14 Sep 2014
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Fall Election Guide: Q & A With City Council Candidate Alicia Kae Herries

Herries, 42, first got politicized when she led an effort to scale down a proposed dental practice in her neighborhood. Now, after two years as a planning commissioner, she says she is ready for a bigger role as a Petaluma council member.

Fall Election Guide: Q & A With City Council Candidate Alicia Kae Herries

Bio:
Planning Commissioner since 2010, Senior Executive Coordinator at Bio Marin Pharmaceutical since 2006. Officer at Large to the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women. Endorsed by Mayor Glass and Councilwoman Teresa Barrett.

Age: 42

Why I’m Running:
“I have a very pragmatic approach to all the issues I face and can engage people in conversation they may not otherwise have. I’m interested in open and honest dialogue and getting things done. I can embrace all opinions and will not shut down those who don’t agree with me.”

Top Three Issues:

  • Fiscal responsibility and economic development
  • Traffic congestion
  • Parks and open space

On Fiscal Responsibility:

“We need to tighten our budgets and not live beyond our means. We’ve all had to pull back and be realistic about what we can and cannot do and the city has to do the same…I’m glad about the two-tier pension program, but it’s just a short-term fix to a long-term problem and without continuing the dialogue we’re going to be faced with the same issue in two years (when police and fire contracts expire)…I’m unwilling to shy away from it and have that discussion.”

On Economic Development:
“We’re leaving money on the table by not raising our profile. We have a goldmine here, so many natural resources, our architecture, our river, agriculture, our wine…Rivertown Revival is a great example of a creative partnership that’s drawing people to Petaluma. Another way we could do that is during the America’s Cup. People could sail up here and stay in town.”

On New Shopping Centers:
“We have an abundance of vacant commercial infrastructure as it is. So I’d rather see us fill that and then talk about how we develop going forward. With Deer Creek, we’re not just talking about a new home improvement center, which we need, we’re talking about 344,000 square feet of commercial space. Traffic is already bad and it’s going to get worse. And what I’m hearing from people is that they don’t want to shop in town because of the traffic, but would rather get on the freeway and head to Rohnert Park or Novato.”

On Fighting the Proposed Dental Office on El Rose:
“When the doctors first approached us, we were jubilant because there was vandalism and loitering there, but when we saw the plans, we were concerned.
We felt the neighborhood was being compromised, with an increase in traffic, doubling the square footage and adding two new stories. So we decided to defend the integrity of the neighborhood. It was unfortunate that we had to go to the extent that we did (litigation) and I wish the city could have brought all the stakeholders together and held a community meeting.

Why You Should Vote for Me:
“We need people who are able to thoughtfully move the community forward, people who have the experiences like I have of being a community advocate…I’m unbelievably independent and so interested in what everyone has to say. Also, I live on the Eastside and I think it’s important to bring that perspective to the council.”

Campaign Website:
www.aliciakaeherries.com

Want to see more Q&As with candidates running in the municipal election? Check out http://petaluma.patch.com/topics/fall-election-guide

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