Candidates for Hollister mayor share views with business leaders - Free Lance News : Local Politics

Candidates for Hollister mayor share views with business leaders

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Posted: Friday, October 19, 2012 10:47 am

The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau hosted a “speed campaign” event to test mayoral candidates at their monthly “Lunch with Leaders” event Wednesday.

While more than 30 business owners, nonprofit representatives and interested citizens enjoyed a buffet lunch, the candidates fielded questions from Paul Rovella, a member of the chamber's board and government relations committee. Rovella allowed the candidates three minutes each to introduce themselves and their campaign points, then asked them six questions – instead of having each candidate rotate from table to table.

“Last time the candidates felt like they were saying the same thing eight times because they were the ones moving,” Rovella said.

The candidates to become Hollister’s first at-large mayor include Doug Emerson, Marty Richman, Keith Snow and Ignacio Velazquez. Snow did not attend the Lunch with Leaders speaking engagement or three other events at which the mayoral candidates were all invited to speak.

This year, the candidates answered questions in front of the full group. The time allotment ranged from 30 seconds to two minutes, depending on the question.

“I think I can do a better job than what has been done,” Marty Richman said in his introduction. “The most substantial item for leadership is integrity.”

He said he believes Hollister residents are not engaged with the city council because they don't think they are getting the truth.

Ignacio Velazquez stressed that an elected mayor needs to provide vision and direction.

“Fifteen years ago, I had this crazy idea to open a restaurant and entertainment center,” he said, referencing the Vault Restaurant. “The first thing I heard was 'You can't do that. It's a bank, not a restaurant.'”

He also referred to the defunct motorcycle rally as a financial boon for the community, despite efforts to close it down the last several years.

Doug Emerson also said the mayor has to provide vision and leadership, offering up some examples of when he said he displayed leadership qualities on the council the past eight years.

“Marley Holte – many of you knew him – had a vision for a homeless shelter,” Emerson said.

Emerson said he used his grant-writing experience to bring in more than $1 million in grants for the homeless shelter – which is not a city facility – in the last eight years and that there is a seasonal shelter open now, as was Holte's vision.

Rovella asked each candidate who they think their supporters are and why.

“The majority, I would probably say, are on the west side,” Emerson said. “I walked 4,000 houses. I didn't knock on doors, but I stopped to talk with everyone I saw. I spent a lot of time in that part of town that is neglected.”

Velazquez said he counts the people who commute out of town as his biggest supporters.

“It's those driving back and forth to San Jose for work who feel they don't have a life,” he said. “The number one thing is to bring back that biker rally.”

Richman said it was “hard to say” who his biggest supporters are, but that “most have the same attitude as me” of thinking the city has been going in the wrong direction for the last eight to 12 years.

Rovella asked the candidates to talk about how they have served the business community.

Richman said he wrote a column for the Hollister Free Lance and worked as a safety manager at Life Spark. He said when the owners of Life Spark decided to relocate, no one from the city reached out to find a way to keep them in the community.

Velazquez said is a business owner and served as president of the Hollister Downtown Association in the early 2000s.

Emerson said he is a member of the chamber and the Hollister Downtown Association. He said he served as a spokesperson for the city council in 2007 when the state was deciding on a location for the new courthouse, saying that he helped persuade state officials to build the courthouse downtown.

In summary, Rovella asked each candidate to name what they believe will be their top three accomplishments in 2014 and how local residents will be better off.

Candidates talked about their goals. Richman said he would get the community more involved in local government.

“They have to come in and drive the train,” he said.

He said he would run an open government and that he always told the truth.

Emerson said he has three projects he is focused on. He said he would like to see funding secured to complete the taxiway upgrade at the Hollister Municipal Airport, with an environmental impact report completed. He said he would like to see the design of the westside beautification project completed and he would like to see work done on the downtown strategic plan, such as the installation of crosswalks.

Velazquez said he would bring more jobs and more sales tax revenue to the city. He also said he wants to show that the motorcycle rally can make money.

“In two years, we are not going to solve everything, but I want to get moving in a direction that people start believing,” he said.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Hometown Girl posted at 11:20 am on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    Hometown Girl Posts: 447

    @911....I hear what you are saying and that's why I am working so hard on Measure E. Thanks for caring.

  • 911 posted at 9:48 am on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    911 Posts: 29

    P.S. I am not making these comments to "feel important." I am trying to educate people and inspire people to get involved. Too many parents and locals just sit back and think someone else will take care of the problem. Or, that it is someone else's problem.

