October 31, 2007 > Candidates For Mayor Of Newark
Candidates For Mayor Of Newark
Why are you running for mayor?
That is something missing in Newark. I would like to clearly define my priorities. My priorities are inclusion and diversity of city staff, affordable housing, public safety and attracting new businesses. I do not believe we have the infrastructure or population to support high tech and biotech business so we need to look at other types of business. We also need to work to retain existing businesses.
If elected, what would be your top priorities?
In order to attract business, I would roll back the business tax. In these hard economic times, some may say this is not a good idea, but we are already losing businesses. By doing this, we will encourage existing business to stay and entice others to locate in Newark. Using an economy of scale, more sales will result and overall revenue will increase.
I plan to address gang problems from a different perspective. The old methods that rely on hunting and jailing gang members does not working. I believe that we can use the construction industry to develop a portion of the labor force from low income families. If we put these people - many gang members come from these families - to work, it will give these people a sense of dignity. I would also create an expo where gang energy can be put on canvas instead of freeway overpasses and buildings. In my business travels, I have seen artwork that can be channeled from destructive behavior to a community resource. By putting people to work, the "wanna-be" kids will follow this leadership.
The current mayor has a professional 18-hole golf course on his mind. That will take a significant amount of water to maintain and will not bring the revenue to offset the costs. The environmental impact will be severe as well. This is a short-term vision. Also, the Silliman Center is a nice facility, but most use is by Fremont citizens, not Newark. In order to fill the budget gap at the city, small, "bake-sale" type remedies are being suggested. In the meantime, our schools are suffering in enrollment due to charges for after-school programs.
How would you respond to some of Newark's regional challenges?
Newark will also have a challenge when the A's ballpark is built since the development will have a huge impact on traffic. We need to compete for some of the revenues that will result from this - low tech businesses such as restaurants, high quality department stores and retail stores that will compete and draw shopping to our city. NewPark Mall needs to be redeveloped as another attraction for shopping revenue. Newark's mayor needs to show leadership in all these areas. I will work with the police chief, fire chief and the chamber of commerce to make some of these priorities a reality. It is time for fresh ideas and a new direction.