Thousand Oaks City Council Forum

By William Hicks

The forum was sponsored by The League of Women Voters. All questions were provided by the audience, and each candidate was asked the same questions. If you want to watch the forum in entirety, go to Toaks.org, then Watch Video and select Youtube. The audience did not fill the chamber, but was a reasonably large group. The Forum started promptly at 7:00 pm and ended promptly at 8:30 pm.

The candidates were comprised of two incumbents, Al Adam and Rob McCoy, and two Challengers, Anne LaFianza and Billy Martin. The Moderator was a member of The League of Women Voters, David Maron.

 

1) Opening Statements:

a) Billy Martin – A resident of Thousand Oaks for 40 years. Was active in various groups to include Classic Film Festival, Jungleland Tour

 b) Rob McCoy – A council member for 17 months. A 15 year resident of Thousand Oaks. He loves the City. Would like to share the vision of the future.

c) Anne La Fianza – A resident for nearly two decades in Thousand Oaks. She’s ready to face the challenges of the future. She believes in sustainable growth and supports local businesses.

d) Al Adam – He’s an independent voice in the council. Has kept his promises and supports the specific plan for Thousand Oaks Blvd. Sports SOAR.

 

2) What do you feel about Measure AA for Traffic?

  a) Rob McCoy – I do not support AA. I believe that the funding should go to improve roads, the 101 project and synchronized city stop lights instead of public transportation.

  b) Al Adam – I do not support measure AA. Traffic is worse now than before. I would prefer more bike lanes, flashing yellow left turn lights and rideshare.

  c) Billy Martin – I don’t support measure AA. And the Thousand Oaks Blvd. plan will negatively affect the flow of traffic on a main City artery.

  d) Anne La Fianza – I do not support measure AA. The Thousand Oaks Traffic Department is underfunded. I believe in rideshare.

 

3) How would you deal with the economy?

  a) Anne La Fianza – I belong to the Thousand Oaks Womens Business Guild. I believe sustainable and green projects are economical.

  b) Billy Martin – The key to an improved economy is in the Thousand Oaks Blvd. project.  More businesses equal more city taxes. Mixed use zoning will increase housing for millennials.

 c) Al Adam – Small business is the backbone of the economy. Maybe if we didn’t have to go to the planning commission for very project it would be more economical for businesses.

d) Rob McCoy – Small business is an endangered specie in Thousand Oaks. Maybe tax incentives would improve this.

 

4) Do you support Granny Flats?

  a) Al Adam – There aren’t many in Thousand Oaks. I am in favor of Senior Affordable Housing. 30% of Thousand Oaks population are seniors. Affordable housing for all could come from infill.

  b) Anne La Fianza – I’m in favor of Granny Flats. It’s imperative to support seniors.

  c) Rob McCoy – Yes I’m in favor of Granny Flats.

  d) Billy Martin – I believe in affordable housing for young and old.

 

5) How do you feel about SOAR, Sustain VC and Oak Tree’s?

  a) Billy Martin – I support SOAR. Oak tree’ need to be protected.

  b) Rob McCoy – I support Sustain VC. It’s fairer to Farmers. I do support open space but not at the expense of Farmers. We need to protect oak trees.

  c) Anne La Fianza – I support SOAR. We need to protect Oak tree’s and Heritage trees.

  d) Al Adam – We have the strongest restrictions on Oak Trees. I support SOAR. One third of Thousand oaks is designated open space.

 

6) Do you support non-native trees on Thousand Oaks Blvd.?

 a) Anne La Fianza – Thousand oaks is such a lovely place that everyone wants to live here. We must have Oaks and mixed zoning on  Thousand Oaks Blvd.

  b) Billy Martin – Thousand Oaks Blvd must be a a road that keeps moving. Businesses are already struggling and the project will not help.

  c) Al Adam – We need a pedestrian friendly Thousand oaks Blvd. I vision shops all along the Blvd. A mixed use will improve property value and attract needed millennials.

  d) Rob McCoy – We have a beautiful plan and Oak Tree’s can be used.

 

7) How did/would you have treated the City Manager Controversy?

  a) Rob McCoy – It was dramatic and difficult, but necessary. I’m proud of our decision.

  b) Al Adam – It was a wrenching decision. It was not taken lightly to come to a unanimous decision. Andrew Powers is the interim City Manger.

  c) Billy Martin – The City Council did what they had to do. I would restructure the City leadership. 

  d) Anne La Fianza – The Council did not do their job. This should have been caught earlier, but the decision was correct.

 

8) What skills do you bring to the City Council?

  a) Al Adam – We have a diverse group with the current City Council. That’s a good thing. We must be persistent and prepare to know the  residents of the City. I will do that

   b) Anne La Fianza – I have a very extensive record of serving. I have been working in the community for decades. I bring a balanced way         of leading.

   c) Rob McCoy – We must remember who is the Boss; the citizens. We need to manage our taxes wisely. We need to hire good people and let them do their job. We need to be civil and find        common ground

  d) Billy Martin – All Council Members but Rob McCoy came from The Planning Commission. Dan Roundtree should have been elected. I come to the Council with fresh Ideas.

