Building bridges requires compromise
At 6:30 a.m. my alarm clock, as scheduled, awakened me as usual. I began my regular routine of making my kids’ lunches, reading The Union, and enjoying a cup of coffee.
After kissing my wife and two kids (ages 8 and 5) goodbye, I left for work.
I manage a local engineering firm and analytical water laboratory. I work a 40-plus hour week to pay a mortgage.
When I’m not working, I am taking my kids to Little League practice or gymnastics. I have always felt that I’m a regular citizen, but I recently read an opinion piece from Mr. Jim Firth, “Regular citizens need a voice on Grass Valley City Council,” that apparently claims I am not a “regular” Grass Valley resident.
I guess regular citizens don’t raise families here, don’t work here and don’t volunteer with our nonprofits here.
I have learned that when trying to move the city forward, it is best not to cast stones at people. This is especially true of the Chamber of Commerce and its members, Nevada County Contractors Association, The Union newspaper, local business leaders and the current city council.
Claiming its members are also not “regular” citizens, but rather “good ol’ boys” is rather counterintuitive. I always thought these people were engaged, contributing citizens looking for ways to support their membership and grow our economy.
After all, they are members of our community. They are the small business owners, employers, nonprofit supporters, and payers of local taxes. They should have a voice.
Through the last four years I have spent on the city council, and a lifetime in our community, I have come to realize that if you want to get something done, you do it with the support of many people.
You have to build bridges with people who may not think like you, but share the same goals. This requires compromise, not name-calling.
I feel we are on the cusp of something good. We have hired police and firefighters. We have purchased much-needed equipment for both agencies and our first street paving is about to begin.
This was accomplished with the support of our community and the passing of Measure N. We could not have done it without a willingness to work together. Our Transient Occupancy Tax is up — way up.
This suggests that our tourism economy is increasing. The city has partnered with the Economic Resource Council on its FAB 5 initiative that creates a team approach to attracting companies to relocate to our area, creating jobs. This again is a team effort done through partnerships of business leaders, cities and county, business groups and nonprofits. We all pull together in times of need to help our neighbors. We work through our differences to move forward. This is the community that I love.
My opponent, Mr. Firth, points out that the city is currently projecting a $2 million deficit over a several-year period. He is correct, this is a significant challenge. However, focusing on the city’s long-term budget, rather than the typical short-term, year by year, it allows us to address these issues now, rather than later.
This is a new way of doing business for the city. For those of us who have managed businesses, we understand these projections; we use them as an opportunity to create solutions.
Since 2010, I’ve had the privilege to serve on Grass Valley City Council. During my tenure, I have focused on strengthening our local economy through implementing policies that lead to employment opportunities, and achieve a balanced budget, all while addressing community needs.
As a council, we’ve worked hard to distinguish Grass Valley as an economic leader in Nevada County. Working with our county partners, we successfully funded Dorsey Drive, added additional police and fire personnel, and continue to preserve our unique historic character.
There remains, however, much more work to be done. We need to bridge the gap between our retirement community and our young, working families to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to share in our community’s wealth.
We need to create jobs that offer living wages. We need to work together to resolve our homeless and transient issues. Together we can strengthen our community and our civic pride.
With your support, I will continue to lead Grass Valley forward, support a thriving economic climate needed to provide public safety, roads, parks, and to ensure that we continue to enjoy an exceptional quality of life. I would be honored to have your vote on Nov. 4.
Jason Fouyer is a member of the Grass Valley City Council seeking re-election in November.
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