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About 250 community members spent all or part of their evening Monday night at the Candidates Forum hosted by the Santa Teresa Citizen Action Group at Martin Murphy Middle School to hear the answers to the questions they had prior to this November's election. District 2 City Council Candidates Forrest Williams and Kathy Chavez Napoli, State Assembly Candidate Sue Jackson and United States Congress Candidates Jim Cunneen and Mike Honda fielded 40 minutes each worth of questions moderated and timed by League of Women Voters representatives. Each candidate was given two minutes to answer the questions selected and asked by the moderator. State Assembly Candidate Rebecca Cohn originally planned to attend but didn't make it. All of the candidates had plenty of literature and yard signs available at tables in the back room and they each made themselves available after the question and answer session to visit with the residents individually. All of the candidates refreshingly seemed to try to stick to the high road. The Congressional candidates often pointed out where they agreed on certain issues, where they were able to work together in the State Assembly, but also tried to point out what made them different on issues important to them.
Inevitably, all of the candidates were asked in some form or another about the proposed Calpine power plant project and the proposed Cisco Systems project in Coyote Valley.
Both council candidates said they supported the Cisco project but were asked about how to deal with the increased traffic in the area. Forrest Williams echoed many of the mitigation measures already part of the project as proposed by Cisco but also said that he would try to get Light Rail to the campus sooner and would hope that Cisco could encourage telecommuting more so Cisco workers don't have to come to work as often. Kathy Napoli echoed Cisco's plans to encourage mass transit as much as possible. Both council candidates would make synchronization of traffic signals on Santa Teresa Boulevard a top priority.
Both council candidates stated they were opposed to the Metcalf Energy Center in Coyote Valley. Kathy Napoli said that the Santa Teresa Citizen Action Group had done a great job in researching the proposal. She also said over 70% of the 20 plus power plant projects in the state are unopposed, that Moss Landing is nearing approval from the California Energy Commission and that it should provide an additional 800 megawatts of power to our area than what it already provides. She also stated that when and if San Jose decides it wants to have a power plant in the city, it would have to be "state of the art." Forrest Williams said he would support and fight to get the project located at the old United Technologies site back in the hills on Metcalf Road. He said the stated problem with that site is the butterfly but doesn't believe Calpine when they say the problems are insurmountable. He believes he could work it out to get it sited there. He believes since you can get power to the site you should also be able to get power out of the site should a power plant be sited there.
State Assembly Candidate Sue Jackson stated she was definitely opposed to the proposed Calpine power plant. She said my full page ad in the Santa Teresa Times demonstrates that. She also stated that she supports Measure A. She also said that she has a telecommuting plan to help mitigate traffic problems. She believes a large portion of the state budget surplus should be returned to the taxpayers. She said she would help us protect the Santa Teresa foothills from development and help us with a trail connection from Santa Teresa Park to Almaden Lake. She said she supports San Jose's Cisco project but thinks it needs a housing element. She stated that she was opposed to Proposition 38. In her closing statements, Sue Jackson said she is a fiscal conservative but a social moderate and said, "I will win this election and represent my constituency."
The United States Congress District 15 candidates were asked if they took any money from Calpine. Mike Honda admitted that his campaign did accept money from a Mr. Ronin of Calpine, but he did return it back to him. Jim Cunneen stated that he believed records show that Mike Honda accepted the money during the primary election but didn't return the money until after the primary election was over. Both candidates were also asked for their position on the proposed Metcalf Energy Center, how long they had that position and if they would support reregulation of energy generation. Jim Cunneen said he opposed it last year when he was asked for a position during his many town hall meetings. He said how could you call this neighborhood NIMBY's. If any neighborhood has the right to be NIMBY's it is the Fairchild neighborhood.
Mike Honda said he took a public position opposing the project. He said a major mistake of this project was that they didn't respect the community first. He did point out that he was not in the California Assembly when deregulation was passed. He also stated that deregulation was flawed since the consumer protection group wasn't represented during the deregulation discussion. He believes that siting of power plants should stick to the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) process.
The oddest question of the night was the last question asked during the District 2 City Council session. Someone asked the candidates if either of them was the current council candidate investigated by the Grand Jury for ethical violations. Kathy Napoli said it was definitely not her. Forrest Williams said he was aware of a report, but thought the report didn't name any names or come to any conclusions.
If you attended the Candidates Forum and would like to share your impressions of the evening, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can publish them in the Local Politics feedback page.
Contact information for all of the candidates can be found on the Government page.
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