December 16, 2018
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Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates

By: Irene Hilsendager
September 21, 2018

Friday evening, Sept. 14, the Rohnert Park Council chambers were packed with residents of the city to hear the four candidates that are currently running for the RP City Council. 

Pam Stafford is currently the mayor but her term will be ending soon therefore she is out campaigning and walking door to door as she enjoys being on the council and feels she can do a good job again as she has in prior years. Pam says that there has been an amazing job done with a balanced budget for five years for the city. Money is in reserve and she would be very fiscally responsible and won’t spend any money the city doesn’t have. Pam said there was a survey on the Public Safety Department and their rating is quite high. The communication is not bad but with the right information, she could help improve the staff of the public safety. Pam says, “yes, we have traffic problems but changes will be made.” She is also proud of the development which will make it a RP downtown. Stafford mentioned that the state of California eliminated resource funds for buildings that are affordable. She is worried that seniors with Section 8s will not be supported so she would like to make sure that revising the housing code happens. Pam indicated that the city has partnered with PG&E and Sonoma Clean Power and also that the Recology trucks run on clean energy. In fact, Jake is on a climate conference right now. With SMART on track, the freeway will widen up. Pam says we will all work together and the city council always works well together.

Susan Adams lives in Rohnert Park and has for the better part of her life. She has been on the planning commission and feels she would be a good candidate as she wants to make sure she can protect the school district by serving on the RP Council. Susan has spent days knocking on doors and feels the Public Safety Department does an excellent job. Susan says that the sales tax is bringing in revenue and if residents have a plan or complaint they should come to planning and city council meetings. Adam says change will have to happen. There will be more houses and direction changes are going to happen-but now we really don’t know what will happen. Adams says working with the planning commission is great. The solar and electrical cars will have to happen with hotels having solar and charging stations. The trails and walking system from the train should have bus support. She says that there needs to be work done to make sure there is good bus service along with the train. Susan says she is a good listener and will focus on the needs of the citizens of Rohnert Park.

Jackie Elward is the mother of three and speaks six languages. she lives in Rohnert Park and says that Rohnert Park is a great city but would like to progress change a little bit more and she can do so by being on the council. Elward runs a non-profit and would be a very good steward of other people money. Jackie says there has to be more communication between the police department and the city. There has to be a clearer communication so people feel safe. She feels that you have to talk to people and gain their trust. She is worried about water supply, traffic and addressing the need of the homeless situation. We want and need affordable home. Safety is another change that has to be made. Rohnert Park is changing and attend meetings to find answers. She says she has no political background but wants to learn about the city and make sure renters that are living here are not taken advantage of. Elward feels we need to educate people on climate change as it is important to saving a city. Jackie feels the SMART location is excellent. She says team work and strength and being bold and assertive can bring a new fresh outlook on the panel. 

Gerard Guidice, along with his family has lived in Rohnert Park for many years and is a proud member of the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati. He has submerged himself into RP, has served on many boards and will continue to stay on nonprofit boards. He will support seniors, schools, non-profits and people since he has a passion for helping. Gerard has been on the planning commission for eight years and is very impressed that the City of Rohnert Park is going strong even 60 years after its inception. Guidice understands the process of budgeting with visual leadership and oversight. He feels that he could help in putting policy leadership and protocol into place and show support of the police department. Some of Gerard’s issues are the homeless population in RP and the creek restoration. Gerard says that you have to plan out and keep zones in place and find out what space is left in the city and what is the best interest of residents such as sustainable and walkable spaces.  Again the lack of low income housing came up and it has to be addressed as it is a growing problem. Guidice says RP is a leader in environmental connection with the SMART train and should start working with neighboring cities. But an issue is that there has to be regards to railroad crossings and vote NO on measure 6. Gerard says running for city council is his responsibility to make sure residents are taken care and he is a man of action. Guidice says “I will be the bridge to fill gaps in government.”