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Dublin City Council candidates face off in public forum

Housing, small business support, police contract at forefront of debate between Do, Josey and Qaadri

Dublin City Council candidates participate in forum moderated by Pleasanton Weekly on Oct. 3. (Video by Amos Productions)

The three candidates vying for positions on the Dublin City Council appeared in a public forum to present their values, campaign goals and ideas to voters and residents of the city.

Current Vice Mayor Jean Josey, Planning Commission alternate Kashef Qaadri and former planning commissioner Lynna Do are competing for two at-large seats on the council. At least one seat is guaranteed to change hands as incumbent Councilmember Shawn Kumagai is competing in the State Assembly District 20 runoff instead of reelection to the council.

Held last Monday via Zoom, the forum was presented by the Pleasanton Weekly in partnership with the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Dublin San Ramon Women's Club. It was moderated by Weekly publisher Gina Channell Wilcox and Livermore Vine editor Cierra Bailey.

"I hope this evening provides Dublin residents with the opportunity to learn about their candidates for public office in order to make a more informed decision when voting on Tuesday, Nov. 8," Dublin chamber president and CEO Inge Houston said to open the event.

The forum began with two-minute opening statements followed by the moderators asking questions related to pressing city issues.

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Do, a Dublin resident of 10 years, has experience in politics and now currently works in the private sector. Do has served on the Dublin Planning Commission, as well as the Universal Human Rights Initiate board.

Per her opening remarks, Do's campaign focuses on improving public and pedestrian safety in the community and supporting small businesses as well as increasing mental health access and cultural diversity throughout the city.

Josey currently serves as the city's vice mayor and has been on the council since 2018. She is running for reelection this November. Public safety, economic development and other quality-of-life issues are among her top priorities, as expressed by Josey in the forum.

Qaadri, an alternate member of the Planning Commission, has served with various boards including Alameda Public Health Commission and the Amador Elementary School Site Council where he sits as president. Apart from public service, Qaadri is a scientist who works in technology. Major goals of his campaign are Improving affordable housing, Dublin infrastructure and partnering with small businesses.

With housing being a major concern for voters, candidates were asked to address a recent item concerning city government and development.

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The item in question was a City Council decision to reverse an East Ranch project of 570 housing units when it faced a citizens' referendum earlier this year. The council then reassessed the project with new terms and amendments hoping to approve and move forward in the process after the developer resubmitted the project under recent state housing law provisions instead.

The council contenders were also asked to discuss how they believe the issue should have been handled.

"There was a gap around communication," Qaadri responded. "As a city councilmember I would focus a lot of time on community engagement and education so that everyone understands the history of that particular project."

Do also highlighted the need for clearer, direct communication between government and residents.

"It's important to have communication and take into account what the residents are saying and help them understand and bridge the gap," Do said. "It's important to have community meetings, to have understanding, openness and transparency -- which seems to be missing. That's what a lot of people wish to see."

The candidates were then asked about a development company, SCS, and its plans for a 77-acre project near Tassajara Road and Brannigan Street. The proposal could bring a mixed-use complex comprising an estimated 650 residential units and a retail component, candidates were asked for their thoughts on the project and approaches taken by both the city and developer.

Josey highlighted how the plan is not set in stone, as it is simply a "preferred vision" for the development project. It is not yet binding or approved.

"The idea was that the citizens want one thing and the property owner's have rights also," Josey said, referring to a balance of developer plans and finding something that is both economically viable and serves residents' needs. "I would love to see a project that is consistent with that vision because it is what the citizens of Dublin have said that's what they want to see on that project."

Do offered an alternative to the plan, saying she would love to see more open space and pedestrian safety, she said. "It looks great on paper … I know that there are great ideas but there could be some other changes. I would love to see more affordable housing," Do added.

"Fundamentally we need to focus on both supporting current businesses within Dublin and then also attracting new businesses through economic development," Qaadri said. "As part of that project and beyond, it's important that we build a vibrant environmentally and economically sustainable city that has the balance of both homes and businesses in the case of this project."

