Contra Costa County, CA November 2, 1999 Election
Smart Voter

Contra Costa Times Candidate Questionnaire

By Carol Federighi

Candidate for Council Member; City of Lafayette

This information is provided by the candidate

Responses by Carol Federighi

1. Q: What downtown changes would you favor to improve traffic flow and what do you think of those already made?

A. There is no easy answer to this question. We can encourage more use of public transit. We can and must continue to work with other communities to decrease our downtown traffic that originates outside our community. We could encourage diverting traffic to other arterials, but the impacts on the affected streets make this option problematic. By the end of next year, we should have updated software for all of our signals. Better signalization may help our traffic flow somewhat. A "real time monitoring" system like those in place in large cities is not financially supportable here. I do not favor widening Mt. Diablo Blvd. more than is currently planned. Our General Plan supports encouraging a pedestrian ambiance in the downtown as well as protection of pedestrian safety, which I support. As we look at ways in which to alleviate our traffic woes, I would obviously weigh strongly the recommendations of our affected citizens, our Circulation Commission, our traffic engineers and consultants, and our Design Review Commission. I consider the addition of the signal and merge lane on First Street between Mt. Diablo Blvd. and the freeway to have been a definite improvement. It is difficult to evaluate the projected "improvements" to our Mt. Diablo and Moraga Rd. intersection, however, as these are not yet in place. I supported them with reservations at the time the Planning Commission reviewed the plans. I'm not pleased with a still wider Mt. Diablo Blvd., but I believe the extra lane will ease congestion at the intersection with Moraga Road. The changes will also bring the benefits of a larger, more attractive median on Mt. Diablo Blvd. and an enhanced Plaza Park (Elam Brown Plaza).

2. Q. A task force is planning for a new Lafayette library. Where would you like to see it established, how should it be financed and what should it include?

A.. Lafayette deserves a new library. I would like to see one built south of Mt. Diablo Blvd., at or close to its current location. The Council will need to weigh the cost, availability, and size of potential sites. We should be able to fund a new library from redevelopment moneys (tax increment funds) and private support, without having to take from the General Fund. I believe there is considerable community support for a new library and hope that a private foundation could provide significantly towards its realization. The library should provide sufficient room for the interested public to read, conduct computer research, gather, and conduct small meetings. Any library in Lafayette must, of course, be limited in size. I would look to the task force and Friends of the Lafayette Library for specific recommendations regarding library needs.

3. Q. Should Lafayette eventually build or otherwise establish new city offices to replace rented space at Desco Plaza? Please explain, including your preferences for use of money the city has set aside for such work.

A. City-owned city offices are not a top priority for me, but I favor retaining moneys in the "set aside" portion of the General Fund in the eventuality a well-located property becomes available at a future date. Our current lease has more than two years to run. However, as land values increase, renting will become even more expensive, and ownership may well make financial sense, in the long run. I like the idea of "town meetings" being conducted in the downtown. I see this as a long-range possibility at this point, however.

4. Q. How should the city proceed, if at all, in pursuing acquisition of developable land for preservation as open space?

A. I don't believe the City of Lafayette has the money to purchase significant open space with public dollars. Probably the most viable means of acquiring open space would be through support of statewide bond (and perhaps local) measures for parkland and open space acquisition. We can continue to support acquisition of open space in our area by the East Bay Regional Park. And we can certainly encourage citizens to support private foundations as they raise dollars to preserve open space.

5. Q. What is your assessment of the settlement that the Lafayette council and the Moraga Town Council have approved with Richland Development Corp. ending the company's lawsuit against Moraga and paving the way for a scaled#down Palos Colorados residential and golf course project there?

A. I believe the settlement was fair. We had objected to the project's density, and Palos Colorados will have 123 homes instead of 146. The developer has agreed to address our concerns about visibility of homes on the ridgeline, removed an emergency access road to which we objected, and relocated a trail as we asked. In addition, the settlement addresses drainage impacts on Las Trampas Creek and Lafayette Valley Estates. It also establishes a traffic mitigation fund that the tri-cities will be able to use in our area. Funds from greens' fees won't be available anytime soon. This project consumed a great amount of city resources, and at least now, the issue is behind us.

