I just finished walking the entire City, starting in my neighborhood of Cookie Hill and ending at Chesapeake. It has been a very rewarding process, not to mention a little grueling! For the most part, people appreciate a candidate going door to door, talking to voters--although I have upset a number of dogs!!
So, what did I learn by talking to hundreds of voters?
First and foremost, we need to deal with traffic! This has always been my top priority, which is why I sent out a mailer on this topic. I also had the opportunity to address this issue as a panelist on State Senator Bill Dodd's Transportation Forum. These two articles summarize my position on traffic in American Canyon, and I hope you will read them.
But I do want to make two points. First, I voted for the Watson Ranch Specific Plan (aka, the Town Center). Two-thirds of the Newell Extension will be built by that project. Another property owner wants to annex into the City and he will likely be required to contribute to the road. And this will allow us to compete for State funds to finish the project.
Second, by setting in motion a strategy to address traffic, it allows us to move forward on developing our local economy, which includes more businesses and residents. Making developers pay their fair share towards traffic improvements is a win-win for all of us. And remember, even if we did nothing, growth north of us will continue to make our traffic worse.
The second biggest question was water supply. During the drought, we struggled to find water for our customers. In response, we replaced a major source of water loss, thanks to a grant from our local Coca Cola customer. We also completed a major portion of our recycled water distribution system, so most of our parks use recycled water.
Longer term, we invested in a new source of water--the Sites Reservoir near Maxwell, CA. This will give us an annual allocation of 4000 acre feet of water (at present, we only use around 3000). Over the years, we also purchased rights to some 2000 acre feet of Vallejo Treated Water.
After traffic and water, a big issue is local road maintenance, particularly in our older sections of town. Thanks to new funding from local taxes (Measure T) and the State (SB1), we have over $2 million/year to invest in our roads! We recently adopted a five year plan to repave many of our older roads, while maintaining our newer ones. And we will be discussing plans to repair some of our older parks before the end of this year.
Voters still want to see more business opportunities, such as restaurants. I am happy to report there is a new Nepalese Restaurant planning to open at the former Roberto's Bakery (next to the Holy Family Parish on Highway 29). And the long-awaited and recently approved Watson Ranch project includes restaurants, pubs and even food trucks.
While we're waiting, there are many great restaurants already in town, such as Mi Zacatecas, Thai Kitchen, Junction Brewery & Grill, and Table 29 Bistro and Bar, at the Double Tree.
Monthly Meetings with the Community
I heard other concerns, from the quality of our street sweeping services to animal control. A lot of voters just want to know what's going on. All of this has convinced me that I need to host a monthly meeting, rotated throughout our neighborhoods, in which residents can meet and ask questions and voice their concerns. It will also be a great opportunity to update the community on what's going on--or let people know what City services are available.