Beginning Tuesday, we'll post City Council candidate responses to the following tough questions posed by Albany Patch readers. We thank you for your suggestions. See our full election guide here. Join us in October for two forums, with school board and City Council candidates. See the attached PDF for details.
1. What would the candidate do to bring better cell phone coverage to Albany?
2. Does the candidate feel that the number of police officers in the city is sufficient, or do they have a plan to find a way to unfreeze the open positions?
3. According to a report released in June 2011 by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Albany’s roads are among the worst in the Bay Area. What’s more, according to the report, our roads are at the threshold at which deterioration accelerates rapidly and the need for major (i.e., expensive) rehabilitation increases; that is, simply tarring over a poor roadbed is not a long-term solution. (Just look at how quickly Marin Ave is deteriorating, due to the poor underlying roadbed.) So, how much should we be spending on roads, how much are we currently spending, and how would you go about creating a sustainable budget for roads, and sidewalk repair and maintenance, over the long-term? What plans or ideas do the candidates have for slowing down traffic along (particularly) Marin/Solano/Buchanan (and possibly other streets) and increasing visibility of people using crosswalks?
4. What are your priorities (within the specified purposes) for using revenues from the proposed one-half cent sales tax, if approved? I'd like to know the priorities of the candidates. What do they plan/hope to do for residents? How does it fit into the the grand scheme?
5. What do you believe the City ought to do to address the population residing on the Bulb? Do you see the Voices to Vision summary statement as a mandate to take steps to "fix" the waterfront? If so, what can you as a councilperson do in that regard? If not, what do you think Albany can or should "do" with the waterfront?
6. Assume there was another set of proposals from Golden Gate Fields to replace the track with a mixed-use development that Could be built with varying amounts of land covered by each of housing, offices, retail and open space. Consider tradeoffs among 4 factors - amount of open space at the Entire Albany waterfront, net revenues to the City, the City's housing goals, and Albany's Climate Action Plan goal. What reasoning and combinations of land coverages for each of those four land uses would lead the candidate to vote to send the proposal(s) to the voters for a Measure C vote?
7. What was your participation, if any, in the occupation of the Gill Tract? And in general, how do you think the City should respond to individuals/groups who violate the law and say the purpose was for political, moral, or artistic expression? Where do the candidates stand on the referendum re: the development in Albany Village and on Occupy the Farm vs. the proposed Whole Foods/Senior Housing development? Do you think referendums effectively disenfranchise voters who chose elected officials-- answerable to the electorate-- to make certain decisions on behalf of the city? if you had been on the Council when the development agreement vote took place in July, would you have voted yes or no?
8. What plans would the candidates be pursuing regarding a marijuana dispensary in Albany? What would the candidates do in the event that permitting and regulating of dispensaries could be done by cities? Are the candidates pro-active in matters of community health?
9. Assume Albany has a chance to attract national big-box retailers, either down by Target or along San Pablo. There will be EIRs, protests, plus pleas by citizens and educators to improve the tax base. What general direction do you tend in, and how do you balance all the opposing positions?
10. The Association of Bay Area Governments is moving ahead with plans for Bay Area communities to increase density through zoning changes to allow second units on residential lots and also removing the two space off street parking requirements. Albany is already among the most densely populated communities around the bay, with more than its share of on street parking problems. What is your opinion about a more crowded Albany, the impact on schools and emergency services, and added costs to the city?
11. As a member of the City Council, will you represent the views of the majority, those who elect you, or will you make decisions based on what you feel is the best for Albany, in your personal opinion, when you disagree with the majority position? Please answer in relation to the recent council decisions regarding AT&T and UC's village development project.
12. The state is broke. We are on our own, as are our neighboring cities. There's not a lot of time. What do we do?
13. What is your affiliation to the Save the Bay/ CESP/CAS/SIerra Club consortium? If you are answerable to them in any way it is important for you to disclose this well before election day. Please disclose any affiliations and/or endorsements by any group (i.e., Sierra Club, Keep Albany Local, Occupy the Farm, Strollers & Rollers, etc.), whether it they are local or national branches, and state whether you are a member of such group or in agreement to their beliefs/agendas. What boards and committees have you served on? How many meetings of (the City Council / the Board of Education) have you attended?