supe candidate forum 4_16_14

Solano County Supervisor candidates, from left to right, Fairfield City Councilmember Pam Bertani, Michael Oman and Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering, get ready for a candidate forum at the Fairfield City Council Chambers on Wednesday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

Solano County

Supervisor candidates square off at forum

By From page A1 | April 17, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Crime and jobs were among the issues addressed Wednesday by Solano County supervisor candidates who will be on the June 3 ballot.

Incumbent Supervisor Jim Spering, Fairfield City Councilwoman Pam Bertani and Michael Oman participated in the forum for 3rd District candidates, with Steven Lowe absent. The 3rd District covers much of Fairfield and Suisun City.

The Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce and Solano County Farm Bureau sponsored the forum at the Fairfield City Council chamber. The candidates answered questions separately and did not debate, though at times they addressed their opponents’ points during their own answers.

One question focused on crime and the state’s move to put under the care of counties some criminals who previously would have gone to state prisons and on to state parole.

“District 3 is struggling with crime right now,” Bertani said. “We’ve had 10 shooting in 10 days.”

Solano County’s Claybank Jail is to have training programs to help inmates get jobs when they are released. Bertani said the county needs to think beyond the confines of the jail, work with faith groups and help train youths so they don’t commit crimes in the first place.

Spering addressed recent, high-profile crimes that have taken place in cities, not the rural areas under county jurisdiction. When he served as Suisun City mayor, he didn’t ask the county to deal with the city’s crime, but had the city deal with it, he said. Part of the crime issues in Suisun City related to land use and that’s similar in Fairfield today, he said.

“I think if I was worried about the crime in Fairfield, I’d probably be running for the City Council and not the Board of Supervisors,” Spering said, a nod to Bertani’s present post.

He also talked about things the county has done, such as opening centers that work with former inmates on job and life skills. Before, he said, inmates with no transition help or hope for jobs got released by the state into communities.

Bertani returned to the crime issue during her closing statement. The county needs a Board of Supervisors that understands crime isn’t this city’s problem or that city’s problem, but a county problem, she said.

Oman highlighted his seven-point plan to create jobs in Solano County. His Oman Plan makes such proposals as turning the county fairgrounds into a biotechnology center with a Bay Area Rapid Transit connection, irrigating more farmland, bringing assisted senior living to Solano Town Center mall and creating a distribution center for businesses such as Amazon.

Crime exists in part because people don’t see opportunity, Oman said.

“It’s desperation. It’s hopelessness,” he said.

Spering said he has helped bring thousands of jobs to Solano County. He talked about the transportation projects he has pushed for to bring infrastructure needed for economic development. He mentioned the widening of Highway 12 through Jameson Canyon, a major link with Napa County.

“When you’re the incumbent, you have a target on your back,” Spering said, adding that challengers can easily talk about what they’re going to do.

Oman pushed the jobs issue, repeatedly returning to his Oman Plan. Oman during closing statement told Spering that the county has higher unemployment and lower per-capita income and needs a change.

Bertani also hit the jobs issue in her closing statement. The bottom line is the county has the highest unemployment rate in the Bay Area, she said.

All three candidates agreed that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan bodes ill for Solano County. This is the state plan to build twin tunnels under the Delta to move water targeted for exports to the south.

Spering said that proposed, related habitat mitigation projects would flood the eastern side of the county and take farmland out of production. Bertani stressed recycling, conservation and storage and called the state Delta plan “an outdated, 20th century approach.”

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 14 comments

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  • 2realApril 17, 2014 - 6:20 am

    Candidate with the best lies and the most money raised wins....

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  • Rich GiddensApril 17, 2014 - 6:58 am

    The format of the debates is horrible---it's all scripted, staged and stilted. The Chamber of Commerce huh? Just like the Detroit Chamber of Commerce! Lots of Local Government failure and BS with ''commerce'' moving elsewhere! The face of local horrible government is clearly Jim Spering and his nasty cities of Sewer Soon and Felonfield.

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  • BobApril 17, 2014 - 7:41 am

    Didn't Spering have to bring in the Sheriffs office to patrol at night? How can he say the city took care of itself?

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  • NateApril 17, 2014 - 7:57 am

    When Spering was Mayor of Suisun the sheriff's dept had patrols in the city. Right now, the Fairfield police dept is helping the county's sheriff dept. manage parolees because there are too many for the county to manage alone (DR article in Feb.). Maybe he forgot Suisun needed the county's help on crime. He has been in office a long time. Maybe he doesn't know the FFPD is helping the county manage parolees because he's busy with other important county issues, like making money for him and his buddies. Or maybe he just doesn't care, like he said last night.

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  • SteveApril 17, 2014 - 8:59 am

    Suisun City contracted its police services to the Sheriff's Department. They hired them. It was efficient and it saved money. And it worked.

