Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dan Smith answers Times-Herald

Dan Smith, Candidate for City Council on Nov. 3, answers the Times-Herald questionnaire.
Dan's Website ; Dan's Blog

1. Why are you running for Benicia City Council?

My most important reason for serving on the City Council again is that I am committed to Benicia being the best that it can be. That means working to achieve a safe, healthy Seeno project that won’t destroy our downtown; finding new ways to fill vacant storefronts downtown; protecting Benicia’s small town charm; preserving the historic Arsenal and protecting businesses there; and keeping my promise to youth and seniors for the Mills Community Center.

2. What are the most important issues facing Benicia and how would you address them?

I don’t think the Seeno project offered to Benicia this year was a good deal for the community. We didn’t have a development agreement or a project labor agreement. We didn’t have a solid mechanism to ensure Benicia taxpayers don’t pay to build another fire station. Still, the incumbents voted in favor of it. I want a project that pays for itself and doesn’t make East Second Street a mess of traffic and air pollution.

3. How will you work to assure the city maintains financial stability?

I was on the Council when we approved a mandatory 20 percent level for our General Fund reserve. That, combined with prudent spending on capital improvements and investment in our Industrial Park infrastructure, assures our financial stability. My record of service and vision for the future are reasons why I am endorsed by the Mayor, our County Supervisor, the County Democratic Party and numerous past or current members of the Council, Planning Commission and School Board.

4. How do you propose approaching future growth in the Arsenal district?

Developers in town have been proposing various dense housing proposals for the Arsenal. I don’t think those are appropriate for that area, and one reason is because of the industrial pipelines and existing businesses there. The Arsenal is not the place to address needs for our housing stock. We need to revise and recirculate the Arsenal Specific Plan and its Draft Environmental Impact Report to get the right uses out there.

5. What will you do to address economic development?

I want to develop the Benicia Business Park on the Seeno land, and I want to increase revenue by increasing the effectiveness of our tourist economy, particularly heritage tourism about military and railroad history in Benicia. We have the best Civil War history site on the west coast. It’s a place where the Pony Express stopped and trains crossed a river on the world’s largest ferry. These assets need to be marketed and showcased more effectively.

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