WARREN URNBERG – (Note: During the Interview, both Mayor Pro Temp Samra and Mayor Espinoza both stated that, because they were friends with Mr. Unberg, they both understood Mr. Urnberg’s position on issues affecting Livingston)
Retired from the Air Force
Wife born and raised in Livingston
3 sons graduated from LHS
After retirement, began attending City Council Meetings back when they were held above the Fire Department.
Appointed to the Planning Commission by Mayor Winton
Reappointed to the Planning Commission by Mayor Nagi
Was on the Planning Commission a total of 8 years during that period of time
Was on the Citizens Advisory Council for two years until the Chair was kinda dictating to the Council what they should do. Which got the Advisory Council abolished. Which was a good idea.
Friends with two of the Current Council Members (Gurpal, Rodrigo)
Got the City working towards Watering Days
Got the City to Rename a Street: North Main
Help put the Rite Aid in its current location (while part of the Planning Commission)
Instrumental in the Recall Movement and Rolling Back Water Rates
Wrote articles in the newspaper
Got the City Manager looking like a lobster during a council meeting
Appointed Temporary Council Member after the Recall
Selected to be on the Utility Rates Stakeholders’ Committee for 2 years
Pushed for years to get the Theater torn down because it was unsafe.
REASON FOR WANTING TO BE ON THE COUNCIL
Still work to be done
Finish the Water System: get grants
Get City workers back to a 40 hour week.
HOW SHOULD THE CITY GROW?
Controlled slow growth
Need businesses and Tax Revenue so we can get ahead
WHAT ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN?
The past City Manager has brought in people to make suggestions. We should follow that.
Advertise. There is room for growth in town.
Eventually put in buildings where the Theater used to be.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE COUNCIL IS DOING OR HAS DONE WRONG?
Misses the Past City Manager
What he was doing
He was getting grants
Doesn’t know the whole story, but Allowing him to go was a bad idea
Streets aren’t wide enough
Fire Department doesn’t want it.
Livingston Resident for 15 years
Past President: Livingston Band Boosters
Participated in the Fireworks Committee
Coached Football last season
Very Goal Oriented
Very punctual, responsible, and reliable
Help get a huge loan for Band Uniforms paid off (previous uniforms had been 25 years old
New Uniforms and Flags for Color Guard – all through fundraising
WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE ON THE COUNCIL?
Believes new Ideas, coming from different people will help the community
WHAT CITY GOALS ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH?
Redoing the Downtown after the Theater was torn down
Issues with the wells and the water
WHAT GRAND IDEA DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH
Become more involved in the community
Bring new ideas for the Downtown Association
Growth of the City
HOW SHOULD THE CITY GROW
Needs to grow a little more
Growth is great. The name of Livingston California should be out there a little further
Bringing in new businesses would help greatly: jobs, taxes.
Great for the City to expand more: especially in the Downtown
A lot of vacant buildings
Bringing businesses in to vacant land would be a great help to the City
WHAT WOULD YOUR 5 PRIORITIES BE?
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT OUR LEVEL AT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT?
I think we need to add a few more
Doesn’t see too many patrols around town
Sees empty patrol cars in front of school or on the side of road
DID YOU THINK ABOUT APPLYING FOR PLANNING COMMISSION?
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE COUNCIL IS DOING WRONG RIGHT NOW?
I really can’t answer that honestly in all fairness.
Note From TheGardeningSnail: Since Alex McCabe was chosen to fill the Vacancy on the Council, I am including more details.
Graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo: Degree in Ag Science; Emphasis in Business and Poultry Management.
Used to work for Merced County Assessor’s Office for 4 years. (Received Volunteer of the Year Award for works done in Livingston.
Used to coach the Poultry Team for the FFA program in Livingston
A Volunteer at many Livingston Events: usually helping out with the Knights of Columbus although not an official member.
Runs RMI: a real estate investment firm based in Discovery Bay – Los Gatos. Telecommutes from home here in Livingston.
Helped establish a Chamber of Commerce in Livingston. Chamber is currently having some successes with its Incubator Program. Created 8 full time jobs. A membership drive for the Chamber will begin in the next month or two as the new Executive Director transitions in.
Sits on the Mosquito Abatement Board for Merced County. Has been on the Board for over 4 years. With them, has lobbied in Sacramento and Washington D.C.
Has participated in the One Voice Program for 2 years
Has been in Sacramento and D.C as part of the American Mosquito Control Association
WHY DO YOU WANT TO SERVE?
I value success in helping others. My life isn’t geared towards raising my bank account. It’s about seeing the impact on others.
This town has been so wonderful to me. Like many others, I went through an economic hardship in 2010 and had to start over. Livingston is one of those places where the American Dream is still alive and allows any person who’s willing to work for it, to achieve what they want to achieve.
