1) What is your name?
John D Fink
2) A council member needs support from a majority of the council to pass resolutions and ordinances. How do you see yourself working with other council members and City staff?
As a Planning Commissioner for almost 9 years I have a very good working relationship with City staff. Councilwoman Karen Rarey has endorsed me for my campaign and Karen and I are friends and work very well together. I have worked with Councilwoman Claudette Staton when she was a Planning Commissioner and we had a good relationship and I hope that will continue on the Council.
3) How do you prepare for meetings regarding controversial topics?
The most important way to prepare for a controversial item is to get input, input, input! I have meeting with folks that are involved with the project, and meeting with citizens who will be effected by the project and lastly with City staff to make sure all the input from the applicant and the citizens are consistent and does the project meet the needs of all involved and does it match up with the General Plan
4) How do you plan to involve residents in the decision making process in Brentwood?
Meet and talk with them, get their input, get their concerns out in the open. I am all about meeting someone face to face and getting the real story, getting the real information to so I can make decisions that reflect what the community wants, not what I think is best.
5) Did you provide input during the PA-1 process? How do you feel about the potential inclusion of eBart in the project?
I was the Planning Commissioner on the working group for PA-1. My comments and suggestions are already part of the overall plan. As far as the eBART, in the survey of citizens for PA-1 before we got started, 71% of the 1,000 or so people surveyed said they did not want it. I agree with those polled, but if BART wants to make its case, there are a number of items, public safety at the highest on the list, that would have to be addressed before I would reconsider.
6) Do you believe the Urban Growth Boundaries in Brentwood should be expanded?
Yes, I do believe that a westward expansion to Deer Valley Rd. is in our future. BUT…the amount of community involvement is going to be of utmost importance. All the stakeholders…the City of Brentwood, the landowners, the East Bay Regional Park District, Save Mt Diablo…they will all have a seat at the table so we can craft a plan that meets all the needs and has the least impact on the environment.
7) The current city council recently denied a project for a Goodwill facility. Do you agree with that decision and why?
As the Chair of the Planning Commission I was responsible for the denial of the project. When it went to Council on appeal, the Council made the right decision to deny the appeal of the applicant.
8) The City staff recently recommended denial of a project to develop part of Shadow Lakes and Deer Ridge golf courses. Do you agree with that recommendation and why?
I agree with Staff’s decision on the project. I believe in the consistency of the General Plan and how well it has served our community for the last 20 years. The project was not consistent with the General Plan and therefore should have been denied.
9) ECCFPD is having troubles with response times and stations closing, potentially endangering the lives of Brentwood citizens needing emergency fire and medical assistance. Given that ECCFPD is a regional agency, what steps can the City of Brentwood take to resolve this situation, and what steps would you take as a member of the City Council?
To first answer this, I have received the endorsement of the Firefighters for the election and I am already working with Chief Helmick to make sure that we are getting the word out about his strategic plan that will be the catalyst to saving the district and getting better service. I believe we need to look at all options with more citizen input on a “benefit assessment”, but also at the same time do hard research on Brentwood creating its own fire department.
10) Do you have ideas for local improvements that you think have not been discussed or considered publicly?
Economic development is very important and PA-1 is going to be a driving force to bringing high-wage jobs to Brentwood. Also, we need to focus on our Agricultural Community and strive for the creation of an Ag Economic Zone that will allow the farmers to expand into Agro-Tourism.
11) Do you believe our city has firm financial footing? If so, what would you do to maintain that? If not, what would you do to improve the situation?
Currently we are on a firm financial footing, but we are carrying debt from the construction of the Civic Center and the unfunded liabilities of our staff’s benefits that we will need to address in the years ahead. Also, if we do not expand out urban limit line as suggested by the General Plan we could be at build out faster that we anticipated and we would need to make some hard decision on how we move forward with funding staff and City services.
12) What do you love about living in Brentwood?
I love Brentwood because it is one of the last places I know that has a real sense of “community”. People caring about other people, taking up the charge when issues facing our community don’t fit and the average citizen has a voice that is actually heard. That is what I love about living in Brentwood.