Suffragettes vs. Candidates
On Friday, September 28, 2018 the women of the East County Suffragettes held a Candidate Forum and Softball Tournament at Pittsburg’s Creative Arts Building. Residents were invited to attend and listen to the City Council candidates answer lightweight questions about their candidacies.
Although the event was streamed online, Pittsburg Voice realizes that not everyone has time to watch the full video. So, as a public service, we proudly present brief and concise translations of the candidate’s responses to the Suffragette’s questions.
First, the candidates introduced themselves… and away they went:
Mark Gargalikis – Long term Pittsburg Family. On Planning Commission for 8 years.
Holland White – Lived in Bay Area for 7 years (not Pittsburg) worked under Federal Glover for 5 years. From Atlanta, Georgia. Studied at Academy of Art in San Francisco.
Wolfgang Croskey – Grew up in Pittsburg, came back to Pittsburg to raise his family. Local business man.
Merl Craft – Grew up in Pittsburg. Worked for City for 35 years. City Council for 3 years.
Shanelle Scales Preston – Strong family ties in Pittsburg. 18 years in public service with Congressman DeSaulnier.
Durie Foster – Planning Commission since 2017. Business man.
The following questions were posed to the candidates. In order to cut through the rhetoric and bluster commonly associated with politicians, Pittsburg Voice provides a customized “translation” of each candidate’s response to the question.
Do you consider yourself to be a pro-business candidate and how can you make Pittsburg more business friendly for small and new businesses such as restaurants and professional services?
CROSKEY: Yeah, I own a business in Pittsburg, did I mention that? Did I mention that I’m a realtor? Do you need to sell your house? Did I mention I can do that for you? Oh, and I stole the Police mascot one time.
CRAFT: We need to rezone the city so that Seeno and Garaventa can get what they want, when they want it. Oh, and our waterfront should be given to Federal Glover as a thank-you gift.
SCALES PRESTON: More business is good. More money is good.
FOSTER: I like the movie Field of Dreams.
GARGALIKIS: Patronizing is good, especially when it comes to businesses.
WHITE: I like business. I like things that grow. I don’t like Safeway.
City of Pittsburg has a large street and infrastructure maintenance backlog. What is your plan to address this backlog?
WHITE: Wow, that stuff costs a lot of money. I’m pretty sure that Federal Glover has a lot of money.
CROSKEY: Roads are not sexy. I like sexy things. We need to make the non-sexy things more sexy.
CRAFT: We need to vote to get more money from the state. Without money from the state my personal businesses would not exist. Oh, and roads and higher taxes are good too.
SCALES PRESTON: Federal Funding, Federal Glover… is that the same thing?
FOSTER: Fixing roads is good. Fixing Pittsburg’s government is better.
GARGALIKIS: We all drive cars, except that crazy bike guy. The City has not planned to maintain roads like they should have.
What would you like to see happen at the now closed Delta View Golf Course?
SCALES PRESTON: Someone mentioned data and recreation centers, so I repeated that. My kids go to school in Concord, so that doesn’t really affect me.
FOSTER: Pittsburg had a chance to make the golf course a revenue generating destination, but decided to sell out instead.
GARGALIKIS: Lots of golf courses close every year, however, cities need nice things for their residents and to improve their image. Yeah, golf.
WHITE: I’ve been told to tell you that the city needs revenue, so yeah, I told you that. Now you have to believe everything else I’m told to tell you, though I have no idea what it means.
CROSKEY: Did I mention that I’m a realtor? Old people need housing too. Let’s build lots of old-people housing on the golf course.
CRAFT: I’ve worked for the city for 35 years, and I know how to spout a lot of statistics that sound like they are related, but they are not. I proudly voted to close the golf course, so get over it. We need to build some stuff on that land because my daughter is the Economic Development director for Pittsburg and she needs something good on her résumé. You should vote for me to make my daughter look good.
REBUTTAL! FOSTER: Pittsburg did a poll about the golf course. The Council did not listen to the will of the people about the golf course.
REBUTTAL! CRAFT: Pfffffftht. FOOLS! Sure I wanted a poll, but I was really delaying things so that the City Manager had time to work his back-room deal. And guess what, it worked.
How should Pittsburg handle its debt obligations for employee pensions?
CRAFT: Because the city did not plan for this problem (although we knew it was coming), we had to steal money from other areas of the city and pay off the debt. Oh, but despite our fake budget crisis from last year, we have been under-budget for the last 4 years. And I have some oceanfront land in Arizona to sell you, if you’re interested.
SCALES PRESTON: I don’t understand money things or how old people retire. Don’t they just die when they get old, and then the city has more money?
FOSTER: Money in, money out. Duh.
GARKALIKIS: CALPERS is a disaster and has been for a long time. The city needs to plan for the eventual meltdown. Oh wait… it already happened.
WHITE: I want to be transparent… we closed the golf course to save your retirement!!! Yay! Besides, as long as I align myself with Federal Glover, I’m set! Screw the old people!
CROSKEY: Look, I have $5 in my wallet! Look, I also don’t understand how pensions work.
REBUTTAL! WHITE: Watch the news, old man.
What vision do you have for the marina and waterfront? There is so much potential. We have a beautiful downtown and marina, but we need to keep businesses here and make it a destination. What is your vision?
GARGALIKIS: The waterfront used to be awesome. It could use some help.
WHITE: Our marina is pretty. It needs a ferry. Ferries make things prettier. I like ferries.
CROSKEY: Promote the waterfront, let’s enjoy it. We don’t need no stinkin’ ferries.
