I believe this election is about the issues facing our city, past, present, and future. Despite my efforts and repeated request for public dialogue and engagement, those requests have been rejected. We need more public engagement, more discussion, and more debate about all of the important issues facing our community. As your council member, I have consistently represented your voices at city council meetings when too many others wouldn’t listen:
- Propositions S & P: I was your voice on the council when I raised your many questions and concerns and objected when the Council majority voted to send Propositions S and P to the voters, with no citizen involvement, no transparency as to its value to the city and long-term impact, no detailed plan and no dialogue about how it arrived at the details. The outcome: Voters overwhelmingly agreed and defeated Propositions S and P 70-30 – and saved us a lot of money.
- Outsourcing Ambulance Service: I was your voice on the council when I raised concerns and objected when council majority voted to outsource our EMS services ostensibly to save money. When I suggested we install a 90-day plan to determine whether the new approach worked, the Majority of the City Council over-rode questions, calls for transparency, and even the outrage of the public. The Council Majority rejected all of the good government practices of the organization that sets standards for ethics in city management.
- Protecting the Taxpayers Interests: Over my objections the City Manager has negotiated a settlement with a citizen over a dispute regarding the decreased value of the citizen’s home. The administration has not taken a single step to defend the city’s interest in this lawsuit. The City Manager has agreed to pay the citizen $25,000 in legal fees (the limit of his authority) and possibly committed the city to $400,000 in improvements to the Ruth Park Driving Range. His original estimate was $100,000 in improvements. All the while, the citizen has not been asked to prove ANY OF HIS DAMAGES.
- Misleading Talk About our Budgets: Over my objections the Council approved what is disingenuously called a “balanced budget,” knowing that in six months the City Manager will submit a budget amendment that dips into cash reserves, ultimately depleting our resources only to give the false impression to the public that the budget is balanced. This is not a one-time occurrence. This has happened multiple times. When you pretend you have a balanced budget but you really don’t, you are undermining all the good tents of a transparent city government.
- Understaffing Public Safety: Over my objections the administration continuously understaffs both the police and fire departments, resulting in the City paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime. Just halfway through this year’s budget, we have already spent nearly 150% our budgeted overtime for the fire department for the entire year! This is your money. We don’t have enough firefighters or police officers – and we will NEVER see the savings promised by the majority when they voted to outsource EMS.
- Politics of Personal Destruction: Over my objections and the objections of hundreds of citizens who came to recent City Council meetings, the Mayor viciously attempted to destroy my reputation with personal attacks, repeated to the media, to people in the city and to reporters based on illogical and false statements. What I’ve learned though is when you set out a standard of transparency for yourself, and you act on it, you build trust with your neighbors and your community. It is clear that some so desperately want to silence your voices, they will do anything to silence mine. And, that is why I am running for re-election.