"I have lived in West Contra Costa County since 1975 and in Hercules since 1989. I learned and appreciated the value of Hercules Council very early into my residence.
I appeared at my first Council meeting requesting that the Council not approve additional homes being built in my development due to the unfinished yards of over 15 homes. The developer did not finish installing fences or grading the yards for over four months. With the signatures of fifteen residents, council did not grant them approval until the contracting work was completed for our homes. Within weeks, all the work was accomplished and the additional homes were approved. This taught a new Herculean about the importance of our local government.
I got involved with the Franklin Canyon Hills project when a developer proposed building over 700 homes along Hwy 4 above the Franklin Canyon Golf Course. The concern was that the Developer proposed taking the tops of the green growth tree hillside and moving the soil to fill the canyons. All the West County residents would have lost the beautiful views of green growth Oak trees forever. Several residents, including myself, sponsored Measure M, passed in 2004, which stopped the development and allows one home to be built on one forty acre plot. Measure M is still the governing Ordinance for Franklin Canyon and Hercules residents are still able to enjoy the old growth trees that line this hillside.
I was a regular at Hercules Council meetings for the next several years to the point that residents thought I was an elected official rather than a concerned citizen.
In 2011 myself and other Hercules residents petitioned the Hercules Council with a notice of Recall of three council members. In June, 2011, I was elected as a Recall candidate along with two other Hercules residents. At this time in Hercules history, our city was very close to bankruptcy but myself and the new Councilmembers were able to hire a new City Manager and City Attorney along with a new Police Chief that the City Manager hired. During this time our City lost 40 to 50 percent of our employees which included our Police Officers. The remaining employees took pay reductions to help keep the City afloat.
Today, Hercules has rebounded due to the efforts of our Hercules Staff and residents. Hercules is experiencing economic growth with the Waterfront project being built that will have 1500 housing units that will surround our new Capitol Corridor Train Station. Safeway is being built and should be open by November or December, 2020. The Safeway site will also have twenty gas pumps of economic Safeway gas along with a Peets Coffee house and new Citibank along San Pablo Ave. Sycamore Crossings will have retail, restaurants and Hercules’ first Hotel within the next two years.
Hilltown has been approved by the Hercules Council that will have 600 homes and apartments or condos with an Italian type architecture. This development will also provide 3 million in fees to our Hercules Parks and Recreation Department along with Affordable Housing.
Recently, the Hercules City Council passed an agreement with Engie that will produce 16 million kilowatt hours of energy from Solar panels at Hercules City Hall and Hercules Community Center.
In 2016 along the I-80 freeway corridor there occurred several freeway shootings. As the Mayor I requested that the State of California provide a freeway camera network. I was able to get the five Mayors from West Contra Costa to endorse my request. The shootings continued for 18 months with over 100 shootings occurring and several deaths. Finally, in 2017 the State granted 3.5 million for a Freeway camera network that goes from Richmond along I-80 to Hwy 4 all the way to Antioch. This network has Hi-definition cameras, Shot Spotter Technology and License Plate Readers to help law enforcement track criminal activities.
During my nine years of being on the Hercules City Council I have also served on two regional committees which are Pinole/Hercules Wastewater committee and West Contra Costa Integrated Waste management Authority also known as WCCIWMA.
The Pinole/Hercules Wasterwater Committee recently completed the renovation of the wastewater plant that included increasing the wastewater flow due the growth in housing in Hercules and to process the wastewater per regional water quality governance. This project was a $50 million dollar project that was shared equally between the City of Pinole and City of Hercules. This project was completed in December, 2019 and will be formally presented to our communities in September, 2020.
I also serve on the Garbage agency called WCCIWMA or West Contra Costa Integrated Waste Management Authority . This agency governs the cost of garbage services in West Contra Costa. This agency provides the Single Bag Ordinance for Cities in West Contra Costa to accept. Hercules passed our ordinance in 2014 effective in March, 2015. This ordinance can fine stores for providing plastic bags instead of reusable bags for groceries and retail products. Hercules has used recycling funds to buy and distribute reusable bags to our residents since 2015. I was also able to bring to Hercules once a year the Household Hazardous Day at our Corporation yard. Once a year, residents from our area of West Contra Costa are able to bring paint and other hazardous material to be legally disposed along with batteries and electronic equipment. In 2020, residents were able to bring a mattress to be disposed. All of these products were paid by the WCCIWMA no cost to our residents. In 2020 over 1032 cars came to our Corporation Yard with over 426 mattresses disposed and 91,567 lbs of Hazardous Waste collected. This was almost double the number of cars that came to HHW in 2019.
As a Hercules City Councilmember and three-time Mayor, I have been proud to represent the residents of Hercules. I have continually kept to my promise to be ethical,that will be best for Hercules residents, bring business development to Hercules to bring valuable sales tax revenue, work closely with our City manager and attorney, and make residents proud to live in our city. "