City Council candidate Joana Weber

City Council candidate Joana Weber

Alameda Elections '12
Joana Weber

Name
Hello everyone, my name is Joana Weber and I am running for City Council in the City of Alameda California.

Occupation and relevant experience
And now, a little information about me. I arrived in this country quite by happenstance. It wasn't planned and I originally was destined to England but made a change in plans literally just days before I was to go there. While living here in United States I began to teach myself the 5th language I know. After I learned how to speak English I met my wonderful husband who is American. I have learned a lot about this country from him, and I learned so much more while I was preparing for my citizenship in this country last year. And the feeling of being involved in the best country in the world overwhelmed me. To my surprise an article appeared in The Alameda Journal that stated a position for city council was available, and I decided to run for

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?
To provide a forward path of progress for the city of Alameda while providing a strong future in education, health, and security for the residents and businesses that reside here.

To maintain a balance of objectiveness between the needs of the residents and business's in Alameda.

Lastly, I would like to create a sound future of sustainability of a government that will provide for all it's incumbents.

What is your vision for the future of Alameda Point, and what are three steps you would take to implement that vision?
My vision of Alameda Point is to minimally develop until a feasible solution for congestion is addressed. A vast majority of residents on the West end are concerned about congestion related to additional development. Their concern of this matter is warrantable. Traffic exiting the island during rush hour is substantial. Additionally, with an accident in the Posey tube during rush hour it takes at least an hour to get off the island. Plus the tunnels are old, and that should not be left out of the equation of further development. "I'm not saying I don't want development, I want development so the city can prosper and grow"! I'm just advising caution should be taken on the decisions of increased congestion. I am for the progress already outlined for the point, and I believe future development should continue.

State law limits the steps local elected officials can take to address employee pension and benefit costs. Given these restrictions, how would you address the city’s unfunded pension and health care liabilities?
Although I don't agree with all the terms of the Governors Pension Reform Bill, pension reform is needed. With my limited ability to address this issue as a council member (if elected), I feel that some of the terms of the bill needs adjustment and I would pursue my limited ability to change those items. I feel the need to move forward and something needs to be established for some form of a pension reform.

Do you think there are unmet housing needs in Alameda? If so, what are they and how would you address them?
I feel the housing needs are minimal at this point. I am not feeling that people who desire to live in Alameda cant find a residence. If you have a little patience in this instantaneous society, an opportunity opens up and desire can be met. The only shortage of residences I notice is in the rental quadrant at this time. And that has a direct relation to the economy and the housing collapse. Of course this is where some people would want to plug up Alameda Point with rental and housing units, I have to refer to my views of question #2 and take the cautionary route.

Are there any city services that you believe are underfunded? If so, how would you raise revenue or what would you cut to pay for them?
I am not familiar with the City of Alameda's budgeted service shortfalls at this time. After I have the opportunity to analyze the budget and I find a shortfall, I would take necessary steps to fill the gaps with a innovative approach.

City Manager John Russo has said he would like to implement more public-private partnerships in order to continue providing services at a reduced cost to the city. Do you agree? And if so, which services currently provided by the city do you think could be sourced through private contracts?
I am not sure I agree with the implementation of public-private partnerships that Mr. Russo would like to initiate. Outsourcing jobs and cutting full time positions for employees who live and work in our community seems counter productive for the city. Especially if the provided service is fully funded. I wouldn't consider his maneuver unless we were at the state of being under funded, and even then the outsourcing services WOULD have to be Alameda owned businesses. I believe in creating jobs not cutting them.

How could city government improve the way it does its job?
Like most citizens feel in this country, people want to feel like they are part of something bigger, something better, something that stands out, and I think the city is doing a great job considering the challenges the economy has given it. It stands out to me, and I feel that as long as the city continues to embrace the values that have been set forth by the forefathers of this country, the city is on the correct path.