  • 911 posted at 9:42 am on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    911 Posts: 29

    Tod, I am not "claiming." I am talking about things that are actually happening here. How is stating facts and actual events "crying wolf?"
    -I cannot look someone in the eye and say that all our downtown stores are open until midnight, that you don't need to lock your car and house's doors, and that all our youth are safe from gang activity and molesters. BUT, this is true everywhere....not just here.
    -Yes, we do have a great community. There are many opportunities for the people living here. But there is a lot of work that needs to be done.
    -I do attend different community meetings in person and watch on-line; I have a child in a local school system and who participates in local programs; and I have been in law enforcement for numerous years. I do know what is happening here and in the area - from employment and in community activities.
    -I do look at the glass half full and have a lot of hope for this community. My "For Sale" sign is not up (yet) and I intend to continue to pay my taxes and not walk away from my home like many of my neighbors.

  • Tod duBois posted at 5:16 pm on Sat, Oct 27, 2012.

    Tod duBois Posts: 104

    Dear 911 others who "want to be informed": We all know the story of the boy who cried wolf! That lesson is true as much for children as adults. By claiming bad things are happening and by trying to brand the community this way is not the same as "being informed" or stating the facts. If you want to be informed read the police blotter, if you want to help attend neighborhood watch meetings. If you want the facts read the police reports.

    Do not advertise issues and problems for the community in blogs and newspaper claims. That is like a cry of wolf, it just scares people and worse can turn people against the community. Leadership is about helping people feel good about the future, is about inspiring work towards a better future, it does not dissing a City's reputation or communities reputation. It is not about "being informed" This kind of communication is about making the speaker feel important rather than helping others. Please try hard, take a moment to consider how your message makes others feel, you can do it! We can all lead.

    Plus, saying bad or criminal activity is common is insulting to our public safety professionals. They are working hard to stop this behavior and crying out that it is rampant is not helping our paid professionals solve the problem. Thank you for helping out!

  • Dirk M posted at 2:01 pm on Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

    Dirk M Posts: 36

    @marty, If Velazquez should win, he would be unable to vote on the rally, as his restaurant, or venue as he calls it, would stand to gain financially. Of course maybe he is a complete moron and would vote on it breaking the law. So voters who want a rally to return shouldn't vote for him because he can't make a vote on anything to do with a rally., even though he "supports" the rally.

    Yes, I do not like snake oil salesmen, used car salesmen, con artists, shakedown artists, fraudsters, hucksters, election cheats, extortionists, etc. And yes, I also do not like Ignacio Velazqeuz.

    Best Wishes,

    Dirk M.

  • Jeff posted at 1:48 pm on Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

    Jeff Posts: 63

    Emerson out, because of his no bid honeymoon in China and T-shirt flop

    Snow out, because of his letter to the free lance

    Velazquez in, because of Hispanic last name, Fire Fighter endorsement and No on E.

    Richman runner up, most capable of the field with best ideas but that never wins elections.

  • Dirk M posted at 1:30 pm on Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

    Dirk M Posts: 36

    @marty, Just to be clear, I did not name anyone in my tax avoidance post. I presented the readers a what if scenario. So, no names used or implied.

    Best Wishes,

    Dirk M.

  • Marty_Richman posted at 10:34 am on Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

    Marty_Richman Posts: 1107

    @Dirk M: I am in favor of bringing back the rally IF it pencils out. It does not have to make money in and of itself, it could probably lose a little (note the word little) on the topside considering the reasonable increase in tax take and overall peripheral benefits, but it cannot lose big public money as it has in the past.

    It is obvious to me that Emerson opposes the rally under any circumstances, most likely because it reminds people of his brilliant T-shirt fiasco. It is true that Velazquez' business would benefit, but that's just a circumstance, you cannot keep a regular business open just on 3-days of annual income. If he has a regular business that he keeps open and happens to benefit because downtown is busy I have no problem with it - I WANT DOWNTOWN BUSY.

    It's obvious that you do not like Velazquez and that's your personal privilege, his anti-Measure E stance while at the same time getting the endorsement of the Firefighters has me a bit confused, they would appear to be at loggerheads, but that's just politics I guess unless he plans on introducing a public safety tax.