The candidates were also asked their views on a council-approved initiative to help businesses replan and retool their operations in the wake of COVID-19. Each candidate shared enthusiasm for supporting businesses, new and existing, through the council platform.

"First and foremost we want to support the businesses that we have (here in Dublin)," Josey said. She mentioned that the economic development team provided monetary and nonmonetary assistance during the beginning stages of the pandemic. "Going forward, we are past that emergency stage. Now we want to both support our existing business and bring new business. We want to get job producers here."

Another major issue that candidates were asked to respond to, was the status of law enforcement in the city of Dublin and Alameda County. Recently, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office enacted the removal of 47 deputies from active duty after each scored poorly on psychological exams as part of an internal audit.

Forum participants detailed whether they feel there are grounds, in light of the audit, to review or revoke a contract between the county sheriff's office for police services provided to Dublin. Essentially -- should Dublin create its own police department?

"I believe it's very important to take into account the mental health issues that affect our officers. It's very important to have a strong mental capacity when you are in the line of duty," Do responded. "There should be a study and review of the budget impact that would have on the city. Moving from one type of service to another is going to bring growing pains. It would take time, studies and planning to make that transition smooth."

"This is not a yes-or-no answer; we need to look and see if this is beneficial for us," Do added.

Josey stated her response explicitly for voters, "No, I don't support revoking that contract or even going down that review. We know what the fiscal impact would be."

"The benefits that we get from having that contract are huge," Josey added. "If we were on our own, we would have a vacancy rate of about 20% at any given time."

Qaadri emphasized the importance of mental health and providing community oversight in relation to law enforcement. Similar to Do, he did not give a 'yes or no' answer to the separation question.

Following the question period of the forum, Josey, Qaadri and Do were individually allowed a three-minute period for closing statements. The candidates once more stated their primary campaign goals and urged voters to support them at the ballots this upcoming election.

The full recorded forum can be viewed on the Pleasanton Weekly's YouTube channel.

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Dublin City Council candidates face off in public forum

Housing, small business support, police contract at forefront of debate between Do, Josey and Qaadri

by / Danville San Ramon

Uploaded: Sun, Oct 9, 2022, 9:25 pm

The three candidates vying for positions on the Dublin City Council appeared in a public forum to present their values, campaign goals and ideas to voters and residents of the city.

Current Vice Mayor Jean Josey, Planning Commission alternate Kashef Qaadri and former planning commissioner Lynna Do are competing for two at-large seats on the council. At least one seat is guaranteed to change hands as incumbent Councilmember Shawn Kumagai is competing in the State Assembly District 20 runoff instead of reelection to the council.

Held last Monday via Zoom, the forum was presented by the Pleasanton Weekly in partnership with the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Dublin San Ramon Women's Club. It was moderated by Weekly publisher Gina Channell Wilcox and Livermore Vine editor Cierra Bailey.

"I hope this evening provides Dublin residents with the opportunity to learn about their candidates for public office in order to make a more informed decision when voting on Tuesday, Nov. 8," Dublin chamber president and CEO Inge Houston said to open the event.

The forum began with two-minute opening statements followed by the moderators asking questions related to pressing city issues.

Do, a Dublin resident of 10 years, has experience in politics and now currently works in the private sector. Do has served on the Dublin Planning Commission, as well as the Universal Human Rights Initiate board.

Per her opening remarks, Do's campaign focuses on improving public and pedestrian safety in the community and supporting small businesses as well as increasing mental health access and cultural diversity throughout the city.

Josey currently serves as the city's vice mayor and has been on the council since 2018. She is running for reelection this November. Public safety, economic development and other quality-of-life issues are among her top priorities, as expressed by Josey in the forum.

Qaadri, an alternate member of the Planning Commission, has served with various boards including Alameda Public Health Commission and the Amador Elementary School Site Council where he sits as president. Apart from public service, Qaadri is a scientist who works in technology. Major goals of his campaign are Improving affordable housing, Dublin infrastructure and partnering with small businesses.

