Joan Pogon-Cord, candidate for City Council District 4
Age: 69 years
Lived in Tehachapi: 46 years
Education and training: BA in Physical Education and Health from San Fernando Valley State College at Northridge, CA (currently California State College at Northridge). Standard Secondary Lifetime Credential from the State of California June of 1972.
Elected offices: None. Co-President of AAUW, 1994. CIF representative for DIL -1974-1976.
No criminal record ever.
Why do you wish to serve on the Tehachapi City Council?
There is more to being on the Tehachapi City Council than two meetings per month. I see a need in my district for better representation, commitment, cooperation and compromise.
There is a need for better roads and sidewalks, clean neighborhoods, senior housing and activities, and an investment in the future of our children and grandchildren for better parks and recreation. I believe that we can work with Council and City Hall to achieve these goals.
How would you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the city?
Due to my history in the community as teacher and coach, I like to believe that I am approachable. I am visible in the community attending several events and meetings and gatherings per week. I would like people to feel that they can approach me with their concerns and issues so that they can be resolved. The city cannot correct a problem unless they are aware of the problem. Once a problem is stated, the Council members and constituents can work to solve them.
Do you think downtown is successful? How would you help further the master plan for Tehachapi?
Downtown is an amazing place. I have watched it transition from being “old” to being vibrant and a destination for locals and tourists. I understand the importance of following the master plan, that's why it was instituted. As the city grows, I intend to use the master plan as a template for ensuring we are growing appropriately and bringing in projects that benefit our community and residents.
What is more important for the city right now: building new homes and commercial space or expanding/better utilizing existing homes and storefronts? Why?
There exists a balance between new and existing commercial space. New development will encourage the existing spaces to be revitalized. This is happening right now in our Downtown area. My district includes both newer and older homes that people are investing in and remodeling/renovating. I think the benefits of both will improve our community in our commercial and residential areas.
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 is a small city; therefore, a BIG transit system is not feasible. The completion of the new transit center on Tehachapi Boulevard will provide more options for our residents who use
Dial A- Ride and Kern Regional Transit. With cooperation from the county of Kern and the private sector, we can improve transit options in our city. Things could improve with the inception of Uber or Lift in our community.
If elected, how would you address the public's concern on weighty matters before the City Council?
As an educator in our community, I have dealt with “weighty” matters before. This experience will help me on the City Council. As we continue to grow, we will face those issues. They can be dealt with by working with our residents, fellow councilmembers, and city staff. From experiencing council meetings, we currently have members who lack cooperation and compromise, that being said, there needs to be a change.
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 believe that when this proposal comes to the Council, it will have been thoroughly examined and discussed at length by the planning commission and city staff. I believe that at that time the information will be evaluated to ensure that it will be of benefit to the citizens of Tehachapi. I am not an expert in all areas, so will rely on professional expertise to explain and evaluate their benefits to our community before they reach City Council.
What issues in our government are important to you?
I think keeping our momentum going forward in current accomplishments and future projects is important. We can’t let special interests and emotions control our decisions.
Yet, we need to keep our finances strong while addressing issues, i.e., streets and sidewalks, cleaning up our neighborhoods, and providing better housing options for our seniors. If elected, I would be willing to work with others for positive change and help alleviate some of the negativity currently on the council.