Dublin Mayor David Haubert, who is seeking re-election to a two-year term, is challenged by Shawn Costello, who has run many times for a council seat or mayor, since his first try in 1990.
The Independent asked candidates about public safety, especially in the northeastern reaches of East Dublin, where there have been a high level of car and home burglaries, and a home invasion robbery.
They answered questions about a projected annual budget shortfall of $1 million that would begin around 2020,
Housing has been an issue in several ways. There are approximately 5000 units already vested with development rights by past city councils. There are another 4000 units that could be vested, but have not been so far. Candidates were asked what they would do in dealing with each of the two categories.
Other issues included striking a proper balance between commercial and residential development, growth's impacts on schools, developing more below-market housing, and traffic congestion.
Candidates appear in alphabetical order.
Shawn Costello has served on advisory committees for Wheels and for the Regional Center of the East Bay to promote the interests of handicapped people. He has lived in Dublin for 34 years.
Costello said he is running because he has always been trying to make Dublin a better place to live. "It's all going downhill too fast. They keep on building. Traffic was bad 12 years ago. It's worse now. They want to add more cars and people, and let someone else fix the problems."
Dublin does not have enough police officers, according to Costello. The city should add at least three or four more officers per 10,000 people. Dublin should be able to pay for them, because right now our property taxes and sales taxes are at an all-time high. "I don't see why they can't afford to hire more officers."
Asked about a balance of commercial and residential development, Costello said that the city has been building and building. "There's no end to it." The city will run out of places to build. "We've got to be happy with the space we have already," he said.
Costello said he favors reducing density on units that are vested for approval. "Dublin should not allow any unvested housing until we calm down. We were fine the way we were 20 years ago. Ever since (the city) started to extend past Dougherty Road (eastward), we've been falling apart."
On school construction, Costello said that when he ran 10 years ago for office, they were saying we don't need another high school, though they spent several million rebuilding Dublin High School. "We do need more schools. The mayor and city council should be working together to make Dublin a better place."
Costello said he knows about the traffic problems. As a wheelchair user, he said he was hit by a car going past him. A bicyclist ran over him in 2004.
On developing more affordable housing, Costello said there is a building near City Hall that has a ramp. He thinks it could be converted into a Wounded Warrior housing project.
David Haubert is the father of three children, was raised in the Tri-Valley, and has been married for 25 years.
Haubert said, "I want to continue the great work I've done. You can't get much done in two or four years. That's why term limits are eight years."
On public safety, Haubert said that it's important for residents to call in suspicious activity. The city uses the Sheriff's Department as its police force. That arrangement makes it possible to bring in more officers to conduct surge patrols.
On the $1 million shortfall predicted for around 2020, Haubert said that his solution would be to create a stakeholder finance committee, and look at ways to reduce costs that affect in the least way the quality of life. "We should continue to spend on public safety, but laser in on things we can do without."
Haubert stated that one of his major priorities is to bring pedestrian-friendly commercial spaces to Dublin. "We should avoid reclassifying land from commercial to residential. However, that does not mean stopping residential opportunities. They have rights, and we need to honor them. As much as possible, we should avoid rezoning of commercial areas. If we have to wait a long time for commercial, so be it."
On helping the school district to solve its classroom construction problems, Haubert said that he will support the decisions that the school board makes, and not force them one way or another. "I will help them by supporting reduction of the number of units that come from developments."
Dublin has been successful in getting affordable housing by working with non-profit Eden Housing, and needs to work more with them and other non-profits toward the goal, noted Haubert. He said that the in-lieu fee that developers pay for affordable housing is high enough. "We have more than our fair share of affordable housing. It might be helpful to look at the numbers per capita in population, and compare the numbers to Livermore and Pleasanton.
Haubert said that Dublin needs to find new ways of moving traffic through the city." It's also important to remember that the current growth plan was set more than 20 years ago. We are only two-thirds of the way through. There is another one-third of the plan to grow. We are experiencing the pains from the growth. It's temporary. We are committed to building out in the highest quality way."