With housing being a major concern for voters, candidates were asked to address a recent item concerning city government and development.

The item in question was a City Council decision to reverse an East Ranch project of 570 housing units when it faced a citizens' referendum earlier this year. The council then reassessed the project with new terms and amendments hoping to approve and move forward in the process after the developer resubmitted the project under recent state housing law provisions instead.

The council contenders were also asked to discuss how they believe the issue should have been handled.

"There was a gap around communication," Qaadri responded. "As a city councilmember I would focus a lot of time on community engagement and education so that everyone understands the history of that particular project."

Do also highlighted the need for clearer, direct communication between government and residents.

"It's important to have communication and take into account what the residents are saying and help them understand and bridge the gap," Do said. "It's important to have community meetings, to have understanding, openness and transparency -- which seems to be missing. That's what a lot of people wish to see."

The candidates were then asked about a development company, SCS, and its plans for a 77-acre project near Tassajara Road and Brannigan Street. The proposal could bring a mixed-use complex comprising an estimated 650 residential units and a retail component, candidates were asked for their thoughts on the project and approaches taken by both the city and developer.

Josey highlighted how the plan is not set in stone, as it is simply a "preferred vision" for the development project. It is not yet binding or approved.

"The idea was that the citizens want one thing and the property owner's have rights also," Josey said, referring to a balance of developer plans and finding something that is both economically viable and serves residents' needs. "I would love to see a project that is consistent with that vision because it is what the citizens of Dublin have said that's what they want to see on that project."

Do offered an alternative to the plan, saying she would love to see more open space and pedestrian safety, she said. "It looks great on paper … I know that there are great ideas but there could be some other changes. I would love to see more affordable housing," Do added.

"Fundamentally we need to focus on both supporting current businesses within Dublin and then also attracting new businesses through economic development," Qaadri said. "As part of that project and beyond, it's important that we build a vibrant environmentally and economically sustainable city that has the balance of both homes and businesses in the case of this project."

The candidates were also asked their views on a council-approved initiative to help businesses replan and retool their operations in the wake of COVID-19. Each candidate shared enthusiasm for supporting businesses, new and existing, through the council platform.

"First and foremost we want to support the businesses that we have (here in Dublin)," Josey said. She mentioned that the economic development team provided monetary and nonmonetary assistance during the beginning stages of the pandemic. "Going forward, we are past that emergency stage. Now we want to both support our existing business and bring new business. We want to get job producers here."

Another major issue that candidates were asked to respond to, was the status of law enforcement in the city of Dublin and Alameda County. Recently, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office enacted the removal of 47 deputies from active duty after each scored poorly on psychological exams as part of an internal audit.

Forum participants detailed whether they feel there are grounds, in light of the audit, to review or revoke a contract between the county sheriff's office for police services provided to Dublin. Essentially -- should Dublin create its own police department?

"I believe it's very important to take into account the mental health issues that affect our officers. It's very important to have a strong mental capacity when you are in the line of duty," Do responded. "There should be a study and review of the budget impact that would have on the city. Moving from one type of service to another is going to bring growing pains. It would take time, studies and planning to make that transition smooth."

"This is not a yes-or-no answer; we need to look and see if this is beneficial for us," Do added.

Josey stated her response explicitly for voters, "No, I don't support revoking that contract or even going down that review. We know what the fiscal impact would be."

"The benefits that we get from having that contract are huge," Josey added. "If we were on our own, we would have a vacancy rate of about 20% at any given time."

Qaadri emphasized the importance of mental health and providing community oversight in relation to law enforcement. Similar to Do, he did not give a 'yes or no' answer to the separation question.

Following the question period of the forum, Josey, Qaadri and Do were individually allowed a three-minute period for closing statements. The candidates once more stated their primary campaign goals and urged voters to support them at the ballots this upcoming election.

The full recorded forum can be viewed on the Pleasanton Weekly's YouTube channel.

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