The campaign season is in full swing. We're all out there, meeting voters and attending events. That's good.
But meeting a candidate for the first time rarely gives you the opportunity to understand what their qualifications are, their vision for the community, or what they want to accomplish if elected (or re-elected).
That's what this article is about: my qualifications; my vision and what I want to accomplish if re-elected.
Caring about the community is important, but if you don't understand how government works, you won't be effective. Knowing how government works, but not really vested in the community, won't work, either.
You have to have both.
I have a degree in Public Administration and served over 30 years in local governments across the State. I was a Finance Director in three cities including American Canyon, as well as the City Manager here. I managed the growth of the City in its early years and helped secure our wonderful open space amenities--the wetlands and Newell Open Space.
And I've been a community volunteer with the Arts Foundation, Relay For Life and Kiwanis. Where I don't commit my time, I donate my Council salary towards community groups like Soccer, Little League, Boys Scouts, and the building campaigns for the Holy Family Parish and the new Boys & Girls Club.
And, of course, served eight years as your Council member.
Leadership requires a vision that can inspire, and a roadmap that outlines the way. Here is my vision for American Canyon:
1. Keep American Canyon a safe and welcoming community. As not only a long time resident but someone involved in this community, this is what I am most proud about American Canyon. I can't tell you how many people I run into that moved here and echo those same words. No amount of money can buy these two qualities, and it is our number one responsibility to ensure we stay that way!
2. Deal with Traffic in the South County. Everyone knows traffic is the biggest issue in town. It's easy to point fingers and blame others--it's Caltrans' road, or it's outside commuters. True, but that doesn't get any roads built!
I prefer to focus on solutions. The best way to deal with traffic consists of improving highway 29, while building parallel roads to the east (Newell Extension) and west (Devlin/Commerce). This creates a traffic grid that gives you capacity and flexibility, in case of an accident or emergency. Finding the millions of dollars to build these roads is the real challenge--which makes my financial background a real plus.
3. Grow our Economy--not our taxes! We need tax revenue to provide quality services in our town, as well as to set aside dollars to maintain our roads and parks. There's two ways to do this: expand our tax base or raise your taxes and fees. I prefer the former--and it gives us the added benefits of new jobs and more goods and services, like restaurants and shops.
4. Listen and care about all of us! There is so much polarization in the country, it's easy to pick sides here at home. But the truth is, we need to listen to everyone; we need to respect their opinions, even if they differ from our own. Diversity of cultures is great, but we need to appreciate diversity of opinion, too.
We also need to worry about our Seniors and those who are less fortunate. That's why it was so important for me to champion a discount for Seniors and Low-income rate payers, as part of the recent water rate adjustments. We need to reach out to our Mobile Home residents, and make sure their needs are being addressed.
The Next Four Years
If re-elected, I want to wrap up the big projects, such as Watson Ranch, the Broadway District Plan, and complete a Traffic Plan, including projects, funding and timetables. I want to adopt fiscal policies that will protect our community from the next inevitable economic downturn, as well as ensure we set money aside to maintain our parks, roads and other facilities. And lastly, we need to update our General Plan and utilize our citizens' input to ensure we have a community vision for the next 20 years.