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Meet the Danville Town Council candidates

Incumbents Stepper, Storer and challenger Namburi highlight priorities, accomplishments

The candidates for Danville Town Council, alphabetically from left, are challenger Ram Namburi and incumbents Robert Storer and Karen Stepper. (Contributed photos)

With vote-by-mail ballots beginning to arrive at voter's homes starting Monday, residents of Danville may be surprised to know that for the first time since 2014, the Town Council election will feature a resident challenging the sitting council candidates.

Incumbent council members Karen Stepper and Robert Storer are being challenged by resident and political newcomer Ram Namburi. A three-person election, the two candidates with the highest vote totals will secure the two available seats on the council.

It’s still not too late to register to vote. In California the voter registration deadline is Oct. 22, 15 days before the election, with Oct. 30 being the last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot. Contra Costa County residents can register with the County Elections Department online, or mail a national voter registration form to Elections Division, P.O. Box 271, Martinez, CA 94553.

Once registered, voters may also elect to cast their ballots in person the old-fashioned way on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, to ensure they have all of the last minute information available to them before making their decision.

Residents who are interested in serving their community this election season may be interested in volunteering as a poll worker with the Contra Costa County Elections Division.

While Danville voters will have a variety of state and national contests to decide upon come Nov. 6 -- which DanvilleSanRamon.com will highlight next week -- two seats on the town’s highest public office are up for election, with three local residents vying for the positions.

With both incumbents deciding to run for re-election, and as the lone challenger, Namburi will be facing a slight hill to climb, historically speaking. Since the town became incorporated in 1982, no sitting Town Council member has ever lost a re-election bid.

Namburi is a software professional who may lack elected experience but believes he can offer Danville a candidate who will oppose the current status-quo of the council. He has taken a stance advocating against rapid development, loss of open space and the placement of wireless cell towers in certain areas.

In 2017 Namburi was documented as a part of a residential group opposing the town Planning Commission’s decision to approve an apartment complex on Diablo Road just outside downtown.

The incumbents believe their experience and history of success set them apart from their challenger.

A 16-year member of the Danville Town Council, Stepper has said some of her proudest achievements during that time include making Danville one of the safest towns in California -- according to Stepper, ranked the third safest in 2017 -- and helping the town maintain zero debt, all while maintaining Danville’s “small-town vision.”

The second incumbent, Storer, is currently seeking his third full term on the Danville council. He has been involved in local government since 2001 and has served the community on the Chamber of Commerce, Planning Commission, Design Review Board, Finance Committee and as council liaison to the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

Countering Namburi’s claims, Storer believes Danville is one of the best managed communities in California and he is proud to have helped his town reach financial prosperity.

Town governance is rarely a simple task and the candidates elected will have a plethora of issues to tackle, some foreseen and some not. These include: increased cost of living, traffic congestion, parking downtown, housing developments, the building of a new skate park, the downtown development plan, a bike share program, interactions with the school district, school safety, and the many community functions sponsored by the town, to name a few.

In advance of the election, DanvilleSanRamon.com asked the candidates to submit 300-word statements highlighting their top priorities and why voters should cast their ballots in support of them.

Ram Namburi, Candidate for Town Council.

I am Ram Namburi, a software professional working and living in California for the last 20 years. I have been married to my wonderful wife for 16 years, and we have two sons. Both of my children go to local schools here -- Diablo Vista Middle School and Monte Vista High School. My entire family fell in love with Danville when we were looking for a home ten years ago. Some of the things I particularly appreciated about Danville were the small town charm, local shops, easy parking and beautiful open spaces. I never miss seeing the turkeys, deer, and other wildlife in my yard and when I am on my daily run.

I am honest, helpful and passionate about serving my fellow Danville residents. A significant reason I am running for Town Council at this time is that I have noticed a trend over the last several years to increase both the population and density of our Town, without regard for preserving the open space and other special traits you can only find in Danville. While I support thoughtful, sustained growth, I believe it is important to fully explore any proposal brought before the Town Council. Infrastructure impacts need to be considered. Impartial consultants, who are familiar with the East Bay should be retained. No conflicts of interest should ever be permitted in considering any proposal. If there are any conflicts of interest, they should be disclosed.

