By Loella Haskew
There are two things you should know about me. First, I love Walnut Creek. That’s why I’ve chosen to live and work here. Second, I firmly believe that public safety is the number one priority of any city government.
I am sure you are thinking: “Big deal – every candidate says they love Walnut Creek and supports public safety.” You’re right, all the candidates do.
But here is the thing that every voter needs to consider: what will it really take to preserve the Walnut Creek that we know and love – and which candidates have a realistic plan to do that?
I am a licensed CPA who served on the city’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Fiscal Health, so I understand the financial needs of our city.
I am the only new candidate in this race that has identified and publicly stated a multi-pronged approach to increasing revenues and decreasing costs, including support for a referendum to raise the sales tax. Contrast that to the other two new candidates who have pledged to increase funding for public safety but not raise taxes.
Here is what will really happen. Our City’s tax revenues (that took a big hit in the recession) will not rebound in line with the projected growth in operating costs. If no additional revenues are identified, there will be cuts in programs and services. In addition, infrastructure maintenance must be put on hold and that will mean bigger replacement and repair expenditures down the line.
Thus, we start the slippery slope to the erosion of the perceived special value of our City. That reduces the attractiveness to new homebuyers and visitors, reducing our property tax and sales tax base, which limits our revenues and so the cycle goes.
For decades, our city council understood this critical balancing act and acted accordingly. As citizens who love Walnut Creek, we cannot allow our council to head in the opposite direction.
I am the only candidate willing to go on record supporting a sales tax increase so we can expand City funding and accomplish the goal of maintaining the balanced level of everything we appreciate in our City including solid, effective public safety.
It takes courage, as a candidate, to say we need to consider raising taxes. It takes courage to stand up to innuendo. It takes courage to have a vision for the community and run for City Council to make it happen. I want to take a stand for what is right. I am running to make a difference.
Loella Haskew is a candidate for Walnut Creek City Council Nov. 6.
P.S. There is one more thing you should know about me. I’m not a big fan of people misrepresenting the viewpoints of others to skew an outcome. I refer you to the Rossmoor News to see what each candidate really said at the forum and page 10 of a recent City report that provides accurate crime data.
Opinion piece: An Inquiry Into Police Staffing