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Election Day Message From Teresa

Monday, November 5, 2018

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

For those of you who are still deciding whom to support for Lafayette City Council, I hope you'll consider voting for me on Election Day.

I'm running to help play a part of shaping our proud city's future.  Serving on the Lafayette School Board for almost 19 years has allowed me to see the issues facing every neighborhood.  When we build new housing, I know first-hand how it would impact different neighborhoods.  I've developed strong relationships with many of our federal, state and regional elected representatives, community leaders, and local residents that will be invaluable for helping to set the direction of the City and then helping to implement the vision.

The City of Lafayette is going through remarkable changes.  Some of our most experienced leaders of almost 3 decades have recently decided to retire, including our Mayor Don Tatzin and our City Manager Steven Falk. They have helped keep Lafayette running on a balanced budget with ample reserves and no pension debt, a record that very few cities in California can match.  

The truth is the City is being managed very well. We need to continue its tradition of strong leadership, especially in dealing with issues such as affordable housing, the environment, public safety, traffic, parking, economic vitality of our small businesses, adhering to the General Plan, and protecting open space, while strengthening the city / schools partnership to enhance and maintain our most precious asset, our schools. 

One of my proudest accomplishments is helping to lead the campaign to build the Lafayette Library, which raised $13M.    I encourage you to watch some of the latest videos I've released about the library and traffic.   You can also read more about what previous mayors and others have said on my web site at www.teresagerringer.com.

If you have any questions as you make your final decision, please contact me at teresaforlafayette@gmail.com.   

Thanks for your consideration. 

Teresa Gerringer

Issues

As your Councilmember, I will:

  • Smartly manage growth in Lafayette by adhering to the General Plan and ensure we balance economic vitality and our community's character

  • Keep City government and finances transparent and accountable

  • Maintain local decision-making

  • Ensure public safety remains a priority

  • Continue to advance the city-schools partnership

  • Improve our quality of life through public-private partnerships


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Hot Topics

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2018  6:45 AM

Teresa Gerringer's position on the City of Lafayette Conflict of Interest Policy for Planning Commission and Design Review Commissioners

As stated previously, I believe the Conflict of Interest Policy for Planning Commission and Design Review Commissioners is overreaching and based on the limited view that a problem needed to be solved because of “perception” and “isolated examples” of perceived and real conflict. Proponents used the argument of “community perception” and “isolated examples” of violations to existing code in their public comment during the discussion and vote. 

 Current appointed, elected council members, and current council candidates, and residents, stated during public comment and discussion that there was perception of conflict or lack of trust, and a few isolated incidences of conflict that warranted a revision in the ordinance. Based on my research, the conflicts were dealt with through FPPC investigations, and if found to have merit, penalties were assessed and the commissioners resigned or were removed from their positions. I would welcome any additional facts that would inform my thinking on this issue.

 Throughout the council discussion and public comment, current candidates, Save Lafayette members and supporters, and others acknowledged that their concerns were based on perception and isolated problems. One appointed council member, and candidate went so far as to argue that when given perception vs. fact, perception is reality. The appointed council member went on to support a version of the COI policy where a volunteer representative "cannot do business with the City, while in a position of public service, or have expressed a prior expression of opinion."  I will save the acceptability of basing policy decisions on “perception is reality” and the responsibility for leaders to work to change perceptions, not give in to them, for a later debate.

 My position is and continues to be that I support and have adhered to state conflict of interest laws that allow members of elected bodies to recuse, rather than resign for conflicts. The City of Lafayette ordinance is over-reaching and more stringent than all or most ordinances in cities throughout CA. 

 While I question elements of the policy, I respect that a majority of council members voted to adopt it, and it is now law. 

 I do not support a blanket repeal of the ordinance as has been asserted. As with all policies and decisions that I have made as a member of a governing body, I will monitor implementation and, as appropriate and with the support of my elected colleagues, call for evaluation of this and all policies governing the City of Lafayette to ensure transparency and accountability.

 I am interested in a few aspects of the policy: specifically, what is the final definition of immediate family; why does Lafayette needs a more stringent policy for two commissions than any other in the State; why are we holding volunteers on two commissions to a higher standard than we do City Council members, to name a few.

