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Telegraph talks council race: part 9

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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As election and campaign season is underway, the Folsom Telegraph had the opportunity to sit down with each of the 12 candidates running for three open seats on the Folsom City Council.

The Folsom Telegraph will be the community’s trusted source in learning who each candidate is, why they are running, and what their views are on various Folsom topics.

This is the ninth in a 12-part series where two candidates’ question-and-answer interviews will be published per week on various important topics around the Folsom community. Some of the topics asked during each interview include traffic, homelessness, development, social media usage, water, ballot items and more.

In today’s edition, readers can learn the views of Chad Vander Veen.

Chad Vander Veen, 39, has been a Folsom resident for 16 years. He is currently the marketing and communications manager for Purchase Green.

Why are you running for the Folsom City Council?

I’m running for Folsom City Council because I believe I have a duty to leave our city to our children in better condition than I found it. I believe the majority of our current council doesn’t share this belief. Rather, they have traded long-term prosperity for short-term profit.

Do you believe there is a traffic problem in Folsom? If so, how would you fix it?

Yes, and I’d address it in a couple of ways: First, I’m glad to hear double tracking is happening for light rail express service to Downtown. It’d be valuable to have a light rail spur to south of 50. I’d also like to see improved bus service from light rail stations to major employment hubs in town. Additionally, I’m impressed with the jump-bike program in Sacramento. Folsom could benefit from something similar. In the long-term, continued investment in intelligent transportation and technology – traffic signals. What can happen in the future is exciting. As vehicles get smarter, the infrastructure around can communicate and understand traffic as a whole.

Water supply has been a huge concern throughout the years. If elected, what will you do to address those concerns?

With all future development, in a neighborhood or individual home level, I want a requirement for grey water recycling on-site. Grey water is collected in a water recycling facility and then turned back into drinking water. If you integrate that, you could really lighten the demand on the existing water supply.

Folsom has some of the best public safety in the region. Do you see any issues going forward? What will you do to alleviate the problem?

There are a couple concerns. I’ve talked to the city about speed bumps. The entrenched decision is they’re detrimental to emergency response vehicles. I’d like it to be a neighborhood-by-neighborhood decision. If neighbors want speed bumps installed, the city should abide by that. We should be more proactive with campus safety. The number of school shootings is concerning for everyone. It’d be silly to think Folsom is immune. I’d like to work with Folsom PD on having a presence on all campuses, in addition to the existing officers at the high schools.

The City of Folsom annexed the Folsom Plan Area in 2011. What is your view on Folsom’s growth over the next 20-30 years?

I’ve called south of 50 a dumb project – not in the derogatory sense, but being analog. The plan is barely distinguishable from any subdivision plan from the 60s. I don’t think the way it’ll be built is conducive to the demands of the 21st century. It all goes back to transportation and if Folsom has the infrastructure in place to move people around where they need to go. I don’t think it does right now. I’d like to slow development and raise developer impact fees to pay for the infrastructure we need ahead of time.

Folsom has seen homelessness increase in recent years. While this topic is very complex, how would you address this issue?

The first thing we need to do is be open to the idea that we have to do something. It can’t be an issue we turn a blind eye to. No one has a solution. There are three ways I’d address it – temporary shelter facilities, moderate rent control and a homeless commission. We need a place run and built by the city, where people who want help can get temporary residence. It could be a place to have your tent, so it’s not behind six year olds playing baseball or on the bike trails. It seems people aren’t in favor of affordable housing, rent control and investment in helping the homeless. If you have rent control, people can start saving to buy a house. I want to create a new commission on homelessness that’s comprised of folks from HART, the food bank and citizen appointees.

Social media is a powerful tool. When is the right time to utilize it? When is the wrong time?

It’s the preferred means of communication. We can be civil to one another. We should be able to have disagreements without going off the rails insulting one another. I don’t think there’s a way to delineate when it should and shouldn’t be used. As 21st century adults, we need to grow up and not participate. If you participate, you should hold yourself to a higher standard that you want people to be held to as well.

What are you opinion on each of the follow ballot items: Prop 10: rent control C: Folsom City Council term limits; D: Folsom campaign contribution limits; E: half-percent sales tax?

I’m in favor of rent control because it helps create investment in the city and gives opportunities for people trying to get into housing.
I’m in favor of term limits. There are examples locally, statewide, federally where no way has proven to be most effective. I personally think council is long overdue for new ideas and new leadership. People in power are often not willing to let go of it.
I’m in favor of contribution limits. It gives a little more weight to individuals who want to support a candidate. Ideally, I’d prefer no money in politics, but that ship has sailed.
I’m in favor of the sales tax. Even though I’m not in favor of the language, it seems to grant the city the ability to spend it on anything. I’m confident the people on the parks and arts commission and who we elect to Council will be responsible enough to use the increased revenue in the way it’s intended.

You talked about bringing a municipal broadband network to Folsom, if elected. Can you expand on this? Do you know how much something like this will cost and if the city has the funds?

Currently, we have one or two choices for internet providers. There’s no competition to incentivize them to upgrade their infrastructure. By the city building out the fiber optic cable to neighborhoods, the residents are in charge of their own network. It’s a public utility just like water, trash and sewer. With the ubiquity of being connected nowadays, we should treat the internet like a public utility. I don’t think it’s equitable for people with more money to have better access than people with less. It could be a 10-year, $200-250 million investment, and I think it’s worth making.