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  • JBApril 17, 2014 - 7:57 am

    Send Pam back to Oakland. All she does is talk and has done nothing for the City of Fairfield. She is using her current position as a stepping stone to further destroy this county with her all talk and no action ways. Vote out all incumbents.

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  • George Guynn, JrApril 17, 2014 - 9:42 am

    Any jobs that Spering has helped produce are minimum wage ones, unless they are for construction projects for himself and his friends. As for crime, the crime rate for the county is lower than for the cities due to there being less people per acre. So, why is Spering backing the train station in Fairfield with rabbit hutch housing down by the train station? It will be a crime magnet! He owns property a half mile from the station. Could it be to help himself and his friends? Be sure to check his Fair Political Practices Forms 700 & 460 for even more information! And finally, we don't need the One Bay Area Plan, which Spering supports, to control everything we say and do!!!!!

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  • SteveApril 17, 2014 - 10:22 am

    George is completely incorrect. Do transportation projects pay minimum wage? Do sheriff's make minimum wage? Do business owners in downtown Suisun make minimum wage? You haven't a clue about the housing being constructed at the train station. Is senior housing not needed? Are apartments not needed? Are homes not needed? Do you think people should have options to get to work on mass transit, or just drive a car everywhere? Do you know that Jim inserted language into the One Bay Area Plan that doesn't restrict transportation funds to areas that don't meet the plan's goals. That plan was going to be approved no matter what. JIm made sure Solano County was not stuck with the consequences. Who do you want George? Pam Bertani who is bought and paid for by SEIU. Oman who's pipe dreams have zero chance of becoming reality? Cmon George, inquiring minds want to know?

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  • HKApril 17, 2014 - 7:07 pm

    I hope your pay's good, Steve. Seems every time Spering's property is brought up, you're there with a meaningless paragraph to deflect.

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  • Suisun city guyApril 17, 2014 - 7:59 pm

    I for one remember Jim Spearing when he took on the tough issues of Suisun City and turned that crime ridden hole into the water front that it is today. Bertani has not shown that she can help out on the city council yet she somhow thinks she now warrents a step up to supervisor. Oman has ideas but frankly they are all pie in the sky ideas that are not realistic and we need real task managers for our county supervisors. looking at the field Im staying with Spearing he is the best choice in this field.

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  • PornacApril 17, 2014 - 8:09 pm

    They should all be forced to take trigonometry! The best grade wins the election.

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  • HoodwinkedApril 17, 2014 - 9:10 pm

    "Bertani returned to the crime issue during her closing statement. The county needs a Board of Supervisors that understands crime isn’t this city’s problem or that city’s problem, but a county problem, she said."...So just what has Council Person Bertani done for Fairfield when it comes to Fairfield’s crime problems? Can we expect the same if she becomes a supervisor?...

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  • ConcernedApril 18, 2014 - 9:30 am

    When a candidate runs for office, it is important to look at what they have accomplished prior. Jim Spering's record of accomplishments speak for themselves. Just go to the Suisun waterfront and look at what was once a crime-infested, run- down, depressing place. It is now the showplace of Solano County, with good restaurants, a lovely marina, and entertainment venues. Mrs. Bertani ran for city council promising to make changes for Fairfield, but I haven't seen the promises come true. In fact, it seems that things are worse now than they were when she first came to office. I wonder if she's just tired of this job and wants to go on to something new. My vote goes to Jim Spering, a man we can all count on to get things done!

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  • George Guynn, JrApril 18, 2014 - 12:30 pm

    Steve, you are the one that is clueless and obviously a Spering suck up. You give Spering credit for jobs that he didn't create, such as transportation and sheriff's deputies. Besides, when the Sheriff deputies were in Suisun, even you admit, above, that they were cheaper than the Suisun Police. No, more apartments are not needed at the train station area. Most people want single family homes and not more high crime apartments. As for public transportation, we don';t need more million dollar buses that only get 20 cents or less from fares of each expense dollar to pay expenses or trains that get 51 cents from fares for expenses. If Spering's projects don't pay their own way, and most don't, we don't need them. His property on Cement Hill Rd may be benefited by the train station, but the taxpayer takes a real beating! Also, the Diamond Jim Memorial Lighthouse in Suisun at $622K a copy is not a good use of taxpayer funds! Neither is Spering's push for another Walmart in Suisun only 3 miles from the Fairfield store. It is going to be a crime draw and not produce near the 1.1 million a year sales tax revenue promised. Even the Fairfield store doesn't produce that much now! As for Oman's plan for Solano 360, it doesn't cost the taxpayayers a dime. Spering's plan is a $94 million and growing black hole. As for Bertani, I agree that she can't even clean up crime in that condo area on Dover Avenue. How could she do better for the county? Not likely. As for Plan Bay Area, that is another Agenda 21 item and Spering should go to jail for backing it. The Solano County Public deserves real improvement, not more or the same problems!

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