    I hope he and other rally supporters realize we are going to get one more chance to do it right and if they rush into it, get greedy, and it fails it's not coming back for 10 to 20 years, if ever. When people get dollar signs in their eyes they often can't see anything else. That is my big worry, we would be better off with a small rally that works financially, instills confidence, and helps us learn how to do it right, than a spectacular flop.

    I have read your previous posts about people cheating on sales taxes, that's not politics, it's a crime. If you have any proof you turn it over to the authorities. Without evidence it's just a baseless rumor - I don't like being either the instigator or target of rumors and neither would you. I believe that the state has sent tax inspectors here during the rally - if they haven't, they should - it's a good practice.


    Marty Richman

  • bobeast posted at 9:30 am on Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

    bobeast Posts: 68

    Clearly what we need are about 5 more Drug Stores. Yeah. That will turn us right around.

  • Dirk M posted at 9:09 am on Tue, Oct 23, 2012.

    Dirk M Posts: 36

    @marty. You also have a candidate whose main goal appears to be bringing back the rally. He would personally benefit if there was a return of the rally. No one has mentioned the fact that should this candidate win, he will be unable to vote on anything to do with the rally because of his economic interests in it. Those who support him thinking he will vote to bring the rally back will surely be disappointed, as only the four council members would be able by law to vote on it, Velazquez would have to leave the room when the vote took place due to the impact of the rally on what is left of his business.[ohmy]

    Best Wishes,

    Dirk M.

  • 911 posted at 9:44 pm on Mon, Oct 22, 2012.

    911 Posts: 29

    Tod, I am by no means saying that this city can't bounce back. It will be a long, hard, challenging road to travel. I am also not trying to scare people with "fear mongering." I am just stating what is really happening here. We can't sugar-coat what is occuring and look the other way.

    We have the child molesters, we have the murderers, we have the outlaw motorcycle gang members and we have the street level domestic terrorists (criminal street gangs) who are invading our schools, neighborhoods and every day lives. We have empty businesses, houses and property. We have people moving from here every day and businesses closing down faster than they start up. Just take a drive down the main drag. How many tattoo parlors do we really need?

    I am trying not to be negative...but just stating the facts. People need to know what is happening. We have the right to know.

    There are a lot of positives about this community, but they are becoming fewer and farther between. We must build on the positive and the great accomplishments. It may take awhile - but we need to take this city back from the lazy, the cheaters and those who do not help themselves because they are used to the freebies and handouts. We need to say no to people and stupid, wasteful ideas.

    Marty, trust me- I am going to vote. Thank you for your encouragement to vote and your views.

  • Marty_Richman posted at 8:35 pm on Mon, Oct 22, 2012.

    Marty_Richman Posts: 1107

    @911: I know you only have one vote, but I urge you to cast it wisely. I have signed on to Council member Gomez' plan to use 60% of the Measure E proceeds for public safety, 18% for economic development, 12% for recreation and 10% for added reserves. that is a plan that puts enough money into economic development to make a difference. If, as one of my opponents proposes, you put it all into the bucket for the wages and benefits we will be right back at square one a total of ten years after Measure E.

    This is really two votes - Measure E, yes or no, and what to do with the money (by who you elect as the Mayoral swing vote). We have to INVEST in economic development or we will eventually sink - there is no other choice.

    I'm willing to serve for $1 a year and no city paid benefits or retirement because the city is in dire financial condition. One of my opponents is currently drawing $145,000 a year in public retirement from CalSTRS and STILL had the city paying part of his employee CalPERS share for years and took a family trip to China paid for by a friend of a guy he gave a no-bid. 30-year city contract woth millions. Ask yourself this - is he in it for the city or is he in it for himself?


    Marty Richman

  • Tod duBois posted at 11:06 am on Mon, Oct 22, 2012.

    Tod duBois Posts: 104

    There is a path back to the Hollister that raised me and that community you loved. It is not easy but nothing worthwhile is easy. Start by voting No on E and putting that money back into families (local) pockets to spend locally. Demand that the City and SIEU enforce rigid perform or replace employment policies. Demand accountability for every nickel and for transparency.

    Avoid scaring people and business talk of crime and such - fear mongering does nothing but give us a bad reputation - we don't want that. We have quality police and public safety people that are public servants - they do their job for the people and because they love their work - if they are here for the money - fire them. Public employees average incomes now far exceed the average family income in Hollister - that needs to be adjusted. We either need to bring up the average family income in the private sector or lower the average public service employee cost by reworking the incentives or getting fewer but better people.

