October 28, 2009 > City of Newark, November 3 election
City of Newark, November 3 election
David W. Smith (Unopposed)
YOWZA! I enjoy serving as your Mayor! Newark has retained that "small town feeling" while blossoming into a progressive city. To this point, we have done well in a difficult economy. We have retained city services at reasonable levels through conservative fiscal policies.
But now we are at a "fiscal crossroads." City revenues, particularly sales tax, have continued to decline. To balance our budget, we have made $4.4M in cuts, eliminated over 50 positions and cut employees' pay.
However, $3.5M more in severe cuts loom in January, if we fail to act. Newark citizens have the opportunity to generate additional revenue through a Utility Users Tax (Measure L) that appears on the November 3 ballot. I shall be supporting that measure and I hope you will join me. Measure L will give Newark some Local control over Local funds for Local needs.
As we continue through these complex times, experienced, seasoned leadership will be increasingly important. We can be proud of our accomplishments as a community! The path ahead has many challenges but they can be met if we continue to work together to make Newark one of California's finest cities! I would appreciate your vote and I would also appreciate your vote for Measure L!
It has been an honor for me to have served as your Newark City Councilmember for the past four years. During my time as your Councilmember I have worked diligently and passionately to ensure the City of Newark continues to move in the right direction.
Although we face some fiscal challenges ahead, I want to assure you that if I am re-elected I shall continue to work in a collaborative effort with the residents of this community to make Newark a city where we can all be proud to live, work and raise families.
In the past four years as your City Councilmember, I have expanded our senior center, something of which I am very proud. I fought hard to preserve after-school programs at our elementary schools so our youth will have extended hours of programming. On learning of how many of our residents are uninsured, I worked to enhance healthcare services to the uninsured and underinsured.
My goals, if re-elected are as follows. First and foremost, we must work to recruit and enhance business in Newark to promote and increase economic vitality. This is crucial to the overall success of our community's future. Secondly, we must increase Newark's fiscal reserve to protect our City's financial security. Thirdly, it is imperative we ensure rapid response times to protect Newark residents. My aim is to accomplish these goals to ensure a high quality of life for all residents of Newark.
Government, at all levels, works best when its leaders listen to the community they represent. I take my role as your Councilmember very seriously and I am always here to listen to your issues and concerns.
Please do not hesitate to contact me on any question, concern or idea you may have to help move this City forward. Emailing me is the easiest way to ensure a quick response; please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My experience and proven leadership in my professional career, as well as serving as your City Councilmember, have earned the endorsements of the Newark Firefighters Association, Sierra Club, State Senator Ellen Corbett, former State Senator Liz Figueroa, Alameda County Central Labor Council and many more elected officials, residents and organizations. I humbly ask for your support by mail or at the polls on November 3.
I am proud to serve as your Councilmember and Vice-Mayor. I've had the honor to serve you in good and in difficult times. Together, we have built a community of which we can all be proud. Right now our Nation, State and City are experiencing unparalleled economic hardships. A real strength of our community has been how we have pulled together to address past challenges. This gives me confidence that together we will pull through this economic crisis. We will come out stronger and wiser, better able to respond to the expanding needs of our residents.
The next Council will face tough economic challenges. With your support and input I shall continue to provide the leadership in facing these challenges head on. My commitment to community service, the experience I have gained as a Councilmember and my business skills make me uniquely qualified to serve on the City Council.
I currently serve on the following:
¥ Vice-Mayor, City of Newark
¥ Viola Blythe Center - Founding Member
¥ Southern Alameda County Geographical Information System JPA - Chair and City Council Representative
¥ Washington Hospital Development Corporation - Chair
¥ Newark Library League Treasurer
¥ Newark Graffiti Abatement volunteer
¥ Newark City Council/Newark Board of Education Joint Task Force on Youth Issues - Chair
¥ Newark Senior Citizen Advisory Committee - Chair
¥ 2009 Newark Volunteer of the Year Award
Public safety is my highest priority. I will continue to advocate for programs that involve our residents like the Citizen's Police Academy and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. We must continue implementing technology improvements to equip our public safety staff with the best tools available to help them provide Newark citizens with superior police and fire protection.
