City Council candidate Tony Daysog
Alameda City Council (1996-2006)
CalTrans District 4 Pedestrian Safety Committee (2009-2010)
Alameda Fiscal Sustainability Committee (2008-2009)
Alameda Economic Development Commission (1995-1996)
Education: Master's degree in City Planning from UC Berkeley / BA - US history, UC Berkeley
If elected, what would be your top three priorities?
Priority 1: implement best pension-reform plans now to preclude fiscal crises faced by other cities in California
Priority 2: Strengthen lines of communication between City Hall/City Council and the public, first through informal coffee talks and issue-focused workshops and town hall meetings that I will organize. By holding these meetings regularly, I will strengthen communication and trust between Council and the public. Other ways I’ll seek to strengthen lines of communications between City Hall and the public include creating new Council-appointed City Finance Commission and new City Infrastructure Commission (give guidance regarding streets, sidewalks, sewage and water systems), as well as Base Re-use Advisory Group to give Council guidance over Alameda Point redevelopment process.
Priority 3: implement Alameda Point plans that take into account city needs (for recreational amenities for all ages, for example) and city constraints (such as traffic caused by too much new housing): any plan we implement for Alameda Point must be sustainable, as in the following manner:
Alameda Point must “pay for itself”: taxes, fees, rents from leases, and proceeds from land sales generated by current and future activity at the Point must pay for on-going services at the Point, as well as cost of infrastructure improvements: Alameda City Hall must reserve revenues generated “on this side of the fence” for historic Alameda.
Alameda Point must be sustainable in the sense of emphasizing re-using existing buildings and sites, as opposed to developing every square of land out there with new uses in mind.
City Council must emphasize economic development (job-creation and business attraction) at Alameda Point over residential development.
With re: to residential development, City Council must emphasize mixed-use development that marries multi-family residential (no more than three stories) with economic activity on the building floor, such as commercial retail and or office, and possibly even industrial live-work.
City Council must identify, discuss, and begin implementing meaningful traffic-mitigating strategies – such as possible alterations to outbound Posey Tube to expand capacity of this infrastructure – before selecting any one or set of private sector partners to re-use or develop Alameda Point.
Alameda Point must preserve open space, walk ways, and Bay Area view corridors for the public, and work closely with regional entities such as East Bay Regional Parks to this end
What is your vision for the future of Alameda Point, and what are three steps you would take to implement that vision?
I see Alameda Point as a place where “life cycle” needs of local residents from across the City, as well as residents living there can be met. By “life cycle” needs, I mean a variety of things that everyone needs at different points in our lives:
· In terms of “life cycle” residential uses, we must plan affordable and well-designed townhouses and condos for young adults, who, over time, might then move into larger single-family homes in historic Alameda; perhaps they will purchase homes of elderly-residents who want to scale-down from large homes to active senior housing, which we must also plan for at Alameda Point. So, if we’re looking for one or a series of developer for Alameda Point, we need to understand what kind of successes can they point to with regard to implementing residential approaches that speak to all ages and price points?
In terms of “life cycle” approaches to economic development, we need to pursue young businesses in burgeoning sectors – such as food/beverage manufacturing – encourage their growth at Alameda Point, and, once mature, encourage their further growth at Harbor Isle Business Park or Marina Village. So, if we’re looking for one or a series of developer for Alameda Point, in the selection process, we need to understand how potential developers targeted and then subsequently attracted businesses in key sectors.
“Life cycle” economic development applies also to job development: we need to encourage businesses with an abundance of career pathways offering upward mobility. So, if we’re looking for one or a series of developer for Alameda Point, we need to understand in what ways these entities targeted and attracted businesses with an abundance of career pathways. What strategies work; what strategies based on their experience work less well?
In terms of recreation, Alameda point should have active recreation areas for young and young-at-heart to play informally or in organized sports activities; but we must also plan for recreational activities for persons of all ages who simply want to walk waterfront paths with beautiful view corridors or the Bay Area and San Francisco in the distance. So, if we’re looking for one or a series of developer for Alameda Point, we need to understand what thought or strategies potential builders have in mind when it comes to including in the built environment active and passive recreational amenities?
