-Establish workable solutions to our homeless crisis
-Review and update police protocols that will enhance public safety and the protection of our school children
-Rebuild our neglected water system
-Reopen the Waterfront Amphitheater and Public Pier
-Revitalize our waterfront
-Reopen City Hall by extending its hours of operation
-Convert the light industrial buildings near our downtown area into beautiful family homes
As an Assistant District Attorney, I have specialized in criminal cases involving sanity, competency and mental disorders that require significant intervention such as conservatorship proceedings. This experience has taught me that the endeavor of protecting the public and helping those who suffer from mental health problems is very complicated and requires extensive knowledge as to how the system works (or doesn’t work.) The key is cooperation, collaboration and partnership with multiple governmental agencies… the Sheriff (who endorses my candidacy) ie Jail Health Services, the District Attorney’s Office who partners with the State Hospital System, the County Counsel who is responsible for litigating conservatorship cases and the Contra Costa County Human Services that oversees conservatorship placement and the Psych. Ward at our County Hospital.
The City of Martinez has made serious mistakes over the past few years that has resulted in the shutdown of part of our Marina (such as our amphitheater) combined with a serious spike in crime. Martinez simply established a homeless encampment on our Waterfront without effective collaboration or partnership with any of the above listed agencies. Essentially, they were allowed to pitch tents with no reasonable plan and very little oversight. A major theft and drug problem was thereby created.
We need to restart our efforts with regard to these individuals who live in our Waterfront homeless encampment. Collaboration could create a “Project Homeless Connect” that embodied the principle of “care not cash” and allows individuals who need help to genuinely access services that will help them. Governor Gavin Newsom’s new CARE legislation is a step in the right direction.
If elected Mayor, I will effectively partner and collaborate with County and State agencies to establish a much more effective approach to our homeless, drug and crime problems.
While I was Mayor, the City of Martinez installed a cutting edge Ozone disinfection system. Since my time in leadership, our water system has been neglected and that disinfectant system is currently offline. Our City is back to using chemical chlorine as a disinfectant.
Ozone is the safer and more environmentally friendly disinfectant. Ozone can treat all waterborne pathogens (bacteria, viruses, yeast, molds, cysts, mildew) while chlorine cannot. Additionally, E. coli and Giardia can build resistance to chlorine over time.
Our City needs to:
-Reinstate the Ozone disinfection system
-Add a granulated activated charcoal filtering system to more effectively improve taste, remove organic chemicals and objectionable odors
-Update our main lines (many water leaks)
-Rebuild and update our water treatment plant
“It won’t happen here,” “It can’t happen here.” YES IT CAN!! As a prosecuting attorney and a current Assistant District Attorney, just when you think you have “seen it all,” a new unimaginable act of cruelty emerges. We cannot put our heads in the sand. We must establish protocols that address how law enforcement will react to violence in our schools.. We must address how law enforcement will react to menally ill citizens acting out, domestic violence situations, and violent crime generally by way of publicly defining the appropriate use of force.
I also believe it is critical that we slow down the traffic on Alhambra Avenue as well as enhance traffic safety citywide.
Access to the very necessary services provided by City Hall employees has been severely limited. City Hall hours remain limited to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and there may be the possibility that even those few hours will be reduced to four days a week. It is time to reopen City Hall. The Planning Department, the Engineering Department and the Parks and Recreation Departments all need to be made more assessable to the public.
In order to improve employee morale and effectiveness we need to limit the number of contract/temporary employees. Commitment to service would be improved by permanent employees who live in the City of Martinez and are paid a “living wage” subject to the principles of “equal pay for equal work”. The recent closure of the Municipal swimming pool in mid-summer as well as the inability to launch street paving projects is reflective of poor management, and poor employee morale. Yet the City Manager just received a significant raise and “life time” medical benefits from the current City Council.
We can do better, much better.
Our community and leadership at City Hall can help move social justice agendas forward.
Principles that recognize a woman’s right to privacy as defined by Roe v. Wade and that embrace “living wages” for all workers as well as “equal pay for equal work” should always thread through every decision and endeavor.
Statements and declarations alone cannot be enough. City Hall needs, first, to lead by example by ensuring that our own work force is treated in accordance with these principles. A review of pay schedules and the work performed at various positions at City Hall should be done publicly and with the utmost transparency so that our adherence to these principles cannot be questioned.
Martinez has a “general purpose” government as defined by the Government Code of California that means it has planning responsibilities. Depending on the nature of a proposed project, the City can either demand or encourage that labor forces employed are treated in accordance with above stated principles.
Only effective leadership can ensure that these demands and encouragements meaningfully result in egalitarian labor practices.
Our beautiful waterfront and Marina falls under the jurisdiction of a number of State and regional agencies. These include the East Bay Regional Park District, Bay Conservation and Development Commision and the State Lands Commission. Further, there are many pipeline and rail right of ways owned by various industrial entities. In order to “polish this jewel” (our waterfront) negotiating experience will be required. I have that experience negotiating many settlements over the course of my legal career.
When, I was on the council, I was principally involved in convincing the East Bay Regional Park
District to support the building of our bridge over Alhambra Creek between the old “cannery” site (that currently hosts a number of indoor sports activities) and Berrellessa thereby enhancing waterfront access and public safety.
Martinez will need that kind of advocacy to rebuild our Marina and (hopefully) reestablish a waterfront restaurant and reopen our amphitheater.
Martinez is not an island and concerns involving our environment statewide can and should be addressed locally,
Promoting the installation of solar in new construction would help supplement the availability of energy supplied by our grid thus helping to avoid blackouts. Programs promoting “clean energy” can range from subsidies to permit variances. Imagination is the key.
Many forms of plastic have also become an environmental threat. Regulating their use and disposal locally could very well help ameliorate the impacts.
Our water supply could also be expanded by environmentally sound programs. Water supply could be expanded by programs that help with the implementation of household systems that capture rainwater. We can and should, as a City, support the use of “reclaimed” water for industrial and irrigation uses saving potable water for household use. In addition, our City should explore methods of reclaiming City storm drain runoff as opposed allowing these compromised waters to flow into our Bay.
Many of these ideas could be adopted regionally if the City of Martinez can assert a strong leadership role in forums like the Contra Costa County Mayors Conference. I have twice in the past been elected Chair of that Conference by the Mayors of the cities of Contra Costa County.
Transportation by private automobile has become increasingly more expensive in terms of time and money.
Our City could take a leadership role paving the way for a better commute to work and elsewhere that is less expensive and more convenient.
It is time for our City to consider partnering with both private AND public entities to establish greater availability and access to “ride sharing” entities. A bevy of ridesharing “startups” are emerging providing fleets of vans and private automobiles.
A new City policy encouraging the imaginative expansion creating, for example, ridesharing social networks based in our City) of these programs could in the end make transportation to work and elsewhere easier and safer.
Paid for by Mike Menesini for Mayor 2022 FPPC #1451452