City Council Issues
If you get on council what are your main goals?
My goals are to promote fiscal responsibility and increase revenue to the city by promoting jobs and get businesses to come to Upland through an Economic Development Director. I also seek to maintain and improve our public services like improving our infrastructure, roads, sidewalks and trees. We must stay within our budgetary means, promote economic growth and create more local jobs. Examples of proactive business programs we need to implement are Local Hire program, Women’s Business Enterprise, Minority Business Enterprise and Small Business Enterprise.
What are the three most important issues that you would like to address as a city councilmember?
- Fiscal responsibility with the budget.
- Improve public services like infrastructure.
- Promote economic growth with more businesses and jobs.
What makes you a better candidate?
Out of all the candidates I am the only one that has volunteered for 31 years in Upland on a consistent basis. I have the knowledge of 16 years of working on Government contracts for the Upland Planning Commission. I have accomplished many goals that helped raise property values by working to improve our neighborhoods. I actively accomplished these goals through zoning changes, historic preservation and tax incentives that have helped our housing stock through the Mill Act and grants. I served as chair of the planning commission and helped to bring popular businesses and attractive homes to The Colonies. I also spent 3 years promoting the implantation of the 9 Historic districts which increased property values in Upland. I improved the aesthetics of the city by helping design architecturally attractive infill buildings in Upland. I love our city and pledge to continue to work to make Upland a better place to live.
What is your idea on pensions?
Pensions are controlled by CALPERS. The state needs to write legislation to control the pensions or all cities may go broke. But, what we can do to reduce the amount of retirement benefits for new hires? We can offer less benefits for medical for the future, reduce percentages for police and fire, not allow pension spiking, etc.
What should the council be doing that they are not?
We need to re-evaluate what our council should be doing. We need to be more pro-active not re-active. Not just kissing babies and going to ribbon cuttings. The City Council needs to create transparency to the citizens of Upland. Bringing back trust means developing relationships with the people. We need to be proactive in our dealings with our budget, city planning and businesses. The city needs to be more transparent by adding to their website a site so that all people can see the funds going in and out of the city. The council needs to show kindness and respect to the audience and staff to re-build the trust they have lost in the city. The City Council needs to discuss in an open manner all the issues as they arise and not just vote on them without discussion. The council needs to act in a timely manner especially when it comes to budget issues. The council could ask questions of staff to clarify issues for the people and explain what they are discussing using layman’s terms instead of acronyms that the average person doesn’t understand. I would also suggest staff send e-mails to anyone on a city mailing list interested in the agenda. The agenda should also be written in layman’s terms so that the people will understand the topics coming before the council.
How can you restore Upland’s reputation?
Each city council person needs to be a true servant to the people of Upland. We need an open government with more town hall meetings. I want to be able to discuss the concerns of the citizens. Restoration of the city’s reputation takes time and careful planning to get back what we had and progress forward. A reputation is earned and will require us to take a closer walk with our citizens and prove to them that we are a proactive council concerned for doing what is right.
Infrastructure and Environment
What would you do about Outsourcing the Management of Upland’s Water?
First, under no circumstances should we sell the water or water rights, even though that is not on the table right now. I do not believe we should outsource the management to an outside entity. While doing this can offer certain benefits under certain circumstances like pension costs, there are also considerable risks to the public interest, to water resources systems, and to the environment that require strong government oversight. Protecting public ownership of water rights, taking into account the impacts on downstream communities and the environment, and ensuring that water quality is protected are the issues that we should look at closely. Outsourcing the management of the water could marginalize the community’s right to their decision making.
It has taken us 30 years to buy up the majority of the water shares. The city was visionary in obtaining most of the shares and we have an underground aquifer. If someone took over this job, they may be less educated, experienced and knowledgeable .Why should we take away the control of one our best assets? The fact that we own our own water system is precisely why we have lower rates than other cities that do not own their own water.
How would you fix the streets?
After extensive research with an infrastructure specialist, I have found our city’s infrastructure is failing. The black tar that is put over many of our streets is simply a band aide that is only temporary. We need funding for fixing the streets or we might end up like UCLA with massive water leaks because of failing water pipes under the streets. The specialist said that there were some federal grants coming down the pike, but we needed to map our infrastructure on software. The city does not have this and said, “We don’t have the money.”
Rancho Cucamonga won an award for their infrastructure maps and gave it away to a city in Northern California. I suggest that we go to Rancho and ask to have a copy of the infrastructure software so that we can map our infrastructure and be able to be eligible for federal grants.
What plan do you have for the trees?
The city needs to plant trees that have a deep root system, not shallow roots that uproot the sidewalks. The city should install an affordable PVC pipe beside new trees that will be used to water the deep roots and discourage the roots from rising and destroying sidewalks.
The staff must respond to reports of dead trees. Six people I talked to had trees that totaled their cars, but the city did not respond to their calls to cut down the dead trees. It is easier to cut down a dead tree than to deal with a city lawsuit.
