Small business owner Justin Wedel was elected to the Walnut Creek City Council on Tuesday, his second attempt at holding the city’s top elected office. He comes prepared to discuss a variety of issues, many of them focused on the economics of running the city.
“I really think it’s all about the budget,” Wedel said Wednesday. “We need to focus on continuing to provide a high level and quality of services. We need to make sure our infrastructure is in place and that we have enough police on the street.”
Wedel said the 2010 creation of the Blue Ribbon Task Force under then-Mayor Cindy Silva was “originally sold to the community as ‘how can we spend money to meet our budgetary obligations. In the end, it became ‘how do we continue to sustain services.’ And surprise surprise, when the city is in a budget crisis, the only way to do that is to raise taxes.”
Wedel said he will advocate for seeing the city’s fiscal needs “from a short-term and a long-term perspective. We’ve spent far too much for far too long. So I think there’s going to be multiple issues providing services.”
He said he found it “ironic” that creating a new sales tax to raise revenue for services is the last item on a list of recommendations by the task force for solving budget woes, and yet “the council is focusing on that as the primary way to solve the problems they caused in the first place.”
Despite the different points of view he holds to some other council members, Wedel said he looks forward to working with the council “for the betterment of the citizens of Walnut Creek. I really appreciate the support of the community. For the first time in a long time, someone from outside of the mainstream of the political arena has been elected.”