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Monrovia City Council Candidate Forum

On Tuesday, April 12, Monrovians will go to the polls to select two City Council members from a slate of five candidates, including the two incumbents and three challengers. 
The incumbents are Tom Adams and Becky Shevlin. The challengers are Chris Ziegler, Joe Espinosa, and Jason Cosylion.
All the candidates except Cosylion - who was ill - were at the forum Thursday night.
Incumbents Adams and Shevlin are both involved in real estate in Monrovia. Ziegler served in the U.S. Navy, is also in real estate and has a strong interest in health issues. Espinosa, who graduated from Monrovia High in 1997 and served in the US Marine Corps, is now working for the Department of Corrections.
Some thoughts from the candidates (reverse alphabetical for a change):
Chris Ziegler
- There needs to be better communication between the city council and community through community discussions and maybe community barbeques; the city needs to "broker a truce" with the state regarding redevelopment and needs to take full advantage of the coming Gold Line.
- If the state ends redevelopment, perhaps private investment could to some extent compensate for the loss. 
- There is too much infighting and litigation in town, particularly regarding the wilderness areas.
- The schools need to open their campuses after hours so children have places to play.
- Regarding bicyclists not stopping at stop signs (an audience question), he said cities are not following state guidelines on stop signs and said this is a very complex problem and using law enforcement to stop it may be a "bad use" of police.
- Would he approve of a law that forbids smoking in outdoor seating at restaurants? "Absolutely!" he said, unless his constituents think otherwise.
- He is not in favor of term limits. "You vote them out; that's term limits."
- In responding to a question about affordable housing, he said that some cities provide affordable housing by allowing very high density housing in limited areas.
- He was disappointed that a proposal to keep parks open later was "shot down" by the city.

Becky Shevlin
- Monrovia faces "horrific" financial challenges, including employee pension benefits, which the city has begun working on, but which need to be further addressed as contracts come up for renewal.
- On smoking at outside restaurant seating, she said she would rather approach it by education rather than having the city pass a law. A declining number of smokers shows education works, she said. She added that signs, such as "Thank you for not smoking" might help.
- Shevlin said cyclists should stop at stop signs but wondered how expensive it would be to have a police office hanging around to issue tickets.
- Although she was not in favor of term limits for local elected offices, she said it is something to consider for people appointed to boards and commissions.
- She is not in favor of a rotating mayor. She said the job of mayor is far more time-intensive than that of a city council member, so people should specifically choose to run for the office.
- She is most proud of after-school youth programs, library cultural events, and the Fourth of July fireworks show, which, she said, is a "stunning" event.
- Shevlin said she wants a south-side park, but it'll cost. A two-acre park, she said, could cost $6-8 million.
Joe Espinosa
- Would like to "put Monrovia on the map" with something big, not just bears.
- If the state takes away redevelopment, Monrovians should "put our heads together" - along with the school district - to figure out what to do.
- Regarding bikes stopping at stop signs, he thinks that safety should come first, and perhaps volunteers could enforce the stopping rules.
- Would like to see a park on the south side of Monrovia.
- Likes the small-town feeling of Monrovia but the city needs big business as well.
- On term limits, he said you can always vote in new people.
- Regarding smoking at outdoor seating at restaurants, he said it is necessary to take smokers into consideration, perhaps designating special smoking areas.
Tom Adams
- The state will try to take money from Monrovia and will attempt to "drag Monrovia down." He said until redistricting is accomplished, extremists from both parties will continue to be elected to the legislature and the state will "continue to sink into a quagmire."
- The city needs to work on pension reform. He said Monrovia has some great employee groups, but pensions "definitely need to be changed."
- Monrovia needs a park for the kids south of Huntington Drive.
- Monrovia Schools have begun opening their grounds after school hours so kids have a place to play. He'd like the city to work with the schools on that.
- Rather than make a law against outdoor smoking at restaurants, he suggested people talk to the restaurant management and ask for a smoke-free outdoor area.
- He said bicyclists are not above the law and should obey stop signs.
- He is most proud of reopening City Hall on Fridays. He said it is "the most service-friendly government building in the state of California."
- He is not in favor of a rotating mayor. He said Monrovia's elected-mayor system works, so there is no reason to change.
 - Brad Haugaard

1 comment:

  1. Monrovian ResidantMarch 4, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    I understand the need to have a place for children to play but using the school grounds can be a very dangerous and expensive idea. The wear and tear of the property would cause the school district a huge amount of money. Many children would not be supervised. the school district could not afford to leave restrooms opened. Who would pay for the cleaning and the supplies? Who would manage the saftey of the children and the property? If the city paid for the school site activity leaders to monitor the children and the site; it could work. Before the Village Program. Monrovia Community Center sponsored an after school play prgram that appeared to have worked but was closed when the school district started the Village Program. What would the sports clubs do who want to rent the sites for their teams?