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November 1, 2005 > Newark City Council Candidates

Newark City Council Candidates

Ana Apodaca

TCV: Why are you running for a council seat?

Apodaca: I have lived in Newark nearly all my life; it is a community that I was raised in and care about. This community has given a lot to me and now it is my turn to give something back. I would like to share the knowledge and skills obtained when I worked with Senator Figueroa.

TCV: What are the skills you would bring to the council?

Apodaca: I work regionally on projects and throughout the community so I know the resources that are out there. When there is a problem within the city, having that background and knowing those resources, we will not have to recreate the wheel. I can find out what other cities are doing and how to use those practices within Newark. If, for instance, we need funding and the county has resources available, I will be able to find that for the city.

TCV: What are your current community activities?

Currently, I am the president of a nonprofit organization that gives scholarships to students throughout Alameda County. I am also on the advisory board of SAVE (Shelter Against Violent Environments) and a member of the Newark School District Strategic Planning Committee. They asked me to come on board and look at available resources and put together a manual as well as the possibility of counselors at our elementary schools. I believe I have identified a funding source for this project. I am also involved in the Newark Business/Education Roundtable whose goal is to create a better educated workforce.

TCV: What are the challenges facing Newark?

We need to make sure that our public safety personnel are given the latest tools and training to continue giving outstanding service. We also need to focus on industrial vitality so we can attract businesses to some of the vacant offices. My third goal is to extend educational opportunity for our youth. With the new college campus coming to Newark, we have the perfect opportunity to build a strong partnership between the city, school district and Ohlone College.

For more information or to contact Ana Apodaca, visit her website at www.voteapodaca.com.

Bob Marshall

TCV: Why are you running for council?

Marshall: First and foremost, I am running because I have spent 19 years on the Planning Commission. We spend a lot of time reacting to ideas that came from someplace else, notably the city council. I would like an opportunity to be proactive in terms of our development and put some ideas of my own in place. I take a lot of pride that I have been involved in the community as a Planning Commissioner for 19 years and a resident for 33 years and been involved in many community organizations as a volunteer and a leader. I would like to take that experience and put it on city council.

TCV: What are the challenges facing Newark and how will you be able to help the city face them?

Marshall: Maintaining fiscal clarity; I have been an executive with major financial institutions, have run my own business and done a lot of budgeting and accounting. I am the type of guy that likes to get involved in that type of process.

We have wonderful public safety departments - police and fire. We seem to have a budding gang problem which has surfaced in the last eight or nine months. I would like to work with Chief Samuels and see what we can do about putting some of his initiatives into place.

TCV: What is your vision for Newark?

Marshall: We have a good land use plan in our General Plan. There is adequate space for growth in retail and industrial areas. I am a real estate appraiser for Fremont Bank doing commercial and industrial real estate. Actually, vacancy factors in industrial properties have declined over the past two or three years since they reached a peak of about 25% in about 2002. There is some optimism in that area.

The question is how to attract businesses to fill that space. I don't think we have too much trouble with retail space as evidenced by at least two of our new retail centers being built - one by NewPark Mall and another small one at Raley's Center. Retail brings in sales tax revenue which constitutes the bulk of funds Newark has to operate with. We have a fantastic Community Development Department and they do a wonderful job finding new businesses to come into town.

TCV: What should Newark do to help middle income people afford homes in the area?

Marshall: Housing is really a regional problem. Newark was one of the first two cities to get their housing element approved by the state of California. The problem is that Californians - and Americans in general - have a love affair with a detached single family dwelling. In older urban areas, densities are much higher and until we can create these higher densities, we will not be able to meet the housing needs at all socio-economic levels. Affordable housing is the ability to have a nice, clean, healthy, safe place to live and raise your kids no matter where you are in the economic strata. That is what we all want. The only way to meet that need is to increase density. The challenge is to create safe, high quality, attractive high density developments. The best place to do this is near a transportation hub.

TCV: What is the next significant project for Newark?

