The Coastal Post - November, 1995

Four Vie For San Anselmo City Council

BY KAREN NAKAMURA

On November 7th, two members will be elected to the San Anselmo City Council. Four people are running.

The best known: Mayor Tim Yarish. Then, there's Judith K. Hodgens, appointed incumbent; David Gladysz, merchandiser; and the CP's own Sarah Nome.

The CP decided to ask each candidate the same two questions.

First: What do you think is the main problem facing San Anselmo?

Second: What is your vision of San Anselmo in five years?

We spoke first to Sarah Nome.

"The main problem is the wise use of money. Doing the street repairs (as per the bond issue passed in June) in-house is the expensive way to go. Farm those jobs out to expert contracting firms who already have the machinery.

"My vision for SA in five years is that it should be very much as it is today. However, I'd like to see the street sweepers used more often so there's not two-foot-high weeds in the gutters.

"I hope for a wider mix of stores. It would be nice to see a hardware store. Genuine stores that serve the population, not just the second hand stores and antique stores we have now. If you want to buy a TV or refrigerator, you have to go out of town and the sales taxes go with you."

The CP then moved to Judith Hodgens. She answered the same questions.

"The main problem is our town's need to meet an increasing demand for services with decreasing revenues. Essentially, the State of California continues to hold back money paid from our property taxes so that local governments are on very tight budgets. One of the reasons San Anselmo had to pass a bond assessment this year to repave our streets was due to this revenue crunch.

"My vision is that five years from now San Anselmo will be much the same as it is today, but many of our streets will be repaved, our town services will be more user-friendly and we will have made significant progress in preserving Mount Baldy and the ridge lines."

David Gladysz answered our questions in this way.

"I see in our town the inability to establish a stable tax base. What we have currently is a municipality that administers a $6 million budget and what we really need is probably $8 million. So every year there's a short fall in services.

"Originally, people incorporated for fire and police protection and to have their streets and storm drains maintained. What's happened is we've taken all our money and built an expensive bureaucracy we can't afford. It's time to downsize and combine some of our services with our neighbors.

"In five years, I see a revitalized downtown area with new streetlights, enhanced crosswalks and an inviting feeling. I also see our business community renewing itself and coming together with the Red Hill and Greenfield merchants as well as the downtown core."

Our last interview was with Tim Yarish.

"The main complaint I hear about San Anselmo is the lack of efficiency at town hall in the planning-public works department in resolving and responding to building permits and such. That's one of the targets we're working towards, getting the process to a matter of days, not weeks.

"Other problems involved the implementation of Measure G funds, but I'm confident they'll be worked out.

"What about the future? Measure G will have taken effect by then and our streets and library will be completed. There will be a responsive townhall with a rapid permit process.

"I see more community pride. Home values will be going up because of the care with which we've handled the debt load. And because of the repairs and efforts by groups to fine-tune what is a jewel of a downtown.

"Marin Town and Country will have been adopted, with a bond measure, and will become a low-density public park with recreational facilities and swimming pools. Mount Baldy will be fully or partially acquired and protected by the City. Our solid waste diversion and recycling will be well above 50%."