Bill DeHart, Turlock City Council Candidate Questionnaire/Profile
How long have you lived in Turlock and what is your occupation?
• My wife and I moved to Turlock in 2002 from the Santa Clara Valley.
• My occupation is Registered Representative in the Financial Services Industry. I am also licensed with the California Department of Insurance in Life, Health and Long Term Care Insurance.
Why are you running for Turlock City Council and when did you start planning your campaign?
• I am seeking reelection to Turlock City Council because of a lifelong commitment of service to others, in this case my neighbors, friends and the greater Turlock community. I have served my entire adult life in some capacity as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Marine Corps for 20+ years, Church leadership, active in youth work, and, for the past four years as a Turlock City Councilmember.
• Formal planning for this reelection campaign began in mid to late April following my wife’s recovery from surgery.
What do you see as the primary duties of a councilmember?
The job of Council Member requires a well-rounded individual who understands the technical aspects of running a major city. The successful candidate must have a thorough knowledge of many issues which include but are not limited to:
• Public Safety
• Economic Growth and Development
• Growth issues, as related to the General Plan
• Budget construction and supervision
• Water issues, and,
• Being attuned to regional topics and how Turlock’s needs fit into them.
What are your main goals if elected to Turlock City Council? List 3 Top Priorities:
• Continued focus on our Public Safety Departments which require additional staffing and funding
• To achieve a balanced budget as we emerge from the recent, widespread recession
• Active participation in the efforts to address regional water, transportation, local business and economic development and quality of life issues
Why do you believe you’re the most qualified candidate for Council?
Over the past four years, I have provided a common sense, collaborative and cooperative approach to addressing and helping to resolve the issues before us as a City. Many decisions, policies and programs have either been initiated or proposed to address those concerns and we have already begun to achieve results. I desire the opportunity to continue to apply my leadership skills to those issues and I truly believe that my experience matters and will make a difference for Turlock.
Key endorsements (up to 5):
TABPAC – Turlock Action for Business (Turlock Chamber of Commerce)
Turlock Fire Fighters L2434
Turlock Associated Police Officers (TAPO)
Republican Party of Stanislaus County
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 I believe that the voice of Turlock voters deserves to be heard on whether we as a community feel a ½ of 1% sales tax can address and solve the condition of our roads. Beyond that, crafting a Measure that provides reasonable protections, does what the voters want and that has a well defined life span is critical. I believe that Measure B will accomplish these concerns.
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.
• Adequate staffing and equipping
• Appropriate funding, and,
• Responsible oversight to ensure the integrity of our budget
What are your plans to address the concerns of the homeless population? How would you combat the increasing homelessness issues in Turlock?
I will start by saying that there is no singular strategy, regulation or policy that will adequately deal with the homeless challenge here in Turlock or anywhere else. It will take the concerted, best efforts of our entire community to address and alleviate the unintended consequences. The public/private partnership of this community has already yielded some noteworthy results which will begin to have positive impact prior to the onset of this winter’s cold season. The year-round shelter will have immediate impact on a majority of this concern. The Homeless Assistance Ministry has, as well, been providing solid results with respect to the services it provides; referral to counseling from professional public sources, resume construction and job interview preparation, affordable housing, establishing identification (Birth certificates, California ID/Driver’s licenses, Social Security, connecting individuals with services of Veteran’s Affairs to name a few.) That partnership can/must be expanded to include continued communication between Public Safety and business owners, property owners and individual residents who are being negatively impacted by camping, loitering and unwelcome solicitation. The very same business owners, property owners and individual residents can help the most by contributing to the very agencies that provide the much needed services; Turlock Gospel Mission, the Salvation Army, United Samaritans to name only a few, if so inclined.
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?
Continuing to foster a “development friendly” culture within City Hall, The outstanding efforts of our economic development focus and improvement of the city’s infrastructure will continue to have favorable impact. Oversight by the City Council and in cooperation with these efforts will produce the desired result. The expansion of skills training/industry specific work needs with the cooperation of TUSD and the CSUS will serve to improve the overall market. Many of those efforts are underway and need to be developed further. I intend to play a significant role in those efforts while balancing the provisions contained in our General Plan.
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?
Water management is a critical issue that is receiving a heightened awareness. The long standing program which contains hard requirements for the treatment of waste-water, the bonding and regulatory requirements under which the city is bound to comply will find the city’s waste water being delivered to the San Joaquin River on January 1, 2015. From everything presented to me, that fact is inescapable. Beyond that eventuality, if there is a way to retain any “control” for what happens after January 1st, I am in favor of it. To sell those “credits” within the county to the Del Puerto District, while still awaiting state regulatory approval, would make perfectly good sense to me. That said, if that same flexibility can be extended to TID, in the form of availability of that water for recharge or other use, I am as well for that. The central and underlying reality to which I am sensitive, is that the overall, long-termed solution must be a cooperative and collaborative effort. I am prepared and willing to sit at that table and craft sensible policy and agreement. Continued degradation and depletion of our groundwater aquifer and supply is an issue of utmost concern to me and should be to all residents. A specific and purposeful collaborative effort is still required and possible with all stake-holders.
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?
To simply assert that this is important is insufficient. Of greater importance in my view, is that the existing city council has the statutory responsibility to ensure the currency of all labor negotiations, contracts and associated issues. If those responsibilities occur during my “watch”, I believe an incoming council would appreciate that there were no “loose” ends or responsibilities left unattended.
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?
Recreation is a topic which falls under the heading of those things which people cannot do for themselves and where government can and should step in. The responsible management of those program is required. A strong recreation department with associated programs contributes to not only quality of life, such as services and programs for seniors, but also Public Safety as in the after school programs for school aged children.
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?
While social media tools are gaining in use and popularity, I have been learning by using them and plan to utilize them more effectively. I believe that a significant percentage of people will continue to require that occasional phone conversation or face-to-face-meeting. High tech is definitely upon us, However, I believe that “high-touch” will be required for some time to come. I plan to be the most effective I can be regardless of method and no matter how steep the learning curve.
I’d like to thank you in advance for considering my candidacy for reelection to the Turlock City Council. I am a high energy, confident, common sense and experienced leader who is motivated to continue to serve all of Turlock as your Turlock City Council Member. I have the vision, energy, time and the personal commitment to service and the desire to continue to provide common sense consideration of the issues. Perhaps most importantly, the experience which I believe matters most of all has been by many years of leadership roles, business experience and the past four years as a member of our City Council. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and, for your vote on November 4th.