WHAT WE BELIEVE
"We believe that when given a choice, the people of Vallejo will vote to renew the political culture in our city and reject a status quo dominated by special interests. We trust that most citizens will choose compassion and common sense over fear and dogmatic thinking. We believe there are now enough like minded people in Vallejo to form a potent political coalition unified around a progressive, forward looking vision for our city that will serve all its people. Here is your chance to help us make that happen."
Along with public safety concerns, top local business leaders surveyed for an economic development report in 2012 frequently cited uncertainty linked to Vallejo’s political environment as a factor holding back economic development. Conflicting visions of the city, a lack of stability in policy and vision, and priorities out of line with business interests surfaced repeatedly as obstacles to progress.
While professional planners push for a mix of downtown development projects that appeal to young Millennials, the mayor and his council supporters drive them away with dogmatic opposition to voter-approved medical cannabis and prayer events that become platforms for diatribes against gay marriage. Vallejo needs leadership that looks to the future and embraces the diversity that distinguishes our city in the twenty first century.
Vallejo’s unemployment rate hovered near 8% in April, while Benicia’s was less than half that. Vacaville stood at 4.7% while the county as a whole registered 5.8%, even with Vallejo pushing that number higher. Those statistics hide the true economic disparity in economic activity, because so many Vallejo residents must commute to other cities for employment or have given up looking for work.
Vallejo lags the region badly in sales tax revenue per capita. We continue to pay for economic development plans we can’t afford to implement, while a council majority refuses tax revenue voters directed the city to collect. The moral concerns of our leadership should be directed toward the lack of jobs and it’s effect on opportunity and our quality of life.
Elected officials tend to dislike participatory budgeting for the same reason they dislike the recall process: it takes power out of their hands and gives it to the people. This pioneering program managed to engage citizens at the grass roots level and attract rare positive national press coverage for Vallejo when it first began with more that 3 million dollars of tax money to invest in the community.
Mayor Davis never supported it and the Jump Start slate apparently lost their enthusiasm once the election campaign ended. We’ve seen a slow strangulation of the program with annual million dollar budget cuts and corresponding loss of enthusiasm among participants. One more opportunity squandered. We advocate putting more money back into PB process.
We can all agree that our embattled police force needs more of their number on the street. Top business leaders repeatedly cite concerns over police staff cuts and the safety of employees, customers, and business property as obstacles to attracting new businesses. Our traffic department is badly understaffed for a city the size of Vallejo, and it shows. We continue to ask our officers to do a lot more with a lot less. “In Vallejo, officers lost 16% of their wages and were asked to pay more for benefits. When the city filed for bankruptcy, officers made additional concessions, agreeing to a 6% pay cut, a more restrictive healthcare plan, and changes to the way sick time is calculated,” according to detective Mat Mustard.
We have also experienced an uptick in police shootings in recent years, the underlying causes of which need an open and honest examination. The recruitment video released by the department last year containing dramatic images of violent force raises legitimate questions about the temperament of recruits those images might attract.
Kudos to the Vallejo PD
This year's video strikes a welcome tone and they deserve credit for the effort to engage with the community.
Housing the Homeless
Instead of blaming people caught in a downward spiral for their circumstances, we believe the city should explore the promising housing first models that have succeeded in helping people get off the streets while saving tax dollars.
We have vacant properties all over town and hundreds of people without shelter. Providing a place to live independently while working on the problems that landed the homeless on the street in the first place has a demonstrated record of success in addressing this seemingly intractable problem. With compassion, common sense and community support we can help bring hope to the hopeless.
In 2011 Measure C appeared on the Vallejo November election ballot to add Chapter 5.05 to our Municipal code, titled the "Marijuana Business License Tax." It passed in a landslide, with more than 76% voting to approve a special tax of up to ten percent of gross sales of medical cannabis. Chapter 5.05 opens with the following statement of purpose: " This chapter is enacted solely to raise revenue for municipal purposes and is not intended for regulation."
Clear enough, and Section 706 of the Vallejo City Charter says: "The Council shall provide by ordinance for the collection of all taxes and revenues due the City, either under the direction of the city manager or by agreement with the County of Solano, the State of California, or any other agency regularly engaged in the collection of a given tax or other revenue." No confusion there, voters direct the city to collect the tax and it's the Council's job to develop and implement the regulatory ordinance to make the tax collection happen.
But the Council majority, under the leadership of Mayor Davis, failed to perform it's ministerial and fiduciary duty to the citizens who went to the ballot box and spoke so clearly. The Mayor opposed Measure C and made no secret that he considered cannabis dispensaries undesirable. No ordinance for regulating dispensaries or collecting taxes due the city was developed, but even so the city was receiving $750,000 annually from a fraction of the dispensaries who tried to keep faith with taxpayers.
The three JumpStart Councilmembers spoke at a candidate forum before their election about the need to regulate for the success of Measure C and collecting the taxes like water bills. Once in office they joined the Mayor in a pointless and ridiculously expensive fight with the patient community and their dispensaries by first trying to shut them all down, and then attempting to severely restrict the number.