 I would be able to meet the criteria of the current City of Lafayette Conflict of Interest policy.

 I do not have conflicts of interest, and will be able to represent residents on important issues facing the City of Lafayette, including PG&E and pending and proposed development applications.

 If you see, hear, or read something that sounds incredulous and hard to believe, it probably is. I encourage concerned residents and voters to rely on information from multiple sources, including reaching out to those whose integrity and common sense is being questioned. I am available to answer any questions and clarify issues that are being raised, or will no doubt, be raised over the coming weeks. You can reach me at Teresa Gerringer, 925-255-5416, or if you prefer email, teresaforlafayette@gmail.com.

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Written Responses to Questionnaires

 Lamorinda Weekly: Questions for City Council Candidates

  1. How should city government handle downtown development and what is your opinion about the recent Deerhill Road development proposal or the passage of Assembly Bill 2923?
    1. Development needs to adhere to General and Downtown Specific plans, allowing us to be proactive to ensure that we have the infrastructure in place to address school, traffic and safety impacts. AB 2923 negatively impacts the City’s ability to maintain local control over land use and development decisions. (49 word count) Didn’t get to add that I actively worked to stop the bill.

     

  2. Traffic is a growing concern among Lafayette residents.  What do you think is the best strategy for tackling traffic, especially in the Pleasant Hill Road corridor? Two responses.
    1.  The Joint City-Schools Traffic & Safety Committee that I served on identified traffic safety and calming strategies resulting in improved traffic around schools. We must continue collaboration to identify grant funding and implement elements of the Downtown Congestion Reduction Study including pedestrian and bike pathways to schools, downtown and BART. (50 count) Speaks to my experience in finding solutions.
    2. Pleasant Hill Corridor traffic is a regional issue requiring collaboration with other jurisdictions to implement solutions, like efforts to reduce Reliez Valley Road traffic. Continued collaboration with schools to implement recommendations of the Downtown Congestion Reduction Study, particularly pedestrian/bike pathways to schools, downtown and BART is also required.

     

  3. Do you think transparency in the current city council is an issue?  If so, how would you suggest improving it?  If not, please feel free to take a moment to explain your position.
    1. As a 19-year member of the Lafayette School Board, I believe in engaging the community in transparent, open and meaningful ways. We comply with open meeting laws that define what business is conducted in open or closed session. Given these rules the current council operates in a transparent manner.

     

  4. Many residents have expressed anger about plans by PG&E to cut down hundreds of trees in Lafayette and have many safety concerns they want the utility company to address.  How do you believe the city should proceed with PG&E regarding these issues?
    1. By the time this interview goes to print, the City will have hosted a forum with residents, PG&E, and the California Public Utilities Commission to address resident concerns and find common ground. Facilitating an open dialogue will result in better outcomes. {I’m still working on this one. Suggestions welcome!}


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Reliez Valley Road Round Table: Candidate Questions - 9.30.18 

1)     Do you live in the N.E. quadrant of the city, or commute or have children that commute within the N.E. quadrant during peak hours?

 

Yes. My husband and I have raised our two daughters in the Reliez Valley Road area, driving to and from Springhill and Acalanes during commute times, and to and from downtown Lafayette and surrounding areas throughout the day.

 

2)     What circulation challenges within this N.E. quadrant have you or your family members personally experienced?

 

In the 22 years that my family and I have lived in the Reliez Valley Road area, we have experienced varying degrees of traffic congestion at key commute times, with a marked increase over the years, and have witnessed speeding on Reliez Valley Road at other times throughout the day. I have also witnessed concerns related to pedestrians and bicyclists. When we first moved here, I worked with a group of residents and the City of Lafayette to get the pathway with the berms installed to provide improved safety for pedestrians. With the increase in traffic conditions, we need to revisit the pathway and other circulation and safety measures.

 

3)     What is your understanding of the myriad of traffic challenges we face?

