Filipino Community wraps up Vallejo City Council candidate forum run
Oct 02, 2013 (Menafn - Times-Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Following closely on the heels of last week's Glen Cove event, the Filipino Community of Solano County, Inc. hosted its Vallejo City Council candidates forum Monday night.
More than 60 people attended the forum, the first in the organization's new Amador Street locale and the last all-inclusive announced candidate forum of the season.
A variety of questions were randomly assigned to the 11 candidates, all with the admonition by forum moderators to "think outside the box." Many sought candidate responses about their vision for the city's economic future -- how to get the city there, who they would work to attract, and more.
Similarly named candidates Jess Malgapo and Tony Mapalo, both Filipino-Americans, agreed that the first project they plan to focus on after taking office would be public safety.
Sitting Councilman Malgapo said he wants to increase the police force to 1 officer for every 1,000 residents, while Mapalo, employed as a security guard, championed hiring new police officers at lesser pay and benefits and supplementing them with an armed security guard contingency.
Candidate Liat Meitzenheimer said she would focus on collaborating with corporations to create new job training opportunities, while Vallejo Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Pippin Dew said she would work to create business retention and expansion programs by partnering with the various local chambers of commerce.
Asked how to deal with Vallejo's soaring unemployment rate, candidates Tony Summers and Chris Platzer suggested bringing new business to the city -- the Solano360 Fairgrounds development and a Mare Island port district, respectively.
Katy Miessner took a different tact, saying the city would have more money to put toward economic development planning if did not have to figure out how to fill a potential 5.2 million deficit if city labor group contract negotiations do not plug the spending gap. Meitzenheimer, differing from Platzer's proposal of industrial blue-collar jobs, said Vallejo needs to also create high-paying jobs that attract workers from outside city limits.
Candidate Herman Blackwell, who told the audience that he is half Filipino, urged voters to "stop electing the popular folk" like in high school. He urgest instead that voters back candidates who are "going to stand up and support the Filipino community.
Joanne Schivley and Rozzana Verder-Aliga, contenders for a single two-year seat left vacant by now-county supervisor Erin Hannigan, both touted past accomplishments during a summation round. Verder-Aliga, serving on the Solano County Board of Education and a past Vallejo school board member, said she had done her homework, made sacrifices and learned from mistakes. Schivley, a past city councilwoman, described efforts with the Vallejo Ad-Hoc Citizens Public Safety Advisory Committee and in making sidewalk curb cuts a spending priority for federal community grant money.
Fellow two-year seat candidate Ronald Johnson Jr. pledged to bring with him a century-long family history in Vallejo, a background in small business and a "passion for economic development."
Contact staff writer Jessica A. York at (707) 553-6834 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @JYVallejo.
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