It is important we practice conservative fiscal management of City financial resources. The City Council is facing tough economic challenges. I will continue to provide the leadership in facing these challenges head on. City spending must be prioritized to ensure we provide our citizens with the highest service possible within given financial resources. We have a proven process we use to manage financial resources, including the five-year forecast, a two-year budgeting cycle and a capital improvement plan.
Quality of Life
Newark is a community committed to being "family friendly" with a special "small town" feel, where a high quality of life for families, senior citizens and our youth is most important. The City and School District work cooperatively for the benefit of our children through the City Council/Newark Board of Education Joint Task Force on Youth Issues.
I would appreciate your vote on November 3 so I can continue the vital task of "Working for a Better Newark!"
My objective, if elected to City Council, is to work with residents to make Newark sustainable, economically and environmentally, and to not only preserve our quality of life but to improve it.
The City Council must pay more attention to residents and less attention to developers and consultants when planning for our future. Residents have the right to speak up with alternatives to improve the quality of life and property values in their neighborhoods and businesses. Elected officials need to pay attention when residents speak. It is important to remember the more endorsements a candidate seeks, the more interests they have to consider putting ahead of the needs of the average resident.
Residents and government need to work together to find ways of living within our means. The City promotes Measure L as a necessity to fund basic services while at the same time at least one Council member notes that without Measure L the City won't get a new library building! Currently, our local government has expressed interest in a new city hall, a new library, a golf course and other amenities Newark residents cannot afford to fund. The Council ignores basic needs, such as restrooms in public parks and adequate staffing for the existing library, in favor of planning bigger and more expensive projects.
City government needs to focus on attracting and keeping businesses and maintaining the City's existing infrastructure rather than massive re-zoning projects that destroy existing companies and redevelopment projects that divert future tax revenue from the City into the redevelopment agency.
For more information, see the following community based websites:
The SustainableNewark discussion group focuses on preserving and improving the quality of life in Newark: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SustainableNewark/
No on Measure L: http://home.earthlink.net/~lewis2/vote.nonewarktax/
Information on all candidates and Measure L is available at the League of Women Voter's site: www.smartvoter.org
A 3.9 percent utility users' tax, with a 6-year term, on electricity, gas, telecommunications and video services.
* Sacramento legislators have appropriated $1.2M from the City of Newark to balance the California state budget. Revenue from Measure L will remain in Newark.
* Measure L provides Newark with a reliable, local revenue source to prevent severe cuts to public safety, 911 emergency, senior services and youth services, such as anti-drug and gang-prevention programs, and other essential local services.
* The City will be held accountable for how Measure L funds are spent through annual, independent financial audits and reports to the community.
* Low income seniors are exempt from Measure L.
* Measure L maintains the City's ability to respond quickly and effectively to a natural disaster like an earthquake.
* Measure L will reduce and prevent crime in neighborhoods by protecting community policing programs where police officers work closely with businesses and community organizations.
* Visit www.newarkcaformeasurel.webs.com
* The utility users' tax is unnecessary. Newark will receive $700,000 for anti-drug programs, $600,000 for at-risk kids and after school programs, $1.8M for programs like Head Start and $900,000 of Federal stimulus monies this year to pave streets.
* The City had a surplus of $35M in 2005. Where is it now?
* Measure L revenue will be part of the City's General Fund, to be spent as the Mayor and City Council desire, with no restrictions on how the money is spent.
* A new tax will dampen economic activity in Newark at a time when it is essential to retain and attract new businesses.
* What utilities will be taxed? Cell and regular phone services, gas, electricity, cable and things required on a daily basis. There are limited exemptions for senior citizens and none for lower income families and those who have lost jobs.
* Utility costs will increase dramatically in the next few years. The higher a utility bill, the more tax payable.
* Duration of the UUT is 6 years.
* Visit http://home.earthlink.net/~lewis2/vote.nonewarktax
Disclaimer: This information is taken directly from supporters' and opponents' ballot statements as provided by the League of Women Voters of Fremont/Newark/Union City Pros and Cons publication. The veracity of certain claims by opponents at the City's October 22 Council meeting was questioned. Readers should conduct their own due diligence.