 

As noted above, the Reliez Valley Road area has experienced high levels of traffic during key commute times, and speeding throughout the day. I have not seen the quantitative analysis, but anecdotal evidence shows that the traffic calming measures on Reliez Valley Road have helped with both congestion and speeding. I look forward to seeing the results of the pilot program implementing turn restrictions during the morning commute. Problems arise from both higher traffic volumes of those who live along RVR, as well as cut-through traffic that use RVR when their alternate paths are slower. In addition, there are areas with limited sight distances, poor bicycle facilities and limited walkways. RVR was created as a country road that is now serving as a collector road. The other traffic challenge is that the city and school district boundaries are not aligned, i.e. school district boundaries include areas outside the City limits. Since the City and County control the roads, achieving the needed changes requires working with both agencies.

 

 4) What help, if any, have you provided RVRRT and/or how do you intend to help N.E. Lafayette with true circulation enhancements?

 

As a resident of Lafayette and homeowner in the Reliez Valley Road area and as a 19-year member of the Lafayette School District Governing Board, I, along with the superintendent and other board members wrote letters and made calls to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors making them aware of the problem and encouraging them to work with the residents, and the cities of Lafayette and Pleasant Hill, to implement measures to find solutions to the traffic and circulation issues. In my professional role, our office worked with the constituents and the leaders and staff at the City and County level to understand the challenges and to encourage them to work together to find collaborative solutions, such as the turn restriction pilot program.  I will continue to work with all parties to evaluate the measures taken and to find lasting solutions. I also served on the Lamorinda School Bus JPA. Assuming that there is sufficient demand, the School Bus program must continue and be expanded in this area.

 

4)     What are the specific circulation challenges (political, economic, etc) do you see regarding 680 and Taylor/PH Rd corridors and how might you be involved with mitigating those challenges?

 

Taylor Road / Pleasant Hill Corridor traffic is a regional issue requiring collaboration with other jurisdictions to implement solutions, much like the efforts to reduce Reliez Valley Road traffic. As a councilmember, there are opportunities to serve on regional agencies, such as the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the Southwest Area Transportation Committee (SWAT).  I believe that representation on these bodies is imperative to ensure that Lafayette is involved in fact-finding and decision-making. I would be honored to serve in this capacity to work on behalf of Lafayette residents to identify cost-effective solutions.

 

Since Pleasant Hill Road is a Route of Regional Significance we can also work with our neighbors to the North to help manage traffic. Regarding 680, the looming problems are further growth in Contra Costa, as well as counties to our north. Through CCTA, we must work with adjacent counties to get more of their citizens to use public transit. I am concerned that the planned improvements to I680, while laudable, are insufficient in the face of the expected growth. We must also play a role in encouraging more housing development in the South Bay and more employment development in the North Bay, including Contra Costa, as a way to improve jobs housing balance and reduce commute lengths.

 

5)     Do you have any relationships at the CCTA or in Pleasant Hill City government? Are you willing to leverage those relationships for enhanced circulation within the N.E. inter jurisdictional pocket?

 

Yes. In my years of service on the Lafayette School Board, and in various roles working and advocating at the county, regional, state and federal level, I have developed strong partnerships and built coalitions to solve problems.  As noted in Q4, we have to work collaboratively with our surrounding neighbors, and regional, state and federal partners to address traffic and circulation challenges. I am committed to bringing my experience and extensive partnerships and connections to work on behalf of all Lafayette residents. In addition, if elected, I will take an active role in strengthening Lafayette’s influence by asking to be the Lafayette representative to SWAT, thus becoming a member of CCTA for two years beginning in early 2019.

 

7) Pertaining to N.E. circulation, are you willing to advocate for ALL Lafayette students’ rights to a safe and efficient commute to school over and above jurisdictional neighbors rights for a quicker commute?

 

For 19 years on the school board, I balanced the interests of individual schools relative to money and attention to specific issues such as traffic with the needs of the 3,600 kids we serve, and I have always focused on taking care of safety first to protect children. I have served on the Joint City / Schools Task Force to implement safety and traffic measures around our schools. I have supported the actions taken by the City and County focused on improving the school commutes for all Lafayette students. While the Council’s control or authority ends at the City boundaries, our influence extends further. I will continue to advocate on behalf of all Lafayette students and residents to address the challenges that we face.

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Sustainable Lafayette: Questionnaire – 10.14.18

Question 1: Because Lafayette is a desirable place to live we are subject to continuing pressure to grow. What is your vision for growth in Lafayette?

