[VIDEO] Dublin Candidates for Mayor Spar in Debate at Forum Organized by Citizens
The majority of Dublin residents rarely venture into the Dublin Civic Center. Those that do are often seeking out building permits, are collecting city forms or are attending a City Council meeting. This made Thursday night a somewhat fascinating experience. A locally generated and promoted event highlighted a public debate with the four candidates seeking out the office of Mayor of Dublin for 2014 and beyond. Current Mayor Tim Sbranti will be terming out of his role and is pursuing office in the State Assembly. Thursday night’s event provided a platform for all four candidates to be heard. The candidates are: Shawn Costello, Kevin Hart, Kasie Hildenbrand and David Haubert. All four candidates possess respective merits and OneDublin.org elected to cover this event, including video highlights from the opening statements, questions and closing remarks.
While the subject matter presented was wide-ranging, we attempted to distill the questions and/or comments that related to educational matters. The debate was a two-hour affair that included questions to each candidate with provided a two-minute window to respond. This was then followed by a one-minute rebuttal by each individual. The debate concept was organized by local residents Kerrie Chabot and Mary Morehead, and was co-moderated by Todd Padnos and OneDublin.org editor, James Morehead.
The debate was well attended as more than 80 concerned citizens filled the City Hall chambers. Further, it was a very diverse group that represented all corners of Dublin. The event both started and ended on time.
The eight topics/questions centered on these themes:
- Excessive residential development
- Development of a pedestrian-friendly downtown
- Opportunity sites for vacant parcels
- Factors outside of city control
- Perception of developer or special interests influencing city council
- Which candidate could be the face of selling Dublin
- Prioritized spending/targeted cuts to the budget
- Doolan Canyon development (Measure T).
We attempted to amalgamate the comments by each individual candidate with a focus on their respective opening/closing statements and their responses to items 1, 4 and 8. We will address each candidate in alphabetical order.
Shawn Costello: Mr. Costello is a long-time Dublin resident that has run for various offices over the past 30 years. He is an ardent supporter for disabled access and has served on the Wheels Advisory Committee (WAC) and has been a Housing Commissioner for four years.
Mr. Costello advocated slowing down the rate of residential housing and cited the lack of Section 8 availabilities. He also mentioned the recent loss of parking at the Dublin BART station due to the new construction of housing units. He is opposed to Measure T. In closing, he cited his support of Measure BB which addresses bicycle and pedestrian safety.
Kevin Hart: Mr. Hart has served on the city council for six years and two as Vice-Mayor. He noted leading the city through the recessionary period without significant layoffs and a reduction in critical services. He is also a former DUSD trustee.
Mr. Hart noted that many of the residential development agreements were approved 8-10 years ago. While he acknowledges that the school district does not have the funds currently to support new school construction, the focus is imminently on the here and now. He is advocating for the development of BART to Livermore to alleviate pressure on Dublin’s infrastructure. Mr. Hart does not support Measure T.
Kasie Hildenbrand: Ms. Hildenbrand describes herself as a “grassroots” organizer. She had previously served two terms on the Dublin City Council – two times serving as Vice-Mayor. She also pointed out the current lack of diversity on the current city council.
Ms. Hildenbrand expressed her desire to reconsider housing density levels. She noted an imbalance between housing and commercial/retail plans. Kasie also was specific in differences with the school district demographer for enrollment growth curves. She also advocates BART to Livermore. She is opposed to Measure T.
David Haubert: Mr Haubert served for ten years on the DUSD Board of Trustees and for a time in the capacity of President. He is currently a member of the Dublin City Council and recently helped to create a Community/Commercial task force to explore future development in East Dublin.
Mr. Haubert expressed his passion for re-examining the East Dublin specific plan once he joined the city council – one that had not been review for many years relative to explosive growth. He stated that schools are the number one issue facing Dublin and is advocating a heightened level of communication between the City and DUSD. He is opposed to Measure T.
So, it happened tonight – the first contested election for the Mayoral seat in Dublin in many, many years. There is much at stake. Video highlights from the event are included below, conveniently organized by question. The general election day will be Tuesday, November 4th. Make your voices heard as a myriad of issues will be at stake for the future our fair city.
City of Dublin Candidates for Mayor Debate Video
Question: “Many people have expressed the opinion that Dublin is becoming a bedroom community due to excessive residential development. What is your vision for Dublin and how as Mayor do you plan to achieve that vision?”
Question: “Do you support a pedestrian friendly downtown, and if so how much retail space would be required, where would it be located and how are you going to make it happen?”
Question: “The City Council recently commissioned a citizen group to study four vacant parcels of property in Dublin, among others. Are you willing to seek modifications to existing zoning and the current specific plan? If so, in what way would you change the plan and what is your position on the specific mix of commercial, retail and residential zoning that ought to be approved by the City Council?”
Question: “There are many issues that the City does not directly control but that have a significant impact on our citizens, for example the lack of BART parking. What do you view as the top three challenges outside of the City Council’s control and what will you do as Mayor to ensure our voice is heard at the County and State level?”
Question: “There’s a perception by some within the community, reflected in the questions we received from citizens, that developers and other special interest groups located outside of Dublin have undue influence over the City Council. While there is no prohibition against donations from special interest groups, Dublin citizens would prefer that candidates accept future donations solely from Dublin registered voters. What is your view of a pledge to accept future donations solely from Dublin registered voters?”
Question: “What will you do as Mayor to attract more upscale retail, high quality businesses and high paying jobs to the City Dublin?”
Question: “In the past few years, several California cities have reached the point at which they cannot meet their economic obligations and had to file for bankruptcy, causing a great deal of distress for their citizens. Hopefully, we won’t reach that point here in Dublin, but we can’t ignore the issue. If elected mayor, how would you prioritize spending and what area would you look to cut in the event that revenues are insufficient to balance the budget?”