I’m just going to come out and say it: I’m worried. I’m worried that our City Council is finally making progress on some key issues for American Canyon, and we’re in danger of slamming the brakes on that progress if we as a community make the wrong choices in the November election.
I get that voters are frustrated and want change. That’s why three new candidates are running for City Council this year. But in our rush to make change, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.
The two City Council members who are driving positive change in our community — Mark Joseph and David Oro — are the same two who are facing challengers. Mark has served as a council member for eight years; David since February 2017. They spearhead the new majority on the council that’s dealing with the big issues that have been ignored, such as traffic, the town center and water.
In the last two years, thanks largely to their efforts, the council has addressed water rates, is wrapping up the cannabis issue and will tackle Watson Ranch before the election. On traffic, they are proposing to build parallel roads (Devlin and Newell extensions) to get vehicles off the highway (no more waiting for Caltrans to act). There’s long-term thinking happening for a change. For years, Mark was the lone long-term thinker on the council, until David joined him. Together, they’re a breath of fresh air. There’s momentum.
I’m surprised to find myself advocating for politicians of any kind. As a Vietnam vet, I learned decades ago to distrust politicians. To my mind, the vast majority of them have their own agenda, no matter the level of government. But today I’m engaged again with American Canyon politics and I see cause for optimism.
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However, if we make the wrong choices in November, we could end up with a majority on the council that’s more interested in special events and taking selfies than addressing the big issues. The challengers don't have track records of engaging the community or taking leadership roles — that is, until they decided to run for office. And Mayor Leon Garcia, who has been on the council since 2002, seems more focused on being mayor for life than on change. Perhaps that’s why he supports the other candidates over Mark and David — because he doesn’t like the force of change that they represent.
The city's future needs are now being addressed — so this November, let’s not make change for the sake of change. Let the momentum continue and vote to keep Mark Joseph and David Oro in office.