 

We would all love to keep Lafayette just the same as when we moved here, whether that was 5, 10, 15 or 50 years ago. Change is inevitable, and to address it requires a strategic, forward-thinking approach so that we maintain local control while being part of regional solutions to the housing crisis and global efforts to protect the environment and address climate change.

 

Lafayette has few growth opportunities, except for a handful of visible properties, infill and remodels. We must work hard to adhere to the General Plan to maintain Lafayette’s character. Listening to residents and working with the other city council members and staff, I am committed to implementation of the Downtown Specific Plan and meeting or exceeding our housing requirements. I support the approach the city has taken to approving housing and services in the downtown area and near the BART station. We must continue to analyze each development opportunity to ensure that we address the impacts on our schools, public safety, traffic, and parking, while finding ways to increase access to affordable housing, particularly for our teachers, police and fire personnel.

 

Question 2: Because Lafayette is a transportation access point for surrounding communities, traffic congestion is worsening as these communities grow. How do you propose we address this burden?

 

Addressing many of our traffic issues requires a collaborative approach that involves public engagement and working with our neighboring cities, the county, regional transportation agencies and our State and Federal representatives.  We can’t tell other cities what to do, but we can advocate and have influence. 

 

As a councilmember, there are opportunities to serve on regional agencies, such as the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the Southwest Area Transportation Committee (SWAT).  I believe that representation on these bodies is imperative to ensure that Lafayette is involved in fact-finding and decision-making. I would be honored to serve in this capacity to work on behalf of Lafayette residents to identify cost-effective solutions. We must also play a regional role in encouraging more housing development in the South Bay and more employment development in the North Bay, including Contra Costa, as a way to improve the regional balance of housing and jobs to reduce commute lengths.

 

Implementation of the Downtown Congestion Plan recommendations will also address the traffic burden in the downtown area. Some of the projects that have the highest value relative to cost and traffic improvements are already being implemented or piloted. I look forward to working with the community and staff to identify additional grants and public / private partnerships to provide funding to improve access to bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The Lafayette School District, which I have served on for 19 years, and the City of Lafayette are currently partnering on a grant application to expand the pathway on School Street to connect to the trails, creating safer, more efficient routes to school, downtown and to BART.

 

Strengthening the city / schools partnership will also help to improve traffic and safety around our schools.  As a member of the Joint City / Schools Ad Hoc Traffic and Safety Task Force, we identified and implemented traffic improvements at two of our schools, and as part of the school district’s facilities master plan and bond program, the School District and City have worked to identify ways to improve pickup and drop off to reduce traffic, particularly on Moraga Road and School Street. I look forward to continuing and strengthening this work, in addition to exploring other creative ways to reduce traffic through improved transit options along Mount Diablo and to and from our schools, downtown, and BART. As a former member of the Lamorinda School Bus JPA, I understand the challenges of expanding school bus routes due to rising costs that may result in the curtailing of much-needed services unless we identify other sources of revenue. When it was first implemented years ago, there was a 5% drop in traffic in the Lamorinda area. We need to see if this creative traffic solution can be protected and expanded.

 

Question 3: The natural gas pipelines that run through Lafayette to supply our city are old, have no provisions for automated inspection, and have no automated shut-off valves. How would you propose these hazards be addressed?

 

The City of Lafayette should facilitate residents working with PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission to fulfill their responsibilities to provide service safely. There is also an opportunity for the Lamorinda communities to join together to work with PG&E to address the issues of aging pipes and shut-off valves. If there is a problem in one area, all Lamorinda cities will be affected.

 

I commend the work of the community to keep this issue at the forefront. It is critical that we continue to engage with PG&E to let them know our concerns and to do what is necessary to keep Lafayette beautiful and safe. I have no conflicts on any issues, including ones regarding proposed or probable development or with issues related to PG&E.  I look forward to representing our citizens to protect our safety and the beauty of Lafayette.

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Video Round Table

Sponsored by
Contra Costa County Elections Division
Contra Costa TV
League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley
League of Women Voters of West Contra Costa County

2018LafayetteCityCouncilRoundtableDiscussion


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Voter Informational Website

Voters Edge

GerringerForCityCouncil2018VotersEdge

 

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Paid for by Gerringer for Lafayette Council 2018, P.O. Box 1672, Lafayette, CA 94549, FPPC#1409868
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