October 31, 2007 > Candidate For Mayor Of Newark
Candidate For Mayor Of Newark
Why are you running for reelection?
I enjoy the team approach to government. It is a pleasure working with my colleagues on the council and with the staff. There is a positive atmosphere of trust that works well even in rough times like now. We are all in this together, working to solve our problems. That is very meaningful.
How do you avoid burnout?
It seems like there are always challenges and many interesting things in which I want to participate. One of these is the new campus of Ohlone College and another is the Sobrato development which will be a true hallmark for our city. It is exciting to think we will have an 18-hole championship golf course and new residences. And there is a desire to make the project as environmentally sensitive as possible. "Green" development is a bit new for Newark, but we are moving in that direction and the Ohlone campus is a catalyst for that. The former Sun campus - now a BioMed Realty Trust property - is a tremendous opportunity for us. NewPark Mall is another exciting project; we are eager for something concrete. Another development that is not in Newark, but very close and needs to be monitored, is the Fremont A's.
How is the city of Newark involved with its schools?
Every month, I meet with City Manager John Becker, Superintendent John Bernard, Board Member Janice Schaefer and Monitoring Committee Chair Bill Fitts to informally discuss issues of the day that are of mutual interest. At times, other city personnel join us to lend their expertise to the conversation. There is a partnership and trust between the city and its schools that is quite unique. A tangible manifestation was the resuscitation of the music program and continuation of the DARE program.
How is Newark handling its financial difficulties?
We have already made a lot of cutbacks - positions that have been vacated and not filled, creative job combinations, etc. - to make everything work. Even with this, we have maintained basic services at a high level. Some things may be reduced such as Music at the Grove, but with public appeals and community support, they may continue as well. Silliman Center is doing well with 275,000 visitors last year. The recreation staff continues to challenge themselves to be as creative as possible and as entrepreneurial as they can.
We have tried to stimulate the Old Town with the new fire station as an example while a museum is waiting in the wings. Economic development has slowed, but those who have moved to the area are maintaining their presence. If BioMed Realty Trust gets rolling, some of that economic growth can reach the Old Town area.
The Newark campus of Ohlone College will be a popular venue; the building is so unique that it will be a magnet for students and faculty. Since there is quite a bit of retail near the campus, students and faculty will be drawn to bank, shop and eat at local establishments.