As promised here is his response unedited and without comment (except for the title of the post!). I do appreciate he took the time to respond. As of today he is the only person to respond.
“Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your survey on El Cerrito’s fiscal situation. And thanks also for your continuing interest in our city’s wellbeing.
As the recently released State Audit on our financial condition attests, insufficient efforts to address our economic problems in the past will challenge our ongoing fiscal viability. The options we review and the choices we make in the next few months will be critical to our fiscal standing and the ability to provide important services going forward.
It is because of these decisions — yet to be made — that I believe my participating in your survey at this time would be inappropriate and could compromise my actions as Mayor. The questions listed in the survey would require me to take public positions on policy, city staff and specific actions that could undercut tough and collaborative discussions and negotiations going forward. I also think making certain positions of mine public — that Council might vote on — could be in violation of the Brown Act, if other councilmembers likewise make their positions known.
El Cerrito is in need of a short term and long-term financial fix. In the past, I worked on local ballot measures (V and H) to generate revenue for our city with voter approval. Now we are on the take away side by necessity.
I have said that I think the State Auditor’s report should be a tool for us to correct past actions. I ran for re-election saying every expenditure has to be on the table, where every city department contributes. Unfortunately, every service or program cut also means the likelihood of personnel cuts — which troubles me greatly, so we must also require respect in our public debate.
So, with many critical issues and options before the City Council, I look forward to our public forum in April, our Council debate, staff options and comments from residents as we reconfigure our city budget.
I hope you understand that my participation in this survey as Mayor at this time could make difficult decisions going forward even more difficult.
El Cerrito Mayor”