Do only 2 of the City Council Candidates care about the budget?

A few weeks ago we sent emails to all of the candidates for the El Cerrito City Council and asked them the following questions.

  1. What is your analysis of how the city became insolvent and what changes will you make to ensure it does not happen again?
  2. How will you independently verify staff budget projections and analysis?
  3. Describe what you understand to be the working relationship between the City Manager and the City Council. Are there any changes you would like to see in the current culture, and if so, how would you go about it?
  4. How will you evaluate the city manager’s performance and hold them accountable?
  5. What role do you think short-term borrowing has in the budget?-Follow up: If there is no role: what is your plan to eliminate it. If there is a role then: what is the impact on the city’s Rating, borrowing costs, and our ability to finance other capital projects.
  6. What are the details of your plan for El Cerrito getting out of the financial situation we are in?
  7. What do you see as the issue behind the over 1 million overtime for the Fire Department each year? How would you resolve this issue and keep El Cerrito fire safe?
  8. What changes would you make with the police budget?

With the budget being the #1 issue in the city right now we wanted to know what each candidate thought about these questions. We set a deadline of August 31st to submit the answers which gave candidates a few weeks to think about and research the issues. As of today September 1st, we only received replies from Mayor Pro-Tem Paul Fadelli and candidate Jennifer Greel. We appreciate them taking the time to answer the questions.

September 1st Edit-Art Yee just sent in his response which will be published Wednesday. Tessa Rudnick also just sent in her response which will be published on Thursday.

It is troubling that none of the other candidates have responded. We sent both an initial email and a reminder email to them. Since many in the community have been frustrated with the lack of responsiveness from city staff and the current council it does not bode well that these candidates are not answering questions from El Cerrito residents. Do they not care what the community concerns are?

In the spirit of helping (and because whether they know this information or not three of them will make up the majority of our next council), we are offering an informational Zoom meeting with any candidate that wishes to hear from us. Candidates can listen to the perspective of citizens that care about these issues and have been working on them for well over a year. Candidates can email us at to set up a meeting. These meetings will not be recorded and are an opportunity for a dialogue.

We are also committing to posting additional responses if we get them. It is very important that residents have adequate information to make their choices.

Below are the candidates that did not submit their answers and links to their candidate packets on the city website. I am going to ask our residents that care about the budget to contact these candidates and ask them to respond to our questions. If they don’t want them posted here then they can post them elsewhere. El Cerrito residents need to know that these candidates understand the budget situation, its severity, and how we got to this point


Art Yee

Tessa Rudnick

Lisa Motoyama

William Ktanes

Matthew Burnham

The packets for the candidates that shared their answers are below

Paul Fadelli

Jennifer Greel

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