While we suspect there’s at least one candidate on the ballot on November who will not be responding to our candidate questionnaire under any circumstances, we did receive our second response, from Libertarian Nickolas Wildstar. Wildstar is running in the Third Council district where I live and the only non-incumbent in the race.
To reiterate: all City Council candidates for the 2018 election are strongly encouraged to respond to the questionnaire and their responses will be reprinted in full at our earliest opportunity. All candidates have received the questionnaires already and we hope to hear what the other candidates have to say soon.
Our original questions, and Mr. Wildstar’s responses, are as follows:
1) The City of Fullerton currently has a budget deficit of $5 million, and the deficit is expected to grow. Are there any expenditures the council approved in the last few years (whether infrastructure, pay raises, benefits, etc) which you would consider a mistake in light of this deficit? If so, please identify the expenditure:
– Many of the street improvement projects throughout the city were way too costly and could’ve been completed quicker and without any increase in spending. Private companies such as Domino’s Pizza are willing to provide paving services at no cost in exchange for advertising. Public employees also need to start receiving fixed salaries that does not include any pension option. Existing pension commitments should undergo a pension risk transfer with an insurance company such as Prudential or negotiate cashouts for pension recipients with a consumer finance company like J.G. Wentworth. These are the type of changes that need to be made to get the city back on with being fiscally responsible.
2) Moving forward, what steps would you take to address the current budget deficit:
– It’s really quite simple. Moving forward, I would practice responsible budgeting by not voting to spend more money than the Fullerton city government has on hand. The failure of council members to practice this kind of budgetary restraint is why we have a deficit. My plan to get rid of the deficit is by reducing spending.
3) Do you consider current spending on roads in the City of Fullerton to be adequate at this time? If not, please identify what steps you believe should be taken by the city to ensure there is sufficient money to perform required road spending.
– It’s not just about the amount of money being spent, it’s how it is being spent. For instance, is road maintenance work being contracted out on a competitive basis, or are there sweetheart deals in place? Increased transparency should help answer some of these questions. Let’s publish, in plain English, documents showing how much the people who do roadwork are being paid, and how long it’s taking, so this information is available to the public and we can find out whether other companies and individuals out there who are capable of doing the work feel that Fullerton is getting a good value in its contracts for the taxpayer money it spends, or not.
4) Last year, the Fullerton Planning Commission tabled a project at Nutwood Avenue near the freeway known as “College Town”, which at the time called for allowing an additional 3400 apartment units in the area, the closing of Nutwood between Titan and Commonwealth, and rezoning much of the surrounding area into mixed use. Do you favor this proposal? Why or why not?
– My personal opinion shouldn’t matter, because it isn’t my property. However, I would not have voted to support the proposal, because the people to whom the property does belong should be the ones making the decisions on how to develop it, not the planning commission or the city council.
5) Do you favor keeping the City’s current overnight parking ban in place, repealing the ban, or modifying it? If the latter, how would you modify it?
– I say repeal the ban. Government banning rarely has the intended effects and local governments shouldn’t be micromanaging things like when and where people decide to park. Every time you make people unnecessarily move their cars, it means more people driving around, creating more traffic congestion and putting more pollution into the atmosphere, not to mention wasting time and taxpayers money which they could have used more productively doing something else.
6) Do you favor or oppose the practice of rezoning properties to allow for higher density development as a way to generate additional revenue into the City? What is you reason for support/opposition?
– Favor. I support just about any reforms that give property owners back more control over their own property. But let’s be clear, rezoning doesn’t “generate” money for the city. The money is taken from others via coercive taxation; it doesn’t increase the total pie of wealth in the manner which occurs when people engage in mutually beneficial transactions that allow each of them to become better off. This is a practice in government that I will make a stand to end.
