Hayward candidates answer questions: Part 1 of 8

It’s crunch time for the June 3 election. We asked the seven candidates running for 4-year seats on the Hayward City Council to answer a series of eight questions. We’ll post all the answers on this blog.

The candidates all were asked to limit their responses to 60 words, and we used our discretion to edit down the entries that did not comply with those directions.

If blog readers feel they have a better answer to the questions, let’s hear them. And if the candidates want to join in, be our guest.

FIRST QUESTION: The city says it faces a deficit of more than $10 million. What steps would you take in the short and long term to protect the city services you think are most important? What would you cut, what would you save?

LINDA BENNETT: The budget is currently being proposed with across the board cuts of 6%. If cuts are needed in the future I would examine all areas of the city working with our community and employees to see where hiring can be frozen, where services can be streamlined, and if needed where temporary cuts could be established. I would want to reestablish services as soon as possible.

BARBARA HALLIDAY: I support steps we have already taken to reduce spending, minimize use of reserves and balance the budget by 2010. Our public safety employees helped close the gap by foregoing promised cost-of-living raises over the next two years. We have increased efficiency through staff reorganization. If further cuts become necessary, I would protect police, fire and maintenance services.

OLDEN HENSON: I support the last two year retirement buyout plan allowing earlier retirements. I will protect public safety, particularly the police at all costs. Concessions from each bargaining unit are necessary to protect services and jobs. A long term budget plan that scopes future trends and discretionary use of some contingency funds will avoid cuts. I want overtime limited to absolute necessities.

MARVIN PEIXOTO: I’ve made police protection and cleaning up this city top priorities. These objectives can be achieved by increasing the number of police officers and improving response time in Community Preservation with increased field staff. To offset costs I would use portion of the reserves that were set aside for tough economic times and compliment that with employee attrition and a policy encouraging employee retirement enhancements.

BILL QUIRK: To keep our city budget balanced, we are using a combination of reserves and cuts. As a result of salary concessions from firefighters and police officers and because citizens value public safety most, we will not cut any public safety positions. Cuts in other services might be necessary in the fall. I am passionate about keeping our Hayward libraries open.

ROB SIMPSON: We’ll be well served by increasing efficiency and reducing waste. Focusing on proactively adding value in this community will increase revenue to eliminate the deficit. Wonderful opportunities including a new Central Business District, Civic improvements, new library, Police department and recreational facilities exist at no cost to taxpayers. We can add jobs and 100 new businesses. Details at www.redwoodrob.com 510-909-1800.

FRANCISCO ZERMEÑO: We need to be frugal, from pencils to gasoline, cutting waste, frills and needless expenses. Can any projects, non-essential for resident needs, be postponed? Possibly look into raising some city service fees. Offer early retirement incentive to all employees. Long term: Business attraction and retention, a city marketing plan, streamlined and friendlier permit process to encourage home improvement and business startups.