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Fall Election Guide: Q & A With City Council Candidate Alicia Kae Herries

Herries, 42, first got politicized when she led an effort to scale down a proposed dental practice in her neighborhood. Now, after two years as a planning commissioner, she says she is ready for a bigger role as a Petaluma council member.

Bio:
Planning Commissioner since 2010, Senior Executive Coordinator at Bio Marin Pharmaceutical since 2006. Officer at Large to the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women. Endorsed by Mayor Glass and Councilwoman Teresa Barrett.

Age: 42

Why I’m Running:
“I have a very pragmatic approach to all the issues I face and can engage people in conversation they may not otherwise have. I’m interested in open and honest dialogue and getting things done. I can embrace all opinions and will not shut down those who don’t agree with me.”

Top Three Issues:

  • Fiscal responsibility and economic development
  • Traffic congestion
  • Parks and open space

On Fiscal Responsibility:

“We need to tighten our budgets and not live beyond our means. We’ve all had to pull back and be realistic about what we can and cannot do and the city has to do the same…I’m glad about the two-tier pension program, but it’s just a short-term fix to a long-term problem and without continuing the dialogue we’re going to be faced with the same issue in two years (when police and fire contracts expire)…I’m unwilling to shy away from it and have that discussion.”

On Economic Development:
“We’re leaving money on the table by not raising our profile. We have a goldmine here, so many natural resources, our architecture, our river, agriculture, our wine…Rivertown Revival is a great example of a creative partnership that’s drawing people to Petaluma. Another way we could do that is during the America’s Cup. People could sail up here and stay in town.”

On New Shopping Centers:
“We have an abundance of vacant commercial infrastructure as it is. So I’d rather see us fill that and then talk about how we develop going forward. With Deer Creek, we’re not just talking about a new home improvement center, which we need, we’re talking about 344,000 square feet of commercial space. Traffic is already bad and it’s going to get worse. And what I’m hearing from people is that they don’t want to shop in town because of the traffic, but would rather get on the freeway and head to Rohnert Park or Novato.”

On Fighting the Proposed Dental Office on El Rose:
“When the doctors first approached us, we were jubilant because there was vandalism and loitering there, but when we saw the plans, we were concerned.
We felt the neighborhood was being compromised, with an increase in traffic, doubling the square footage and adding two new stories. So we decided to defend the integrity of the neighborhood. It was unfortunate that we had to go to the extent that we did (litigation) and I wish the city could have brought all the stakeholders together and held a community meeting.

Why You Should Vote for Me:
“We need people who are able to thoughtfully move the community forward, people who have the experiences like I have of being a community advocate…I’m unbelievably independent and so interested in what everyone has to say. Also, I live on the Eastside and I think it’s important to bring that perspective to the council.”

Campaign Website:
www.aliciakaeherries.com

Want to see more Q&As with candidates running in the municipal election? Check out http://petaluma.patch.com/topics/fall-election-guide

Bill Jones August 27, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Ha! Yeah right, 'unbelievably independent.' Her endorsements and campaign funders so far are the same-old, same-old progressive politicians like Torliatt, Glass, Matt Maguire (Gee, another NIMBY who sued the city when development didn't go his way!) And her solution to people being tired of traffic is to throw up her hands and say people want to go on the freeway anyway, so lets not do anything?! What a vision there! It's really tough to guess if Herries or Renee will finish in last place this year. Healy and Kearney are shoo-ins despite the crap the knee-jerk progressive NIMBYs will throw at them, and Davies and Miller will battle for the third spot, Miller having the advantage because the council only has 2 women right now and Renee won't win again, and also because Davies has already lost previously ... and is so busy wrapping himself in the "business guy" flag that progressives who would otherwise back him are going to start thinking he's Mitt Romney.
tony August 27, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Ms Herries self introduction seemed just fine to me but I tripped up over the East side reference; as I did on Ms Miller's. I'm looking for candidates who exhibit leadership skills. Evoking us vs them, Eastside vs Westside is the opposite of leadership as a stand-alone observation; its also almost surely pandering on the part of candidates. Please understand that I'd be every bit as displeased if someone played that card from the west side of town. We're not already polarized enough over many issues? Gridlock and the resulting inability to move forward come from polarized attitudes; running on it is what the knuckleheads in Washington and Sacramento do, and how happy are we with their results? I need more info on these folks (and thanks to Patch for this much!) before making my decisions, but neither of these two have a checkmark from me for leadership at this point.
Don Lewis August 28, 2012 at 06:05 PM
This part is SPOT-ON: "“We have an abundance of vacant commercial infrastructure as it is. So I’d rather see us fill that and then talk about how we develop going forward. With Deer Creek, we’re not just talking about a new home improvement center, which we need, we’re talking about 344,000 square feet of commercial space. Traffic is already bad and it’s going to get worse."
Patrick M. August 29, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Counting on a small amount of tourism money from a one time event like the Americas Cup event is not much of a financial plan for the city. That kind of thinking is why the city is broke. More of the same.
Eric August 30, 2012 at 09:46 PM
We need this kind of thinking like we need another Starbucks. Lets get real!
Petaluma Seer September 07, 2012 at 09:25 PM
This is the kind of leadership Petaluma needs. A strong woman who supports Women in our community. Someone who sees the reality of the traffic and it's relationship to commercial development. It is refreshing to see a sitting Government Leader actually address the large numbers of vacant commercial buildings already built, which can bring in dollars now, if filled, rather than down the road builds. Having read the traffic analysis of the new Shopping Centers she is "Spot on". I have observed her governing on the PC with a discerning eye and she brings balance to the conversations. She is not a push over and can stand her ground with developers in an effort to obtain what is best for the citizens and the city. She has my vote.

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