I believe it is important that all candidates for city council inform the voters of their core beliefs, and what the voters can expect if that person is elected. As a participant in city council meetings for 20 years, I have listened to the residents’ concerns and have reviewed every citizen survey that the city has administered. I can categorize them into the following sub-headings: traffic, public safety, budget management, and growth issues. All are important to city residents and therefore are my platform for this election.
Every two years the City of Elk Grove conducts a Citizen Survey and an overwhelming majority of residents are most dissatisfied with the traffic in our city. Despite this concern, the planning commission and city council consistently approve plans that acknowledge that the traffic impact will exceed accepted standards, but the city council policy has been to adopt overriding considerations in the name of economic development. Furthermore, the latest 20 years masterplan for the city (General Plan) approved an increase in emergency response time from 6 minutes to 7 minutes. Being a health care professional I fully understand how significant an extra minute can be when responding to an emergency medical call.
As your City Councilmember I will:
- Amend the General Plan to reduce the accepted emergency response time to the previous standard of 6 minutes.
- Ensure that the traffic component of the development impact fee adequately provides for needed facilities and equipment to meet the emergency response time standard.
- Ensure that new development impact fees adequately provide for fair-share infrastructure improvements, such as new interchanges, traffic signal detectors, sidewalks, bike lanes and under-grounding utilities.
- Provide adequate annual funding to maintain all public roadways and prevent deterioration over time.[The public works director reported that there is an annual shortfall of $4.5 million for just basic maintenance of roadways in their existing condition, which is typified by crack seal.]
The city currently spends 67% of its budget on the police department and hired 27 new police department personnel including 19 new officers in 2019 (Annual Report Elk Grove Police Department). Although the crime statistics show that Elk Grove is one of the safest communities in the region, residents must also have the perception of safety in order to call Elk Grove a safe city.
As your City Councilmember I will:
- Continue to promote and evaluate the allocation of resources within our Police Department.
- Expand neighborhood patrols and encourage events that allow residents to meet their neighborhood community officers.
- Encourage public/private coordination of improved security at major shopping centers.
- Expand National Night Out to neighborhoods not currently participating.
- Advocate for expansion of Neighborhood Watch programs
I would generally describe myself as a fiscal conservative when spending taxpayer money. I am committed to avoiding unnecessary spending, placing the highest priority on infrastructure maintenance and quality of life projects. Of equal importance is developing extensive, on-going public outreach to regularly monitor to ensure that City’s budget priorities are in sync with the residents’ and business owners’ interests.
As your elected City Councilmember, I would:
- Request a “zero base budget” analysis of each city department, ensuring that every dollar spent is justified and promotes maximum efficiency and effectiveness. [In the 20 years since cityhood, the city council has not evaluated the department budgets from bottom to top to ensure that every dollar spent is necessary for an efficient city organization.]
- Request quarterly budget updates instead of the current twice a year, to ensure revenue assumptions are still on track. [COVID-19 has created revenue uncertainty.]
- Increase funding to properly maintain all streets instead of relying on crack seal every couple years for the majority of streets as is currently practiced. [City has stated that they have a $4.5 million annual shortfall just to properly maintain existing roads. Crack seal only has about a two-year life span.]
- Ensure that new development impacts on traffic, parks, and trails are adequately funded at time of construction. [Current development impact fees are below the actual cost of impacts as identified in the latest studies.]
- Ensure that public-private partnerships and economic development incentives are thoroughly analyzed and tracked from a taxpayer cost-benefit analysis. [City gave away 50% of sales tax revenue for the next 20 years to Costco, because they did not believe that Costco would come to the 2nd largest city in Sacramento County without an incentive.]
- Maximize the use of competitive bidding on City purchases to ensure maximum taxpayer value. [The city has been selectively approving sole-source bids for public projects. At some point taxpayers need to ensure that the bids are fairly priced and represent the best value.]
I believe an effective results-oriented economic development strategy is essential for reducing the City of Elk Grove's dependence on sales tax as a major source of revenue.
As your elected City Councilmember, I would:
- Direct incentive support only for those businesses that create jobs with livable wages.
- Evaluate incentive deals that are not reasonably necessary and are not fair to the taxpayers [Example: The City gave away half of its Costco sales tax revenue for the next 20 years, because they did not believe Costco would build in the second- largest city in Sacramento County without an incentive!]
- Update the Market Study to evaluate current economic development potential and viability, then revise City Council Goals accordingly. [Example: The City diverted $32,000,000 of its Reserve Fund to pay for infrastructure construction in the Southeast Policy Area (SEPA) for “economic development” purposes. This has only resulted in residential subdivisions and temporary construction jobs which do not sustain long-term improvement and growth.]
- Prepare an Economic Development Strategy that is NOT dependent upon a sales tax increase. [Example: Economic development is being touted by the City Council as the reason to support a county-wide sales tax increase for funding the Connector which is on the November ballot. This is misleading at best, because, if passed history is any indication, the Connector will be lined with more residential subdivisions, strip retail centers, and plenty of signal lights]
The city’s current population is approximately 172,000 and is expected to grow to 201,197 by 2036 (Elk Grove General Plan FEIR). It is my position that the growth should be managed in such a way that the quality of life and livability in Elk Grove is not compromised as we grow. As a 33-year resident, I have witnessed the gradual decline of neighborhood livability, open space, retail occupancy rates, architectural quality, and congestion.
As your City Councilmember I would:
- Ensure that existing neighborhoods and trails have adequate code enforcement to remove graffiti. [Seek creative positive solutions for troublesome spots such as art work, vegetation barriers or other methods to discourage repeated graffiti.]
- Commit additional funding to expand and interconnect the city trail/bicycle system to create more opportunities for healthy living. [The city only commits funds from new development fees and any grants they may receive for trail purposes. As a result the city has had a disjointed network for 20 years.]
- Commit to a joint public/private market study to analyze alternative uses for vacant commercial buildings in existing shopping centers. [Virtually every shopping center in the city has vacant major tenant buildings. In the new retail era the city needs to creatively adapt older retail establishments to meet the changing environment.]
- Improve the overall architectural quality of new construction to better match those of other quality cities in the region. [Elk Grove has a high proportion of chain stores which allows comparison with those buildings in other cities. Elk Grove’s architectural standards are much lower than those of comparable cities such as Folsom and Roseville.]
- Ensure adequate useable open space in new neighborhoods and regional parks. [The city requires only the state minimum open space in new neighborhoods, and allows drainage pits and high voltage powerline easements to qualify as open space.]
- Coordinate with local water purveyors to ensure that adequate water supplies are available to meet existing and future needs, as well as minimizing financial burdens of new development on existing residents.