1) Tell us a bit about yourself and why you're qualified for this position.
I was born and raised in Hayward, attended Ricks College, Brigham Young University and Cal State Hayward, studying economics and political science. I have worked at USS-POSCO for 20 years and am currently employed as an IT manager. With my wife Mary and three daughters, Teresa, Danielle and Megan, I moved to Oakley 16 years ago. I began my civic involvement by creating the organization called the Oakley Orphans and started advocating for school children living west of Empire. I was appointed to the Planning Commission eight years ago and elected to the City Council four years ago. I served one year as mayor.
2) What is the number-one issue or challenge facing Oakley and what needs to be done about it?
Economic Development we all benefit. It spurs job and income growth, increases the tax base and revenues and provides physical improvements. City staff and council members are playing active roles in marketing the 125-plus acres on the DuPont site, the 70-plus-acre River Oaks Crossing, an unenclosed shopping center, and the light industrial area between Neroly and Live Oak. We need to update our aging infrastructure to help stimulate redevelopment of our downtown. Oakley's Redevelopment Agency recently secured a $20 million bond for this purpose.
3) What is the second most important issue or challenge?
Public safety how do we enhance the public safety services of police and fire? Police services are paid via the city's General Fund. The primary way of increasing revenue to the General Fund is through economic development. To add to our current 28 full-time sworn personnel police force, we need to generate economic activity. Fire protection services are funded by property taxes. To meet the three firefighters-per-truck goal, we will need to continue working with state representatives, the Board of Supervisors, LAFCO, Brentwood and fire district officials.
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?
Measure L is an adjustment to the existing business license tax. FACT: The Measure works to lower taxes on small businesses. FACT: A key component is to get out-of-town landlords to finally pay by removing exemptions from landlords, recognizing rentals as a business and require their fair share payment. FACT: Oakley's business-license tax rates are among the lowest in Contra Costa County. FACT: Even with the proposed changes, Oakley's business-license taxes will remain among the county's lowest, as a medium-size retailer will pay $235 per year in Oakley while paying $350 in Brentwood and $1,350 in Antioch.
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?
Before I can become enthusiastic about the power plant, I need a great deal of additional information. I want more information regarding the environmental, financial and aesthetic impacts that this proposed plant and its tower would have on our community. I look forward to the public hearing process, where the full proposal can be evaluated and commented on by the residents. It would be inappropriate to take a position before it was understood and vetted by the required public hearing process.
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?
My yearlong tenure as mayor in 2007 was a busy one. I was dubbed Mayor Everywhere because I attempted to attend every meeting, civic event, social function, festival, creek cleanup, ribbon cutting and groundbreaking it was possible for a mayor to attend. My monthly Monday with the Mayor provided opportunities for people to talk about issues that they were concerned with. You get out of it what you put into it. However, it should be noted that the position doesn't have to rotate and the council can vote in any given year for any member of the council to be mayor.
7) Why should voters vote for you?
I am running for re-election because there is extremely important work I have started that needs to be finished. Over the previous four years, we have made great strides toward protecting our neighborhoods by putting more police officers on our streets, easing traffic with road improvements and funding new parks for the future of our city, our children. Our city has become a great place to live, work and play, but there is much work yet to be done. This work includes: creating local jobs; business retention and expansion; attracting and retaining leading retailers; creating the infrastructure framework that supports economic development activities; and redeveloping downtown.