Marshall: The Watkins Hall Museum has been delayed due to budgetary constraints, but that is probably one focus. It was originally an Odd Fellows Hall and has a nice area upstairs with a small stage that can serve a double purpose as a museum area and a "black box" theater for small audiences. Plans call for an annex to be added as well. Old Town is also very important and much attention is being given to the revitalization of that area.

There is currently money in the budget for a study of a new Senior Center which is needed. I would also like to see a performing arts center. The city of Cerritos which is similar to Newark, in many ways, has a beautiful performing arts center that seats 1,700 people. Big name artists come there and play all the time. That is one of my dreams. The school district has at least two sites that are surplus. I would like to explore the possibility of a joint effort by the school district and the city to rent the space and make better use of some of the grounds that are not being used.

For more information, visit www.marshallforcouncil.org

Al Nagy

TCV: Councilmember Nagy, after a distinguished record of service on the council for the last 25 years, why do you want to continue?

Nagy: I have demonstrated leadership and dedication to Newark over those years. A large part of my personality is community service. I was active in the city for 12 years before I even though of running for city council. There is always more to be done and Newark has some exciting challenges in the future and I would like to be a part of that.

TCV: What are these challenges? Can you give an example?

Nagy: Our senior citizen services should be addressed. The Senior Center is outgrowing the building; they are going to need new facilities. We have a growing senior population so we have to make sure that not only the facilities but all the associated programs such as transportation, housing and medical services are addressed as well. Our near-term challenge is fiscal management; making sure that we balance our income and expenses to make sure we avoid a deficit spending situation.

TCV: Can you talk about broader issues for Newark?

Nagy: We are on the precipice of so many things. For instance, the history museum is one and increasing the medical presence in Newark is another.

TCV: At times there has been criticism of the unity of the Newark council. How do you respond to this?

Nagy: Everybody on the council wants to do what is right for Newark. We do not have anyone with a political ax to grind. The council comes from a community service background. When you have those types of people serving, there is little disagreement. We plan well and go through a series of iterations of the budget. Part of the process is strategic planning and looking at forecasts of what we can do and when.

TCV: How is Newark facing transportation issues?

Nagy: This is one of those cases where it pays to have an institutional memory. I worked for 10 years to get the buses to go to NewPark Mall. They originally would not go into the mall proper. I also worked for several years on the Tri-City Paratransit Committee to improve services. The Dumbarton Rail is in its infancy right now. The first thing to address is providing basic service from the East Bay to the West Bay. All of the other things people are suggesting can be added after initial service begins.

TCV: What is the plan for future development in Newark?

Nagy: For years, the largest export Newark had was labor; people leaving for work in the morning and returning at night. We have pretty much equalized that now with jobs in town. It is critically important to manage our land effectively since we have very little open space left. In area 4, we have told the property owners that any development proposal must include a golf course and we are sticking to our guns.

TCV: What are the biggest successes during your tenure on city council?

Nagy: Probably the transformation of Newark from a bedroom community where you couldn't buy a pair of pants or socks to a full-service city. You can work, shop, play and pray in Newark. The Silliman Activity Center and the Family Aquatic Center are jewels in Newark's crown. Another area is city beautification - the Cherry Street and Thornton Avenue backup walls. Old Town improvement is another success. We could have folded our tent in 1985 when the citizens voted down a redevelopment district to improve Old Town. With persistence and dedication, the streets that want them have curbs, gutters and sidewalks and have drainage problems fixed. Carter Station, the housing development and the apartment complex are positive things to generate the critical mass necessary for growth in that area. The new fire station and Silliman Center, were completed without bonds due to our prudent fiscal management.

One of the real positive things about Newark is the relationship with the school district. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the school district. The City of Newark is funding the band program in the entire school district for the first two years. The mentoring program at the high school, HOST (helping one student at a time to succeed), we not only fund that program but of the 60+ volunteers, 30 of them are city employees who we give time off to tutor. That is a pretty strong commitment. We also have school resource officers at the high school and junior high school, the strategic plan committee and many other high level forms of cooperation between the school system and the city.

 
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