The Friday, Oct. 19, edition of The Union newspaper included an article titled, “GV Council candidates talk budget, priorities” written by Christopher Rosacker.
Mr. Rosacker did an admirable job in summarizing a small piece of the hour-long interview I had with him several days earlier.
In addition to talking about the budget, we spoke about development issues (Loma Rica, mining, area business growth), homelessness and mostly the continuing “drug problem” facing the City of Grass Valley, its neighborhoods and parks.
The opening paragraph/sentence describes different qualifications I have to be Grass Valley council member.
Public safety is first on my list to address a continuing drug problem in Grass Valley. I support Measure N on the November ballot primarily to allow the city to reintroduce its Drug Enforcement Program and reinstitute the police officer position the current council removed for budgetary reasons.
A component of public safety is safe streets and sidewalks. In addition to people feeling safe walking in their neighborhoods, they must have smooth streets to drive and walk on. They must be able to navigate crossing streets pushing a stroller or steering a wheelchair. Grass Valley sidewalks need repair.
Creating jobs and economic development in Grass Valley can take different forms. I would like to see an increase in the number of visitors (both tourists and conferences-seminars attendees) who will enjoy our hotels, restaurants, shopping and area-wide recreational opportunities.
Our area has fantastic weekend events. We need more visitors Monday through Thursday.
We also need to expand and improve the infrastructure for computer use for our local businesses. I will work with the Chamber of Commerce, ERC, county representatives and business owners to develop more high-speed internet availability in Grass Valley.
I am a recent retiree and moved to Grass Valley with my wife four years ago. I am not indebted to any special interest group or individual. As a full-time councilperson, I will represent all residents of Grass Valley and consider all points of view when I’m elected to the City Council.
I do see part of my role on the City Council as bringing people together. I’ve talked to hundreds of residents over the last several weeks and it’s apparent to me that city residents want to shop locally, but it’s increasingly difficult. I want to get local businesses and consumers together to seek solutions that will enable us to keep the consumer dollar in Grass Valley, not trickling “down the hill.”
Local residents enjoy shopping for produce and other local products at the Thursday night market. I would like to see an additional program that encourages local farmers and craftspersons selling their products on Monday or Tuesday afternoons at a convenient downtown Grass Valley location.
Finally, as a leader it is important to lead. I’ve sat in city workshops and listened to a lot of talk. It’s time for decisions and action. City staff are smart and competent. We as city leaders need to give staff direction, a timeline to respond and the tools to present workable solutions.
Jim Firth lives in Grass Valley.