Sunday, May 11, 2008

What has Silva done for us?

Dear Editor:

What has Mr. Silva done for us in the past 11 years?

Health Issues: According to the State, as reported on the County website, Solano has the highest rate of asthma in California. Over my career as a middle school teacher in the County, I’ve watched the number of my students with asthma, increase alarmingly.

Air pollution is a well-known contributor to asthma problems. Recently, the Bay Area Air Quality District gave the County a grade of C (down from B) for summer air pollution and a grade of D for winter air pollution.

Concerning other health issues, a recent Study reported in the Fairfield Daily Republic found that our County ranks 9th for obesity and 6th for diabetes, among counties studied. The article suggested that this could be connected to the fact that we have five times more fast food/convenience places as grocery stores. A note here: some of these fast food/convenience places were built in the past 11 years.

Finally Mr. Silva voted to use tobacco money—NOT on health related issues—but, rather, to build new County buildings.

Transportation: Recently Mr. Silva has said he will work to repair our roads. Great! The problem, though, is that Mr. Silva was supposed to be ensuring that these roads were maintained over the past 11 years. Also, during those 11 years, nothing has been done to improve perhaps the biggest road problem in Mr.Silva’s District: the I-80/680 interchange.

Listening to Constituents: Mr. Silva’s home town is Benicia—yet he removed the only two Benicians who were on the General Plan Citizen’s Panel. In addition, the General Plan Public Outreach Forum—which visited five County locations—skipped Benicia.

Attempt to Raise Taxes: Mr. Silva attempted to raise taxes at least three times. In 2002, 2004 and 2006 he supported Measures E, A and H respectively. Each of these Measures would have increased our sales tax.

Open Space: Mr. Silva was the deciding vote against a Solano Regional Park System a few years back. In addition he opposed Urban Growth Boundary Measures in Benicia (Measure K) and Fairfield (Measure L).

Budget Balancing: Mr Silva claims he has balanced 11 budgets. Yes, the County has had a balanced budget for the past 11 years. The thing is, State law requires a balanced County budget. Therefore, the County’s budget will always be balanced—no matter who sits in the Supervisor chairs.

Crime/Attracting Jobs/Survey Results: Finally, the results of the County’s own Survey, released this month—report that Benicians and Vallejoans are less satisfied with the County than other County residents. Also, despite Mr. Silva’s 11 years in office, the Survey reported that Vallejoans feel the County is, according to the Vallejo Times Herald, “barely doing enough to address” youth crimes, chronic diseases and attracting businesses and jobs. Benicians were also concerned about youth crimes as well as, according to the Benicia Herald, County government organization and environmentally friendly land-use practices.

After 11 years in office, it does not matter what John Silva may say he will do—but what he has done.

Mr. Silva has had his chance. It’s time for someone new, like Linda Seifert.

Jon Van Landschoot
Benicia, CA

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