    This can be done, we did it in San Juan Bautista and people are happy - balanced budget and no increase in crime. We can do this, join me and make it so.

  • Jeff posted at 10:32 am on Mon, Oct 22, 2012.

    Jeff Posts: 63

    Anyone else think this community is already too far gone? so far it doesn't matter who is in office. Business has checked-out, crime has checked-in. The housing problem has not improved and won't improve for another decade. The city's financial troubles can't be solved with 1% on measure E. The schools are on their way further down hill, no end in sight. The community no longer views Hollister as that safe, farming proud small town of the 1980s and 1990s. The community now drives into Hollister and see's the empty store fronts and their neighbors yards run down to dirt. Walk into Whiskey Creek or Johnny's and see some lowlife's. No longer would you swing in to grab a cold one after work. The clientele has changed to dangerous people. It's lost its culture. No way to recover. Housing boom and bust killed this place.

  • 911 posted at 9:30 am on Mon, Oct 22, 2012.

    911 Posts: 29

    All the different postings and ideas are great with things to think and talk about.....but are they really realistic right now? This community needs to wake up and grow up, and fast. We are on temporary life-support, waiting for someone to find a miracle cure or to pull the plug for a flatline (--^^^--^^-----^-----------).

    Drive around and look at our town (with your doors locked) the numerous newspaper notices of people walking away from their properties. A lot of neighborhoods are wasting away with empty houses, dead lawns, in short sale, abandoned and/or becoming Section 8 properties. Look at the recent and increasing violent crimes that are occuring in our community. These aren't flash in the pans....these are the realities of what our community is becoming.

    There are people who drive 100 plus roundtrip miles a day to and from their jobs. Why? Because there are no jobs here for the occupations we/they are educated for. I moved here for the small community environment and the "better" schools, knowing I was going to have to travel. Now I am weighing the options to see if living here is really worth the trade-off.

    I hope the candidates are looking to help those who are treading water with their properties (not just certain bills), who actually pay all their taxes, and who try to make it a habit of shopping locally. I hope they are interested in helping citizens who pay more than their fair share for school supplies and community assistance projects. I think law abiding citizens who are stable members of this community are often forgotten. True, there are people who are on hard times and we must help them (if they want the help!!!), but there are others who make up the population who the politicians must also represent.

    I am looking for a candidate who will help the every day, law abiding citizen, current on their responsibilities. I am looking for a candidate who will fight to save this town in a realistic and fair manner.

  • Marty_Richman posted at 9:24 am on Mon, Oct 22, 2012.

    Marty_Richman Posts: 1107

    @Steverino: Thanks for the support, all these economic stimulators are systemic - they work together.

    Another thing we have to do and can do is increase home values, not like the bubble, but with real value by making Hollister a desirable place to live. To do that we also have to get the schools improved, probably a second High School and definitely Gav downtown as well as a better performance in K-12.

    Look at it this way, assume your home here currently has a fair market value of $200,000 and we can take that up to $250,000 in 6 years (that's 5% a year compounded), a very reachable number. 2% of that 5% is inflation which means $31,000 is REAL gain. Your added property taxes on the part not covered by inflation are less than $1,200 TOTAL over the entire period. Your net gain is $29,800 and if you have lived there long enough it's probably free of capital gains if you sell it.

    That's a 15% return over inflation and after taxes even if you do not itemize. If you itemize your taxes making the increased property taxes deductible it's even more!

    Commercial properties are worth what you can get for them and what you can get for them is all about supply and demand and rent/lease potential. We can have all these good buildings in the technology park but if they are empty or filled with churches (low rent occupiers), we are not going to get a lot of taxes out of them. We have to fill them up with commercial activity.

    Yes, there will be competition - but if we are too timid to get in there and scrap for the business we are sure to remain economically marginal.


    Marty Richman

  • Steverino posted at 6:26 am on Mon, Oct 22, 2012.

    Steverino Posts: 5


    Great ideas... don't forget though.. the cities to the north of you are also in roughly the same boat... and will most likely also offer tax holidays and reduced or shared impact fees to attract new businesses, and keep existing ones... The options you want to offer will have to be monetarily better than those in the cities with a larger pool of workers to draw from... so essentially you'll be buying tax revenue with the incentives you offer... and I'm betting the current trend in the economy (recession) is going to put the city at a disadvantage.

    Hollister has a tough, tough road to hoe....

    Man I MISS Hollister.. I loved living there.. so reminded me of when I grew up in San Jose (when it was a farming community)

  • Hometown Girl posted at 3:39 pm on Sun, Oct 21, 2012.

