One seat on the Union City City Council is up for grabs and this year newcomer Jose Estrella and incumbent Jim Navarro are both vying for the position.
Dozens of community members gathered Monday night to hear from the councilmember hopefuls in a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Fremont, Newark and Union City.
The pair shared their top priorities and their perspectives on the city’s budget, public safety, businesses and more with attendees.
While both men had similar opinions on the various, Estrella said his top priority would be education while Navarro said his most important focus would be fiscal recovery.
Estrella noted that his goals would include working to provide youth with positive programs that would keep them focused on becoming educated so that they can develop into working adults.
With the loss of redevelopment funds, Navarro said fiscal recovery is the most critical piece he would focus on if re-elected. He said programs that “fight crime and promote public safety” and recruiting and retaining businesses are also on his list of top priorities.
When it comes to the city budget and whether budget cuts should be seen in public safety or leisure services, both candidates said both are key services.
“I’m not going to sit here and say one area is going to be cut and the other area is not,” Navarro said. “It’s going to be tough, and we’ve done that already and we’re going to continue to look at it but it’s important that every takes a share of cuts. “
Estrella said, “I think everything is important. As for me, preferably, I would like both to stay but if something has to stop…both should [take cuts].”
The two shared similar perspectives on keeping the city’s budget reservesa t 7.5 percent and consolidating services with the county in order to save monies, but in closing comments, the two talked about what they could bring to the table.
Estrella said while he might not have all the answers, he knows numbers. The tax preparer noted that he can hold people accountable.
“I do taxes, and one thing I do know is I hold people accountable. Numbers don’t lie,” Estrella said. “I will hold city people…accountable to residents of Union City.
Navarro, who has served on the city council for eight years, said he would be honored to continue serving the city of Union City for another four-year term.
“[My] work is not over yet,” Navarro said. “[With redevelopment funds gone], it’s essential that an experienced councilmember be on board.”
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