Jan 9 2012

City Council Candidates Discuss Issue 4: Biggest Issues Facing Piedmont

The PCA posed a series of 10  questions to candidates for the Piedmont City Council in the upcoming election on February 7.   Following are the candidates’ entire responses to question #4:

What do you see as the 3 most significant issues the City of Piedmont will face during the next four years?


Margaret Fujioka, City Council Candidate, response:

First, we must continue to focus on municipal finance, as I described above.

Second, I believe a fresh approach to public safety is important.  Given the high probability of a major earthquake in the Bay Area and the rising crime rate in Piedmont, particularly robbery, burglary, and theft, our City can and must do more to protect its residents. I was instrumental in creating the Piedmont Public Safety Committee which has made significant improvements in public safety, including neighborhood training of hundreds of residents on disaster prep and crime prevention, and the implementation of a city-wide email alert system that has notified residents of outbreaks of crime in certain neighborhoods.  One crime involved the day-time armed robbery of a nanny who was pushing a stroller with a baby and young child in tow in the St. James neighborhood.  Luckily, no one was harmed.  This and other instances of crime can be thwarted by greater police visibility in higher crime areas and continued emphasis on educating residents. Now we have a small group of volunteers assisting our police officers patrolling the City.  I would like to explore the feasibility of putting more public safety volunteers in the program. I strongly support extending the life of the Public Safety Committee beyond its February 2012 expiration so that the Committee can continue its vital work for our residents.

Third, we must continue to make Piedmont “greener.”  As the City Council Liaison to the Environmental Task Force, I understand the importance of continuing to implement their recommendations.  I recently voted to support 2 ordinances of the Alameda County Waste Management Authority:  The Mandatory Recycling Ordinance and the Single Use Plastic Bag Ordinance which are consistent with the recommendations of the ETF and would decrease the number of plastic bags that negatively impact our environment. I also supported the new lighting in downtown which is both energy efficient and provides increased public safety.

Finally, I would like to encourage a return to civility in our public discourse.  We as a community must work together in a spirit of mutual respect to make our city better.  While City Council decisions can never satisfy everyone, every person is entitled to be heard and treated with respect.   I thoughtfully consider citizen’s comments and always try to keep an open mind to all views.  What we should never lose sight of is that decisions should be made based on what is best for our community as a whole.

Robert McBain, City Council Candidate, response:

Most important issues facing Piedmont:  one, restoring financial strength and a balance sheet which includes building reserves for asset replacement and controlling employee benefit costs.    Two, ensuring a high level of public safety is second.  Three, managing Blair Park, if it proceeds, in accordance with the project management recommendations put forward by both LWV and the Audit Sub-committee.

Tim Rood, City Council Candidate, response:

The biggest priority is to get the City’s financial house in order and tackle the projected deficit. This will require concerted action on the part of the Council to implement the recommendations of the Municipal Tax Review Committee as well as the project management and risk management recommendations of the Undergrounding Task Force and the Audit Subcommittee.

A second crucial issue will be to find more and better ways to involve the entire community in setting priorities for public expenditures and the use of public resources.

Third, the Council needs to rebuild public trust and bring our community together by taking concerted action on the pressing issues facing the City, sharing information and options more openly with citizens, and demonstrating real appreciation for public input, even when critical of Council actions.

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