CRAFT: My ex-brother-in-law Federal Glover wants to build industry along our water, so I’m going to slyly promote his Northern Waterfront Initiative and pretend it will be good for Pittsburg jobs.
SCALES PRESTON: Industry, jobs, industry, jobs. Nice waterfront, throw rocks.
REBUTTAL! CROSKEY: Bring small businesses and startups to Pittsburg instead of industry. Those people know how to eat lunch.
FOSTER: Copy other cities. Yeah, do that. Duplicate success.
Do you support the currently active sanctuary state law? What are your plans to help the immigrant community feel safe and welcome in Pittsburg?
FOSTER: Operate within the boundaries of the law, be nice to people.
GARGALIKIS: Pittsburg has always been a diverse town, everyone gets along.
WHITE: My apartment, that is definitely located in Pittsburg, is my sanctuary.
CROSKEY: God Bless America. Laws, good. Hugs for all.
CRAFT: God, I hope everyone believes my story that sanctuary laws are a false sense of security. That way I can again weasel out of committing to support them, even though the State of California disagrees with me.
SCALES PRESTON: I don’t want to answer the question directly, but I do feel bad for the undocumented people.
How do you feel about the transportation options and its safety currently available in our city? How can we reduce the dependency on single occupant automobiles, and increase the share of transit walking and biking?
GARGALIKIS: Pittsburg is not like San Francisco. If we build around the BART station we can make it more like San Francisco… a traffic jammed urban area that nobody likes.
WHITE: I’m not an engineer, but I like cars that drive themselves. Yeah, that’s the solution. More cars.
CROSKEY: BART is not safe. Too bad there are not enough jobs in Pittsburg.
CRAFT: I’m on the board of Tri Delta Transit, the worst bus system ever. We need more services like BART, LYFT and UBER to put the crappy buses out of business once and for all. Bike people are crazy.
SCALES PRESTON: I’m more interested in other cities in the county than Pittsburg. Let’s help fix their traffic.
FOSTER: Traffic is bad. Yup, it’s bad. Jobs are good. Yup, they are good.
REBUTTAL! WHITE: Never-mind.
How do you see the arts expanding in Pittsburg as we sit here in this art center?
SCALES PRESTON: I want more art programs. Maybe we can pay one of Merl’s many companies a lot of money to run them?
FOSTER: I want more art programs, too.
GARGALIKIS: I want more art programs, too.
WHITE: My aunt runs PACF, Pittsburg Art and Community Foundation, and she’s awesome because she’s married to my boss, Federal Glover.
CROSKEY: Promote what you praise. Praise be to art.
CRAFT: My ex-sister-in-law runs PACF and she’s awesome because she’s married to Federal Glover. But the people of Pittsburg just want, want, want, and they never show up. Losers.
What type of development, if any, do you want to see around Pittsburg Center BART station?
WHITE: Let’s do another faux poll so we can do whatever we want, like we did with the golf course.
CROSKEY: I don’t care as long as it’s safe, and we need a really big parking lot.
CRAFT: Since my daughter, Pittsburg’s Economic Development Director, has proven that she’s unable to attract business to Pittsburg, we might as well spend a ton of money ruining Pittsburg for the current residents and pretending that we need state and county help to be successful. God knows we don’t have the talent in our city to do it by ourself.
SCALES PRESTON: Transit village and affordable housing… because the elderly, students and the disadvantaged are the only people desperate enough to live over a major, polluting freeway and breathe those fumes every day.
FOSTER: If you build it, they won’t come… if the traffic sucks. Thanks, Fed, for spending “$1.8 Billion” and not fixing anything.
GARGALIKIS: We need lots of stuff around BART, like San Francisco.
Would you support a city ordinance prohibiting the sale of assault weapons and hand guns in Pittsburg?
CRAFT: Absolutely, but no gun show signs. They make kids think of guns, which they never do otherwise.
SCALES PRESTON: Yes, keep these guns out of our city.
FOSTER: Don’t ban the gun, ban the crazy people.
GARGALIKIS: Yeah, what he said.
WHITE: Gun show signs are bad. Pittsburg’s sign ordinance enforcement sucks so bad. People should not be allowed to post any signs they want. Except me, I should be allowed to post any campaign signs I want. Did I mention that I’m related to Federal Glover?
CROSKEY: Did you all see me on social media when the threats were made on the High School?
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision making process in our town?
CROSKEY: I have two ears, not one, two. I can listen. Also, I’m a social media king.
CRAFT: We don’t really care what the people think. We have proven that. Come to our Neighborhood Improvement Team meetings so we can lie to you there, too.
SCALES PRESTON: We need a task force… like maybe a Community Advisory Committee. Oh, wait.
FOSTER: Yeah, what they all said. Plus better outreach.
GARGALIKIS: Um, yeah, lots of meetings, all the time. Take the meetings to the people.
WHITE: I can’t figure out the city website. Is it me, or does it suck?
FOSTER: I’m always available to talk about the problems our current council has caused for Pittsburg, or any other items you have concerns with.
SCALES PRESTON: I like to talk to people. I have lots of political connections.
CRAFT: I’m awesome! I’m happy to take credit for things other city employees have done.
CROSKEY: Be different, go to space, visit Germany. I’m independent, not a sell-out to special interests.
WHITE: I just moved to Pittsburg because my boss wants me to get on the council so he can still control the City even after he retires.
GARGALIKIS: Crime, homelessness. Let’s address those since the current council has ignored it.
And then, thankfully, it was over.