I am running for re-election to the El Cerrito City Council. I grew up here. I know what this city used to be like and how far we’ve come. As Mayor Pro Tem, I also know the challenges that still lie ahead as we grow and change.
“Paul has worked tirelessly to make El Cerrito a safer and healthier place to live. He’s spent his life increasing government transparency, improving our environment, and protecting consumers. We need his passion, creativity and experience to lead us through these challenging times.” -- County Supervisor John Gioia
Ann Cheng -- Marty Takimoto & Linda Martin Takimoto -- Gabe Quinto — Letitia Moore -- Jane & Rich Bartke — Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto — Nancy Nakayama — Greg Lyman — Al Miller — Keri & Gen Yasuda — Michael Fischer — Manish Doshi — Janet Abelson — Mark Choi – Madeline Kronenberg -- Marlene Keller — David Weinstein — Jan Bridges — Mark Friedman — Jim Dolgonas—Andi Kawai – Glen Nethercut — Rob Feraru — Sam Salkan — Carla Hansen — Steven Price -- Deirdre Olynick --- Brian Griedel — Rebecca Benassini -- George Gager – Adrienne Kopa — Dann Bearson & Dana Ozer-Bearson – Marlene George – Nick Zamorano -- Sharlene Loretz — Donna and Scott Houser – Hilary Crosby -- Norman LaForce – Wayne Chin & Jodie Peng Chin — Buddy Akacic – Dwight & Gloria Merrill -- Christopher Sterba — Chet & Monica Grycz – Marilynn & Michael Harryman –- Ruth Cazden-- Robin Hansen & Cliff Bishop -- Pieter Hartsook
“Paul Fadelli brings to the Council the perfect blend of wisdom and compassion. He takes every decision to heart and will always do what is best for our community.” -- Councilmember Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto
(March 2020) I was going to write down some new goals for my 2020 campaign for El Cerrito City Council.
But when I reviewed the long-range goals I made 4 years ago (below) for the 2016 campaign, I realized they are still pertinent today and I didn’t need to change much because there’s still work to be done.
With the City experiencing major fiscal constraints, and the council asking for major budget cuts to address our serious lack of reserves, some efforts toward achieving the following goals will probably lack some of the needed funding to help make considerable progress.
But this doesn’t mean we stop doing our best to keep improving this City. And because my 2016 goals are still relevant, I am going keep them here and update comments in red to show where I will be putting my efforts if re-elected.
El Cerritans deserve a city councilperson who will work both locally and regionally to make El Cerrito better.
It’s important that we keep El Cerrito’s high quality of life. Our city has come a long way with an ever stronger identity. I want to continue the great strides that have been made El Cerrito better and work to make these goals a reality:
This must be a primary goal for any city official, because without it there is no quality of life in any city. El Cerrito must provide the working environment and resources for police and firefighters that promote long-term retention. El Cerritans must be assured that the crime rate will be reduced and a prevention program is in place. Assuring fire safety in the flatlands and the hills of El Cerrito must remain priority one.
(2020): I believe fire safety and readiness for a possible disaster must remain our #1 priority – and that’s why we must also make sure we build our budget reserves so we can respond as needed. The ability of our Police and Fire Departments must not be hindered during this time of fiscal constraint, but they should also seek ways to cut costs and programs that are not critical to their jobs to protect the safety of El Cerritans.
Day in and day out, El Cerrito’s recreational facilities, parks and trails provide opportunities for exercise, contemplation and fun. Many cities don’t have what we have. Our community center pool remains a critical asset of this community that must be maintained for all those who use or may use it in the future. Our young soccer players, baseball players and parents, and our July 4th enthusiasts deserve a field policy that assures multi-use availability all year long. Much of my childhood took place at El Cerrito Parks and I will work to keep them exemplary.
(2020): I was proud in 2019 to have worked on the committee to pass Measure H – which extended the parcel tax supporting our parks and pools. With El Cerrito voting by almost 80% in support of Measure H, our city now has on-going dedicated funding to maintain and enhance our city’s greatest recreational assets. Without this extension, our parks, pools and recreational facilities would have been at the mercy of a General Fund at a very difficult time for our city budget. Now with this better financial security for our parks and recreational assets, we must follow the Parks & Recreational Facilities Master Plan which has outlined what needs immediate attention, fix our wonderful pools to the high standards we expect and determine if we can begin adding the types of new services and facilities our residents said in the Master Plan they want.
Our community will only benefit in many ways from new business and restaurants that come to El Cerrito—especially along San Pablo Ave. Let’s make it easier for businesses to do business, conduct a “Buy Local” campaign, and encourage more civic and cultural events that attract visitors and retail customers to our town. New housing, near and along San Pablo Ave., can create greater demand for goods and services that will ultimately attract new businesses. And let’s make San Pablo Ave. more accommodating to pedestrian and bike traffic.
