As I wrote recently ECCFRG asked all of the candidates a series of questions in regards to the budget crisis. Art Yee sent in his response yesterday. We did allow each candidate a brief bio space also. The words below are all the candidate’s except for when I repeat the question. We thank Art Yee for taking the time to answer our questions.
There was no response submitted to this question.
1. What is your analysis of how the city became insolvent and what changes will you make to ensure it does not happen again?
It’s very simple spend what we can afford. No borrowing to offer services. EL Cerrito is small town of 26,000 people. We are not Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond or San Francisco. City spending need to correspond with population size.
2. How will you independently verify staff budget projections and analysis?
I am no expert. We need to hire an outside consultant that understands comparing cities are have similar population size and revenue.
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?
City Manager reports to the City Council. Council members needs be better informed to make better decisions on budget/revenue and city policies. Council members can’t just agree and follow the orders of the city manger. Council members do need be accountable.
4. How will you evaluate the city manager’s performance and hold them accountable?
I believe if the city manager performance is poor that says a lot about the city council members accountability. We all serve for the best interest of the community.
5. What role do you you think short-term borrowing has in the budget? If there is no role then what is your plan to eliminate it? If there is a role then what do you see as the impact on the city’s bond rating, borrowing costs and our ability to finance other capital projects?
I think borrowing is wrong. We need to spend what we have and only pay for we can afford them.
6. What are the details of your plan for El Cerrito getting out of the financial situation we are in?
I suggest we expand building and planning department. Make it easier to build and reduce permits fees and business license fees. That brings in revenue and jobs to our city. Reduce budget/city government and ask the community to help. Shop El Cerrito First! Ask community to volunteer to clean parks and etc.
7. What do you see as the issue behind the over 1 million dollar amount of overtime for the Fire Department? How would you resolve this issue and keep El Cerrito fire safe.
We need to ask the community to volunteer to make up some that overtime hours. Maybe clean or shop for the fire department. Or make even a volunteer fire department force.
8. What changes would you make with the police budget?
We need to reduce our officers… maybe 2 positions and redirect them to social workers.
One thought on “Arthur Yee responds to the budget questions”
I thank Arthur Yee for sharing his views. I liked where he noticed, “I believe if the city manager performance is poor that says a lot about the city council members accountability.” That shows that he is paying attention.
Yes, we got here by overspending. But that is obvious. I don’t believe that development is the way out of the financial crisis. The type of development and design criteria to be emphasized — quality over quantity, as we already have many vacant shops, and are far from being an architecturally or culturally attractive community that is inviting to new businesses.
Thanks for providing this opportunity to peruse the candidates and allowing us to comment.