 

9) How do you stand with Proposition 64, The Marijuana Initiative?

   a) Billy Martin – The use of marijuana is out of control. But this is not a City issue

   b) Rob McCoy – No city is prepared for this. Law enforcement is opposed to it. It could be a resource drag.

   c) Anne La Fianza – We are not ready for this. Medical marijuana is o.k. A problem is there is no way to measure the intoxicating effects of marijuana

   d) Al Adam – I was for medical marijuana originally, but it’s become just an excuse for recreational use. I don’t want my kids to use it.

 

10) What should be done with the old K-Mart property?

     a) Anne La Fianza – It could be used for millennial affordable housing.

    b) Billy Martin – It could be a mixed use project of condo’s and affordable housing.

    c) Al Adam – The economics are daunting. I might consider leasing back the property to the original leasee’s. 

    d) Rob McCoy – I would want anything but is what’s there now. It’s an old dilapidated building.

 

11) How do you stand on measure W, Parks? And how do you stand on funding Libraries

    a) Rob McCoy – I’m in favor of measure W and funding libraries.

    b) Al Adam – I’m in favor of measure W and the libraries are currently being funded from the general fund.

    c) Billy Martin – I’m in favor of keeping our parks. Libraries may need to adjust to new technology and be more economical.

    d) Anne La Fianza – I’m for parks and libraries.

 

12) How do you feel on short term rentals?

    a) Al Adam – This is not a local problem, but it has caused traffic problems where it exists.

    b) Anne La Fianza – It would be alright if it doesn’t present a problem to neighbors. It could be an increase of taxes to the city.

    c) Rob McCoy – This could cause a loss of business to existing hotels.

    d) Billy Martin – There’s no place in Thousand Oaks it exists now.

 

 13) What do you feel about separation of Church and State?

    a) Anne La Fianza – I believe in the separation of church and state. It’s in the founding documents.

    b) Billy Martin – You can’t separate church and state. It’s up to the individual. It’s not a major issue

     c) Al Adam – It’s in the founding documents. Church should not be injected in government. Government should be completely neutral.

     d) Rob McCoy – Since 1787….We The People have the right of Freedom of Religion. All laws and regulations have a moral component. The first amendment to the Constitution was to keep the State out of the business of the Church; not the other way around. I have studied history for a long time and I have not found anything in the Founding Documents where I have to leave my faith at the door of public service.

 

 14) How will you choose a new City Manager?

    a) Rob McCoy – The candidate will have to have skin in the game and committed to the City.

    b) Al Adam – Arguably it is the most important job . The candidate must be a resource for the City.

     c) Billy Martin – We have him already; it should be J. Spurgeon. 

     d) Anne La Fianza – We need a candidate that is honest, experienced and accessible to the community.

 

 15) How committed are you to the job of City Council Member?

     a) Al Adam – I’m very committed. I’m blessed to have the time to be on the Council. This is not a stepping stone for me.

     b) Anne La Fianza – I am committed to the job and I’m ready to deal with conflict resolution. This is not a stepping stone for me.

     c) Rob McCoy – If the people select me, I’m committed to the job. I love this job and it is not a stepping stone for me.

     d) Billy Martin – I’m currently jobless and I’m committed to the job. This is my second run for City Council.

 

16) What is the City’s most important vision?

     a) Billy Martin – Thousand Oaks Blvd project is the most important vision. The city really has it all.

     b) Rob McCoy – A good man leaves an inheritance. I want to leave Thousand Oaks better for my grandchildren than it is today. I look to the future

     c) Anne La Fianza – All issues are intertwined. We must leave this town better when we leave.

     d) Al Adam – 30% of our population are seniors. I know; I am one. We also need to attract young skilled workers.

 

17) Closing Statement.

    a) Al Adam – My thanks to The League of Women Voters. We need young skilled laborers and a place for them to live. 90% of the City’s  population are happy with the City. I will work hard and the best days are yet to come

     b) Anne La Fianza – Thanks to The League of Woment Voters and the audience. This is my first forum. I’m a problem solver. I balance well with Al Adam. We do well like a dance. McCoy went around the nation helping other elections while we needed him here.

    c) Rob McCoy – I guess I’m not on Anne’s dance card. I did not travel to help other elections. I love this City and would appreciate your vote.

   d) Billy Martin – There’s so much to love in Thousand Oaks. The City is almost built out. Thousand Oaks Blvd is a main transportation artery. I will bring fresh Ideas to the City. I will speak out businesses for Thousand oaks Blvd.

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William Hicks is a long time resident of Newbury Park and is retired from the Los Angeles Unified School District


 

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