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Election 2011: Hear from All Newark Candidates

Statements from each candidate running for office in Newark's 2011 Municipal Election.

Last week, three individuals entered Newark’s mayoral race and five became official candidates to run for two city seats on city council.

Listed by alphabetical order are the candidate statements of each contender.

Editor’s Note: These candidate statements are presented to you verbatim. No edits were made to any of the statements listed below.

Mayoral Candidates

  • Ana Apodaca, Councilmember/Community & Government Relations Manager

As Mayor I will protect our unique neighborhoods and the excellent quality of life we enjoy. As a 36-year Newark resident, my 15 years experience working with State and regional governments, and six years as your City Councilmember have prepared me to lead Newark into the future.

State take-aways and declining revenues have threatened our ability to provide vital services. When faced with a reduction in fire services, I worked with Newark firefighters to maintain rapid response times from local stations and fought to find solutions that will save taxpayers nearly $2.7 million over five years.

Last year, I led the voter-approved effort that added police officers, funded crossing guars, restored park maintenance, and re-opened our senior center. 

As Mayor, I will uphold high levels of public safety, provide a high quality of life for residents of all ages, and enhance economic development while living within our means. Together we will build our economy and strengthen our community for future generations.

Working with you, there is no challenge we cannot meet. I would be honored to have your vote for Newark’s Future.

Please visit AnaApodacaforMayor.com to learn more.

  • Al L. Nagy, Councilmember/Information Technology Manager

I am proud to have served as your Councilmember and Vice Mayor. I possess the qualities needed to be mayor – Leadership, Experience and Dedication. I am the Founding Director of the Viola Blythe Center, Chair of the Senior Advisory Committee, Chair the Washington Hospital Development Corporation, Treasurer of the Newark Library League, and a Member of the Graffiti Abatement Team. I was Newark’s Volunteer of the Year in 2009!

I believe in working hard for a better Newark. Public Safety is my highest priority. I am a strong advocate for programs that enhance the quality of life for families, senior citizens and our youth while maintaining that “small town” atmosphere. The City and School District must continue to work cooperatively for the benefit of our children. As your Mayor, I will focus on economic development, job creation and regional cooperation. We must attract and develop business to provide the economic “fuel” that drives the services we provide our citizens.

My demonstrated leadership, experience, and dedication to community service, and proven business skills make me uniquely qualified to serve as your Mayor. With your vote, I can continue the important job of Working for a Better Newark! Additional information: www.Nagy4Mayor.com.

  • Ray J. Rodriguez, School Boardmember/Businessman

I moved to Newark in 1973 and my wife and I have continued to raise our serven children due to its small town feel.

I have served the Newark community as a School Board Member, Volunteer, Deacon, Parent and Grandparent. My qualifications over the past 25 years include standing as School Board President, ROP Board President, being a LOVE Newark Board member and a member of various city committees. These experiences have given me the tools necessary to lead Newark in the 21st century as Mayor. 

Newark faces challenges in its immediate future, such as resolving crime, break-ins and street violence, and finding revenues while continuing to serve seniors, youth and a diverse population. I am ready to face these challenges head on.

As Mayor, I will develop a Citizen’s Committee on public safety to discover ways to improve the quality of life for all who make Newark their home. It is very important to support programs such as community policing, D.A.R.E., and neighborhood watch to make our city safer. I will establish a youth advisory committee in order to understand the concerns of Newark’s youth. Vote for Ray J. Rodriguez for Mayor. “Together we can make it better.”

City Council Candidates

  • Richard “Rick” Bensco, Sales Associate

I was a strong opponent to Measure U and a strong advocate of keeping our parks open to all Newark’s citizens. As a family man with two small children in our school system my dedication is unmatched. I believe there are more efficient ways of doing business in our town government. Town Government has to work hand in hand with our school board. I have a business degree from The University of Hartford and know my may around finances. I started and ran a successful business for almost 10 years. There are many problems facing Newark today, some have simple solutions others are more complex that will require time and help form all the community to solve. There are many smart people here in town with some great ideas. I’ll listen! I’m asking for your vote and your ideas to help make Newark a better place to live and grow. Together we can make a difference. Vote Rick Bensco to bring your voice to City Hall. Thank You.

