Galt Vice Mayor Paul Sandhu is seeking reelection to City Council in the general election this November.
Sandhu told the Herald that he wants to focus on public safety, fiscal responsibility and quality of life if elected for a second term.
The other candidates vying for three council seats are Galt Mayor Shawn Farmer; Galt City Council Member Rich Lozano; Tim Reed, chair of the Galt Public Safety Committee; and Tom Silva, president of the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District board of education.
Sandhu said he chose to run for reelection so he could see through some projects that have been prominent during his tenure: the Galt Market Community Plan, the ongoing contract negotiations with Cal-Waste Recovery Systems and potential modifications to Carillion Boulevard.
He also cited survey results that showed a majority of Galt likely voters felt the city is headed in the “right direction.”
Asked about major accomplishments of his tenure, Sandhu pointed to the $1.3 million grant program approved by Council to support small businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions. He also noted his opposition to a version of the Carillion Boulevard master plan, which would have constructed 11 roundabouts along the thoroughfare.
“We asked as a Council, a majority of the Council, ‘Bring a better solution,’” Sandhu recalled on the subject of the Carillion plan.
Regarding public safety, Sandhu said this priority continues a focus of his first term. He noted that Council has approved multiple technology requests from Galt Police Department, such as a drone program, automated license-plate readers and body-worn cameras.
Sandhu said he would support similar proposals in future, as long as they don’t violate privacy.
Additionally, Sandhu said he wants to ensure that Galt police officers receive pay and benefits comparable to other jurisdictions “as our budget allows,” as well as promoting proactive policing and communication with school districts.
Fiscal responsibility means keeping the budget balanced, increasing revenue and bringing businesses into the city, Sandhu said. He also wanted to ensure sufficient jobs for young people.
“Also, controlling the expense, that’s also very important,” Sandhu said. “Wherever we can cut, we want to make sure we control all of the expense of whatever we don’t need, any wasteful spending.”
To address quality of life, Sandhu said he wanted to support parks and recreation services.
“I’d like to keep all the parks open, all the sports program open,” Sandhu continued.
Sandhu also emphasized “smart growth,” saying the city doesn’t need to annex more land and should prioritize infill projects.
"So we want to make sure quality is again paired with safety,” Sandhu said. “We want to make sure quality is safe, our families are safe, our police officers are safe, our city is safe.”
Regarding the 1-cent general sales tax, now called Measure Q, that Council has voted to put on the November ballot, Sandhu said he wants Galt voters to make their own decision.
He noted that he is “not a fan of taxes at all,” but residents should choose whether to support it. He cited the strong majority of Galt likely voters who favored a sales tax in support of parks and rec.
Sandhu pointed to the spending plan that Council passed declaring its intent to use the projected $3.6 million in yearly revenue for parks and rec and for landscaping.
“My promise to my citizens: That money will go to quality of life,” Sandhu said.
Sandhu immigrated to the United States from India in 1981 “with no money.” After various jobs, he began working for the U.S. Postal Service, a career that lasted 25 years, until his retirement in 2009. He has owned the Best Western Galt Inn since 2010.
Sandhu said that after a few years, he had more time for community service, at which point he was appointed to the Planning Commission. He served two four-year terms there before running for and being elected to Council.
On Council, Sandhu has served as mayor and currently serves as vice mayor.
His two children and three grandchildren grew up in Galt.
Sandhu said he has made an effort to be accessible to constituents and local organizations, and would continue to do so in future.
“I approach the schools, I approach every nonprofit and ask them what they want, and be available and be flexible to communicate,” Sandhu said. “And that’s the way I was the last four years, but I will keep the same thing in the next four years or more.”
Asked why voters should include him in their three picks for Council, Sandhu pointed to his experience, both in management positions and in Council leadership. He also encouraged people to call him if they have feedback on his performance.
“I believe I am the best qualified, I believe I have the experience to the job, and I believe I have the capability to do the job with my qualifications,” Sandhu said.
“The only thing I will ask the citizens is, if they trusted me last (election), … I will be keeping the same level of my job or above, and if there is any deficiencies, I always listen.”