San Bernardino City Bankruptcy is happy to bring you this online interview with City Council Candidate Casey Dailey.
Casey Dailey is one of two candidates challenging incumbent City Councilwoman Virginia Marquez who currently represents the 1st Ward on the San Bernardino City Council.
What do you believe the top priorities of the City of San Bernardino should be?
1. Getting the City through the bankruptcy process through a Plan of Adjustment that balances the annual expenditures, repays unpaid liabilities (that resulted from the bankruptcy), and creates a financial reserve to allow for unexpected costs.
2. Creation of a Community and Economic Vision for San Bernardino that focuses on safe communities, sustainable job creation and economic development.
3. Reforming City Hall so the City is more professionally run with clear lines of authority and accountability. Specifically, the City Manager needs to be in charge of the day to day operations of the City with clear policy direction provided by the City Council.
The City Attorney should report directly to the City Council instead of being an elected official and the Mayor’s Office should be reorganized to allow the City Manager to utilize his professional staff that will implement the policies of the City Council.
If you are elected to the City Council, the City of San Bernardino will exit bankruptcy during your term in office. What policies need to be changed or implemented to ensure that a financial crisis like this does not happen to our City again?
There needs to be greater levels of transparency in the budgeting process so the Council (and public) can clearly see how much money is being brought in, how much money is being spent and where the money is going.
There needs to be an increased level of trust in staff to provide the Council with the best professional recommendation.
One specific policy I would implement is the formation of a financial reserve policy that would require the City to have approximately 50% of the annual operating expenses in a reserve account that can only be used in extreme circumstances.
In addition to the City’s financial problems, San Bernardino has an extremely high number of jobless residents. What do you believe the City should be doing to help residents find employment and bring jobs to San Bernardino?
I think one of the most important keys to reducing unemployment and joblessness is to work with the San Bernardino City Unified School District to improve educational attainment levels.
With only 68% of people 25 and over being a high school graduate (compared to 81% statewide) and only 12% of people 25 and over having a Bachelor’s degree or higher (compared to a statewide average of 30%), San Bernardino will never be able to attract the kind of employers that create quality middle class jobs.
The City needs to partner with the SBCUSD and area colleges to create a “Pathways to Prosperity” program that supports high school graduation and continuation into a four year university, community college or trade school. A good model for this is happening with San Bernardino Valley College’s “Valley Bound Commitment” program.
I also think the lack of a community and economic vision for the City prevents it from moving in a consistent and sustained direction.
The constant in-fighting by the City Council has created a toxic environment that doesn’t help attract the types of investment San Bernardino so desperately needs.
The City Council needs to project a “certainty of success” to those who may want to invest in our City. This means getting projects through the planning process; we must simplify the process, and provide guarantees on the length of time it will take to get a development permit application through City Hall.
Once the City Council can demonstrate to the public and business community that we are capable of working together toward a common vision, I believe the kinds of jobs and employers we need, will begin to come back.
Finally, we must encourage residents to take advantage of existing services that can help those looking for work, such as the San Bernardino Employment Training Agency which assists in job searches, resume preparation, job training, etc.
Public safety is also a major concern in San Bernardino. Unfortunately both the San Bernardino Fire and Police Departments have been hit hard with cuts and loss of staffing. What types of public safety complaints are you hearing from the voters?
The biggest complaints I hear about are the long response times. People have also complained about an increase of property related crimes.
What do you think the City of San Bernardino should be doing to improve safety for its residents and families?
It’s easy to say we need to have more boots on the ground, but the real question is how to afford more boots on the ground. We need to assess if there are resources or tools that could help the existing officers on the street, such as implementing better technology.
For example, I think the City needs to install security cameras throughout the City, especially in high crime neighborhoods. Many cities like Chicago use triangulation and sound sensors as soon as a gunshot is fired, and these cameras can then instantly focus on where the sound came from.
Additionally, I think we need to have more neighborhood watch groups which allow neighbors to help neighbors. Finally, I’d like to be able to increase the number of patrol officers and bring back the non-uniformed members of the Police Department.
In order to accomplish this, the City will need to bring in additional revenue because the current levels of revenue are not sufficient. If we cannot bring in new revenue, then we’ll need to find other places to cut in the City and that will be very difficult since the City’s workforce has been dramatically reduced over the last several years.
Staying with the issue of public safety, in 2006 the voters approved a 10 year tax by passing Measure Z. Many residents and city employees are questioning whether Measure Z funds are being used as demanded by the voters when they also approved Measure YY, directing the Mayor and City Council to use this tax revenue to enhance public safety. Do you believe these funds are being used in accordance with the voters intent?
The first thing that comes to mind with this question is the fact that in 2016 (during my first term) this tax will expire resulting in dramatically lower revenues that we already receive. This is far more concerning to me than how these funds are currently being used.
Unfortunately, I do not believe the funds were specifically designated to go to a designated fund other than the General Fund which is used to pay the majority of day-to-day expenses.
I would be in support of renewing this tax without an expiration date as long as it provides more specified language that ensures the funds can only be used for public safety.
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
I would first like to thank the Police Officers Association for the opportunity to participate in this interview.
It is critically important that the City Council work with both management and staff to communicate and ensure everyone is doing everything possible to move the City of San Bernardino into a more financially stable condition and create a safe and vibrant community that attracts and retains quality businesses, supports education and provides options for people to live, work and play here.
I believe our City is broken, blind and bankrupt and needs new leadership to fix the problems the current (and previous) City Council has created. We need to work together as a team, not seven individuals, to lift the City out of bankruptcy and get it back on strong financial ground to ensure we’re never in this position again.
I bring a new and different perspective to the City Council and have fresh ideas, supported by my professional background. As the 1st Ward council member, I commit to working tirelessly and with integrity to serve the residents of my ward and the entire City. I would be honored to receive my precincts’ votes on November 5th.