Editor’s note: All candidates were asked the same questions and were given the same amount of time to submit their answers. Answers are posted as they were received from each candidate. Questions were asked before Sacramento County was moved to the Red Tier on the State’s four-tiered Blueprint for Safer Economy plan. Most candidates answered all questions, other candidates chose not to answer some questions.
Q. What will your top three goals be while on Council?
A. Work to get our parks and landscape back to normal by reviewing contracts, reinventing the flea market operations, and working with the city to develop programs that will allow the people in the community to help. Work with staff and the Chamber of Commerce to be business-friendly to existing businesses, startups, and to attract industry. Long term, there is no reason Galt cannot be a place to enjoy an evening out. Transparent fiscally responsibility, with long term planning to generate more revenue streams.
Q. What are your thoughts on how Galt should grow?
A. We need growth in business; existing, startups and industry. Housing growth needs to match the community needs without sprawl. Building homes to pay bills, puts the city at the mercy of developers.
Q. Is a “small town feel” important to you and how will you ensure Galt’s “charm” as growth occurs?
A. Galt’s small-town feel is the heart and soul of our community. To preserve the small-town feel, we need to keep growth in check, have town hall meetings on important topics, promote entrepreneurship of local businesses, maintain an open-door policy, and communicate at a personal level so that we stay approachable.
Q. Recent controversial projects have come before both the Planning Commission and Council. What decisions would you have made on the following and why:
A. The annexation of the land was OK to round out the city as a whole. I was not in favor of the I Court homes.
Fairway Oaks Annexation/Development
Fairway Oaks annexation development did not adequately address the portion of land that will not be maintained, leaving a potential fire hazard, and the cutting down of 40% of the Heritage Oaks. The city did not work with the community in the county island annexation. The city made commitments, but when the citizens in the county island asked for those items to be written down so that they could hold the city accountable, it did not happen.
I would have voted no on this project. I felt this did not meet the community’s needs as a whole.
Q. A couple of controversial projects are still up in the air, what decisions would you make regarding these plans if elected and why?
Galt Market Plan
A.I have no desire to sell the flea market property or approve language in AB-2220 that would allow the selling of the land. It produces 2.5+ million dollars to the city budget annually. Selling it would only give the city a one-time, short-term gain. I may be open to development of the property if we retain 100% ownership and for example, leased some of the property at a greater revenue stream than the flea market currently provides under a very long-term contract.
Carillion Boulevard Project
As proposed, in a residential area, near schools, and children, I would have voted no. Coming into a roundabout; you’re watching the car in front of you and looking for cars coming around the corner. This puts pedestrians as your third priority. This is a recipe for trouble. A couple of stops signs and a stoplight at the school so people can push the button to stop traffic is a much safer option.
Q. The city’s Lighting and Landscape Districts are currently under water and a significant portion of existing homes do not belong to one of the districts. Would you support a city-wide CFD? Why or why not? If you are in support of the CFD, what will you do to make sure it happens?
A. If a City Facilities District does not create an added fee, but rather a realignment of the existing fee structure to level the cost across the board, I would consider letting this solution go to the vote of the people, as long as it was not a money grab! Because it is required by law that this be passed by the citizens on the ballot, no councilmember can “make sure it happens.” I would openly and honestly present the problem and proposed solution to the people and let our democratic process play out as it should.
Q. The city routinely seeks new businesses, both small and large, to come to Galt. How will you ensure existing businesses thrive with the new growth?
A. We need to be constant advocates for our town as a whole, work to make Galt a place that people can take care of their needs and even go to enjoy an evening out locally so the community and businesses help each other.
Q. The COVID pandemic has decimated businesses across the city. What will you support to help the local businesses?
A. This is not a one size fits all answer as each business is unique. Some of the things we could consider are: make the outdoor dining ordinance permanent, talk to businesses and see how the city can help them, perhaps review the business-fee structure to temporarily help business get on their feet again, have more events, and work with organizations like the Chamber of Commerce to make sure businesses are informed during events so that they can capitalize on the opportunity.
Q. Last year, Council approved infill incentives for businesses, however buildings still are not filled, would you be in favor of additional incentives to draw businesses?
A. Because I believe in long-term planning, I would be in favor of additional incentives. Papa’s &Wings is a great example of the city working with a business to reduce startup cost, to make a vacant storefront a thriving restaurant. Long term, this is a win for the city and the business community.
Q. The city has been accused on numerous occasions of not being “transparent”. What does transparency look like to you and what will you do to ensure the city is communicating with the residents?
A. Informed decisions come from maximum input, so beyond the normal channels of communication the city’s Facebook posts could be shared to multiple local group pages instead of only posted on the city’s page. The council members can be a liaison between the city and the citizens. The new public information officer can help in this area as well. They all should work together to help the citizens understand the goings-on of the city.
Q. How will you balance the opinion of the citizens who come forward to voice their opinion on an issue before Council versus those who may not speak up?
A. Galt belongs to the citizens. Getting the citizens’ input, is not about having the citizens make a decision for you, but it is important that you take their input into consideration along with the information given to you by city staff, and one’s own research so that you have a well-rounded understanding to make the most informed decision.
Q. Will you make decisions based on the majority of voices speaking at meetings, or what you feel, through your research, is best for the overall community? How will you communicate your decision to the residents?
A. Information is the key to a good decision. I will read the staff reports and ask questions about the things I need more information on. I will do my own research on the topic, that includes reaching out to the citizens, talking to stake holders, using social media, and maintain an open-door policy. It is important to express how you came to a decision during the meetings through questions and debate as well as maintaining the flow of information afterwards so citizens understand why you made your decision.
Q. As racial tensions rise across the country, what policies/procedures would you suggest/support to keep Galt united despite the city’s racial diversity?
A. Galt has a history of equal opportunity. 50% of Galt business owners are minorities. Christina DelaCruz and Casado Pasado were mayors. We have had 5 women as mayors, Barbara Payne was elected three times and served 12 years on council. Currently, the top two positions in the city are held by minorities, and we have minorities on different boards and committees. So, the citizens of Galt are very open to anyone that is willing to serve. I look forward to the opportunity of continuing this tradition.
Q. As a small town, Galt has generally been a safe community. What would you support to continue the safety within the community, and what would you do to enhance current safety programs?
A. The Measure R fund could be used for an additional School Resource Officer for crime prevention, which will allow for one at each high school and one at the elementary level. Work to utilize the Public Safety Committee better, and advocate for neighborhood watches. I will never be in favor of Defunding the PD due to social presser.
Q. Due to a budget shortfall, City Council has had to make difficult cuts, much to the public’s dismay – specifically regarding landscaping. If elected, what will you propose to mitigate this situation?
A. Review all contracts and spending. We need growth in business; existing, startups and industry to turn the tide of Galt bleeding money to outside communities. For the most part, the Market property is active two days a week, we need to find creative ways to expand that. More events like the harvest festival featuring local produce and products, RV, boating, fishing shows, to name a few.