7) The City of Fullerton’s unfunded pension liability for its current employees and retirees is almost certain to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Would you be willing to consider any of the following proposals to reduce or eliminate such liability:
a. Eliminate defined benefit pensions for new hires? (Y/N ___Y__)
b. Eliminate defined benefit pensions for current hires for work that has not already accrued? (Y/N _____Y____)
c. Filing municipal (Chapter 9) Bankruptcy? (Y/N ___Y___)
d. Contracting out work to outside agencies (such as the county or private contractors)? (Y/N __Y___)
2. Any other options or proposals that you would consider? If so please specify:
– Ask city government employees to voluntarily do the right thing and give up compensation that is clearly exploitative of taxpayers and unsustainable.
8) Do you favor or oppose the creation of an independent oversight board of civilians who would be responsible for investigating complaints of police officer misconduct and making recommendations for disciplinary action to the Chief of Police and/or City Council? What are your reasons for supporting/ opposing such a plan?
– I strongly support it. There is an epidemic of police abuse happening, and there is abundant evidence that police departments do not do a good job policing themselves. A recent Radiolab piece on NPR discussed a study of police shootings in which out of 800 cases, only 1 police officer was prosecuted. No one should consider that kind of lack of accountability to be acceptable from public servants who exercise the power of life and death over people.
9) Would you support or oppose turning the City-owned parking lots in downtown Fullerton, which are currently free, into paid lots? Why or why not?
– Oppose. Government greed is out of control. I’d like for Fullerton to be friendly and welcoming as a city, not try to extort money from people who visit our downtown, whether they are locals or from out of town.
10) Would you favor or oppose creating a sales tax in the City of Fullerton? Why or why not?
– Oppose. Once again, government greed rears its ugly head. I support cutting existing taxes and fees, not enacting more.
11) Do you favor or oppose the Centerline (OCTA’s proposal to build a 9.3 mile light rail system down Harbor Blvd., from Garden Grove to Fullerton)? Why or why not?
– Oppose. We need to look for ways to bring competitive enterprise into mass transit, not have these systems built and operated by government as non-competitive monopolies.
12) The City Council is expected to take up the issue of allowing dispensaries to do business in the City of Fullerton (currently they are not legally zoned in any part of the City). Under what circumstances, if any, would you favor this proposal?
– Being able to open and operate a business should be legal by default. If someone wants to stop a business from opening, the legal burden of proof should be on them. Anything else is prior restraint, which is an authoritarian doctrine that is antithetical to a free society. There is no evidence that cannabis dispensaries cause problems that need to be addressed by zoning restrictions. I’d like for our city council to stop killing economic opportunity, housing, and jobs, and start creating them.
13) Currently, the City of Fullerton has a requirement that any emergency homeless shelter that wishes to be built without a CUP must be at least ¼ mile from schools, parks or residences. Some residents advocate increasing number of properties which would be utilized for shelters, which would require reducing or eliminating these restrictions. Do you favor modifying this resolution? If so, how?
– Again the burden should be on those who want to prevent a property owner from using his or her property for some particular purpose. If someone wants to build an emergency homeless shelter on their property, that’s their business unless someone else can prove it somehow violates their rights. There should be a very high bar necessary to stop any project, because otherwise everyone is incentivized to oppose any development or change in their area that they dislike for whatever reason, and it ends up wasting a whole lot of everyone’s time and resources fighting over these projects, not to mention creating disharmony and ill feelings in the community. As a city council member I will make sure everyone’s property rights are respected which will help everyone in the community get along much better.
14) Describe your position concerning the development of West Coyote Hills. Do you support the current City Council plan (which calls for Development on some portions of the property)? Also, as to any portion of the West Coyote Hills property that you wish to see preserved, do you believe those efforts should be controlled locally or should the State of California step in and take over?
– Coyote Hills needs to be preserved fully. As protectors and preservers of our environment it is imperative that we protect our planet and start living in harmony with nature. The current city council plan would not receive my support since it is not legislation supported by people of the community. Despite Chevron’s claim to a portion of the land, I favor reclaiming the entire area as property owned by the people.
Please list the three issues that are most important to you in the upcoming City Council election, regardless of whether they have been identified on this questionnaire.
My main 3 objectives that I will be focusing on predominately once elected will be having an independent audit of the city’s finances conducted to promote transparent management of public funds, building affordable homes for the homeless and abolishing policies that prevent growth and development of small businesses.