  • Mike Bucci, Journeyman Millwright

My name is Mike Bucci, and I’m a 33-year-old lifelong resident o Newark. I’m an active Journeyman Millwright with Local 102. I am also involved with a lot of Newark events, like Relay for Life, where my team “Cruising for a Cure” has been the top money earner over the last two years. I’ve done countless hours of volunteer work for multiple dog rescue organizations, and have participated in their fundraisers. I’m running for Newark Council Member because our town is at a critical point in history. This isn’t the same Newark we’ve all grown up celebrating. With decreasing revenue and a serious increase in gang violence and crime, our city needs progressive ideas and real leadership. Newark has flat-lined over the past years. Poor business decisions have left much of Newark a boarded up ghost town. We need long-term structured planning that can ensure Newark grows in the right direction. Our city deserves a passionate voice that truly cares about and speaks on the behalf of the inclusivity of this great city. I am that voice. www.mikebucci4newark.org

  • Maria “Sucy” Collazo, Owner, Mexico Tortilla Factory

I am a 40-year Newark resident, one of three daughters of immigrant parents who came to the United States from Mexico in search of a better life. They had a vision and a dream. They settled here in Newark with my two sisters and me and built a successful business in Old Town. Today, my husband Vicente and I, along with our family, still operate the Mexico Tortilla Factory. I am running for city council to give back to the city that has been so good to me and my family. I want to do it for my two sons who were born, raised, and attended church and school here. My business knowledge and skills are coupled with a deep desire to continue “Building the Dream, Together” for all of Newark. I will work collaboratively with my fellow council members to focus on gang prevention and neighborhood security, to rebuild our reserves and actively pursue new revenue, to fill our vacant commercial properties, and to work with our school district to develop joint projects for student success. I want to help Newark continue to prosper, and to provide for the safety, security and quality of life of everyone living here. 

  • Jack Dane, Registered Tax Preparer

My education and qualifications are: I am an Alameda Leadership Academy graduate. I am a Mission Valley Regional Occupational graduate. I am a Chabot Community College graduate. I am a California Tax Education Council Registered Tax Preparer. The EPA has certified me as a Universal technician. I am a Senior Tax Advisor and Small Business Tax Expert at my place of employment. I am President of the Newark AARP Chapter. I was the producer and host of a live call in cable TV show in Newark. The focus of the show was to discuss issues important to Newakr residents. I was the host of the Newark AARP cable TV show. WE provided information related to the needs of Newark’s seniors. I have attended over 100 city council, planning commission, and school board meetings. My goal is financial stability for the city. When the economy recovers and tax revenues increase we need to exercise fiscal discipline. We need a much larger reserve to weather the next down-turn without cutting services and laying off employees. A great city requires great schools. I will work closely with the school board. A vote for Jack Dane is a vote for fiscal discipline.

  • Luis L. Freitas, Self-Employed

I’m proud to be a part of the City Council team where our most important work is providing the very best quality of life to our citizens. I currently serve as your Vice Mayor. My focus is on supporting programs that increase youth opportunities, provide a high level of Public Safety, enhance Senior Citizen programs, and programs that give Newark that special ‘small town’ spirit we treasure.

I represent you on the Alameda County Transportation Commission and StopWaste.org. I am a 35 year resident of Newark, married to Fatima; chidren Mark and Nicole and grandfather to Madison and Marisa. I’m a local business owner and member of the Chamber of Commerce. With the drastic decline in city revenues, we must be ever mindful of how your tax dollars are spent. With the partial restorations of funds, I was excited to vote to restore senior services, crossing guards, Public Safety and other programs important to our community.

My business experiences, coupled with being a homeowner and community volunteer provides me with the balanced perspective needed to continue making the very best decisions for Newark. Your vote on November 8th will enable me to continue providing Leadership for Newark’s Future.

Samuel Rutland October 15, 2011 at 06:41 AM
The time for change was forty years ago !! Most of the comments that have been made were true then and remain so now. The same mindset has controlled Newark since its incorporation. They are opposed to progressive ideas and have no need nor respect for diverse opinions.(Opinions which differ from theirs). They also do not represent the diversity that is now Newark in terms of gender,ethnicity and economic representation. This is true in the public work force, in the appointment patterns to Commissions. Our illustroud sleaders take grea tpride in their accomplishments. What the have truly accomplished is to place Newar kin a time warp where outdated beliefs and values prevail.I say shame on them and they know who they are. Samuel Rutland
TW October 17, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Check your statistics about Newark schools. We have experienced a decline in school attendance for quite some time. I have worked at one of our elementary schools for over 15 years. When I started, we had around 650 students. Now we have approximately 450.
jerry October 17, 2011 at 11:17 PM
400 of them are probably anchor babies, just part of the magnificent diversity of Newark(just being sarcastic)
Jack Dane October 19, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Hi mj The oct 13 article in the Argus correctly states my opinion on area 2 "Dane would rather use the land at Willow Street and Enterprise Drive to attract high-tech companies or more industrial businesses." Suggest you and others access this article headlined Dumbarton project divides candidates.
Y Jin November 09, 2011 at 04:19 AM
Any policy for the train horn ? It is way too loud at night.

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