recommend no, since the vast majority of California Cities do not have an elected mayor, because it causes far more trouble than benefit. By rotating the Mayor's duties, the City unites the council to support the mayor instead of creating a competition; by being Mayor, each member gets much more insight into City needs.
Absolutely, video of council meetings should be available via a link on the city website and on public access TV. It should start with recent meetings first and experiment with live broadcasts.
7) Why should voters vote for you?
I have a demonstrated record of accomplishments for Oakley: From 0 employees to 82, from not even a desk to a paid for 20,000 square foot City Hall, from no local general plan etc, to a full general plan, codes, building guidelines, and more. I have represented Oakley on regional transportation since 1999, helping to expand highway 4, build the bypass, negotiate for EBART, and more. I helped negotiate Measure J and get the Laurel interchange built. More needs to done, and I've demonstrated that I can do the job.