In their bid for mayor, Livermore Vice-mayor Bob Woerner and Mony Nop bring unique personal stories for voters to consider.
Son of a United States Army officer, Woerner states that as an “army brat,”, he learned to be open to new experiences, people and cultures. His formative years were spent in various cities in Germany, and locations along the East Coast.
In his career, he was employed first as a physicist, and then as a corporate executive in areas that included information technology, strategy and finance in many different companies.
Looking back at his past years as a council member, a pattern emerges. He reached out to resolve difficult issues in a breadth of projects. They include the creative $2 million city small business grant program that encourages businesses to fund solutions to the pandemic in an ongoing way; access to the city’s sewer service at a time of need for Concannon Vineyards; the Stockmen’s Park land swap that provided a win-win – more affordable housing and a downtown park, and the initiation of city council subcommittees on homelessness, as well as equity and inclusion.
Mony Nop, a survivor of the killing fields in Cambodia, arrived penniless in the United States in 1983, not speaking a word of English. Later, he spent summers working with migrant workers in the fields, traveling from Stockton to as
far north as Oregon. Despite hardship, he went on to become an avid learner, and later a police officer and real estate agent.
In addition to their remarkable assets, both have deficits.
Woerner, one of the leaders of the Livermore City Council, made or endorsed erroneous statements about the downtown Central Park Plan proposed by a citizens’ group – in particular, how state housing laws would affect it, the delay it would cause, and the size of the parks in each of the plans.
Although Nop has many accomplishments, his roles as a police officer, realtor and non-profit founder do not prepare him for the difficult financial and political issues currently facing the city.
In regard to moving the 3- and 4-story Eden Housing development off the site in the center of the city to expand the number of units and create an enlarged park, he does not express support. He lists his concerns, states that he does not think the community would be very happy, and asks, “Are we nullifying the voters two to one vote recently?”
The answer is “No.” On March 3, voters secured the development agreement with the hotel on the east side of Livermore Avenue, but did not lock in plans for the 130-unit Eden Housing development on the west side.
After the March 3 election, Woerner turned a page. He reached out to those associated with the Central Park Plan to look for ways to bridge the divide. He involved a professional facilitator. He stated, “I believe it is still possible in principle to relocate the housing element, assuming that any contractual, financial and quality concerns that may arise are satisfactorily resolved as judged by the key stake-holders.”
He continues, “Once we are clear on the best plan for the Eden Housing project, I will go for it, and look for the opportunity to make it happen.”
By expressing his willingness to study the relocation of Eden Housing to provide more affordable units, and thereby make possible a treasured public park in the heart of the city, Woerner has taken an important step to heal the community.
Woerner’s financial background and years on the council give him the experience to address the effects of the pandemic on the city. Together with his interest and skill in bringing disparate community groups together in a win-win, we think that he could creatively lead Livermore into the future. We endorse him as mayor.
For its part, The Independent commits to remaining watchful and vigilant in regard to the relocation of Eden Housing, the creation of a downtown park as a local and regional attraction, and other topics that affect the vision of our community and the integrity of our government.