Friday, May 7, 2010

Candidates talk county issues and strengths

May 07, 2010, 12:44 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff

The budget, high-speed rail and the delicate balance of serving a district and the county as a whole are among the issues the five candidates for District Three supervisor believe help each distinguish themselves and help voters decide just who is best to join the Board of Supervisors.

Candidates Matt Grocott, Jack Hickey, Don Horsley, Michael Stogner and April Vargas all believe they are best suited for the office which comes up for election June 8. The job now is to convince the electorate.

In-office interviews with each individually were held to help the Daily Journal determine endorsements. To allow each candidate a forum to express their opinions on the issues discussed, candidates were given the same five questions and asked to answer each in approximately 50 words. Responses were edited for grammar, punctuation and length. Answers are arranged alphabetically by the candidate’s last name.

1. What must the county do to address its structural deficit and annual budget challenges?

Grocott: 1). Support the efforts of our congressional representatives in their efforts to recoup the loss of $37 million;

2). Negotiate with employees for salary and benefit reductions;

3). Have department managers work with their employees to find efficiencies in the way they do business;

4). Cut where needed; look at management first.

Hickey: Renegotiate union contracts to reverse excessive benefits. Reduce staff and contract out services. Get out of the real estate business by selling off properties, beginning with Tower Road.  Support park and recreation by leasing (or selling with deed restrictions) a small fraction of open space land to environmentally-friendly golf course developers.

Horsley: Streamline government by reducing management while protecting direct services. The cities and county should together identify shared services and develop a green tech master plan. Offer homeowners low-interest or zero loans for solar panels or other energy-saving home improvements. Create a new pension tier for public safety employees, rolling back 3 percent at 50, and end pension spiking. Create a tax on airport car rentals and retain a portion of the 1 percent state sales tax that sunsets July 2011.

Stogner: This is a crisis, all parties involved must adjust. We should prepare for revenue for the county to be down/lower for several years.

Vargas:  Work with the private sector to bring more jobs to the county, review existing departments and services to find duplications and streamline systems and update the proposals found in the Budget Balancing Principles resolution passed by the current board in August 2009. These principles include program and service reductions, partnerships other public agencies, reorganization and labor cost restructuring, revenue generation and organizational incentives.


Posted by Steve Sinai

1 comment:

Kathy Meeh said...

To supplement Steve's article posting, here's a good personal view of the candidates and the issues MONTARA SUPERVISORS CANDIDATE FORUM . Scroll down, the video link is thoughtfully divided by Opening Statements, District vs At Large elections, LCP Update (CCC vs County), Infrastructure, Business Environment, Big Wave, MCTV.