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Fall Election Guide: Q & A With Jason Davies

A runner-up in the 2010 election, business entrepreneur Jason Davies has many ideas for attracting companies (and not just high-tech) to Petaluma without dilluting its quaint feel.


Bio:
Founder and CEO of Eleven Dimensions Media, a media technology company and former vice president of business development of BIAS, a Petaluma audio software company. Member of Technology Advisory Committee since 2010.

Age: 44

Why I’m Running:
“I’m at the point in my life where I want to give back to the community. I have a real stake in the community, with two kids in elementary school. I bring a unique skill set from nearly two decades of international experience in business development in the technology sector and bring a more international perspective having lived in Holland for two years.”

Top Three Issues:

  • Drawing more businesses to Petaluma, especially high-tech companies, which are clean and green. Also focusing on other sectors identified in the Economic Development Plan, such as health care and food and beverage processing.
  • Retaining the historic feel of our town
  • Enhancing our access to the river


On New Development:
“There are certain types of developments that can undermine the very attractive force of our town: the clean air, the parks, the historic downtown. These are things that aren’t incompatible with business, in fact, they foster it...My tendency is to advocate the reuse of existing structures as best as we can and promote a proper mix of retail that doesn’t undermine what we have.

“We need to find ways to draw businesses here, either by offering them goal-based tax incentives (reducing taxes if they commit to hiring a certain number of people) or if they grow by a certain amount...But really there are already a ton of incentives and we just need to market them better. Sometimes the message about Petaluma is tainted and we need to take a positive approach to attract the right kind of business and let people know that we are open for business.”

On Being More Business-Friendly:
“We need to be competitive with other cities. We’ve already made efforts to lower our impact fees and implemented streamlined permit processes. Now we have to let people know about them...But I also have lots of ideas like developing an smartphone app people could use to find which local stores carry what they are looking for.”

On Raising Revenues:
“If we are trying to prioritize revenues for the city, while retail is an important component, high-paying jobs is even more important. So it’s not that I oppose big box stores, but they are typically offering very low wages that don’t allow people to live in this area, which means there is more commuting...

I think the model for retail is changing and I don’t know if the larger format stores are working for everybody anymore...People are shopping differently (including online) and I think the days of the huge inventory are over...so as we develop these retail spaces, we need to make sure they are consistent with modern trends.”

“You need to have a long-term, mid-term and immediate trajectories to bringing money in besides raising taxes...I think we will need to make more cuts moving forward and I’m not sure every stone has been turned over. I want to see if there are ways we can be more fiscally responsible, while at the same time developing a stronger marketing platform to bring more business. If your efforts start now, the impact can be felt as soon as in a couple of months.”

On Smart Growth:
“I want to make sure that as we grow, we do it sensibly and responsibly. I want to make sure the things that make Petaluma different are retained because that’s key to us being a tourist destination.”

Campaign Site:
www.jason4petaluma.com

sadie August 27, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Ok, this guy does not have a clue! We are going to save Petaluma with a phone app. He thinks I can buy 2x4s online. Sales taxes are what fund city services,not jobs online sales take away from that. This guy doesn't get it, the new jobs in town have gone into existing buildings, that is because Petaluma is so difficult to get anything new built. If he is a leader with tech, then why don't we have online permits and wifi ? He has a one man show for a job, perviously worked for a company with so few people they all called themselves excutives, so what does he know about the changing face of retail? This guy reads too many books, strike that online articles on social theory, but does not understand how things work in the real world.
The Fool August 28, 2012 at 05:18 AM
Good lord. He reads too many books. Best not have that. In the real world, people don't read books to learn how things are. What, they just watch Fox? I wasn't going to vote for this guy, but given that comment, now I that I know who is opposition is, it does make him more appealing...
Ptown August 28, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Seems like a nice guy, but out of touch with anyone outside of his "circle". While talking about some jobs pay he said "but they are typically offering very low wages that don’t allow people to live in this area, which means there is more commuting..." HUH? This would not only include national retailers but many local business. Do we need to not have cafes, restaurants etc.... Also seems discriminatory, if you are a certain skill level we don't want you to have a chance to work in Petaluma. Should Marin not allow jobs that pay under 200 grand because of the price of living. It's not the wages that need to change it's the price of living.
Petaluma Seer September 07, 2012 at 09:41 PM
I agree with Mr. Davies views. For too long our city has been bottom feeding in that they are interested primarily in bringing low paying jobs into this city rather than focusing on bringing in real career jobs that can pay the bills, afford medical, pay for their children's college costs, etc. His priorities will be refreshing on the Council. Focusing on higher paying jobs coming in, our historical heritage, and the use of our River is exactly what we need in Petaluma. Time to say goodbye to the elite agenda of some of the sitting Council who are offering the citizens peanuts while they make deals behind closed doors deals with developers in an effort to have their monies, and use their land, to run their campaigns. Mr. Davies has my vote.

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