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Jeff Slowey on the issues, in his own words

Jeff Slowey, Citrus Heights
Jeff Slowey, current Citrus Heights Vice Mayor and candidate for city council. // CH Sentinel

Note: In the interest of providing voter information and fair election coverage, The Sentinel has given all eight Citrus Heights city council candidates an equal opportunity to submit 100-word written statements on a variety of local issues. Jeff Slowey’s full responses can be found below. See other candidate responses in the article: “Citrus Heights city council candidates on the issues, in their own words”

Jeff Slowey, 55, is a vice president for Bank of America and has served on the city council since 2003. He is the only incumbent running in this year’s election for two of the five council seats, as current councilwoman Sue Frost gave up her seat in order to run for Sacramento County Supervisor this year. (Click to read Slowey’s full bio and candidate profile)

Homelessness is ranked among the top issues faced by businesses and residents in Citrus Heights. What is your plan to address this and what role do you see private organizations playing? (Be specific)

“I truly believe the homeless ‘issue’ is a regional issue and will not be solved alone by Citrus Heights. That aside, for the current budget year, the City Council doubled the budget for our Homeless Navigator program. This program has proved very successful last year with over 50 percent of those requesting assistance moved into some form of permanent housing or ongoing services. All in all pretty good results for a start-up program. Additionally the newly formed HART group (Homeless Assistance Resource Team) made up of business representatives and City resources is looking for ideas to dive deeper into this arena.”

Measure B would raise the sales tax by half a cent throughout Sacramento County to pay for roads and Regional Transit projects. If the vote were held today, would you vote “yes” or “no” on Measure B, and why?

“This issue is tricky – a self-imposed tax raise or not, with the benefit going into much needed local roads. The downside to this measure is the funding going into Regional Transit at roughly 30 percent and no control of how the funding is spent after 5 years. I think most would agree RT has yet to fully get its house in order and the fact that approximately only 5 percent of the county residents ride RT. While I generally don’t support tax increases, this one makes sense on the whole. I will probably hold my nose and vote a reluctant yes.”

One of the City’s strategic planning goals is to enhance public safety. What specifically would you advocate doing to enhance public safety in Citrus Heights?

“Public safety for me is the number one priority of government. Several things can be done to enhance our award winning police department. Make sure they have adequate funding for all necessary equipment and continue to educate them on interpersonal interactions with the public. At the same time educate the public that the Citrus Heights Police Department cannot do the job alone – it is in everyone’s best interest to be the additional eyes and ears for our police dept. If you see something suspicious – report it. Don’t be afraid to get involved in your neighborhood watch and be ever vigilant.”

Body-worn cameras have been praised by many as a way to increase accountability and decrease false claims against police. Do you believe CHPD should implement body-worn cameras within the next two years? Why, or why not?

“I fully support CHPD wearing of body cameras but the issue is not that simple. There are clarifications still needed as to length of storage of tapes, timing of release of film to protect all officers rights, and who could actually request release of any tapes and for what purpose. Clearly their use would tell the story from the vantage point of what the officer saw, but they could also be used for other nefarious purposes. While I suspect we will deploy them in the future, questions and issues still need to be clarified before that can occur.”

Many of you have advocated for a fiscally conservative policy and maintaining the City’s history of operating debt free. What is your specific plan to address the growing cost of pensions and maintaining a balanced budget with healthy reserves?

“Most issues around pensions have already been addressed by the current council. We implemented new lower tiered pensions for new employees and have adopted policies that ensure each employee pays their share of their retirement contribution. Let’s not forget the employees did not create the situation, politicians did over years of not paying attention. I think anyone in the system deserves what they were promised and Citrus Heights has already mitigated most of what we can. We have always paid our share of what we have been billed by CALPERS which others have not – exacerbating the problem.”

In August, the city council voted 4-0 to oppose Proposition 64, which would legalize recreational marijuana in California. Do you agree with the council’s decision?

“As one of the NO votes I fully support the decision. I think in the states where legalization has passed they are seeing serious consequences in terms on increased crime rates, driving while under the influence of drugs and other ancillary side effects no one counted on. The drive to legalize marijuana is being driven by those who wish to make money off the misfortunes of others. You can argue States rights vs. Federal, but marijuana is still an illegal federal drug and across most other countries – there is a reason for that based on doctors opinions who are far smarter than me.”

It is well-known that many homeowners choose to ignore required building permits while doing remodel or construction work on their properties, citing permit costs or “excessive regulations.” What would you do to address this?

“I fully support permits for projects that affect ‘health and safety’ concerns (such as plumbing and electrical work.) While I would agree that not everyone gets a permit for all projects that require them, I don’t see it as an epidemic that needs immediate action. I am more than willing to take time to review all areas of the permitting process and change things where they make sense. A study might be warranted, however our fees in many cases are less than the surrounding jurisdictions for the same service.”

What, if any, are two existing city regulations/codes that you think should be changed, and why?

“I have heard many concerns during my last 13 years in office where someone thinks a process or regulation needs to be changed. After discussing it and giving them all the facts, most tend to agree in the end that with all the information in hand, the original judgement was not based entirely on fact. I know there are many opinions out there and want to hear from all. I think a better solution is to incorporate a question similar to this one in our upcoming city-wide survey we will be conducting in 2017 and get full weight in from the public.”

>>See other candidate responses: Citrus Heights city council candidates on the issues, in their own words”

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