When you add up the lost revenue in taxes that weren't collected, the city resources devoted to a failed attempt to shut out an industry that voters approved, and the dispensary resources thrown into legal and political wrangling that could have been invested in the community instead, the cost of the terrible judgment shown by our elected officials has been staggering.
Environment and Sustainable Development
We want to ensure that future economic development recognizes the environmental constraints Vallejo will face in the coming century. Projects that preserve and enhance our natural beauty, protect our watersheds and wetlands, conserve resources and emphasize green technologies will position us for long term prosperity.
Arts and Culture
We intend to create a political culture that will complement and nurture the artistic community and help attract patrons and shoppers downtown to our galleries and venues.
Respect for Diversity and Separation of Religion and Government
Back in 2011 on the Harvest Evangelism web page, Mayor Davis is quoted under the banner VALLEJO CITY OF GOD - Mayor and City Council Look to God to Heal Their City: “If the church does her job,” declared our Mayor, “the city will be transformed.” Instead of healing the city, our mayor and his supporters continue to link the name of our city and its officeholders with divisive minority views on issues like gay marriage. The mixed and too often intolerant messages coming from city hall do not reflect the opinions of a majority of residents or the character of our city, which is among the most diverse in the nation.
Our Mayor relies on the political support of a local network of evangelical church pastors affiliated with the international Transformation movement. This religious subculture aims to combine church and state into an all encompassing theocracy. On the Transformation Vallejo web site you can find the following unambiguous statement: “The discipline of nations is our primary task on earth.” Reading further you find an explanation of what they mean by that.
“Key Point: It is possible to disciple a nation. Nations have been, and are being, discipled all the time. To disciple someone means to turn that person into a follower of the teachings you espouse. In the case of a nation it means to impact its life so that it will conform to a set of specific values and develop a corresponding behavior.
The Romans “discipled” nations by conquering and imposing on them the Pax Romana.
Lenin “discipled” Russia and the Soviet Union by molding in a regimented and all-encompassing way the lives of millions with Communist philosophy.
Mao discipled China with Communist philosophy.
Militant Muslims actively take over nations and disciple them a la Ayatollah Khomeini to be followers (disciples) of Mohammed.”
They go on to further explain that this discipling is a sequential process that starts at the city level and expands to include regions then nations and on to the ends of the earth. It’s not a secret agenda, it’s right there on the Transformation Vallejo web site. It’s just one that is not widely known and understood. In public most members of this minority subculture are careful to talk as though they are tolerant, reasonable people and don’t emphasize their theocratic ambitions. The mayor’s public prayer events look far less innocuous when you understand his purpose behind hosting these displays.
We believe that there is no place in our public institutions for religious dogma of any variety, and the separation of church and state must be preserved. Recalling Mayor Davis will serve as a clear rejection of leadership that attempts to bring our diverse community into conformity with an intolerant minority belief system.
Read more about the Transformation movement, also known as the NAR, and some of the people appearing in this video from Christian bloggers raising the alarm:
Operation of the Florence Douglas Senior Center has mirrored much of the dysfunction seen at city hall. From leadership with little in the way of qualifications other than crony connections, to the lack of respect shown to much of the diverse senior population, the themes are familiar. We want to bring a spirit of participatory democracy to the operation of an expanded campus of facilities, with additional resources devoted to serving the full spectrum of Vallejo’s seniors.
Our kids need help. They can’t learn if they don’t feel safe on their campuses. Participants repeatedly describe a system that gives attendance statistics priority over creating an environment conducive to learning - a system that appears top heavy with administrators that treat substandard performance as a public relations problem.
It’s a very real problem for the entire city when young families move out of town to avoid sending their kids to our troubled schools. Replacing the city council majority will not directly address the problems in our under-performing schools, but we consider it a first order priority and pledge that school board elections will be next on our list.
It’s one thing for leaders to claim to know what’s in the mind of voters and act on that belief in the absence of good polling or an election where the issue is on a ballot. It’s something else entirely for an elected official to overrule voters for personal reasons when they have weighed in on an issue in an open election. That is exactly what has happened with Measure C, passed with the approval of more that 76% of Vallejo voters in 2011.
Under the leadership of Mayor Davis, the council majority reneged on their campaign promises to work for the success of the approved ballot measure. Instead they voted to refuse voter-approved tax revenue and tried to shut down all the medical cannabis dispensaries. While the targeted businesses have been successfully integrated into neighboring communities as valued members, our council majority instead looked to southern California for models where they have been successfully excluded.
The result has been a protracted pointless fight with the patient community that has cost the city many millions of dollars in lost revenue and wasted time and resources. The voters were right and the mayor and his backers on the council were dead wrong on this issue. We have a civic duty to protect the democratic process, and when elected officials deliberately ignore election results and their campaign promises to voters we need to hold them accountable.