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Sonoma County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter

News Letter

By Joseph "Joe" Romano, JD

Candidate for Member, City Council; City of Santa Rosa

This information is provided by the candidate
These articles appear in a news letter is printed and distributed by the candidate. Read the news letter at
The below paragraphs were written in response to questions from citizens and the media. The answers are clear and point to the questions asked.

  • 1) Joe Romano, 37 year resident, retired Deputy Sheriff & businessman, runs for Santa Rosa City Council

    Joe Romano, local businessman and 36 year Santa Rosa resident, has decided to run for Santa Rosa City Council. When interviewed Mr. Romano stated he had a number of goals that he hoped to accomplish if elected. Joe stated, "I would like to see the local government get back to basics and bring business practices and practicality to government. We need to reduce operating costs and get more accomplished with less money."

    When asked about where budget cuts should be made, if needed, Mr. Romano emphasized. "One of the things that really grips me is that the City threatens to cut fire and police services when the budget gets tight. We need to strengthen the police and fire departments and eliminate threatened cuts to these vital services. There are other ways to balance the budget without endangering the public."

When asked what other city problems Joe Romano would like to work on. Joe stated, "Let me give you a short list of some problems that I think need reviewing and possible refinement"

"We should be promoting affordable housing without raising the cost of new homes. We need to eliminate the low cost housing charge on new homes, it is counter-productive. What we need is incentives that urge builders to build low cost housing. One way is to waive city fees for housing priced below a specific price level."

"When asked about the high utility bills and the latest announcement of new Utility project costs, Mr. Romano said, "We need to find out why we aren't told the whole truth at one sitting. We were told three stories about utility costs over the last five years, now we get a new story. The Utility "project" is way over-budget and its hard to believe the City didn't know we faced triple the cost in the future too!" Joe emphasized, "We need to limit or lower utility taxes and utility bills, at some point we have got to contain costs, that point is now."

"We need to provide more support for senior activities. Why can't we get a new senior center built? This is always put on the back burner."

"We should support the downtown revitalization and provide promotion assistance. The downtown merchants have a plan and they are not asking for money. Lets see what we can do to help."

"We need to award City contracts based on lowest cost, merit and common sense, not politics. When we dispense with awarding low bidders in government, without a clearly demonstrated major reason, it gives the impression of something crooked going on."

"We must provide guidelines to developers and property owners to help get approval of projects, not only downtown but city-wide. It essential that we clean up the planning and design review process, so can get the job done faster and right the first time. We need to monitor growth closely."

"We need to review city policies and ordinances, such as the sign ordinance, to insure fairness to all. We have to be fair to business owners trying to make a living and support their families."

"We definitely need to be sure that everything the City and the City Council does is above board. Many people feel local government is crooked because we have Council members working for or on the boards of special interest groups. Planning commissioners raise thousands of dollars for council races, from the same people they are approving plans for today. We need to get the fox out of the hen house and rid ourselves of even an appearance of conflict." "I assure you that Joe Romano is not aligned or beholden to any special interest group and will not be in the future." Vote For Joe!

Be Part of the solution, Please get out and Vote!

  • 2) Mike Turnick, City Fire Chief for 17 years, Recommends Joe Romano

Mike Turnick, retired Fire Chief of Santa Rosa, is a 59 year resident of the city. He joined the Santa Rosa Fire Department in 1954 and was appointed Chief in 1974. He retired in 1985 after 17 years as the Fire Chief.

Chief Turnick is well remembered by his friends as the driving force behind projects such as Big K Land which provided recreation facilities for children including the train ride in Howath Park.

Oakmont residents appreciated his determination to have a fire station in Oakmont to provide much needed emergency medical assistance and other services.

Mike is retired with his wife Mary and is still involved in community affairs. Currently he is supporting Joe Romano run for City Council.

Chief Turnick said " I like Joe Romano because he is a very good manager and I Know he will do a wonderful job on the Santa Rosa City Council.

Chief Turnick said " I worked directly with Joe Romano for many years when he was the General Manager of the City water department. Joe was a big supporter of the fire department and created many programs that assisted the fire department in carrying out its public safety mission. Joe had the water department take over fire hydrant maintenance to relieve firefighters from this duty and instituted a program that required all damaged fire hydrants to be repaired within 24 hours. In those days this was a major improvement."

Joe Romano and I closely worked together on the water master plan and fire station plan to insure that everything fit properly; the City of Santa Rosa is benefiting from that planning today."

Chief Turnick said " I respect Joe Romano's ability and integrity. I strongly support Joe Romano for Santa Rosa City Council: Joe Romano is:
a. A no-nonsense practical manager.
b. Experienced in local government and local business.
c. Educated, has Criminal Justice, Business and Law degrees.
d. A Retired Deputy Sheriff, shot in the line of duty. with awards for Valor, & Purple Heart.
e. Peace Officer of the Year, 1973
f. A Viet Nam Veteran, U.S Navy

  • 3) Police and Fire Services are Essentials not Luxuries

    As a former Deputy Sheriff and the General Manager of the water department, I know first-hand what police and fire personnel do.

    These men and women risk their lives and sacrifice everyday to protect us and our communities. These services are not easy to provide, in fact they are complex, technical and just plain hard work.

    I have been on the job as a law enforcement officer and I have assisted in fire fighting. I can tell you that both of these jobs are high risk, require skill and take a lot of commitment.

    Police and fire personnel must be highly trained, highly motivated and dedicated employees. It takes years of classroom and field training, plus on-the-job experience to become competent in this profession.

    Long hours, work on holidays and being away from your family, all come with the territory when do these jobs. You will seldom hear police and fire people complain. You will never see the day that they do not come when called, no matter how tough the call might be or how long the it might take. They will be there, you can count on these public safety people every day of the year.

