On September 27, Joe Naujokas participated in the City Council candidate's forum and made a great case for his election! Here are Joe's opening and closing statements (he delivered abridged version of these prepared remarks). Also here below are some of his contributions to the housing debate that move beyond the Measure R (and current GMO) ordinance.
Thank you all for being here.
I have lived in Healdsburg for the past 23 years. In that time I have seen many changes. I’ve seen changes in myself - I built a career, got married and raised two boys here; and I’ve seen many changes to Healdsburg, now that the world has discovered our “little secret.” I think Healdsburg and I are both generally better off as a result.
However over the last few years I have seen a sharp change in the substance of our growth. Many of us agree that we are losing our “small town feel.” What exactly does that mean? I have my thoughts on that. For now let me just say this: It’s not too late to keep the Healdsburg spirit alive, but it will take ALL of us to do it.
As a City Councilmember I will play my part by focusing on three goals:
*Expanding access to housing that is compatible with our small-town values and is affordable for a diversity of incomes
*Re-focusing the Plaza and downtown businesses to serve residents and not just tourists - which means first and foremost solving the parking problem
*Expanding opportunities for all residents to enjoy each other's company and make a valuable contribution to the community
I am looking forward to sharing more of my thoughts during our conversation tonight.
On the campaign trail I have heard many different definitions of a place that has “small town feel” - a good place to raise a family, a place where people smile at strangers on the street… Even: “A place that doesn’t have roundabouts!”
I think we can all agree on this: Healdsburg is more than a tourist destination. It is more than a real estate market or a place to be seen. It is a place where thousands of people for hundreds of generations (way before Harmon Heald came) have chosen to call home.
As a home it should be a place where each member of its family feels like they matter. Where visitors feel welcome but also are respectful of their hosts. Where its members help each other to thrive, but not at the expense of their neighbors.
I know we all love Healdsburg - after all, that’s why we’re here. And I know that we CAN keep the spirit of Healdsburg alive. It will take a lot of hard work from a lot of different people - especially voters like you. As for me, I’m ready to do my part by serving on the City Council.
I will invigorate the Council with fresh ideas, independent thinking, hard work and compassion. I will engage with everyone who is willing to work creatively toward a bright, fair, and thriving future for Healdsburg. I will do this because I care.
So vote for Joe. Vote for a Healdsburg for Everyone.
What else besides Measure R will improve our housing situation?
* Use the proceeds from the TOT Affordable Housing tax to fund an “Affordable Housing Czar” position whose directive is to
Secure affordable housing contracts that address Healdsburg's needs and are consistent with its values.
*Monitor and shut down illegal vacation rentals
*Identify zoning and related strategies to
increase the number of affordable units
* Address the excessive number of unoccupied homes in Healdsburg (non-primary vacation homes, VRBO's etc.)
* Stem the tide of loss for affordable housing we already have.
* Limit permits for improvements that push rental properties into a higher price category (from "affordable" to "luxury”).
* Study other tourist communities in California and elsewhere to identify their successes and failures with providing for affordable housing and preserving liveability for residents.
* Give teeth to the Rental Advisory - Develop a Good Landlord Scorecard that publicly rates landlords according to the guidelines set forward by the Rental Advisory.
* Investigate the conversion of Healdsburg’s legal organization from a General Law City to a Charter City
* Begin the conversation of converting the Rental Advisory into an Ordinance.
* Identify other aspects of city government (Electric? Water/Sewer? Police/Fire?) that could benefit from a Charter organization.