We have had the same rotation of Mayor and Town Council members for years and have seen open spaces diminishing, traffic increasing, and now 5G wireless towers being approved for placement near schools, daycare centers and private residences despite significant concerns from the residents of our Town. These are some reasons why fellow citizens have asked me to step up and challenge the incumbents and their quest to carelessly expand Danville. My job would be to better represent the voice of the people. I do not own a construction company, nor do I personally know any developers. I have no personal incentives except to represent the views of the citizens of Danville and take a thoughtful and measured approach to each proposal that impacts our Town.

Issues I care about:

* The Town of Danville, the voice of the people, and open spaces

* Small businesses

* Town planning and housing

* Safety

* Traffic

* Environmental issues.

For more information visit ramfordanville.com.

Karen Stepper, Candidate for re-election to Town Council.

It has been such an honor to serve as your Mayor and council member since 2002.

I prioritize making Danville among the safest cities in California (3rd among similar size cities last year) -- supporting our officers with new technology to decrease crime.

I remain passionate about development of our beautiful parks, fields, and facilities for hiking, picnicking, bocce ball, new playgrounds, and organized sports. As a continuing Mustang coach for over 30 years, I value appropriate facilities as new sports become popular in our valley.

As a CPA, I provide financial oversight — budgeting responsibly, avoiding pension debt, and “paying as you go” for facilities — no new debt!

I continue to champion Danville’s needs on over 15 regional boards, encompassing recycling, emergency preparedness, transportation, Contra Costa County Mayors Conference (Chair), Veterans Building Redevelopment Campaign (Chair), Exchange Club, Museum, and Historical Society. See details at www.StepperforCouncil.com including former math teacher, SRVUSD Board Member, and Mustang Soccer President.

I promote:

* Protecting Danville development standards from zoning takeovers by the state;

* Adding free parking lots at Rose Street, Village Theatre, SRVHS, and Park ’n Ride;

* Appointing a new Senior Citizens Commission;

* Installing historic signs and plaques — featured on my museum downtown walking tours;

* Developing Arts District on Front Street;

* Streamlining permits for home renovations;

* Supporting transportation congestion relief;

* Sponsoring town events that sustain our sense of community.

Our experienced council members work together with you to make the Town of Danville the best run city in Contra Costa County!

For more information visit: www.karenstepper.com.

Robert Storer, Candidate for re-election to Town Council.

Seeking my third full term on the Danville Town Council, I remain focused on my main priorities of:

* Public Safety

* Fiscal Management

* Downtown Improvements

* Protecting open space and resources, I’m proud that we have 42% deed restricted open space. We will not build on our hillsides

* Addressing the needs of Danville's children, military veterans and seniors.

We're simply one of the best managed cities in California. I am serving as Vice Mayor this year after serving as Mayor in 2014. This is my ninth year on the council, joining the dais after nine years on Danville Planning Commission and living here as a Danville resident for 30 years.

Maintaining Danville’s strong record on public safety is among my top goals on the council. We will continue to invest money in our police department and make sure our officers are well-equipped and have the necessary tools to protect this community. Out of the 482 cities in California we are the ninth safest city and will always do our best to protect our residents.

Our message is very clear: if you come into Danville with the intentions of doing our citizens harm, you will be arrested. Our license plate readers at every intersection in town has assisted with numerous arrests this year.

I will continue promoting sound fiscal management through balanced annual town budgets and retaining robust reserves of over 40%. Danville is also one of a hand full of cities in California with no unfunded liabilities.

We're proud of the standards that we've set in this town to allow (controlled) growth to take place. It's a very, very high bar. The developmental standards are extraordinary, more so than in most communities. We will also continue to keep our roads in great shape. That's why Danville looks the way it does.

I am proud to have helped approve 670 additional parking spaces to be built by April 2019. I'm passionate about this community. I plan on being on this council for a long time, and I plan on making good decisions on behalf of this community for a long time.

For more information visit robertstorer.vpweb.com.

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