FAIRFIELD — Crime was a key topic when Ben Afisivalu formally announced Friday that’s he running for Fairfield City Council.
“We are facing hard times in our city,” he said. “Crime has brought fear in the minds of some of the residents.”
When people are scared to enjoy the place they call home, Afisivalu said, “I refuse to sit around and pretend that everything is OK.”
Put people back to work to reduce crime, he said.
Moreover, bring volunteers – including church members, whom he said are ready to assist the community – to enrich programs that can deter youths from crime.
Speaking outside the Samoan Christian Fellowship Church, he called crime the top issue before Fairfield and noted three homicides have happened so far in 2014.
The council candidate, a facility manager at a residential program for at-risk youth, called for a change in the culture and said the city can’t arrest its way out of the crime problem.
Scott Tonnesen, the city Planning Commission’s vice chairman who is also running for City Council, said Friday in a phone interview that crime “is certainly not everything a campaign is going to be based on.”
But, Tonnesen said, “you can’t not address crime.”
He said he’s interested to see what’s said at the April 29 town hall meeting about crime. The event from 6 to 8 p.m. will take place in Willow Hall at the Civic Center.
“We’ll get a good pulse,” Tonnesen said of views of residents and city officials in response to crime.
Terms of council members Catherine Moy and John Mraz end in November. The term of Mayor Harry Price also ends in November.
Price, who with Vice Mayor Rick Vaccaro was at Afisivalu’s announcement, said Friday he expects additional candidates to seek a City Council seat.
Rod McClean, an emergency disaster service coordinator, spoke after Afisivalu and said of Fairfield that this is our house. We have to protect it, McClean said.
“We can’t rely on just a few men to do it,” he said. “We need God in our town.”
“Make this the best place in California to live,” McClean urged, “not the most dangerous.”
Gary Hill, a 42-year resident of Fairfield, called it a great city facing enormous challenges.
“When you take leadership there’s a target on your back,” he said. “(I) have Ben’s back.”
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]