This community embraced me during a time I had to rebuild myself – I want to give back for that…because I love this place. There’s nowhere else in the world quite like Livingston.
5 TOP GOALS/PRIORITIES
1) Water Quality. Working with the Council and what ever jurisdictions and groups to make sure we reach our Goals on Water Quality.
2) Focus on continuing to educate the public. We’re going to continue to see backlash as our rate increases over time. I’d like to be there to make sure that we are properly educating the public when it comes to our water issues.
3) Do what I can to improve the overall economic or business systems here in Livingston. We have a lot of outdated codes that we can (do) that would make us more appealing to Local Businesses. Right now we’re always fighting for the businesses and people can choose Turlock, they can choose Atwater, they can choose Delhi, or they can choose Livingston. I don’t want us loosing on economic dollars because we have some antiquated codes that are preventing us from moving on or streamlining our process for business. In general, we are a very business friendly place. But we do have some things that limit us that we should address in the future.
4) Continuing to bring all the cultures and groups in the community together. Right now, we have the 4th of July and … the Kite Festival are great examples of where we can see all of the cultures in our community coming together as one. And I’d like to do whatever I can to spur that, or to encourage that participation from all the groups in Livingston.
5) Focus on my experience when it comes to producing budgets, when it comes to making the hard decisions; when dealing with the Unions and Union Negotiations. My district is Teamsters and I have experience when it comes to Union Negotiations and budgets: and just making those hard decisions. All of you up there know there’s going to be hard decisions to make over the next few years as we see ourselves continue to come out of this Economic crisis..and you’re not going to please everyone, be everyone’s fan. And I’m OK with that. I’ve had to experience that and go through that already.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GROWTH?
So when we’re talking about Planning Issues, now the Planning is really going to focus on what we can handle with our current infrastructure. I would be opposed to, at this point, for us doing any expansion into our Sphere of Influence, before we’ve done enough infill projects. We have lots of empty lots here I Livingston. Those would need to be our priority when it comes to growth: filling in the areas that have already been, the infrastructure is already there
I’m not in favor of removing agricultural land to expand our Sphere of Influence if we haven’t already adequately used the space we have (in) the City Already. I think there are ways though, for us to encourage contractors, encourage business to do the building projects here in Livingston vs. other areas….if you just do a cost study of Livingston’s verses the surrounding communities: we are the lowest right now when it comes to the cost per lot to build a house …which puts in the right position to be the first one out the gate for doing that.
It has to be Smart Growth. It has to be something where we know our Water Infrastructure can handle it and as we meet those benchmarks knowing we can handle it: the Water Quality issue: with this many more houses – then I’m in favor of us developing what we have not to develop vs. expanding further.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE COUNCIL IS DOING WRONG?
That’s a very challenging question because its asking me to critical of you
I think that we have a lot of unique challenges and its hard for me to judge decisions you gentleman have made without me having all the facts that you have. I’d have to do a thorough evaluation and I haven’t done a thorough evaluation: to be able to get up here and throw criticism at you.
I always encourage as much interaction with the public as possible. But at most public events I’ve been at I’ve seen most of you gentlemen there. So, that’s not really a thing for me to talk about as a derogatory.
So I apologize. I wish I had a better answer. The only thing I would say that I’ve seen a little bit of, that I think we can improve upon is working further on our delegation or further entrusting in our City Staff to complete certain tasks without having to have Council Approval. With the different districts I’ve ran, I’ve found that if you put more power into your employees, the better they’ll perform.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT OUR DOWNTOWN STREET FESTIVAL
I think if you were out there last year and come out this year, you start to see more and more venders coming out: more and more people coming out…. If anything – be a little more aggressive for the local businesses to have more of showing in our Downtown Market…It would be nice to see more vendors coming organically from Livingston.
(Then, after a few moments in which members of the Council opined about why it was so necessary to keep close tabs on what City Staff is up to…the next question was..)
WHAT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT OUR STAFFING LEVELS, ESPECIALLY THE POLICE DEPARTMENT…WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON PUBLIC SAFETY
Let me address the first comments before I move into the question. That’s why I prefaced what I was saying, when I was asked If I found anything interesting, or derogatory, (that) I don’t know everything that goes on with each issue and I assume there always is a reason. But, being someone who is not privy to all the information you are, I’m not going to know, and I’m telling you from a voter, sometimes how things appear. Doesn’t mean its going to be the same way I feel once I have the information in front of me.
As far as our Staffing Levels go, I am not an expert when it comes to Public Safety. I have never held an office where I was a police man, police officer, or a person in that position. What I would say is, at this point, I don’t have an opinion because I can’t do a logical opinion on staffing levels until I’ve heard the facts from the people involved….I don’t want to go from my gut. I want to make educated decisions when we’re making decisions as a council