    Hometown Girl Posts: 447

    What does the Chamber of Commerce, the San Benito County Business Council and the Hollister Downtown Association all have in common? They endorse Measure E. Please join us in rallying around our City for a better tomorrow. As we walk and talk around in the community in support of Measure E we find there is indeed support for the passage of Measure E Give our first elected Mayor, ever, the tools to do the job. Thanks to all of you for your continued support. On November 6th vote Yest on E. Thank you.

  • Dirk M posted at 12:16 pm on Sun, Oct 21, 2012.

    Dirk M Posts: 36

    @bluesman, so you still have the blues, like I said before it will get better.

    If you read my comments you will find that I am truthful. Just because you disagree it doesn’t make me a jerk, or any type of bag I may be carrying. The latest post merely asks a “what if” scenario.

    How are we ever going to find solutions to problems from a “diverse group of candidates”? The answer is simple Jimmy, we all need to look carefully at who we are voting for, we need to ask questions, and carefully look at their records.

    Velazquez’s record is unimpressive to say the least, unless you are impressed with failure. Add to that he “exaggerates”, like the vault is the busiest venue in town, we all know that statement to be untrue. The claim that he was the largest employer in the county was not true. I feel we need a candidate who will not lie to us, or exaggerate.

    As for the Motorcycle rally he is pushing, which candidate stands to benefit the most personally from this event? Velazquez. He would not be able to vote on anything to do with the rally. Velazquez is conflicted in so many ways.

    Not only do I think he is undeserving of our vote, I think a vote for him is dangerous, my opinion.

    The weather is still good out bluesman, get out and chase those blues away.

    Best Wishes,

    Dirk M.

  • Bluesman posted at 10:07 am on Sun, Oct 21, 2012.

    Bluesman Posts: 13

    Here's a hypothetical: if a dirkbag is a jerk and a whining malcontent who continues to malign some candidates for mayor with gossip, rumor, speculation and innuendo then how are we ever going to find solutions to problems from a diverse group of candidates?

    Also, does a conflict of interest exist if no one is interested in Dirk M's comments?


  • Dirk M posted at 10:12 pm on Sat, Oct 20, 2012.

    Dirk M Posts: 36

    @Marty, just wanted your thoughts on this, if a local business was instructing employees to “ring” $20.00 cover charges (or entrance fees) during a past sanctioned motorcycle rally under “no sale enter”, would you consider this person to be attempting to circumvent sales taxes, both state and local?

    Would you be very concerned if the individual was running for a city council or mayor?

    How can any candidate claim to be looking after the best interests of the local taxpayers, if they had done such a thing to avoid critical local taxes during any local motorcycle rally?

    Also, should a candidate for local office, should he or she obtain or win that seat, recuse themselves should there be a conflict of interest regarding said rally? Should the state audit such business individuals, wherever they may be, and whoever they are, for any attempt to avoid said business taxes?

    I appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

    Best Wishes,

    Dirk M.

  • Dirk M posted at 10:08 pm on Sat, Oct 20, 2012.

    Dirk M Posts: 36

    @Marty, just wanted your thoughts on this, if a local business was instructing employees to “ring” $20.00 cover charges (or entrance fees) during a past sanctioned motorcycle rally under “no sale enter” on the registers, would you must consider this person to be attempting to circumvent sales taxes, both state and local?

    Would you be very concerned if the individual was running for a city council or mayor position ?

    How can any candidate claim to be looking after the best interests of the local taxpayers, if they had done such a thing to avoid critical local taxes during any local motorcycle rally?

    Also, should a candidate for local office, should he or she obtain or win that seat, recuse themselves should there be a conflict of interest regarding said rally? Should the state audit such business individuals, wherever they may be, and whoever they are, for any attempt to avoid said business or sakes taxes?

    I appreciate your thoughts on this matter., and I thank you in advance for such thoughts.

    Best Wishes,

    Dirk M.

  • Tod duBois posted at 6:49 pm on Sat, Oct 20, 2012.

    Tod duBois Posts: 104

    Candor, Marty wrote it better than I ever could. What I would add is we need a real strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis. We have advantages over places like Silicon Valley and Monterey but they are few and so to leverage them we need to actually understand what they are, same goes for weaknesses and so forth.

