Get to know your City Council candidate Carol K. Chen a little more through Patch's Q&A session:
General Information About Carol K. Chen
Name: My name is Carol Chen.
Married? I am married to Tony, husband of 37 years.
Children? I have 2 daughters: Priscilla, Stephanie.
How long have you lived in Cerritos? 24 years.
Party affiliation: City Council is a non-partisan office.
Running for: I am running for Re-election to the Cerritos City Council.
Incumbent (yes/no): This will be my second term in office.
First elected: I was first elected in 2008 to fill a remaining term of 9 months.
Previous elective offices: I have not run for any other office.
Unsuccessful bids for elective offices: I was the runner up in the 2007 City Council race.
Extra Tid Bits About Carol K. Chen
What is something unique the public doesn’t know about you?
- Something I haven't been able to do since I have been in public office is snow skiing. I like to start again once I finished my term on City Council.
What, if any, significant endorsements or shows of support have you received during your campaign?
- I am most proud of the thousands of individual support I've received thus far. Please visit my web page: www.carolchenforcitycouncil.com to view my endorsement list.
10 Questions for Carol K. Chen
Why are you running for a spot on the on the city council?
- I'm running for re-election to see that the goals I have set will be accomplished in the next four years. These are to help develop the new business model to keep our City financial strong, increasing our economic base and create new jobs. Secondly, to continue to improve public safety.
What specifically qualifies you to represent Cerritos and its citizens?
- First, I already do as an elected representative of our residents for the past 4 years 9 months. Secondly, my experience serving on the Planning Commission for 6 years and prior to that on the Property Preservation Commission for 2 years and the Safety Commission for 4 years. Third, I have been recognized by the Women in Municipal Government as one of five finalists nationally for best City Councilwomen in Municipal Government in 2 consecutive years (2011-2013).
What will you do to help draw more business and additional revenue sources to the city?
- I will continue to aggressively encourage economic development programs that will provide long-term revenue streams and allow the City to continue to remain safe and secure, ensure a high level of service, and preserve property values.
- This will require that we continue to seek out solid companies that have a strong revenue base and growth potential, provide support and maintain a healthy environment for our existing businesses, as well as, create a synergy where businesses and the residential community flourish together.
What do you think are the city’s most pressing issues to date?
- With California’s economic problems and Los Angeles County predicted turn-around for our local economy not until 2018-2020, the challenge is how do we maintain our financial stability, continue to protect and preserve our City’s resources in the future, and provide the high-quality services our citizens expect and deserve.
Do you have any pledges or promises you would like to make to Cerritos residents if you are elected to the council?
- The same one I made in each election. I will listen with care and value the opinions of all Cerritos Residents and work on their behalf without a personal agenda. I make decisions and cast my vote for what's best for the City.
It seems like all cities have been forced to make cuts due to the recession and elimination of redevelopment funds. Where do you think these cuts should be made in the Cerritos budget?
- The city has reduced over $40 million in expenditures since 2008, while constantly seeking for new revenue sources. It is very clear that the city has made significant strides in this area. The City of Cerritos' sales tax revenue grew by 12.3 percent for the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same quarter in 2011 as reported in the Cerritos-Artesia Patch article on February 26.
- Even with that success, at the last budget session, the Council asked staff to bring back further cost saving measures for the 2013-2014 budget year. We will be making some very tough decisions as Cities across the state are facing with revenue reduction and the impact of the loss of redevelopment funding.
What can be done to get the city out of the red when it comes to operating losses at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts?
- The CCPA, like all performing arts centers was never intended to operate at a profit - as there aren't any performing arts centers that do. It was intended first to be an entertainment center for our community. Second, it was a business decision 20 years ago to attract the development of the Towne Center and to be part of the financial plan of the Towne Center as a whole. As of today, even with it's operating loss, the vitality of the entire Towne Center still generates a positive return for the City.
When it comes to public safety, the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station often struggles to get the message out to members of the community because of language barrier challenges. What suggestions would you offer to help rectify this problem?
- A couple of years ago, there was a meeting with a non-profit group to discuss this very item. This situation is not unique to Cerritos. There are hundreds of languages and dialects spoken by the diverse population throughout Los Angeles County. The City and the Cerritos Sheriff Station do have personnel who can speak various languages. More importantly, the 911 emergency services number is designed to handle emergency calls in multiple languages.
You have two votes, assuming one of those votes will be for yourself, who will your second vote go to on the March 5 Cerritos Municipal Election?
- Normally, I keep my reasons or who I would vote for as our system guarantees our right to vote in private. I will say that this election is so critical to our City that I will be casting my vote for the best prepared candidate, one who has demonstrated their long-time selfless dedication to our City and someone who can make independent decisions without any special interest influence.
Why are you the person the people should vote for on March 5?
- I'm eager to serve our residents as an independent voice. One who is prepared and already making the tough decisions on the City Council for 4 years and 9 months; and over 12 years on City Commissions and Committees. I have a proven record and am able to make the best decisions to meet the complex obligations, requirements and challenges our city is facing in these difficult times.
I respectfully ask for your vote, Carol Chen, 7th on your ballot!