Pete Graff, candidate for City Council District at-large
Years lived in Tehachapi: 40
Education and training: High school, continuing college, POST Academy
Elected offices: None
List felony convictions, if any, from any time and misdemeanor convictions, if any, from the past 10 years: None
Why do you wish to serve on the Tehachapi City Council?
It has been my great honor to meet so many wonderful residents of our city. I have been impressed by their overwhelming desire to move our city forward in a positive way. I believe that it is finally time to turn the page and explore a new chapter. As many of you know, I was raised in this town and I have always been proud to call it home. Tehachapi has given me so much over the years in the form of good people and amazing support. I served proudly as a police officer and I am very much looking forward to serving our citizens again, as their councilman. The people that truly know me, know that I will work tirelessly on behalf of this community.
How would you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the city?
I enjoy talking to people. I'm always willing to have a conversation about important issues facing our city, and there is no shortage of caring people who want to be involved. As your councilman, I would educate myself on the issues, consult with knowledgeable people and provide information through all means available. It will always be my goal to develop a consensus among our citizens and represent them well.
Do you think downtown is successful? How would you help further the master plan for Tehachapi?
I have talked to many business owners in the downtown area and while most of them note an overall environmental improvement, some of them are still concerned about the bottom line. We must consider what kind of efforts we are making to draw in customers to our downtown area on a regular basis. Special events an seasonal festivals aren't going to ensure that our local businesses thrive. In addition to encouraging our own citizens to do business locally, we must work harder to draw in more visitors.
What's more important to the city right now: building new homes and commercial space or expanding/ better utilizing existing homes and storefronts? Why?
There remains too many empty storefronts. I have noticed several empty and unused commercial spaces that could serve as premier locations for thriving businesses. We can and must do a better job seeking out and marrying up great businesses to our locations.
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?
In many discussions with members of the community, this issue has not been prevalent. That being said, I promise to address any shortcomings and work with others to make sure that our citizens have options when it comes to reliable transportation.
If elected, how would you address the public's concerns on weighty matters before the City Council?
I've noticed in some of the recent council meetings, some people have not been treated fairly as they attempt to provide information to some of our longest-term incumbents. This has been very frustrating for the citizens and for me as I believe that public servants should be respectful to the people they serve. If elected. I will treat people properly and listen to what they have to say. You won't catch me rolling my eyes or dismissively brushing people away. Everyone deserves to be heard by their elected officials.
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?
I would evaluate any suggested project in the same manner I consider expenditures for my own home. I would begin by determining whether it was a necessity or a luxury. Once that is done, I would consider the costs and weigh the benefit. I believe it is important that elected representatives don't simply kick the can down the road when it comes to implementing and paying for new projects. Our children should not be forced to inherit massive debt.
What issues in local government are important to you? What needs to change?
While many candidates continue to avoid taking a position, I will tell you that I firmly reject Measure R. Costly bond measures put forth by unelected boards using our tax dollars should be concerning to all homeowners, not only in our city, but in the larger affected districts. It has been my desire to bring improvements to our parks. I have been seeking out options that won't cost our homeowners and taxpayers at least $87 million. The bottom line is that Measure R is more than an extravagant proposal. For many of our citizens, it could result in financial hardship. I know that we can bring great improvements without adding massive, long-term tax debt to our citizens.