The Candidates For The City Council (Pinole Politics, Part 2)

This the official seal of the City of Pinole in a mosaic displayed at City Hall.

Annett Tamayo and William Amaya, Staff Political Writers

Just as the changing of the seasons come, city officials in local government do as well. The final stretch is coming underway for the Pinole City Council and here in Spartan Ink, we had the opportunity to speak with some of the candidates individually, having discussions on goals, plans, thoughts, and comparisons.

With so many candidates, it’s like picking apples from trees, and similar to grocery shopping you need to observe it with more depth and we’re here to provide.

What Makes You Stand Out As A Candidate?

In our interview with Rafael Menis, he began by stating some of his new ideas that make him stand out as a candidate. “I have a plan for improving communication between the community and the government. In fact, I brought the idea of raising taxes, I pushed this in council meetings. Over the time as I shaped that narrative of Pinole, more people have supported it,” he said. Rafael Menis is not the average candidate, which is what makes him stand out. He is persistent, fresh and with an education from the University Of Chicago, he can bring something different to the town.

When I asked the same question to Tim Banuelos, the current mayor, he used his experience to distinguish himself from the rest of the candidates. “I have the most experience. I have been on the council for 9 years and I came in when the budget was going down,” he said. His experience has also allowed him to become a known face in important areas like the school district. “The school district has to have the face that they know. I am the face that they know and that took years. It is important to understand how other cities work. I understand that already,” he said. The trust that he has built over the years is clearly inevitable and a really major distinguisher from other candidates.

The last candidate, Norma Rubin, is different from the other candidates because she is “bilingual, and has a great thought for the public.”Norma Martinez also believes in public service over politics, something that is not really specified within the other candidates.

If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?
The financial state of Pinole has been extremely concerning to the residents. With an estimated recession approaching, being able to put our city on a firmer financial footing is very important.

Rafael Menis described the 3 steps he would take to make sure that our city’s economy is firmer. First, “I would seek the approval of the citizens of Pinole to levy a new tax that would increase the city’s revenue so that were not relying on sales tax because it makes our city vulnerable in times of recession,” he said. Second, Rafael wants to carry out new projects due to the high demand in our city. “ The fire station is something that is incredibly needed, which would take up 2.8 million dollars.” Lastly, if elected, Menis would create an oversight budget committee in order to “help the community be more involved with city government.”

Banuelos, on the other hand, would use his prior experience of helping the city come out of a “dark place” to keep us on a firm economy. Tim also added that he would like some new programs that would help with housing in addition to an economic development commision. “ I want to hire a consultant to see what we can do in respect to the businesses that are good for Pinole.”

Norma Rubin was not left behind in this. She said, “I would lower interest for long-term loans, sell city property for reservation, and wants to continue to add more staff.”

How do you plan to involve the community in the decision making of the community?
Keeping the community involved in the decision making of the community is crucial because it is us citizens that live here. It is our town.

Rafael Menis proposed many ideas saying “ I have several plans that would involve many residents: For example, I would make council meetings more accessible by changing the date or time. In addition to, keeping the library open for longer hours which would give the community access to more of our resources.

Norma Rubin on the other hand, would “Increase weekly reports, Quarter reports and would create a question feature for the website,” she said.

What Is The Most Pressing Issue In Your Opinion?
Pinole is filled with issues and each candidate had their own opinion on the most pressing one.

To Rafael Menis, that would be “securing Pinole’s financial future.

For Tim Banuelos, that issue is “Housing, public safety, and the economic development of Pinole.”

Lastly, for Norma Rubin, the most pressing issue is “ the lack of money for services and paying long-term obligations at pensions.”

“Choose renewal not decline”- Rafael Menis

“Proven experience.”- Tim Banuelos

Public Service Over Politics”- Norma Rubin Martinez