BRENTWOOD -- A debate at Summerset III on Oct. 4 provided a large audience with the opportunity to question Brentwood mayoral and City Council candidates on issues pertaining to both the senior community and the entire city.
"Our job is take what you want as residents and just verbalize it," said Vice Mayor Steve Barr, who is challenging incumbent Mayor Bob Taylor in the November election. "It is your vision. We only act on your vision."
Barr said that he is focused on achieving a sustainable and balanced budget, continuing to support local education and creating high-paying jobs through the high-tech and manufacturing industries.
Taylor stressed his past accomplishments in improving Highway 4, maintaining a full police staff and advocating for the city on regional committees. When West Nile virus concerns were brought up in regard to Summerset's ponds, Taylor reminded residents of the power of their unified voices.
"We need to address it as a city. Do a petition and demand some results. You guys are very vocal," he said.
Later in the evening, four of the five City Council candidates took part in a roundtable discussion, with incumbent Erick Stonebarger absent. Former council member Chris Becnel emphasized the need to preserve Brentwood's property values as the key to maintaining the city's revenues and finding alternative solutions to issues.
"Many times, problems may seem insurmountable," said the attorney and CPA. "I like to go out and find the answers in the community because frequently it is there."
If elected, Liberty Union High School District Assistant Superintendent Gene Clare promised to examine many city fees on behalf of residents to ensure that they are fair and as low as possible. He also promised to listen to residents after the seniors asked about rising rates for local services.
"I'm a person that leads by serving others," Clare said.
Registered nurse Carissa Pillow said that she is accessible to residents and open minded on the issues. She highlighted her passion for making Brentwood the greenest and most sustainable community in the nation.
"This is such a field of opportunity," Pillow said of attracting bio-tech businesses. "We have the demographics for a green movement."
Incumbent Bob Brockman touted his accomplishments in improving the city over his two terms in office while planning Brentwood's growth. He would like to continue working on the city's General Plan, a guide for the city's next 10 to 20 years that is in the early stages of development.
"I have invested in this city for a long time," Brockman said. "It is important that we get the history there."
Event moderator Joel Keller read written statements from Stonebarger, who stressed dealing with the city's fiscal challenges and debt to ensure future services.
"I believe you need someone who won't tell you what you want to hear, but someone who will make tough decisions," the farmer wrote.
Contact staff writer Paula King at 925-779-7174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.