Forrest J. White, Turlock City Council Candidate Questionnaire/Profile
How long have you lived in Turlock and what is your occupation?
I have lived in Turlock for over 30 years, and I am a retired C.E.O. of the San Joaquin County Fair.
Why are you running for Turlock City Council and when did you start planning your campaign?
I am running for city council as a way of serving our community. I decided to run for re-election in the spring of 2014.
What do you see as the primary duties of a councilmember?
A councilmember's primary duties are set citywide policy, approve annual budget and monthly expenses, approve contacts, supervise city manager and city attorney, and act on appeals by the citizenry.
What are your main goals if elected to Turlock City Council? List 3 Top Priorities:
My main goals if elected are to continue economic development, provide quality city services, and develope a balanced budget.
Why do you believe you’re the most qualified candidate for Council?
My qualifications for office include being an incumbant that has spent many hours learning about key issues facing Turlock, and my over 30 years of experience managing a governmental entity that was primarily self supporting and requied being operated like a business.
Key endorsements (up to 5):
Key endorsements include Modesto Bee, Turlock Chamber PAC,Vito Chiesa, John Lazar and Mike and Betty Ireland.
Do you support Measure B, a half-cent sales tax increase to support fixing Turlock roads? Why, or why not?
I support Measure B because it means addressing road repair NOW. We can not wait.
With the majority of the General Fund already allocated to public safety, what would your plans include to continue a quality of life that Turlock is used to while addressing the ongoing issue of public safety staffing, compensation, pensions, and affordability? Please include your top 3 priorities within the area of public safety.
A growing revenue base is the only way to insure the quality of life we have in Turlock. As revenues increase the proportional value of funds(77%) for public safety increase which wil enable staffing and salary increases. Therefore, continued economic growth is essential.
What are your plans to address the concerns of the homeless population? How would you combat the increasing homelessness issues in Turlock?
With the opening of the new Turlock Gospel Mission facility we will have a year round operation that provides food, shelter and essential sevices for the homeless under one roof. This full service concept has proven successful in reducing homelessness and it should make a difference in Turlock.
Most political candidates state that economic development and growth is a priority, but how exactly do you plan to grow Turlock’s economy and what are your thoughts on the job market here in Turlock?
We have seen growth downtown, at Monte Vista Crossings and in our regional industrial park. New business creates jobs, new jobs create demand and new demand creates more business. It is the citys' job to continue doing their part in facilitating growth by providing quality services in an expeditious manner.
Turlock, as well as the rest of California, is experience a major drought, what are your plans for the City of Turlock dealing with water management? What is your position on the sale of wastewater to the Del Puerto Water District? Do you believe the City should move forward with construction of the surface water treatment plant as per an long stalled agreement between the TID, the City of Turlock, and other cities?
Under new law water management becomes a regional issue that requires cooperation among a variety of entities. The building of a surface water treatment plant should move forward because the benefits to the aquafer and our citizens are immense. Selling waste water to Del Puerto Water District makes sense because the city was required to build a $15,000,000 pipeline to the river and by selling waste water year-round this expense will not be a burden to the taxpayers.
The City Council is currently discussing labor contracts with the City Manager and City attorney, the only two positions hired by and work for the Turlock City Council. If elected, how important will it be that these two key positions are approved by you?
The city council is elected for 4 years which means you make decisions for 4 years. City business does not stop for elections; therefore, while serving you do your job and make decisions.
With so much attention being brought up about government spending due to a proposed tax increase to fix Turlock roads, do you believe recreation is a service that should be funded and provided by government?
Yes, recreation should be funded by the city because it is a service that contributes to the quality of a city and it's citizenry.
Transparency has always been an issue for elected officials, as they commonly state to represent their constituents. Seemingly more and more communication has been an issue with society’s move toward Facebook and social media as its main source for information. How do you plan to communicate to, and more importantly with, the citizens of Turlock?
Good communication in my mind still requires personal contact. Social media can facilitate this contact, but face to face communication solves problems.
After graduating from San Jose State University in 1971, I moved to the Turlock in 1973. I have spent over 35 years working for the public, five of those as a Turlock City Recreation Supervisor and over 25 years as C.E.O. of the San Joaquin County Fair. My primary duties as C.E.O. consisted of budgeting, public relations, and governmental advocacy which included working with legislators and state-wide boards.I retired in 2008 and now I have the time, energy and the willingness to serve.
In order to plan for the next four years we need to look at what was accomplished in the last four years. A new 20 year General Plan was adopted, expansion of Monte Vista Crossings is ongoing, downtown redevelopment has taken off in both the private and public sector, Venna Bella affordable housing was built and parkway beautification projects were completed. All of this was done during a time when the budget was shrinking and city departments were becoming leaner while striving to provide better customer service. These successes were completed with major developments of the Turlock Regional Industrial Park. I.E, Blue Diamond and Hilmar Cheese.
Therefore, in the next four years the Council needs to continue making Turlock attractive to all types of businesses and citizenry. Individuals and businesses must feel welcome and have quality city services if they are to decide on Turlock. This means investing in roads, water and sewer systems, and well planned housing and commercial developments are a must, plus, enough city personnel need to be employed to maintain the standards our citizens expect and deserve. We will also need a way to address more parking in the downdown without losing its charm. Plus, the growing development of the T.R.I.P. will require more attention to be placed on revamping the Fulkerth/99 interchange to accommodate a larger volume of traffic. And, all of this will be taking place at a time when city revenues should start to grow and demands on the council by a variety of special interests will increase. Remember, putting community first is my job; therefore, if elected I will build on the successes of the past, while dealing with the challenges of the future in a fiscally responsible manner.