Michael Davies, candidate for City Council District at-large
Age: (as of Election Day, Nov. 6) 58
Years lived in Tehachapi:32 years
Education and training: High School diploma, various training on sales and lubrication classes
Elected offices: None
No criminal record ever.
Why do you wish to serve on the Tehachapi City Council?
This community is on the upward trajectory. The economy is strong, people are employed, we are the most desirable community in Kern County. That is not by accident; that was carefully planned and we are seeing the rewards. I want to continue to be a part of the positive growth of this community and ensure Tehachapi remains a great place to live, work and thrive.
How would you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the city?
Residents have many opportunities to be involved in the decision-making process. There are public workshops, Planning Commission and City Council meetings where public input is invited. If someone can’t make those meetings I hope they will feel comfortable and confident enough in me to bring their concerns to the table as we address the issues in our community together.
Do you think downtown is successful? How would you help further the master plan for Tehachapi?
Downtown is an unbelievable success. Every building is occupied or currently being renovated; it’s a testament to both a good economy and the desirability of Downtown. The master plan in Tehachapi specifically addresses a Downtown that is walkable, welcoming to businesses and tourists as well as a center for revitalization. I will continue to both promote the Downtown success story and the master plan for Tehachapi, because they go hand in hand.
What’s more important for the city right now: building new homes and commercial space or expanding/better utilizing existing homes and storefronts? Why?
New development is here, Downtown is full, so new commercial development is necessary to meet the needs of a growing community. The same goes with housing. The existing homes are being renovated. Drive Downtown and see all the great work residents have put into some of their downtown homes, it's amazing, If new housing projects are approved by the Planning Commission, of course we as a City Council will consider.
How do you feel about the transportation options currently available in the city? Do we have enough options? If not, what will you do to increase those?
Tehachapi has Kern Transit to provide service to Bakersfield and the Antelope Valley along with Amtrak connection buses. Other than that, this is an issue the private sector would be much more likely to solve. Hopefully as the city grows, more options like Uber or Lyft become available with more riders willing to pay. We’re seeing cities all over the country taking the private-sector approach and I think that will work in Tehachapi.
If elected, how would you address the public’s concerns on weighty matters before the City Council?
With respect and transparency. There’s a way to bring the public concerns forward without being accusatory or combative. There’s also a solutions-based approach to everything. I know I can’t make everyone happy but a conversation with people about their concerns and finding some sort of middle crowd is oftentimes the answer. I can’t fix everything, but hopefully I can help them feel better about their issues and start the process of finding a solution.
If someone came to you with a proposal to build a new piece of public infrastructure in our city (road, bridge, etc.), how would you evaluate whether that project is worth implementing?
Infrastructure proposals don’t arrive out of thin air, especially on the infrastructure front in this state. Usually it’s a list of projects submitted every year to the Kern Council of Governments, which oversees and disperses funding for major projects. I will with them Councilmember Phil Smith who has served on Kern COG for decades to get our projects funded. I’ll also lean heavily on city staff for project needs as funding becomes available.
What issues in local government are important to you? What needs to change?
We are the most desirable community in Kern County because we are doing things well. I’ll work with City Hall to ensure balanced budgets are continued. I’ll work with the council, Planning Commission, staff and economic development to bring jobs and tax revenue to this community. We need to work together better as a community. We need to develop trust and find solutions that result in keeping a strong economy and low unemployment.