Saturday, October 9, 2010

City Council Candidates - Meet Susan Vellone

Text and picture from online  Pacifica Tribune Questions (Part 2), 10/6/10.

The Pacifica Tribune sent questionnaires to all nine City Council candidates. Eight of the nine responded to the following six questions. Their responses are published in their entirety. This is the second of two parts with responses from Susan Vellone, Heather Tanner, Sue Digre and Barbara Arietta. The responses from Tom Clifford, William "Leo" Leon, Len W. Stone and Jim Vreeland appeared online (9/30/10).  

1.  What is your background, training and experience that qualifies you to manage the affairs of a city of 40,000 people. Please include your occupation and principle sources of income.  I have been a business woman in Pacifica for 30 years. I own and manage Visions Seaside Spa, a 6,000 square-foot Salon and Medical Spa with a staff of 24. I currently serve my community as President of the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Liaison to the GGNRA, Director on the Board of Pacificans Care and President Elect of Rotary. I work within the broad spectrum of our community, businesses, and non-profit organizations. I have lived in Pacifica for 20 years with my husband Tom Vellone, a San Francisco Police officer. I understand the importance of supporting our Emergency Services and Labor Unions. I have the business experience, personal relationships, and a loyalty to Pacifica that qualifies me for City Council.

2.  What is your position on the future use of the quarry, including the possibility of residential units.  The Quarry site is zoned for redevelopment. We need a focal point in our city that can bring much-needed retail tax revenue. Perhaps a mini Dell-Webb retirement community would be the residential focus. This could eliminate the impact of commuter traffic through the Fassler/Vallemar corridor. Future jobs could be created by soliciting Green Energy Companies to build an administrative business park. Our current federal government is throwing money at Green Technology, such as solar and wind energy. We can take advantage of this opportunity as part of our fiscal recovery. A Hotel and Convention Center would host future business. Tourism, business and housing can and should support one another.

3. For more than 20 years, Pacifica has debated a Highway 1 congestion solution. Where do you stand on the proposed expansion plan Caltrans and the Transportation Authority has presented?  The Fassler/Vallemar corridor needs to be widened. Additional turn lanes and off ramps will alleviate the congestion of commuter traffic. An excellent example is the Highway 1/ Highway 92 intersection. There are two left turn and two right turn lanes in almost every direction for maximum flow. We need to improve our signage in this part of town for retail visibility. This will give travelers unfamiliar with our Rockaway Hospitality Development Area another reason to stay and play in Pacifica.

4. What is your position on reuse of the old wastewater treatment plant and/or developing West Sharp Park as a potential downtown area? The WWTP on Palmetto Avenue should be leased to a developer which would create a constant revenue stream for our city. A Restaurant/Hotel Complex could be the anchor, attracting more businesses into this area. Sole proprietors looking for a place to invest will not take a financial risk unless the Palmetto area is improved.

5. What are your thoughts regarding the council's proposed $6 million in new taxes for 2011-12, including the proposed increase in TOT hotel tax that will appear on November's ballot. Will you actively campaign for or against these tax proposals and why?  The proposed $6 million in new taxes is over a 5-year period. City Council, Planning Commission and the Chamber of Commerce need to work together NOW to head off future parcel taxes. Our community needs to be involved, shop in Pacifica, and together we can improve our City. Tax dollars need to be spent here and not in neighboring communities.  I am not in favor of the Transient Occupancy Tax. City Council did not contact the general manager of our largest hotel, the Best Western Lighthouse, on the future intentions in raising the TOT. The management expressed that they would have been more than willing to work together. Small TOT increments could have started years ago. How many businesses raise their prices during an economic downturn? We stay competitive to maintain volume and a constant revenue flow. Will I actively campaign against the tax proposals? No. As your future Councilwoman I will be proactive, working on solutions for less future taxation on fellow Pacificans.

6. How would you solve the city's longtime budget structural deficit?  New leadership in the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce is leading the way to lessen our deficit. My first chosen task as President was to identify why Pacifica was not a member of the San Mateo Convention and Visitors Bureau, a powerful tool for promoting tourism. I was advised by their CEO that all we needed was a majority vote from our hotels to join. I coordinated Hotels, Performing Arts, and Chamber Executive Directors. We met in a City Summit to educate and communicate the benefits of membership. As a result two executive Directors collected five hotel signatures which gave us a majority vote. A letter was drafted and sent to the City Manager and Council requesting a vote to join the SMCCVB. It was unanimous. This only took two months.  With leadership and my determination, I ask for your support to bring the next generation to City Council.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

1 comment:

Kathy Meeh said...

Those who have previously read item #6 on the above article, please re-read. Prior I posted another candidate's comment (cut and paste error, oops). Sorry for any confusion.