    Plus, we need council and staff with integrity not just personal career extension goals. We need people to say NO more often to bad ideas and we need more people that "get it done" regardless of the barriers. That means cultural change in City Hall and locally - it means that Hollister needs to provide the opportunity for new talent to grow careers or for very experienced management to finish careers. Promoting from within has been a disaster - if we can't attract and retain talent without blowing the budget them we need to change or die slowly. To compete we must have the better people. I'd like to see SIEU step up and take responsibility for performance, for the people they serve. Better talent means everyone wins, including the Unions.

  • Marty_Richman posted at 2:04 pm on Sat, Oct 20, 2012.

    Marty_Richman Posts: 1107

    @Candor: You are totally correct, one way to attach the missing retail and related businesses is to have a population with discretionary income. To do that you have to have people employed locally - so getting some anchor employers in here even in small numbers such as manufacturing and warehousing can make a big difference. To do that you use the economic stimulus to put in the infrastructure - such as backbone telecommunications - and offer incentives like tax holidays and reduced or shared impact fees. you have to incentivize them.

    You also use the economic development money to lobby (to the degree legal) for improved roads and highways, which are critical to our future. You mneed it as macthing funds for grants.

    You can also form those critical partnerships - let's take Hollister Hills for example. This place is booked but we offer every little that is leveraged to them. What do their users want? How about a 24-hour coffee shop with extra large parking spaces, a specialized motel with the same, wash racks (with clean up areas) so they do not have to take the mud home, how about a mobile repair vehicle where they can buy parts and rent specialized tools, etc.?

    Do we even have a 'local wine' store - if we do I don't know it.

    How about an ad campaign for the Pinnacles that targets people ALREADY on vacation in Monterey and Santa Cruz? They are on the move already.

    I assure you I do not believe this is going to be easy, when the Chamber of Commerce asked the candidates where we will be in two years, one said all these multi-million dollar projects will be under construction, I said we will have just started to turn this ship around and even that will take a lot of hard work.

    I am prepared to work this and other issues FULL TIME and I'm the only candidate who can say that. I'm determined to do it.


    Marty Richman

  • Candor posted at 12:31 pm on Sat, Oct 20, 2012.

    Candor Posts: 39

    It's one thing to establish goals and targets and it's completely another as to how you plan on achieving them. I agree the County and City needs to attract new businesses such as; Big Box stores, light manufacturing and so on but, what is it we have to offer these businesses that would entice them to re locate or start up here . Please don't take umbrage, but I don't see it happening before we get our houses in order starting at the County level and City. Businessman run a cost benefit analysis before they make any decisions especially one that involves investing heavily in a new location.

  • Tod duBois posted at 7:01 am on Sat, Oct 20, 2012.

    Tod duBois Posts: 104

    I was referring to the 8 out of 9 failed City defined "Economic Development Priorities" on the City website. The only bad news is the same people are still in charge. After 8 out of 9 priorities failed under Emerson, Quiltner and Avera - these guys still have a job and worse they think they should still have a job!

    For example: #3 Set a citywide target for job creation & retention. Keep pace with Jobs/Housing Balance and assure creation of 2,500 new & replacement jobs over next five years in Hollister.

    Did you read that? "assure creation of 2500 jobs". The bottom line is we need to change the people or give up completely on the City having anything to do with economic development. By failing on these self defined priorities the City has created a 2500 homeless from foreclosures, not 2500 home owners if they had performed. The entitled seem to be the pensioners running this charade - Emerson $140,000 pension and he is concerned about homeless - you could say Emerson is like Romney - big money and completely out of touch with economic reality for families, homeless and the rest of us normal people.

  • Marty_Richman posted at 12:13 am on Sat, Oct 20, 2012.

    Marty_Richman Posts: 1107

    To follow up some more - if we do not get some added employment and economic activity here we are going to be caught in the double-squeeze. There will be more homeless families and those who have an adult who can work, but can't find a job and therefore can't pay the rent and utilities and deposits, etc.

    The other arm of the squeeze will be increased social costs and lower income from discretionary spending and then there will be another movement to increase taxes (and who is hurt worse from increased tax expense?).

    This is the debt, deficit, falling standard of living cycle that has driven so many semi-rural towns into oblivion. We have to get the jobs - jobs, even modest jobs - solve many problems. We need to shore up the weak sectors, I have no objection to fast food, bot people can only eat lunch at one fast food place at a time - adding another does not add a sector. Where are our weak sectors?

