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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Political Philosophy for Joseph "Joe" Romano, JD
My philosophy is pretty simple. We need gather the facts, bring all the stakeholders to the table, listen carefully to all points of view and then make a decision. When we make the decision we need to come up with a clear, comprehensive plan and then we need to get the job done.
First we need to level the playing field and eliminate the conflicts of interest we have in local government.
One of the reasons I am running for City Council is because many people tell me our local government is unduly influenced and favors developer interests. Many people are unhappy with uncontrolled growth, houses on ridges, poor police and fire department response times, traffic problems and the lack of affordable housing.
How does undue influence effect decisions on city issues?
For example, Mayor Martini is paid $70,000 dollars per year as the executive director of the Sonoma County Alliance, a business trade group. The press democrat said that the Mayors job with the Alliance is in conflict with his duties on the City council and in particular with his role as Mayor.
Other Candidates who are running for City Council are former board members of the Sonoma County Alliance AND the Chamber of Commerce. One Candidate received over 70,000 dollars to run for city council, from business interests, while serving on the planning commission. Another Candidate, who is running for re-election is a former board member of the Chamber and received nearly 20,000 dollars to run. Another Candidate who is running for City Council is endorsed by the Alliance and is affiliated with the Chamber and the downtown development association and received nearly 34,000 dollars to run.
These Candidates are running as a slate and you can see their signs on display in groups around town.
I cant tell you the names of these Candidates because the League of Women Voters has cencored this document and refused to publish it with the names divulged. ALthough this is public information that has been repeated in the press, on TV and radio, the League of Women Voters for some reason feels that these facts are "negative campaigne" issues.
You the public, have the right to know these facts and its important in this council race that you know if you are voting for candidates who are serving special interests, not the public interest.
All of these candidates have private interests to serve and are members of groups that seek to influence the city council.
These are fine organizations and they certainly have a role in the community, but we don't need their board members, directors or even their membership on our city council or commissions.
This SLATE of candidates want to get elected and if they are elected, they will be able to combine their votes with Mayor Martini and other council members, "who are members of these business groups" and they will control 6 of the 7 votes on our city council.
Is this undue influence what you as private citizens want?
Do you really believe that these three candidates who received 123,000 dollars, from development interests, wont be swayed when they make decisions involving these special interest groups? Do we need the Sonoma County Alliance and Chamber of commerce represented on and dominating our city council and planning commission?
I don't think so! I believe it's a direct conflict and it needs to be eliminated.
It is my belief that NO city council, board or commission member, should be a director or a member of any organization that will greatly benefit from the policy decisions of the city council.
Just the appearance of undue influence keeps people from getting involved, destroys public trust and raises ethical issues.
The council needs to serve the public interest not the special interests.
I would like to suggest to the voters, that you vote only for independent candidates like me. Avoid voting for candidates that are aligned with special interests and have an agenda to pursue.
If we can resolve our conflict of interest problems we can then tackle our other city problems.
In my view the City Council spends a lot of time "discussing" and not enough time listening and taking action. Many times when action is taken, the Council is trying to help and be responsive but in the long run complicates the issue. Here is an example.
City Traffic: We cannot have good traffic flow in Santa Rosa by having traffic signs, speed limits and other traffic related issues handled on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis.
We need to designate the arterial and collector streets, set some citywide policies of what will and won't be permitted and then when the overall plan is complete we need to work on the details.
We need comprehensive planning instead of piecemeal patchwork remedies. Doing things piecemeal makes neighborhoods feel responded too but it is a tremendous waste of resources as we push traffic from one area to another.
In addition, when we make traffic changes they should be done in complete accordance with State traffic guidelines or "warrants" so that we are not exposing the City and ourselves to liability. Everyone wants to be a traffic engineer but it is just not that simple.
We need to get the involvement of police, fire, ambulance and other agencies in the overall plan and in the details, to insure we are helping them with response times under all conditions. Driving over humps and around roundabouts takes up valuable time. Everyone would appreciate this more when the ambulance, fire truck or police car is on the way to their house, to care for them or their family.
When we get into designing the details the neighborhoods should be consulted and every problem raised by the neighborhoods should be specifically addressed. We should solve the problems and deal with the issues in a forthright way. When we know the solution we should implement it. It is not possible to make everyone happy with the plan but if the plan resolves most of the problems, doesn't force traffic to other areas and can be done cost effectively, we all win.
It is possible to solve neighborhood traffic problems and at the same time move traffic through the City, but to make it work it must be done using a comprehensive, well thought out, standardized and completely legal plan. we must all put up with a certain amount of traffic grief and noise, I am willing to accept my share, in my neighborhood.
We would end up with a solid plan and waste less time and money getting there.
This basic application of my philosophy extends to many critical issues we face.
Police and Fire: We need to get going on strengthening police and fire services. We need to plan for and get moving on the necessary station and personnel planning that we must have. We must insure that we have proper protective services in place in the in both the long and short term.
Yes, its going to cost millions to build more fire stations and hire more fire personnel, but we can't keep saying we don't have the money and keep waiting. We can do something every day to make our overall plan a reality. Every year we need to budget for and complete important parts of an over all strategic plan that we made ahead of the need. We will have many opportunities to make the pieces fit, but if we don't have an overall plan and strategy it will even more complicated and a great waste of resources doing things over and over again.
The Police Department is facing major retirements this year and next year. What are we doing about it?
I don't think we are doing enough and we can't afford to wait. Even today we can't meet reasonable police response time goals, why? Because we failed to plan far enough ahead to make sure that we had a fighting chance to meet those goals. When it comes to hiring competent police and fire and training them we must be ahead of the need because it takes time to bring them in and make them part of the team.
It will be too late to plan when we don't have enough personnel to answer emergency calls. What can we do? GET GOING, make a plan and lets get the job done. NOW!
I have worked in Santa Rosa City government, we have lots of talented people that want to get the job done. Let's help them get the job done by resolving our problems and getting plans on the books so everyone knows whats expected and how we will get there.
You, the voter, can help. Signed, Joe Romano
Please see my biography at http://www.smartvoter.org/2002/11/05/ca/sn/vote/romano_j/bio.html
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, JosephRomano@aol.com FPPC 1246819 VOTE FOR JOE!
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: September 1, 2004 02:52
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