(2020): Development along San Pablo marches on – with the Mayfair lot development and two hotels coming soon to our northern gateway near the Del Norte BART station (now also under major renovation). But this most expensive region for development and construction costs in the country has slowed planned projects. We must continue to seek new businesses and revenue, fill empty storefronts and encourage new workplaces in El Cerrito so East Bay residents can work locally – or reverse commute on BART from other Bay Area cities. Like this past holiday season, adding tree lights to our Theater district and the Plaza will attract customers and can attract new businesses to a city showing it cares about business. I plan to again work to light up El Cerrito in 2020.
A missing link in the resurgence of El Cerrito has been the lack of a place where we centralize our information resources, broadband technology and additional community activities. It is not for lack of trying – but we must educate our citizens to the need and move toward development. A new library/resource center should help bridge the gap for those who may not have access to the Internet; it should be a place for reading; a place to hold public meetings, see art; or buy a cup of coffee with friends. This is an exciting new chapter for a new El Cerrito!
(2020): The goal of building a new and much needed library in El Cerrito has not been forgotten. But it has definitely been slowed because of our city’s financial situation. It is still a major priority of mine, but the reality is there will not be much movement until our city is more solvent and can identify a venue and present a cost plan to our residents. That’s why I want to keep the discussion going about what might be the best location for a new library – including near the Plaza BART station. I continue to support the City Council decision to keep funding for a full schedule of library hours during the week, as we discuss future plans.
El Cerrito has a great environmental record with restored creeks, a recycle center that is the envy of the Bay Area, opportunities for residents to use more renewable energy sources, a Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission strategy and a 4-STAR rating for improving the city’s livability and sustainability. My background is environmental and energy policy and I want to help provide the opportunity for our citizens to help make our city as sustainable as possible. This is an obligation that city officials should take on and be held accountable for.
(2020): In 2019, El Cerrito won the prestigious Beacon Award from the League of California Cities for its environmental and sustainability efforts – specifically recognizing our parks and recycling center. This was a true tribute to the hard efforts of our city staff and all they do. El Cerrito is known for its environmental achievements like Earth Day and the efforts of our “Green Teams” to pick up city litter. The next big effort will be to update our Climate Action Plan. I will continue to be outspoken about our need to cut back on plastics and use compostable food ware when appropriate. This will put us more in line with our neighboring communities and do our part to cut back on plastic straws and waste which is a growing worldwide problem.
With two major transit hubs at Del Norte and the Plaza, El Cerrito is unique in the Bay Area for a city our size. Increasingly major transit centers are being recognized as the key to enhancing urban centers because they can help improve the local economy, get people out of their polluting cars, encourage additional housing and enhance nearby housing values. I work at BART, and as plans move forward this year to modernize the important Del Norte station, I want to make sure the new BART station is completed on time, prioritizes good access for the disabled, pedestrians and bicycle riders, that the station will be attractive to the neighbors and citizens of El Cerrito, and that we reduce the opportunities for criminal activities. This modernization will be a big part of renovating the San Pablo/Cutting Blvd. area of our city that has been dormant for so long.
(2020): El Cerrito is limited to growth along San Pablo Avenue and around our two BART stations. Good things are happening on all three fronts. The dynamics of the Bay Area economy make progress less noticeable because of construction costs and delays. But in our Uptown District, two new hotels and significant housing will soon become evident along San Pablo Avenue and by the Del Norte BART station – which is being completely renovated. At the Plaza station, there are major plans by BART to increase Transit Oriented Development (TOD)—housing and retail. I will continue to push that BART give our residents significant input into how that development will look. I testified at BART that our hill residents will be impacted by changes in station parking and that we will need additional access options to the station. I want to continue to use funding from the new SB 1 to make streets around our BART stations safer and more accessible. Continuing placemaking around our BART stations will continue to be an important goal of mine.
There is much to do in El Cerrito and that’s why, with one of the highest tax rates in the region, it is important to prioritize our local spending efforts. We must be cautious and studious. This city has a good tradition of paying for – through special measures – critical services its citizens support -- like police and fire needs, our swimming pool, and fixing our roads. This is a tradition worth keeping, as we discuss fixing our pool and building a much needed library.
(2020): People usually run for city office to enhance their communities – to ADD positive services – not to take them away. So, the budget process we must execute for this city remains very difficult. We must effectively deal with two key budget goals: increasing revenues and cutting expenses.
The involvement of City residents makes me confident there is a greater understanding of what we must do now with finances. They and councilmembers want to be part of a transparent process where we all understand the need for urgency. I think the state audit will be a good thing and hopefully provide valuable direction going forward.