We need to address a program where people are allowed to trim their own trees on their parkway, but not cut them down without permission.
How can Upland protect its environment?
Water is our number one natural resource here in Upland. Our global reserves of drinkable water are a fraction of 1%. So Upland owning and maintaining its own water is more valuable than oil. Columbia University’s water scarcity study (February 2013) showed that most of California, from San Diego all the way to Santa Barbara, is at high risk for water problems.
Recycling is important to our environment in Upland. We can build new homes with recycling in mind like “The Double Zero House’s” for KB homes that feature a grey water recycling system, which recycles water from sinks, showers and washing machines for outdoor use. It eliminates the need to use potable water for irrigation. “ It’s the first use of grey water recycling in a home in the U.S. and a critical source of water savings given that outdoor water use accounts for 50 to 70 percent of the typical family’s water use,” according to Robert Neal, Public Works Director in Lancaster, California. Senior Manager Megan Wilcox reports, “The grey water system, combined with drought tolerant landscaping, water sensitive fixtures and real time monitoring add up to savings of roughly 150,000 gallons of water per year, or half an acre-foot, for a family of four.”
Solar Energy is another renewable energy that can be used over and over and should be encouraged in Upland. Renewable energy like Solar Energy, Hydropower and Wind Power are important for the environment.
I have read many Environmental Impact Reports as a Planning Commissioner and was sensitive to the various flora and fauna that needed to be preserved as well as indigenous animals and other environmentally sensitive issues. Preserving our natural resources is vital to Upland moving forward in the 21st century.
Business and Downtown
What can we do about promoting businesses in our city and jobs in Upland?
Businesses are a vital part of our city. I have suggested that we hire an Economic Development Director to bring in quality businesses to fill the many vacancies and promote Upland. We need to work closely with the Chamber to encourage business, but the city also needs to support the businesses through follow up and support. We need more places that the businesses can sign up online and streamline the process. We could streamline the process by having a case manager spearhead them through the process.
I would support special enterprise zoning that encourages new businesses to go into blighted areas. I support creating new jobs in our city with a Local Hire Program. On capital projects for the city, people out of work can sign up for training for free and through a local hire ordinance work on these jobs. We also need to hire our own Uplander’s with Small Business Enterprise, Minority Business Enterprise and Women’s Business Enterprise in our city. We need to also encourage more blue collar jobs as well. A study was done by Upland staff in the southwest by the border of Claremont. This area has been recommended for biotech industries. We need to promote BIOTECH, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, AND CLEAN INDUSTRIES and the infrastructure needed for this area. Being so close to the Claremont Colleges would be a great area for these types of jobs.
We need to build trust with the businesses and build back a reputation that has been fractured by inattentive staff or inflexible rules in our city. The businesses are the city’s tax base and a vital part of the economy. We are all a part of the city and need to work together to make this a successful and enjoyable endeavor!
How can we be more business friendly?
Both small and large businesses have been discouraged by Upland’s inattentiveness to their potential new business. Many have left the city and gone to other cities because of Upland not being business friendly. Many others have left after having a business in Upland and said that they would never return because of Upland City Hall being so unfriendly.
We need to streamline the processes when potential new businesses come to the city. We need one person to spearhead them through the process. A single case manager at city hall should be assigned to the applicant throughout the process that should take their applications to the various committees to expedite plan checks to facilitate their project in a timely manner. Everything dealing with the process should be written online in a step by step process. In addition, we need to work more closely with the Chamber of Commerce to promote healthier business practices.
How will you help revitalize our downtown?
Our city currently has 39 beauty salons, too many offices and too few retail stores to shop. In studying other downtowns, I have found successful downtowns have a special ordinance where they require 80% retail. Bringing in housing around the town center will help the downtown grow as well. (The Economic Director should be assigned to getting balanced good business in the downtown, with great restaurants and entertainment.)
Making our city a “Certified Local Government” could bring in grants to the downtown area to fix this area. This promotes a comprehensive approach to historic preservation at the local level which is based on federal and state standards for identification, evaluation, registration, and treatment of historical resources. It integrates preservation planning into the broader context of overall community land use planning and development processes. The plan is responsive to the particular needs and resources of each community and provides economic incentives for historic preservation.
Next, Lyons Development has proposed several hundred homes south of the railroad tracks that will attract the need for more services and shops in Upland. In the spring another developer suggested a work/live in the downtown which is a great idea.
It is imperative that we get the packing house owner on board to develop the packing house into either a work/live, (retail on the bottom and living on top) or a grocery store, movie theater, etc. The ideas are limitless!
We need to bring in Historic Preservation Tax incentives to help our downtown historic districts that are income-producing. Main Street needs to change from a 501C3 to a 501 C6 to be able to get any monies from the parking assessment. The city needs to be attentive to graffiti issues on storefronts and clean the sidewalks. The Main Street needs to work with the Chamber of Commerce.