6. Q. Lafayette voters last year rejected a tax measure that would have raised money to add police officers. Should the city try again and, if so, how? Do you feel the Police Department needs more officers? Please explain.

A. I do not see a compelling need to increase the number of police officers in Lafayette at this time.

7. Q. What is your evaluation of the city-approved La Fiesta Square shopping center improvements and the plans for the retail, housing and office phases of the Lafayette Town Center Development?

A. LaFiesta: I think the center is much more attractive and inviting than before. It's inviting to shoppers, and has attracted some great tenants. The traffic circulation pattern within the center is much better as well. I think LaFiesta is a little underparked, however, a matter that will become more apparent as the center is completely leased. Town Center: I look forward to a viable retail area where there had been stagnation for some time. I hope the housing component of the plan won't appear too massive. I think the complex may be underparked. In addition to the retail that we will have, I had hoped our "Town Center" would provide a greater sense of community than I think this will, a restaurant by the creek, and more underground parking.

8. Q. The city plans to expand and upgrade downtown Plaza Park. What do you think of the plans and what changes might you prefer?

A. I think the current plan is a good one. It will expand a small park and provide a needed face-lift to an area that is a focal point in Lafayette at the intersection of Mount Diablo Blvd. and Moraga Road as well as an area of historical importance to downtown Lafayette. The one-way traffic through the plaza should help relieve congestion on Moraga Road, and the provision of additional parking on Golden Gate Way will help tie the Park Theater into the plaza as well as provide more parking for the businesses and customers adjacent to it. I wish the plaza could be enlarged further to include the area now occupied by the gas station.

9. Q. What are your preferences for further development of Lafayette Community Park?

A. A wonderful Community Park master plan has already been prepared, and the City of Lafayette has completed only a fraction of it. I would love to see the plan completed. It is my understanding that the City hopes to complete the south end by December 1999. Plans to complete a bridge over the creek, uniting north and south ends of the park are projected within the next few years. I support that link. I look primarily to the Parks and Recreation Commission for specific recommendations on the use of our parkland dedication fees as they become available.

10. Q. What is your overall opinion of the current council's performance?

A. My overall impression is a favorable one. I think we've had an intelligent, hardworking Council that has grappled with some difficult decisions. Although I have not agreed with every one of those decisions, I am supportive of the Council's general goals and direction.

11. Q. Are there any new directions or projects you'd like the city to pursue? Please elaborate.

A. For many years I have supported development of additional parking in the downtown. In 1986, DKS Associates completed a Downtown Lafayette Parking Study that identified parking needs and potential locations of parking lots and structures. The identified need has only increased as the business climate has improved, and Lafayette has attracted new businesses to the downtown. Unfortunately, in my view, we will experience parking shortages in both the LaFiesta Center and particularly in Town Center when the projects are completed and fully leased. With a growing parking development fund and the potential for public-private partnerships, we have the opportunity to develop additional parking in the downtown for the benefit of both businesses and the public.

Funds from our Redevelopment Agency will provide us with some exciting opportunities in the near term, but these funds are not inexhaustible. We must continue to make long-range projections and plans to ensure our fiscal health in the years to come.

12. Q. What efforts, if any, should the city make to promote the arts?

A. I would not be against the City's promoting the arts by publicizing events, but I don't think our support should extend to financing the arts in Lafayette at this point. I believe that a measure of a civilized society is the degree to which it sustains the arts. We have a wonderful Regional Center in Walnut Creek; museums, theater, the symphony, and the opera in San Francisco; and our own local theater, the Town Hall. It would be nice to have more right here, but I feel the financial support and impetus at this time should come from private sources, not public. There are lots of worthwhile projects we could support, but we need to concentrate on doing well those things we are obligated to do already: providing police and fire protection; updating and upholding our General Plan; repairing streets and roads; and promoting parks and recreation.

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