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?
When it comes to understanding the City’s “unfunded liabilities” issue, three components are key. The first two have to do with certain formulas in place, whereas the third has to do with the discrete magnitude of unfunded liabilities. In total, Alameda has roughly $200 million in unfunded liabilities. According to Alameda’s most current audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, there are roughly $95 million in unfunded liabilities with regard to CalPERS, and another unfunded liability of roughly $100 million for post-employment health care. To be sure, city workers are not going to retire en masse tomorrow, forcing Alameda to cut a check in the amount of $200 million. So we need not panic – but we need to plan!
The $95 million in unfunded liability on the CalPERS side of the equation is driven largely by the 3% at fifty retirement formula – the first of two sets of formulas discussed above. The retirement formula of 3% at 50 for police/fire and 2% at 55 for all other workers lets City Hall calculate how much in retirement pay these workers will get via the CalPERS retirement regime.
In addition to the 3% @ 50 / 2% @ 55 formulas, there are other formulas which tell how much the worker and the City will contribute toward that retirement – this is the second of two formulas referred to above. In this second set of formulas, police/fire set aside 11% of their salaries toward CalPERS retirement fund; all other workers set aside roughly 8.9% of their salaries toward CalPERS. However, bear in mind that the 11% and 8.9% are **not** the total amount of funds contributed toward workers’ CalPERS retirement. CalPERS calculates the total ratio that needs to be set-aside for workers’ retirement: so, according to CalPERS, based on future retirement pay generated by either the 30% @ 50 or 2% at 55% retirement formula, Alameda needs to set aside roughly 31 cents for every $1 in police/fire pay, and 13 cents for every $1 in pay for all other workers. As indicated, police/fire and others are already paying 11 cents per $1 wage/salary and 8.9 cents for $1 in wage/salary respectively – meaning City Hall picks up the difference by contributing 20 cents per $1 wage/salary (for police/fire) and 4 cents in $1 in wage/salary for non-police/fire.
But here’s the problem: even as we (City Hall) are legally and contractually obligated to make good on the two sets of retirement formulas described above, for a variety of reasons, City Hall has not been adequately funding CalPERS and post-employment health plans, leading to the total unfunded liability of $200 million. Why hasn’t City Hall been socking away money? Largely because, right now, City Hall is already setting aside roughly $10 million a year on CalPERS, and a little under $2 million for post-employment health. But we really need to set aside more than $10 million for CalPERS and more than the $2 million for post-employment health each year. So, in aggregate, we’ve set-aside “x”, but we really need to set-aside “z”, and the cumulative difference between “z” and “x” is $200 million: the issue is that City Hall is not socking away enough out of a concern for having enough money to pay for on-going municipal services.
Compounding the problem: the bulk of the $200 million in unfunded liability is not for current workers, but for workers who are already retired. So, as important as this is, one can’t simply change the two sets of retirement formulas above and expect everything will be fixed.
The City Manager/City Treasurer/City Auditor are right now putting together a plan to deal with the fiscal unfunded liabilities of $200 million in a sustainable manner. I look forward to reviewing their plan, if elected; but, in reviewing their plan, I will be clear as to what I, as a Councilmember, expect to see:
- two-tiered system: any **new** police/fire must return to 2% at 55
- keep 2% at 55 in place for current workers other than police/fire, and keep agreed-upon 3% at 50 for **current** police/fire staff in place, though put that on negotiating table
- Increase formula for worker contribution toward own retirement: right now, police-fire contribute 11%, with the legal maximum at 15%; non-police/non-fire contribute 8.9% of their salary toward CalPERS
- implement furloughs to generate savings that are then re-programmed back toward retirement plans: for two years, change workers’ 4 days-by-10 hour schedule to 4 days-by-9 hour hours, to generate savings over the year of up to 10% of GF wage/salaries expenditures (i.e. $4.2 million to $7.0 million). Because Alameda is already operating on a 4-day work week, and because very few people access City Hall from 8 to 9 am, this two-year furlough plan will not result in a reduction of services to the public; they are not open on Friday anyways.
