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November 1, 2011 > Newark Votes

Newark Votes

Although some have already cast their ballots by mail, many Newark voters will head to the polls November 8, 2011 to vote for their choice for a new mayor, at least one new councilmember and a school bond measure. The following are statements by or for each candidate and bond arguments:

Candidates for Mayor of Newark

Ana Apodaca
As an adult, I cherish my experience of growing up in Newark; it instilled in me what I want for every child growing up in Newark - to grow up in a safe community with that small town feel.

On November 8, 2011, voters will choose the new Mayor for Newark. Voters have the opportunity to enhance and strengthen our beloved city by choosing a Mayor that will lead Newark into the future.

One of my priorities as Mayor will be to diversify our economic base so that we are not reliant on retail sales tax revenue when planning our budget. Newark has incredible potential and is an attractive opportunity for business owners across the Bay Area. I will approach economic issues proactively and attract businesses that make sense for Newark.

As Mayor, I will uphold a high level of public safety and continue to think outside of the box to find the resources needed to fund public safety.

We must provide our police and fire departments with the tools they need to ensure our community is safe. Whether that means implementing a Volunteer Policing program, securing resources for better equipment or finding the funding to put more officers on our streets.

Newark needs to communicate better with our community. I will revamp our website so community members are notified of updates on issues important to them. It's 2011 and we need to use the technology available to improve and expedite communications with our community.

Currently, Newark has two commissions - the Planning Commission and the Senior Commission. I will add a youth commission to give our young people in Newark a voice and a parks and recreation commission to allow citizens the opportunity to provide guidance on recreational activities.

For the business community, I want to create a business attraction forum in which local business owners can talk to each other and to prospective Newark businesses.

This is just the beginning. As Mayor, I will strengthen Newark by ensuring our long-term sustainability while protecting the elements we love.

For more information about my campaign please visit my website

Al Nagy
Newark Councilman Alan Nagy has enthusiastically declared his candidacy for Mayor of Newark. Nagy states that his many leadership roles serving on the City Council, being Vice Mayor seven times, and service in community organizations have provided him with the Leadership - Experience - and Dedication to prepare him for being Mayor. Nagy was selected as Newark's Volunteer of the Year in 2009 for his leadership role in developing the Viola Blythe Center and his volunteer work with Graffiti Abatement and the Newark Library League. In addition, Nagy chairs the Senior Citizens Advisory Committee and is Treasurer of the Newark Library League. He also chairs the Washington Hospital Development Corporation.

A central theme of his campaign is economic development. Economic development provides the "fuel" for job creation and revenues needed to support services important to Newark citizens. He will create a "blue-ribbon" panel of representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, business, marketing and real estate professionals to help create jobs and attract or retain business. "Newark is a great place to do business and we've got to get that message across".

Another important area Nagy stresses is Public Safety. "Providing Newark citizens superior public safety services is critical. He will work to implement or enhance programs like Neighborhood Watch, CERT, Volunteers in Policing, a Citizen Notification System and additional staffing for the Special Enforcement Team. These programs are invaluable for extending the ability of the City to fight crime, respond to emergencies and enhance disaster preparedness.

"The ability to manage the City effectively with reduced revenues is paramount in today's economy." His Council experience and professional training as a project manager who routinely handles a multi-million dollar budget, will serve the community well. Nagy will also strive for close cooperation with the School District, recognizing that good schools are essential to a healthy, vibrant community.

Nagy goes on to stress the importance of programs that enhance the quality of life of our seniors, children and families. He cites the re-opening of the Senior Center and funding of the Summer Youth program as examples of programs he supports in this area.

Ray J. Rodriguez
Ray J is one of us; Ray moved to Newark in 1973 from New York City because he wanted to raise his family in a safe and nurturing environment. Ray believes that Newark remains a place to which people are drawn because of its small town feel. He is married and has seven children and five grandchildren, eight of whom have graduated from Newark schools. Ray has been a business owner in Newark since 1984.

"My family and I love Newark and I am committed to keeping it a safe place to live. Newark is good but together we can make it great."

Ray J is an experienced leader who has served the Newark community as a School Board Member since 1995. In his tenure, he has been president several times. Ray has also been president of the Mission Valley ROP and has chaired a countywide Hispanic Scholarship Program. Ray has been part of LOV Newark's Advisory Board and many LOV programs. Ray has served on various City committees since 1990 and has collaborated in the founding of Avanzando Newark.