We could also look into a certified farmers market to help the Thursday night market which offers local grown organic produce. We could have them come for free for a few months and encourage new people to come, then start charging after they have built more clientele.
We need to also look at the redevelopment area owned by the State on First Avenue that was a group of Victorian houses. (They were demolished and burned by the Fire Department for practice in the 1990’s.) We need to have a comprehensive approach and plan to develop meeting areas outside and buildings for retail, restaurants and entertainment. This should be a gathering place for our citizens. The plan for the entire downtown should not be piece-meal, but comprehensive.
Police and Fire
Police and fire: Should we outsource or combine to save money?
I would not want to outsource our police and fire department because we could not get it back easily in the future. However, combining with other fire or police forces could potentially save money. After studying the joining of the Montclair and Upland Fire Department, I was perplexed when I saw administration cost rose from roughly 2 million to 2.5 million. There are less fire chiefs to pay, and therefore we should see a cost savings. Why did the administration cost rise so much in the budget for next year?
A possible better option might be to combine with Rancho Cucamonga Fire District. They are a strong fire district and get Federal funds, which means more money from the federal government and less money that we would potentially have to spend.
For the police department, we need to consider more police officers to be more effective. There are some complaints about our Police effectiveness, which is likely due to not having enough officers.
Another cost-cutting procedure might be giving new hires for Police and Fire 2% at 50 instead of 3% at 55. No pension spiking should be allowed for overtime.
What could a city council person do to help Upland Unified School District?
Our fundamental role as a City Council in public education is as keeper of the purse. Each year our Council must approve the city’s budget. Upland City Council also makes important decisions about tax dollars that flow to the schools and whether to give schools additional revenue.
At one of the September council meetings, I addressed the council about Proposition 30 Funds for schools and public safety. After speaking with several people associated with Upland Unified School District (a school board member and the President of the PTA for Pepper Tree Elementary), none has been used for schools. The police were using part of it for the next few years and I suggested that it was important to divide the money between the two. Upland Unified must make the council aware of how they would like to spend the money. Being a 30 year retired teacher, I believe it is vital that the council and school district work together to support each other.
The council can have hearings which are a way for Council to draw attention to important issues in education, bring stakeholders together, gather information, and increase transparency by including the public in policy discussions about our public schools.
How can we help our homeless in Upland?
I have served on the Homeless stakeholder committee and I am the only city official that has served on this committee. The committee decided it was important to coordinate the efforts of all the churches and groups donating so that the efforts were not redundant (offering food services at the same time, etc.)
Stakeholders had a job fair and helped the homeless in applying for jobs. The stakeholders committee also had the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department (a task force that just deals with the homeless) come to our meeting and tell us about what they do to help the homeless. They offered homeless training to one police officer in Upland who would deal with homeless in less evasive ways so that they could also train other Upland officers. For example, instead of arresting homeless and spending taxpayer dollars, the officers could present a list of possibilities to guide the homeless to some help. For example, Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) helps homeless vets find jobs and become active members of the workforce. Sending drug addicts to drug rehab, help find shelters for families with children, etc.
As a Planning Commissioner, in the new General Plan we have zoned for a homeless shelter in an area of Upland that is not residential.
The Methodist Church has a great program called, “Bridges to Homes” where six churches in and around Upland work with the shelters to place the homeless in low income housing. I would like to work to get this expanded to more churches to meet the needs of more people.
I would like to see a mobile voucher program or a “Shelter shuttle” be started in our city where a policeman is trained to give vouchers to the homeless and a number to call. Then the mobile van would pick them up and provide a card that helps them get to a location of a shelter or appropriate location.
With this voucher program, instead of arresting and using taxpayers’ dollars we need to improve the treatment and care of the homeless. They are not given the treatment and care they deserve. We need this in our city so that it helps the person get to the location where they can be helped and it takes them off the streets. But, of course they have to want the help.
Also, in LA County they have started a motel voucher program and it is working positively to help the homeless have temporary shelter. I would be in favor of writing a motel voucher ordinance where motels are given tax credits for its participation. They take a few rooms that are not being rented and use them for voucher rooms. Upland gets bed tax money when the rooms are rented. I would like to further investigate and crunch the numbers on this.
Timm’s Closing remarks
The citizens of Upland need my strong pro-leadership and skills to take us forward. I am a known entity who has accomplished many goals that have improved our neighborhoods in Upland. First, it is vital that we put our financial house in order. We need to support new jobs in Upland by local hire programs and other programs to encourage blue and white collar jobs. The city needs to bring in more businesses with an Economic Development Director and be business friendly to the people that come to Upland. The council needs to work together as a group to support and represent you, the taxpayer and resident. We need to come to a consensus and compromise, not just three against two, that has been the pattern in the past.
I love our city and have a passion to bring Upland back to making it a thriving community for our children and grandchildren. I want to serve our city, not to press a personal agenda, but promote what is best for ALL the people. More than ever…it’s time for Timm. I am number 7 on the ballot.