- During 2 year furlough period, identify City Hall positions that can deliver services in a more efficient manner, such, after the 2-year furlough period, efficiencies and savings generating by this strategy is commensurate to annual $4.2 million to $7 million in savings generated via furlough, so that City Hall is always saving $4.2 million to $7 million a year to incrementally buy-down $200 million in unfunded liability.
- “Lock Box”: In late 1990s, Al Gore talked about setting aside Clinton’s surplus into a “lock box” to shore up Social Security: similarly, City Hall must create a policy whereby a portion of any new money must be set-aside to pay-down, along with approaches discussed above, the $200 million in unfunded liability
- Be prepared to implement Jerry Brown’s recent “50/50” CalPERS retirement, and other features of that plan: by “50/50”, Brown meant that if City and bargaining groups don’t come to an agreement in five years, cities can unilaterally impose the “50/50”, which means have workers (police, fire, others) contribute 14% of their salaries toward, with City matching up to 14% as well (hence, “50/50”)
- What is NOT on the table for me: For me, privatizing basic municipal services is not a consideration, as I am convinced we can deal with the immediate and structural budgetary deficit through freezes, cuts, revenue policies, and new retirement formulas.
Do you think there are unmet housing needs in Alameda? If so, what are they and how would you address them?
We have a moral responsibility to provide affordable housing within financial reason. We should not avoid that moral responsibility. We can focus on affordable homeownership opportunity, look at ways to work with the private sector and other public sector partners in the region to deal with a major homeownership challenge of downpayment. We must not be afraid to work with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), which identifies targets for cities like Alameda to build affordable housing; in building such housing, we should make sure to focus on well-designed, quality homes. Alameda Point offers us a great opportunity to develop mixed-income mixed-use housing that is both modern, aesthteically-pleasing, and also conducive to mass transit.
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?
When it comes to underfunded city services, the city needs to focus on point-of-service amenities like recreation. The City annually held a tennis tournament for many years; this year, there was no tournament. Years ago, there used to be the “Run for Parks”; at this years Oakland Half-Marathon, prior to the start of the race (I ran the half-marathon relay), I heard people talking about how they still lament the loss of “Run for the Parks.” Alameda is a great city with obvious natural and man-made outdoor amenities conducive to branding ourselves as an active, energetic, recreation-focused city: we need to think about strategies that marry recreation and, say, economic development/tourism. Example: why not work with Oakland to try to attract a segment of world-class California Amgen bike race here: imagine the bike race going down Shoreline Drive with SF in the distance in a made-for-TV visual. We might marry the weekend when a portion of Amgen takes place in Alameda with say, a revived “Run for Parks”, or a beach volleyball tournament near Mel’s Bowl, to generate revenues for our local Parks and Recreation Department.
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 support public-private partnerships that include a business plan that shows how volunteer partners can and will operate city services in a sustainable manner over the long-term. I support these kinds of partnerships for city services other than basic, life-line services. Thus, I do not believe we can outsource our fire department. While I understand the cost-cutting pressure behind outsourcing, I am convinced that, when we implement the unfunded liability plan I have outlined elsewhere here, we will be able to provide services without having to go the privatizing or outsourcing route. Thus, privatizing or outsourcing basic and essential municipal services is not a primary consideration of mine.
How could city government improve the way it does its job?
We need to have a Council and City staff that communicates regularly with residents. The Park Street tree fiasco of 2011 was and remains a prime example where City Hall, the business community and residents weren’t on the same page. So, in addition to more informal person-to-person dialogue between Councilmemebrs and the public, Councilmembers must also have their own web-sites and twitter feeds, to maintain 24-7 contact with residents: I intend on doing this. Since my home is literally where the Alameda Farmers’ Market is, I will make myself available to residents who want to shop there and take a moment to have coffee and chat with me.