Ray has always been motivated in serving his community and he is well known as a problem-solver, reaching out to families in need. He has served as a Deacon in a local church. Ray is a U.S. Marine Vietnam Veteran.

Vote Ray J. Rodriguez for Newark Mayor.

Candidates for Newark City Council

Richard "Rick" Bensco
I am unique in my candidacy in that I have two small children in our school system.

I have a BA degree from the University of Hartford with emphasis in Marketing. After college, I started and ran a successful small business for almost 10 years before moving to Newark in 1995.

My campaign is focused around three main issues that are woven together - crime, schools and business. When we address these three issues with a comprehensive approach, we can make Newark a safer and better place to live and grow. "Bridging The Gap between the School System and Town Hall" is my campaign slogan. Heading up a youth violence joint task force, working with the schools, the Department of Parks and Recreation and Newark Police Department are my top priorities. Setting up a clear set of measurable goals and seeking out volunteers and paid staff to carry them out will be step one.

We need a proactive approach to filling our empty business space. We have an Economic Development Department. Let's get them re-focused. We need light manufacturing and office parks, not another Dollar Store. We missed the retail boat, so to speak. A diversified business base will help Newark's tax base.

I am a fiscal conservative. Quite simply, we have often spent too much for what we get or need. A look at our budget is only an overview. We all remember the "$100,000 lawn mower" in the midst of a financial emergency. I'll bring a businessman's perspective and research skills to our City Council. Businesses often hire "fresh new talent" to bring a new set of eyes with a unique perspective to many financial decisions.

We don't get our fair share of grants! Our tax money is leaving Newark to help other towns. I will work to tailor grant proposals for our town's needs.

In closing, a vote for Rick Bensco is a vote to end youth violence, help our schools, raise property values, increase business and see your ideas put into action.

I would appreciate your vote.

Facebook/Rick Bensco New For Newark

Mike Bucci
Like many of you, I'm a lifelong Newark resident. Our city and its people have done more for me then I could ever begin to explain. Because of my many great experiences with Newark, I have respectfully participated in much charity work. While the service I've offered to our city helps improve our general quality of life, I can do more - much more. It's time to further my motivation and put my innovative ideas to work for our city.

As councilmember, I pledge to diligently focus on my three-point plan: 1. Jumpstart Newark's stagnant economy. 2. Support first-time home-buyers. 3. Clean-up the destructive crime that's plaguing our city.

A brighter future starts with business revitalization. It's hard enough to start a business with costly licensing fees and miles of red tape. My mission is to pursue businesses that will succeed, making Newark economically sound.

First, reduce business license fees by 50 percent in the first year and create incentives for businesses to hire Newark residents.

Second, help Newarkians find work and stay in their homes benefits us all. The Area 2 TOD Development is an important step toward that goal. It will help achieve the 50,000 resident benchmark required to qualify for California redevelopment funds enabling us to start our own First-Time Home-Buyer Program.

Finally, it has become painfully apparent that gang activity in Newark is getting worse. Our police need the tools to further control the streets including curfews and gang injunctions.

I see a better Newark in our near future. It's time for a committed voice to get us there, step-by-step. I have a deep-rooted love for Newark. This is my opportunity to give something back. I want you to experience a stronger, safer, healthier Newark. Imagine a Newark where business is flourishing, where we can make the much-needed upgrades to our schools without the need of Bond Measures, an environment where we support businesses to reach success. I want to make you believe in better, to again believe in Newark and believe in me. Because when we succeed, Newark succeeds.

Maria "Sucy" Collazo
I am a 40-year Newark resident, one of three daughters of immigrant parents who came to the United States from Mexico in search of a better life. They had a vision and a dream. They settled here in Newark with my two sisters and me and built a successful business in Old Town. Today, my husband Vicente and I, along with our family, still operate the Mexico Tortilla Factory.

I am running for City Council to give back to the city that has been so good to me and my family. I want to do it for my two sons who were born, raised, and attended church and school here. My business knowledge and skills are coupled with a deep desire to continue "Building the Dream, Together" for all of Newark. I will work collaboratively with my fellow council members to focus on gang prevention and neighborhood security, to rebuild our reserves and actively pursue new revenue, to fill our vacant commercial properties and to work with our school district to develop joint projects for student success. I want to help Newark continue to prosper and to provide for the safety, security and quality of life of everyone living here.