    Big Box stores, entertainment, specialty stores, accommodations, leverages (Hollister Hills, wineries, Pinnacles), socializing for the twenty-somethings, Gav downtown, etc.


    Marty Richman

  • Marty_Richman posted at 11:39 pm on Fri, Oct 19, 2012.

    Marty_Richman Posts: 1107

    @Great Idea: First a correction to my last post - the 11% default rate in the sewer bills were several years apart, but the last one was 2009/2010, over 11%. or $870,000 we did not collect.

    Now to the homeless issue - I have not done any work with the homeless shelter and truth be known I do not know much about the operation. One thing is obvious. the cause of homelessness ranges from abuse, to just bad luck, to the worst kind of drug and alcohol problems, to people with mental problems, drop-outs, and everything in between. How do you separate them?

    Sometimes it's just single individuals and sometimes families. Our men's 'shelter' is seasonal - only open at night and in the winter months, that's a pretty modest program. With our limited shelter and through traffic we will never be some kind of large magnet for the group that chooses to be drop-outs, but we will have our share,

    Because the causes of homelessness are so different, neither the nation, state, county or city (here or anywhere) has been able to come up with 'good' answers, we just struggle along hoping to do more good than bad. From this distance our efforts appears to be heartfelt and reasonable.


    Marty Richman

  • Great Idea posted at 10:36 pm on Fri, Oct 19, 2012.

    Great Idea Posts: 41

    @ Officercrumpy, I agree with you 100%, although not sure why you addressed it to Marty. Is he actively supporting the homeless or were you just giving advice in the event he becomes mayor?

    @ Tod duBois, I agree that Doug helped to create 10 times the amount of homeless in the city, but I disagree that it was his economic policies. Like officercrumpy said, I believe that most are homeless by choice. Sure there are some that fall on bad times and need temporary help, but for the majority, it is a lifestyle choice. When Hollister / San Benito County offered no resources for the homeless, we had very few homeless in Hollister. Once we began offering a shelter and other handouts, our homeless population exploded. Many of them relocated here from out of the area.....many from out of state even. Take away the handouts and they might be encouraged to relocate to an area that gives out more.

  • Marty_Richman posted at 9:35 pm on Fri, Oct 19, 2012.

    Marty_Richman Posts: 1107

    "Regarding the water/sewer rates; another mayoral candidate does think it's of importance to get those rates down so Mr. Snow is not the only candidate that feels it is important."

    It's OK, you can use my name. Yes, I think it's very important to get the sewer rates down and keep the water rates from going out of control when the planned upgrades are added.

    I called over to the city the other day and the person I needed to talk to was very busy in serving the public at the payment counter because it was water turn-off day and so many people were coming in at the last second to pay their bill. In 2 out of 3 recent years the annual wastewater delinquency rate were about 11%. I estimate the city lost over $800,000 in each of those years ($1.6 million) and the rate payers still here have to make that up, eventually. Maybe you can get caught flat-footed once, but twice?

    We have a large section of the population that have almost no discretionary income and live hand-to-mouth. A water-sewer bill of $130 is a killer for those folks so they leave it to last or let it pile up and skip. The city has been trying to make some adjustments on the timing and initial deposits, but big deposits are also a problem for low income households.

    Even the middle class elderly on a fixed income have a problem with this bill.

    One reason we are in this mess ended up being political. We estimated that 1,000 new homes would sign on after the sewer plant was built adding their impact fees and recurring payments. Well, we know that the housing did not get built and we had no fallback plan, but we received a second chance and THAT was where our reputation for not cooperating got us into trouble.

    Ridgemark was being forced to build a new wastewater plant OR they could have signed on to ours (they would have to run a sewer line). The costs were almost equal and since our plant was already built for $100 million, there was no risk of a cost overrun and almost no CEQA issues. I went to those meetings at Sunnyslope WD when they had to decide and one Ridgemark resident after another came forward and said that that just did not want deal with the city council that refused to give them fair representation to run the plant.

    Now, I do not know if their complaints were true, but the answer was obvious, we needed to take the politics out of it and come up with a neutral board to run the system. Knock that argument out of the park.

    It did not happen and the bills stayed high. OBTW, our sewer impact fees ($10,000 - 12,000) are similar to Gilroy, but that same new house sells for $100,000 more in Gilroy which means the local government is taking a much bigger percentage slice for construction here.

    Our constant inability to negotiate and refusal to cooperate also cost us the fire contract with the county which was worth almost $1 million.


