Saturday, October 2, 2010

City Council Candidates - Meet Tom Clifford

Text and picture from online Pacifica Tribune Questions (Part 1), 09/30/2010.

The Pacifica Tribune sent questionnaires to all nine City Council candidates. Seven of the nine responded to the following six questions. Four candidates' answers are published in their entirety. Due to space constraints the remaining candidate responses will be published next week.

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 run a successful business for the last 30+ years. Controlling costs, managing employees, meeting deadlines, and producing a product that exceeds my customers' expectations. I have done this in good times and bad. I have also worked in Pacifica's city government for the last eight years, five as a Planning Commissioner. I know how this city's government works and will be able to hit the ground running.
2.  What is your position on the future use of the quarry, including the possibility of residential units.  If, after all the agencies have weighed in, it is determined that there is a buildable site in the quarry, then I would like to see a mixed-use development that ties to the Rockaway Beach shopping area. This mixed-use should be visitor-serving with either residential or office space above.

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?   I am concerned that the plans as proposed will have a negative impact on the businesses in Rockaway Beach. Remember that the traffic problem is only at certain times of day, and according to the consultant for the General Plan update, is a signal problem, not a capacity issue. The Cal-Trans solution is a 24/7 impact. Do we really want people to rush past our businesses on a six-lane highway?

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 and Southern Palmetto Ave. must be made into a destination for tourists and Pacificans alike. The WWTP site needs to become the anchor (ie: a five-star hotel, a card room, a roller-coaster, a marine study center, a salt water pool, anything that will get people to come.) Couple that with high-end, one-of-a-kind stores on Palmetto, and you have the making of Pacifica as a destination. I have detailed plans for each of our business districts. Not having a downtown does not have to be a weakness - it could be a strength. It all depends on what we build and how we market it. This is just an overview of one of them. Pacifica can prosper.

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?  I hate taxes, but what I hate more is what will happen if we don't get more revenue immediately. Unfortunately, the City, for all intents and purposes, is broke, and we must either raise taxes or cut services. There are no more silver bullets, and every budget-cutting shot we take hits a vital program.  The new council, no matter who they are, will need the breathing room to get long-term fixes in place. If the voters choose not to support the taxes, it will make a difficult situation much harder. How will we attract new businesses to Pacifica if what they see is a City in active decline? Does anyone want the community center's funding cut? How about the libraries, or the resource center? Staffing cuts will mean every city service will slow down.

6. How would you solve the city's longtime budget structural deficit?  I would restructure the Planning and Economic Development Department so that we would have a more proactive approach to business district development. I would have them focus on an area (Francisco Blvd. as an example,) figure out what is needed to make it a viable commercial area, and then actively recruit new businesses that meet those needs. It's time to stop waiting for what we want to walk through the door. If I need a plumber, I don't just hope one shows up.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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