The Morgan Hill Times gave each city council candidate a slate
of 12 questions. Here are the answers from Lee Schmidt. Also, view
a video of Schmidt at http://blip.tv/file/4177388.
The Morgan Hill Times gave each city council candidate a slate of 12 questions. Here are the answers from Lee Schmidt. Also, view a video of Schmidt at http://blip.tv/file/4177388.
- What leadership qualities can you bring to the dais if elected?
I spent 29 years in the Auto business or which 26 was in management and 17 as GM/Partner. During that time we acquired and turned around numerous under performing dealerships, negotiated multiple union contracts and even built one new facility. In the last 8 years I’ve owned my own Real Estate Company and have developed and built a commercial condo project. I am very logical, have a ton of business experience and understand financial and business issues well.
- What are your top priorities?
A. Public Safety – Morgan Hill deserves first class public safety, provided by officers proud to serve our city. We must offer the best training, equipment and leadership possible.
B. Financial accountability – Our City government has a responsibility to spend money wisely. We must first eliminate overspending before cutting necessary services.
C. Responsible Growth – We must grow in a manner that doesn’t negatively affect existing areas. The right mixture of housing, business and recreation is what Morgan Hill needs.
- What programs and/or services would you cut or save to balance the budget and how would you pay for them?
Before anything can be cut, we have to first guard our income streams and spend wisely. Until those are accomplished, cutting or expanding cannot happen. I think a forensic analysis of all financial process’s needs to be done before anything is added or deleted.
- Explain your approach to negotiating with employee unions?
All viewpoints need to be heard. Then using a comparison of similar size cities Vs MH and using the real time wages and benefits, the process begins. All wages need to be in line and all negotiations should be fair and honest. I do not believe in negative posturing or threats. Everyone and every organization needs to be treated with respect.
- Do you support a two-tier retirement system?
- How do you feel about RDA-financed downtown development plans, including the fate of the vacant Granada Theater building?
That’s a huge question. I can see both negatives and positives in the RDA system. I do believe that private industry should be responsible for ‘for profit’ development. I do not think it’s in the people’s interest to give tax dollars to private developers. As to the Granada, our current Council has already made their decision, but it the right of any citizen to challenge those decisions as part of our democratic process.
- How should the city address planning and developing in other parts of the city, such as the Southeast Quad?
When I refer to Responsible Growth (in Q #2), I think we need to build the rights things in the right places. MH certainly doesn’t need any more R/D, ware house or retail with the current vacancies. Once those have been absorbed that issue can be raised again. As to the SE quadrant, within the constraints of zoning and various measures (ie: Measure C), those land owners should be able to do what they want.
- What is the city’s role, if any, in working with the school district?
Children are our future. Our city government should be very involved in making sure our schools meet and exceed both parent and student expectations.
- In light of the Cinco de Mayo incident at LOHS, what steps would you take, if any, to improve race relations?
This is an interesting question. We have spent hundreds of years teaching children that America is the great melting pot. It appears that the last dozen years we’ve decided to target our differences in this country which adds fueI to issues like this. My solution, start de-emphasizing segregated days that pull us apart and start teaching the melting pot concept and that we are one community. Then, events like this will occur less at Live Oak (or any other of our schools).
- What are your plans, if any, to attract new businesses to Morgan Hill?
First, we absolutely need to be business friendly. In many of my citizen meetings, there is considerable comment on how difficult it is to do or start a business here. It begins with the attitude of our city and open-ness of our city staff. It is my understanding that the Gilroy Outlets and Costco originally wanted to be in Morgan Hill. We have great demographics for business and I think once the word gets out that Morgan Hill is business friendly and our economy improves, folks will start wanting to come to our city to start business’ and spend their dollars.
- What prompted you to run?
This is the number one question that I’m asked. In reality, our town, the state and the whole country is experiencing an economic climate that can only be described as ‘historical.’ I believe it’s time for business minded people, like myself, to help chart the course back to financial health. Ross Perot used a great analogy when he ran for president, ” just because you’ve run the corner drugstore, don’t mean you can run Walmart.” Seldom do folks with big business administration experience get involved in local government. I have that experience and I’m willing to use it for the peoples benefit.
- Do you think changes are needed to the city’s speaker policy and council meetings, and if so what changes would you make?
What speaker policy? They make up the policy speaker by speaker. Some get to talk, others are refused. What would I change: citizens get their 3 minutes, card or not.