    Marty Richman

  • officercrumpy posted at 8:49 pm on Fri, Oct 19, 2012.

    officercrumpy Posts: 525

    Marty please stop what San Francisco did a few years ago, do not provide a magnet for those who are perennially homeless. I personally witnessed that most of these people are homeless by choice. Our climate in San Benito as in San Francisco is temperate along inwith sympathetic do gooders and politicians will only increase the amount of bums. This is not the era, ied, the depression, Arlo Guthridge but one of entitlement bums. Kick these bums out and let nature sort them out.

  • Tod duBois posted at 7:02 pm on Fri, Oct 19, 2012.

    Tod duBois Posts: 104

    Doug Emerson is a nice guy but we want to note that Doug created 10 times are many homeless as he collected money for in his term. Leadership is not about subsidizing a new group of people that were created by bad economic policy. Raising money for the homeless may be admirable but creating homeless with bad policy and worse complete failure of economic execution is just shameful. Thank you Doug for your attempt but please go away because of your repeated failures. We can't let this man fail us anymore. [sad]
    Worse, of course is Doug was Mayor and leader of the decision makers on the t-shirt merchandising disaster which cost the City hundreds of thousands in cash loses, huge opportunity loses and of course then required the layoff of police and fire. Doug needs to be held accountable for this debacle.

  • Hometown Girl posted at 6:23 pm on Fri, Oct 19, 2012.

    Hometown Girl Posts: 447

    @Slap Chop....I have to agree with Bluesman...I thought your comments to be mean spirited and unecessary. Regarding the water/sewer rates; another mayoral candidate does think it's of importance to get those rates down so Mr. Snow is not the only candidate that feels it is important.

  • Bluesman posted at 4:44 pm on Fri, Oct 19, 2012.

    Bluesman Posts: 13

    @SlapChop: Mr. Snow is passionate about becoming mayor, but is challenged by physical disabilities and an inability express himself in a cogent and compelling way.

    He is a person with rather severe disabilities. I believe that in 10 years time, he could acquire the knowledge political sophistication to seriously ask for votes of office. In the meantime, he should join several community non-profit organizations, attend public meetings and learn the political landscape of San Benito County.

    You gain nothing by labeling Mr. Snow as stupid and dumb. In fact, such attacks reflect negatively upon yourself.

    If you have a superior view for the future than Mr. Snow, please run for office and illuminate the rest of us. Otherwise, you are just presenting the community with your own dim views.

  • Dirk M posted at 4:25 pm on Fri, Oct 19, 2012.

    Dirk M Posts: 36

    I saw all of the candidates on the TV news. They had a small segment on each candidate. It was interesting. In the Velazquez segment I had to laugh, I couldn’t help it. The newsman interviewing Velazquez stated the Vault was “one of the busiest venues in town”. The interview was filmed inside the Vault as Velazquez and the interviewer strolled through the restaurant with no customers or tables visible.

    Yeah, I thought it was busy too, so busy that when you drive by in the evening all the lights are off. They must be turned off because business is so good. Lunch at the Vault? Sorry, the doors are locked because it is too busy, business is too good.

    I am reminded of the surveys a local paper sent out to businesses around here a few years ago. The surveys asked about the number of employees the business had. After the surveys were returned, the results were released. Guess which business claimed the largest amount of employees? No, not Earthbound Farms, not Target, Kmart, Safeway, or Savemart. The largest employer in the county was, according to the numbers provided by that business, Ignacio Velazquez. I laughed then too.

    If a person has to “exaggerate” so much that they tell you things you know not be true to get your vote, do they deserve your vote? The answer is simple to me; they do not deserve my vote. There are other candidates more deserving and honest to vote for.

    Best Wishes,

    Dirk M.

  • SlapChop posted at 1:48 pm on Fri, Oct 19, 2012.

    SlapChop Posts: 29

    Let me first say I know nothing about Mr. Snow, only what his billboards read. That said, I pray no-one votes for this man. He doesn't come out into the light of day, but rather just seems to buy billboards that honestly are STUPID. I almost spit out my coffee in the morning when I see them. Is our most pressing issue lowering water prices? SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!??!

    I am going out on a limb here, and hate to be so blatant, but I am going to officially challenge his intelligence. Dumb platform, spent lots of his own money (I presume) on signage and doesn't live up the expectations of a candidate. Again, I am accusing him of "not being smart" (to be polite).

    Again, for the love of god, pick anyone but this guy.