Note: In the interest of providing voter education and fair election coverage, The Sentinel has given all eight Citrus Heights city council candidates an equal opportunity to submit 100-word written statements on a variety of local issues. Bret Daniel’s responses can be found below. See other candidate responses in the article: “Citrus Heights city council candidates on the issues, in their own words”
Bret Daniels, 56, is a former Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy and current president of “Our Fallen,” a local nonprofit that works to help families of fallen officers. Daniels previously served on the Citrus Heights city council from 1999 until he resigned in 2005, citing personal and family reasons. (Click to read full candidate profile)
Homelessness is ranked among the top issues faced by businesses and residents in Citrus Heights. What is your plan to address this and what role do you see private organizations playing? (Be specific)
“We must be proactive in our approach and not simply reactive. Let’s find the homeless that are searching for a way out of that lifestyle and help them get there by providing assistance with basic human needs, resume preparation, and even some limited income helping clean up the city. Those that simply want to live a lifestyle of drugs, garbage, and panhandling need to be shown the way out of our city.”
Measure B would raise the sales tax by half a cent throughout Sacramento County to pay for roads and Regional Transit projects. If the vote were held today, would you vote “yes” or “no” on Measure B, and why?
“All of my opponents have had the opportunity to come out against this effort to raise our taxes and none have done so. I am the only candidate that from day one has said NO to Measure B. This is 30 year tax that will hurt our businesses and we can’t afford it. Four years ago, the city tried to raise our utility taxes and I helped lead the fight against that effort. We defeated that effort but city staff still received fat raises. The government does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem.”
One of the City’s strategic planning goals is to enhance public safety. What specifically would you advocate doing to enhance public safety in Citrus Heights?
“We must get police officers back into our neighborhoods. We need to raise the number of police officers we have patrolling our neighborhoods and keep a check on specialty units. Citrus Heights ranks as one of the least safest cities in California and that needs to change. Thousands of our residents have been the victim of crimes in just the last few years. We need to push the criminal element out and with 20 years of law enforcement experience, I will make sure that happens.”
Body-worn cameras have been praised by many as a way to increase accountability and decrease false claims against police. Do you believe CHPD should implement body-worn cameras within the next two years? Why, or why not?
“Body-worn cameras can be a great asset to public safety, but the cost factor cannot be ignored. Because we are not receiving our property taxes from the county for another five years or so and because the city council decimated the general fund reserve, we would likely need to hold off on such an expense unless other funding sources become available.”
Many of you have advocated for a fiscally conservative policy and maintaining the City’s history of operating debt free. What is your specific plan to address the growing cost of pensions and maintaining a balanced budget with healthy reserves?
“There is no ‘healthy reserve’ remaining following the irresponsible, and possibly illegal, spending of $20,000,000 from the general fund reserve to build the new city hall. Previously, we had a healthy reserve of $25,000,000 for a ‘rainy day.’ The fund was never intended to be used to build city hall. We must now be even more fiscally responsible and go into a savings mode. We need to re-examine the pay raises, some in the range of $36,000 to $54,000 a year, that top managers in city staff have received since 2012 when the city wanted to raise our utility taxes but then authorized millions in pay raises.
In August, the city council voted 4-0 to oppose Proposition 64, which would legalize recreational marijuana in California. Do you agree with the council’s decision?
“I strongly oppose any effort to legalize the recreational use of any drug, including marijuana. What a horrible message to send to our youth. Studies have already proven that where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, driving accidents have increased dramatically.”
It is well-known that many homeowners choose to ignore required building permits while doing remodel or construction work on their properties, citing permit costs or “excessive regulations.” What would you do to address this?
“We need to make our permitting procedures a no-cost process. If we stop to think about who is protected by the permitting process, it is the public as a whole. The public should then cover the cost as a whole. We pay taxes and those taxes should be used for government actions such as permitting. This would encourage homeowners to involve city staff and make our city safer. The process also needs to be expedited so that projects are not unnecessarily delayed. And where slight and incidental modifications need to be made to standards, variances should be allowed without delay.”
What, if any, are two existing city regulations/codes that you think should be changed, and why?
“I would remove red light cameras throughout the city. They are simply money-makers and they are not making the city safer. Last year, a Grand Jury found that ‘Citrus Heights chronically and systematically ignores its own policies for oversight, testing, monitoring, maintenance and record keeping’ as it relates to red-light cameras and that there was concern about the legitimacy of yellow-light duration. If elected, I will immediately request an analysis of all red-light camera locations indicating the difference between collisions at those intersections before cameras were installed and subsequent to camera installation.”
>>See other candidate responses: “Citrus Heights city council candidates on the issues, in their own words”