    These services are so essential that they cannot be cut to save money, at least not without serious short and long term negative consequences. We can not fail to respond to crime, fires and medical emergencies for any reason and therefore cuts in essential services cannot be justified. If money becomes tight, we will need to tighten our belts across the board, but when cuts are necessary because we don't have enough money to go around, it should be non-essential services and luxuries not police and fire services, that are reduced.

    For these reasons, "if I am elected to the Santa Rosa City Council, I do not believe it would ever be necessary to cut essential police and fire services, for any budget shortfall." " I believe in using common sense and telling the public the truth. If we can't be honest we can't do the job right."

  • 4) Award Contracts using Low Bid and Proposal Merits

Joe Romano recently spoke to a group of supporters. These are excerpts of his comments. "Government agencies spend public money and its very important that we spend the public's money wisely.

We need to insure that we get the biggest bang for the buck and we need to do it right the first time out. Using the same contractors at the same rates over and over again, paying contractors to redo work that they should have done right the first time and giving contracts to companies because "they have been doing it for years" is not what should be doing, it's a lazy way to do things. Competitive bidding is State law and City law too, we just have to have the courage to enforce the rules. We need to go beyond the rules if necessary to demonstrate to the pub lic that the process is honest.

It's the publics money. Competition gets the public the best possible deal and there is no room for "good old boy" contract awards. There is also no good reason to use the same consultants over and over again, especially if we do not get any savings from doing so.

To get City business offer superior value and a low competitive price."

  • 5)Downtown revitalization Take Action

    The Downtown today is an extremely under-used resource, both in our community and in the surrounding region.  While neighboring small towns are brimming with activity, our core area has languished and is almost deserted on weekends - despite its location in a county that attracts 5 million tourists a year. 

    Turning our Downtown into a successful destination for people to work, play, shop and live is a goal that benefits all of us. While some steps toward improving downtown have been attempted, we must increase our efforts and maximize our Downtown's incredible potential. 

    We need parking spaces and enlightened parking policies to serve visitors, employees and residents. Convenient on-street parking spaces need to be maximized and off-street parking needs to be well-lit and easy to find.

    Courthouse Square needs to considered for re-unification, in order to offer a safe, visible venue for community events, performances and visual art presentations. The necessary traffic plans to accommodate the restored Square should be developed, along with a funding strategy that is innovative and cost effective.

Working together with all members of the community, the downtown merchants, the downtown associations and other interested groups we can develop a plan to tap into this important community asset.

We can make our Downtown safe, prosperous, and fun - we owe it to the community, our families and ourselves, to make it happen.

  • 6) Planning Process Bogged Down

    The planning process in the City of Santa Rosa is bogged down. Homeowners, builders, developers and the trades are complaining that the City can't seem to get the job done fast enough. Even after plans are approved and constructions starts, City staff the City staff adds new requirement. This is not fair and is costly. Some business properties can not be leased or sold because the City requirements are so rigid that no business or service can move into the property.

    Many builders say that the requirements don't use common sense and don't add practical value either.

Joe Romano, candidate for City Council, stated: "These are problems that can be fixed. As a former manager in the public works department I know how the system works and I know how to cut the red tape and get things moving.

We can not afford to have stagnant or vacant property because we cant get beyond rules. If the rules don't work, change them."

  • 7) SUMMARY

    Joseph "Joe" Romano 37 year Santa Rosa resident. Occupation: Successful businessman, retired Sonoma County Deputy Sheriff, (shot in line of duty 1973, decorated for valor and purple heart), Vietnam Veteran (USN).

    Experience: Former General Manager Santa Rosa Water Department; Managed City Capital Improvement Fund; Owner of. retail & internet business (Organic Groceries and; commercial property investor.

    Educated: Criminal Justice, Business and Law degrees (AA to Doctorate in Law).

Goals: We can do all of these things if we have Leaders on the City Council. 1) Develop a comprehensive citywide traffic plan. Limit traffic signals and move traffic. 2) Get back to basics and bring commercial business practices and practicality to government. 2) Reduce operating costs and accomplish more for less money. Cut out worthless studies. 3) Strengthen fire and police departments and build needed facilities. Provide funding to the police to control gangs and graffiti. 4) Promote affordable housing without raising the cost of new homes. 5) Limit and lower utility taxes and utility bills. Limit wasteful utility spending and excessive studies. 6) Provide more support for senior activities including a Senior Center. 7) Award city contracts based on lowest cost, merit and common sense, not politics. Limit sole source purchasing to save money. 8) Establish guidelines for property owners/developers to speed approval of projects. Only allow projects that fit in an area. Take local economy into consideration as a critical factor. 9) Clean up the planning and design review process. Enforce the rules evenly and in a timely manner. 10) Review city ordinances, such as the sign ordinance, to ensure fairness to all. Promote small businesses not just big box stores.

  • "I assure you, Joe Romano is not aligned or beholden to any special interest group and I will not be in the future."

  • "No one can serve two masters, City Council members and Planning Commissioners and other city board members can't do it either." Signed, Joe Romano

I would like to thank the League of Women Voters for the opportunity to share my views. The League and this wonderful Smart Voter website are important community assets.

Please see Joe Romano's biography at

PLEASE: Get Informed, Get Involved, Get Out and Vote!

Elect Joe Romano to Santa Rosa City Council. It's time for a change.

We need donations and volunteers. If you would like to help contact: Committee to Elect Joe Romano to Santa Rosa City Council, 4016 Quartz Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95405. Nita Berk Treasurer, 707 539-9014,


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