This year, Council asked staff to seek options to cut $2 million from our two-year budget. That will be difficult, but we must start with the managers of our city departments identifying some obvious cuts – the low hanging fruit—that is the most expendable and has the least impact on our residents. We must better determine what services make money. And I believe this scrutiny must include all departments -- including safety.
I agree with those who suggest that we should consider cutting all services across the board at a certain percentage, rather than dismantling entire programs or services that will be hard to recreate or initiate again.
Last year, when I was working to pass Measure V, I told residents we needed it to increase our reserves for possible disaster response and to better prepare against fires and assist abatement. These still remain my highest priorities for El Cerrito at this time.
As a Commissioner on the El Cerrito Art & Culture Commission, I have worked with other commissioners to broaden recognition of the arts in this city with street banners, an Arts Festival in October, and supporting use of the city’s 1% arts fund to assist other activities like the EC Folk Festival and the Music for Madera Open Space Festival. I want to add new cultural traditions in El Cerrito that not only make El Cerrito a more attractive place, but will attract visitors and new businesses to our city.
(2020): It remains important – no matter the economic hardships -- to make El Cerrito a better place to live. We still need to feel good about ourselves and our home town, and art and cultural events continue to be ways to make that happen. Like efforts to place holiday lights on San Pablo Avenue trees and help focus on our important businesses downtown -- I will continue to encourage events and projects that help define an innovative and spirited El Cerrito. And that includes keeping certain event (but refashioning and cutting back the cost) of our famous July 4th celebration, as well as the MLK March, Earth Day and National Night out.
El Cerrito is a unique place all its own. But we are also part of an East Bay region. We can make El Cerrito better, but we still must interact closely with our neighbors. Whether it’s fighting for clean air, protecting safety along the Ohlone greenway, improving the Bay Trail, restoring the Bay, adding bike and pedestrian pathways, improving a highway onramp or modernizing the Del Norte BART station, El Cerrito needs to work with federal, state, county agencies and our neighboring cities to keep El Cerrito’s priorities heard and responded to.
(2020): With my participation on regional agencies, like the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC) and MCE, I will continue to raise specific issues that impact El Cerrito and the communities around us. Especially with critical issues like homelessness, it takes regional cooperation to begin resolving borderless problems that impact the Bay Area.
For three decades Paul Fadelli has worked in the public interest. In Washington, DC, Sacramento and the Bay Area he has worked to make things better in California and the nation. Now he wants to work to keep El Cerrito moving forward. s
In addition to working for two California US Senators in Washington DC on issues involving agriculture, health, education and the arts, Paul worked for Senator Edmund S. Muskie (D-ME) on his Pollution Subcommittee to protect the federal Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. He also specifically worked to help pass a new federal Superfund Act to help clean up hazardous toxic chemicals in the land. Paul staffed the first congressional hearing on Acid Rain that led to legislation. Working for Rep. John Krebs (D- CA), Paul also assisted efforts to add the Mineral King acreage to Sequoia National Park. As a legislative assistant he assisted then-state Senate Majority Leader John Garamendi’s efforts to protect Lake Tahoe and the Delta, and worked on legislation to require fire-safe cigarettes.
As the staff director on the State Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee, Paul worked with Chairman Sen. Herschel Rosenthal D-LA to promote clean energy, assist state ratepayers with high energy bills, and oversee actions by Investor Owned Utilities - the state Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Paul helped set up the “Flex Your Power” website program established by Governor Schwarzenegger. At BART, Paul worked to pass legislation to make it easier for the transit agency to purchase more renewable energy so it can run even cleaner.
Both in the state Senate and at BART, Paul initiated efforts that led to greater government transparency:
As the chief telecommunications staffer in the state Senate when AT&T was broken up, Paul worked to pass legislation that assisted telephone consumers and ratepayers dealing with new confusing competition. In addition, he developed and helped pass several bills that were signed into law that protected consumers who were just beginning to use new cellular technology.
At BART, Paul worked on legislation which became law that created a BART Police Citizen Review Board (w/Assem. Swanson), authorized BART police to deal with domestic violence incidents (w/Sen. Hancock ), required greater police training to deal with mentally ill citizens, and created a new citation program (w/Assem. Dickinson) to better protect riders and BART employees from trouble makers on BART property.
Paul continues to work on funding and safety needs at BART while promoting sustainability, transit oriented development and encouraging greater bicycle, pedestrian and disabled access to transit. Paul helped pass legislation to promote more American manufacturing jobs when building transit railcars, (w/Assem. Skinner) and to protect the BART system and its riders from the possible impact of transit copper theft (w/Assem. Buchanan). BART continues to support greater efforts to reduce Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and was the only transit system in the state to support SB 375 (Steinberg) that requires better and smarter urban growth around transit systems.