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A One Year Review for Vallejo City Council


  
 

 

By Councilmember Robert McConnell

1/28/13

 

Having completed one year on the Vallejo City Council, it is gratifying to have had the opportunity to work with some superior colleagues on the council. My personal admiration for my fellow council members and, in turn, their concerted efforts to help improve the City of Vallejo remains unwavering.

 

During this past year, Council member Brown has implemented a stellar, progressive policy called “Participatory Budgeting.” Freely translated, this involvement means that the citizens and taxpayers of Vallejo will now have direct participation as to how some of their Measure B tax dollars will be spent. Council member Brown and her committee have conducted several ‘town hall’ type meetings to illuminate several projects that would directly benefit Vallejo and her people as a community. So far there have been several hundred suggested uses made by the people. An appointed, diversified community based volunteer group will narrow the selection to a few dozen most popular choice projects which will benefit all citizens. $3.2 million will be offered (from Measure B sales tax money) to improve the city of Vallejo for, of and by her people. For the first time ever, citizens will be allowed to vote for their most desired projects. This will be done in an extremely democratic process; and the greater good of the community will then be realized. This program had previously been implemented in Europe, but it is a ground breaking concept for an entire city within the United States. Now other cities are looking carefully at the plan. We should all extend high compliments and praise to Council member Brown for her stalwart efforts in successfully bringing this concept to the city of Vallejo.


During this time also, Council member Gomes had introduced a Citizens Ad Hoc overview committee to help improve best practices within the Vallejo Police & Fire Departments. This committee, chaired by former Council member Joanne Schivley, worked diligently and patiently for several months to produce myriad suggestions as to how to better improve our police and fire departments, particularly with respect to increased open communication between the departments and the community. During that time our City Manager, Dan Keen, has hired a new police chief, Chief Joe Kreins. Once the city council has reviewed the Ad Hoc committee’s recommendations, Chief Kreins promises to do all that he can do to incorporate some of these valuable changes within the police department. He has frequently stated that he would very much like to make a difference in helping to improve more open communication between his department and Vallejo citizens. Our Fire Chief, Paige Meyer, has also been open to new suggestions and improvement implementations. Good, solid progress is already noticeable.


Other council members have contributed many things as well. Mayor Davis has raised substantial funds for several Vallejo non-profits by way of a Golf Tournament and other fundraising efforts. He has also championed the sad homeless issue, and has allocated much of his time and effort in helping the U.S. Department of Justice investigate our tragic police involved shootings within the community. Council member Sunga continues to work hard on behalf of veterans, and business interests. Former council member Hannigan has worked diligently to champion the Chronic Nuisance ordinance which hopefully will be completed in the near future, along with other neighborhood association orientated legislation.


Citizens may be assured that Vallejo has a progressive council. All of its members have the best interests of the people at the forefront of their minds. It is my pleasure and great honor to be a part of that efficacy. Let us make every effort to continue that progression after the upcoming November election when four seats will be eligible for election: Brown, Gomes and Malgapo, Sunga. Unfortunately, Stephanie Gomes and Hermie Sunga will have completed two terms making them ineligible to run for council this year.


Robert McConnell,

Vallejo City Council Member

1206 Georgia Street Vallejo

(707) 642-4500