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 be your top three goals be while on Council?
A. 1. To make decisions based upon the will of the people. While I have my own opinion, I am being elected to represent the constituents and promise to always do so. 2. To assist with making the Galt Market an attraction for both locals and out of town visitors…while ensuring the City maintains ownership of the Market Grounds. 3. To ensure that our city’s public safety is never at risk by maintaining adequate funding for both PD and fire/EMS. 3.5 – revamping of the City website. There are times that it is virtually impossible to locate information. A simple search for a document that we know is there should not be so difficult. Organizing the site so that the location of information makes sense.
Q. What are your thoughts on how Galt should grow?
A. Growth is inevitable. That being said, we need to be smart and calculated about HOW we grow. We have approximately 3200 homes on the horizon which is almost a 40% increase in rooftops.
Q. Is a “small town feel” important to you and how will you ensure Galt’s “charm” as growth occurs?
A. This is why I moved here to raise my boys. The sense of community that we have will not continue if we grow too big for our britches. While following the General Plan, we need to slow rooftop growth to a reasonable rate. 40% in the next few years is not reasonable. I also believe that we should seek to attract commercial/industrial interests for infill, this way we collect both property tax and sales tax as well as add employment opportunity for residents.
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. Yes, this is a necessary infill project that has been a long time coming. It will connect both sides of Galt.
Fairway Oaks Annexation/Development
Yes, this was also an infill project, however, I am not a proponent of small lot sizes and packing homes in like sardines. I would have taken issue with the 48 5,500SF lots.
No, this is sprawl and is deviating from the General Plan. The project approved by Planning and Council drastically increases the number of lots by reducing their size and completely changes the area’s landscape. While the project is an interesting and desirable concept, this location is all wrong.
Q. A couple of controversial projects are still up in the air, what decisions would you regarding these plans if elected and why?
Galt Market Plan
A. At this time, there are no proposed concepts. That being said, I am open to reviewing proposals provided they do not include the sale of the market grounds. I believe that we need to retain ownership and create a revenue stream that will continue for years to come. I look forward to seeing the creative ideas that are brought forth.
Carillion Boulevard Project
No, especially given Gov. Newsom’s recent requirement of no new gas vehicles starting in 2035. The primary intent of the Climate Action Plan and the Carillion Boulevard Project is to reduce carbon emissions…which will be unnecessary given Californian’s will only be allowed to purchase zero-emission vehicles. Additionally, based on the traffic studies, the project is unnecessary and will serve to push traffic to other arterials (Stockton/Carol & Marengo) as opposed to actually reducing the number of vehicles traveling.
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. I do support a city-wide CFD, however, I believe that this needs to go to a vote. I am not a supporter of taxation, however, understand that they are sometimes necessary. That being said, I do not support increasing existing or implementing new taxes without putting them to a vote amongst the citizens. Right now, the General Fund is supplementing the LLDs, essentially using our tax dollars to fund the LLDs. Putting it to a vote, if passed, would earmark funds solely for LLD maintenance.
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. By maintaining a close working relationship with the Galt Chamber of Commerce. Ensuring open lines of communication with local businesses as well as the Chamber will ensure any concerns are raised and addressed promptly.
Q. The COVID pandemic has decimated businesses across the city. What will you support to help the local businesses?
A. I put my money where my mouth is and am a proponent of shopping local. I purchase all that I am able to locally. This goes for restaurants as well. Every penny I have spent on my campaign spend has been with local Galt businesses. We must encourage and educated our friends and neighbors on why it is so important to keep their tax dollars local.
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. It would depend on what the proposed incentives were and what the cost/benefit is. For example, if it makes more sense to give a break, fill an empty building, and the increased property and sales tax exceeds the break they were given, that seems like logical choice to me.
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. Transparency is being able to locate information and documents in a reasonable manner. We should not have to make records requests for information that should be readily available. Additionally, while the City attempts to inform the public, efforts are futile. As such, I have taken it upon myself to disseminate information in an attempt to create a more informed community.
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. By reaching out to community members to get their take. Conducting outreach is essential. This can be via social media, email lists (the city has the emails of many who are interested in staying informed) and talking with Galtonians while I am out and about at restaurants, coffee shops or the grocery store.
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. I will make decisions based upon multiple forms of feedback. Citizens can speak up via social media, direct phone calls and email to the city/council, newspaper letters to the editor, and by having direct conversations in person. I will absolutely conduct my own research and will continue to share it with my fellow Galtonians as I have for the past few years. That being said, my job as a council member is not to make up my own mind and vote what I want, it is to listen to my constituents and vote how they want me to.
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. I would encourage everyone, regardless of racial or socio economical background, to get involved in local government. We all have common interests, such as quality education for our children; recreational activities; safe communities, parks and streets; maintaining a good working relationship and open line of communication with PD; feeling welcomed and supported by our local government. To ensure these interests are maintained, we must all play a role and are obligated to speak up if we have concerns. We are each responsible for preserving a high quality community where we are all treated with dignity and respect.
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. I have served on the Measure R Police Oversight Committee for the past few years. As such, I have a very clear and in depth understanding of how the funding for our PD works. I have and will continue to ensure that our tax dollars that are earmarked solely for PD are spent properly and legally. I have zero interest in defunding or otherwise reducing funding to PD or FD/EMS. We appreciate the level of safety that we all enjoy and I will do nothing to jeopardize that.
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. This goes back to the LLD question. To increase taxes, I believe that we need to go to a popular vote. As far as parks are concerned, as the majority of Fund 006 money comes from the Market, we must make the Market more profitable. With the vast pool of intelligent, educated, professional talent in our community, there is no reason that we, as citizens, cannot come up with some great ideas to revitalize our Market and make it a renewed success.