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Questions for City Council Candidates 2016 – Daniel de Graaf

  1. Please tell us about yourself, your interest in serving on the city council and what strengths you feel you bring to the Ripon City Council.

I was born in raised in Manteca as the fourth generation on my family’s farm, where I learned the value of hard work at an early age.  I grew up raising livestock and started selling beef cattle to 4-H and FFA students at the age of 14.  I am a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in BioResource and Agricultural Engineering, and I now work as an engineer where I make pragmatic decisions that improve infrastructure for my clients and their communities.  I’d like to utilize my engineering experience in water resources, agriculture and land development to make a positive difference for the City of Ripon’s future.
  1. In your opinion, what are the three most important values or concepts city staff and the city council should emphasize in planning for the city’s future?

We should:
  1. Make a commitment to our police and first responders to ensure the safety of our community and maintain the outstanding level of service that we are accustomed to;

  2. Ensure that growth is coupled with economic development by attracting new businesses; and,

  3. Make a commitment to our community to provide the best public services including a safe and reliable drinking water supply at the lowest cost to residents while maintaining a fiscally conservative, balanced budget.

  1. What do you feel are the biggest issues our city is facing and what would your plans be to work toward remedying them?

The biggest challenges facing our city are:
  1. Acquiring a reliable source of safe drinking water: Given the new regulations of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the uncertainty of the future of our groundwater supply, we need to decrease our dependency on groundwater and diversify our water supply;

  2. Continuing to protect our city by equipping our police department with the resources they need: As our city grows it is important that we are able to maintain or improve the level of service that our police department currently provides. Working closely with our police department to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary resources is a top priority for me.; and,

  3. Strengthening relationships with our fire department and our schools: It is important that the city strengthens relationships and partners with the fire department and our schools to ensure that they also are able to maintain the current level of service and accommodate the city’s growth.

  4. What do you envision for the city of Ripon in the next 5-10 years?

I envision a revitalized and thriving Ripon with prosperous businesses attracting young professionals to work, live and raise their families in our city.  I believe that through investment in our city and partnering with local businesses, we will be able to create a hub for innovation and economic development.
  1. What actions do you think should be taken to preserve and enhance the city’s downtown area?

Partnering with our downtown businesses to address their concerns is critical.  I would like to improve access and attract businesses with more variety that will help establish a more vibrant downtown.
  1. What are some of your other goals or ideas for our city or is there anything else you’d like to add?

My goal is to market Ripon as the place to bring your business, to make a career and to raise a family.  I am passionate about our city and its future and I have a vision to continue to make Ripon one of the best places to live.  I believe Ripon needs leadership with a vision for our future, failure to plan is planning to fail.
  1. Several years back our city had to cut back during the recession by letting many positions go which we still haven’t filled.  With the growing population, how do you plan to pay for the necessary infrastructure to maintain our quality of life and not become South Manteca or North Modesto?

I think it is important that as we continue to grow, we learn by example and look to our neighbors for what to do and what not to do.  Ripon needs to be competitive when it comes to attracting new businesses to our town.  This will allow people from surrounding communities to come and invest in our city will stimulate our economy, and allow us to continue to distinguish ourselves from the surrounding cities and to maintain the quality of life we are proud to offer here in this great city.

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