It was recently reported that one of the candidates is heavily funded ($17,000) primarily from sources outside of Sierra Madre. How much of your funding comes from outside Sierra Madre?
As of March 9, I have approximately $3400 in my campaign account, not counting the $2000 loan that I made to the account for initial start up costs. Of that $3400, all but $400 comes from Sierra Madre citizens. Of the $400 that came from outside, $300 was from family members.
Furthermore, I have hired no consultants or media designers to help with the campaign. Design work for my yard signs, hand-outs and mailers was done by friends and family members. I am running a low budget "grass roots" campaign, funded by Sierra Madre citizens, and I'm assisted by volunteers that know me and believe in me.
What is your position on the proposed Kensington Assisted Living Facility?
I believe the Kensington project is good for Sierra Madre. Some challenges remain. I want the Planning Commission to analyze the parking, to be sure the proposed number of spaces is adequate. I am concerned that the proposed institutional use is inconsistent with our general plan, which seeks to limit institutional use in the downtown commercial zone. There is also a concern that the project “splits” the downtown zone, but I’m hoping these issues can be overcome. The feedback I’m receiving is that this project is overwhelmingly supported by our citizens.
See my Patch blog: http://sierramadre.patch.com/blog_posts/blog-the-beginning-of-a-new-era
What is your opinion of the Council’s adoption of the Green Advisory Committee’s Environmental Accords?
I’m proud that Sierra Madre is known as a very “green” community, and I support preservation of our natural resources such as our water supply and associated watershed, open space, the need to improve recycling rates, the need to minimize the amount of solid waste to landfills. I heartily support the increased use of energy from renewable sources. However, I was disappointed by the Council’s action for several reasons. First, there was no public discussion. I believe that the GAC should have held a town hall, similar to what has been done by the General Plan Steering Committee to receive ideas from Sierra Madre’s citizens. Second, I’m disturbed that actual targets were set in spite of the lack of baseline data and lack of a basis for projection. For example, the very first item, “Implement a plan to increase the use of renewable energy to meet 25% of City Facilities’ peak electric load by 2015” is flawed. There is no “plan” to be implemented, the committee has no baseline data (they don’t know what percent is generated from renewable energy today), and there is no data to support how much electricity could be generated from various alternatives. Worse yet, there are no cost estimates, nor a funding source for the needed capital investment. Third, there were 25 individual “accords” that were accepted en masse, without discussion of the individual merits.
It was recently announced that the Sierra Madre Police Officers Association endorsed two candidates, saying that those were the only two candidates that asked for the endorsement. Why didn’t you seek endorsement from the SMPOA?
It’s my policy to not accept endorsements or contributions from associations, unions, special interest groups or anyone else that could possibly benefit from the outcome of the election. During my years at AT&T, we were mandated to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest so as to preserve trust with our customers. I’m approaching this campaign the same way. I want the voting public to know that I represent them, and I’m not beholden to anyone else.
Do you believe Measure V is good for the City of Sierra Madre?
Measure V is the law of the land. It was enacted by the voters in 2008, so I’m absolutely committed to ensure that it is not undermined. See my Patch blog re the Kensington and Measure V, which demonstrates my commitment:
Do you think the water rate increase was handled properly? How would you have voted?
I agree that a hike in the water rates was needed, but I disagree with the majority of the Council in that I would have preferred that another formal notification be sent to the citizenry. The original notification stated that the increase was to improve our infrastructure. Yes, the increase would help to build up reserves to improve the infrastructure, but the main reason was that the increase was needed to meet our bond obligations. Whether or not the city was technically obligated to re-do the notification to accurately reflect the true reason, in the spirit of openness and transparency, it should have been resent. Our citizens deserve and expect accurate information.
Do you support the renewal of the Utility Users Tax?
I believe the voters should vote No on ballot measure 12-1 and its corresponding advisory measure 12-2.
I believe we need a UUT, but now is NOT the time to extend the sunset dates of the current measure. We are now taxed at the 10% rate. This rate does not sunset until 2015, more than one year after the next municipal election. The measure also increases the tax to 12% which would be the highest of any city in the state. The current ordinance is authorized at 12%, so the Council could raise it any time if they felt that the revenue was needed. Should they decide to do that, the 12% rate would not sunset until 2014, also after next municipal election.
You should question the proponents of the measure by asking “What bad things will happen if we wait until the 2014 election before approving the extension?” The answer is “Nothing!” See my Patch Blog for a thorough analysis supported by facts and figures from the current budget on the City's website:
What is your vision of Sierra Madre for the next 20 years?
At one time in my life, 20 years seemed like a long time. As I look back at the last 20 here in Sierra Madre, it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. And you know, it really hasn’t changed much in the 28 years that I’ve been here. I support the five guiding principles that was drafted by the General Plan Steering Committee and approved by the Council. I’d like to see Sierra Madre stay as unchanged as possible, while recognizing that some change is inevitable. It’s a remarkable place. It’s the jewel of Southern California. I’d like to see what little open space that is left preserved for future generations. I’d like to see a thriving local economy, preservation of our historic landmarks and homes of character, I’d like us to keep growth and crowding to a minimum, and above all, keep Sierra Madre safe for our children and their families and remain a close knit community where you get to know your neighbors, make life-long friends, and pitch in when a hand is needed.
Do you agree with the recent California Supreme Court decision striking down Community Redevelopment Agencies?
Absolutely. As LA County Supervisor Zev Yarkowski said, and I paraphrase: “CRAs have evolved into a honey-pot to underwrite billions of dollars of commercial for-profit projects”. The intent of CRAs were to redevelop blighted areas. So if I understand correctly, Sierra’s ENTIRE downtown was considered blighted? I disagree.
CRAs did more to create blight by providing an incentive for big-box retailers and auto mall developers to seize private property through eminent domain, which then drove mom-and-pop retailers out of business. In the short term, the demise of our CRA may cause some suffering for Sierra Madre as we go through the process of unwinding the CRA from our day to day operations. In the long term, Sierra Madre will benefit, because it should help to put a damper on the so-called “affordable housing” mandates created by the RHNA, and because it will result in a better overall and efficient use of tax payer dollars for all citizens of the State of California.
What is your position on the mandated homeless shelter on Montecito?
I am absolutely against creating a homeless shelter in our “artisan” district. The mandate to build the shelter is a perfect example of misguided effort by a bloated state government bureaucracy that is wasting precious taxpayer dollars that could be put to hundreds of better uses.