Jack Dane
Having lived and worked in Newark for more than 45 years, I have come to understand the long term issues our local government faces. As a long-time proponent of fiscal responsibility and government accountability, I have worked tirelessly to provide transparency between city officials and local voters. By providing a platform for local officials to present thoughts on my live local cable TV show and the forum for local residents to provide feedback, I feel I have gained invaluable knowledge from both camps.

Additionally, my years as a registered tax preparer and business tax advisor has afforded me innumerable opportunities to provide seasoned tax advice to thousands. Fiscal discipline, in this current economic crisis, is first and foremost in everyone's mind if we are to continue to provide critical services to our community. Accountability means taking a hard look at current spending and curtailing unnecessary costs in order to divert monies to our city reserves. With a solid reserve fund, Newark will weather future economic downturns where other cities may fail.

To look to the city's future means we need to encourage our youth in ways that may not be prevalent today. Youth opportunities may not only rest in providing teen employment but also by engaging our young people with after school activities, both inside and outside of civic events, that give each a significant sense of pride in their city. This should be paramount within local government discussions geared toward solving the issues facing young people today.

In order to grow and maintain our business tax base, local government will need to take a more proactive role in singing the praises of our fair city. The centrally-located city of Newark not only serves the East Bay as a strategic I-880 corridor stop but also doubles as a beautiful bayside locale. Wooing new business and keeping them should be at the top of our collective lists.

Fiscal discipline, renewing our commitment to youth programs and growing our business tax base are just three of the many important issues I intend to address as Newark's newest council member.

Luis L. Freitas
Your city officials and staff are committed to proving the best to the residents of Newark. I am proud to be a part of that team! I have served as a member of the City Council since 1995 and served as Vice Mayor five times since then. My goals are public safety, fiscal responsibility and quality of life. My business experience and experience volunteering in the community provide me with a balanced perspective needed to make the very best decisions for the City of Newark.

I am a 35-year resident of Newark and have been married to my wife Fatima for 36 years. We have two children, Mark and Nicole, and two granddaughters, Madison and Marisa. I have been a local business owner for more than 20 years and a member of the local Chamber of Commerce. I also serve on many committees at the county level.

Your vote on November 8, 2011, will enable me to continue providing Leadership for Newark's Future!

Newark Unified School District Measure G

Newark Quality Education and Safe Classrooms Bond Measure requires 55 percent approval for passage.

"To preserve quality education, provide safe and modern schools, and qualify for matching funds, shall Newark Unified School District update aging classrooms, libraries, and science labs to meet earthquake/fire/safety standards; improve access for students with disabilities; remove asbestos, lead and hazardous materials; and improve energy/operational efficiency to maximize funding for instructional programs; by issuing $63 million in bonds at legal rates, with independent oversight, no money for administrators' salaries, and all funds staying in Newark?"

Arguments in favor of Measure G in the official voter guide include:

Your YES vote on Measure G will provide locally controlled funds that can't be taken by Sacramento to update our classrooms so Newark students are prepared for college and 21st century jobs.

Your YES vote is critical. Improving energy and operational efficiency will generate approximately $500,000 in savings every year, which will go directly toward protecting academic programs and retaining qualified teachers.

If Measure G passes, Newark schools will be eligible for matching funds that would otherwise go to other communities. Measure G will also boost our local economy by creating and protecting local jobs.

Arguments opposing Measure G in the official voter guide include:

Measure G is a $63M bond that will cost homeowners approximately $5,000 that will take decades to pay off with fees and interest.

Existing debt already costs Newark taxpayers over $5M annually.

This proposed bond is larger than the entire budget for the Newark Unified School District by 108 percent.

Since 1971, U.S educational spending has grown from $4,300 to over $9,000 per student after adjusting for inflation. Has doubling spending helped? Since 1971, reading and math scores have flat lined.

Measure G is written to allow the District to use the money to offset expenses. This allows Newark Unified School District to increase spending, without making necessary budget cuts. This will decrease accountability within the district.

California voters voted to have a required 67 percent majority for the approval of all tax increases. Measure G is an attempt to get around this. Measure G is a bond, only 55 percent of voters is needed for it to pass.

Newark Unified School District would benefit from better management and accountability, not an influx in revenue that allows continued fiscal irresponsibility.

Tax Payers are in peril. All levels of government intend tax increases to support government spending.

Debt spending is ruining Newark, our schools and our future.

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