1) Tell us a bit about yourself and why you're qualified for this position.
I have lived in Oakley for 25 years and am at a time in my life where I can commit the time necessary to make a difference on the City Council. I don't believe in showing up and winging it. Effectively doing the job of a City Council member requires a lot of time preparing for meetings, which I am willing to do to make sure Oakley keeps moving in the right direction. With my business background, I have the ability to work with all department managers, which should result in a better-run city.
2) What is the number-one issue or challenge facing Oakley and what needs to be done about it?
After talking to Oakley residents, the feedback I am getting is having the City of Oakley fight to protect local property values (i.e., blight). I co-founded a community foundation, The Friends of Oakley, to promote volunteerism that will allow community members to pitch in and help their neighbors. The down economy is directly impacting our residents' ability to maintain their properties, and if we as a community, or foundation, can help maintain a property here or there, that'll be a tangible benefit to our community.
3) What is the second most important issue or challenge?
Public safety: I would like to start working on increasing our police force to the level of staffing we deserve. My regional contacts also give me the ability to directly advocate for additional fire services in Oakley. At the moment, our fire safety programs are severely understaffed and underfunded. We need to provide real support for these services so our residents know they live in a community where public safety comes first.
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?
On the whole, the new Business License Fee will benefit most businesses in Oakley. Our current Business License Fee was adopted when we incorporated and has not changed in nine-plus years; adjusting this almost 10 years later seems reasonable. I have paid business license fees in many cities, and Oakley's current fee structure is much lower than comparable cities.
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 sit on the DuPont Advisory Panel and have been briefed on the concept of building a power plant on the DuPont site. We still do not have enough information on the total impact a power plant will have on our community. It's premature to say yes, or no, to this idea because it's still very much in the preliminary phases. Again, any impacts the power plant will have on Oakley need to be looked at very closely, and right now, we need more project details and certainly more study of the impacts.
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?
Residents are not telling me this is a critical issue right now. Things like our economy, public safety and roads are more important issues to tackle. If there is a desire to move this issue forward, it should be decided by the voters. Many of our residents commute long distances to and from work and are tired when they get home. I would like to be able to provide this option to the public because it would raise civic involvement, which I strongly encourage. Determining the most appropriate funding source is the first step into making this a reality.
7) Why should voters vote for you?
Oakley residents should consider voting for me because I have already proven that I can listen and relate to Oakley residents. I've done it on the Planning Commission, as a co-founder of The Friends of Oakley and as a candidate walking neighborhood after neighborhood. I will work hard to maintain the quality of life the residents of Oakley deserve. Whether it's fighting for more police officers or for more firefighters, or organizing the cleanup of a blighted property, I will focus on issues that have direct impacts on our residents, and I think that's what they want.