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Published September 21st, 2016
Two Incumbents, One Newcomer to Fill Lafayette Council
From left, Cam Burks, Mark Mitchell and Mike Anderson take their "race" seriously. Photo Gint Federas

Mike Anderson
Uncontested this year, Mike Anderson will be returning to the city council.
He is no stranger to city government, having served as the current vice mayor, elected to the city council in 2004, and as mayor in 2008 and 2013. He was also chair of the planning commission in 2004, appointed to the commission in 2000. Additionally he was a member of the Lafayette General Plan advisory committee from 1993 to 2002.
Anderson has lived with his wife, Courtney, in Lafayette for 25 years. Now retired, during his 32-year career with the East Bay Regional Park District he planned, designed and developed parks and trails, responsible for finding funding for such projects, working with residents to get their input through workshops and surveys.
He sees the increased traffic and congestion in the downtown area due to the use of Mt. Diablo Boulevard as a bypass for the over-crowded Highway 24 as one of the biggest issues in Lafayette. He says that a recent traffic study indicated that making Mt. Diablo Boulevard a less attractive bypass route for Highway 24 traffic by adjusting traffic signal timing is the way for the city to address this issue.
"I feel that upgrading our signal system to allow for the maximum control of signal cycles, linked to the time of day and even the season of the year will help to curtail this issue while facilitating local traffic," he says. "This will take an investment in signal infrastructure and equipment."
Anderson is concerned about lack of parking for retail employees in the downtown area and notes that parking is beginning to migrate into adjacent residential areas. He says that the city must acquire land for conversion into additional public and employee parking such as it is in the process of doing on the corner of First Street and Golden Gate Way.
Maintaining the semi-rural feel of the city in the face of increasing residential density downtown is important to Anderson, who says that with meticulous review of future projects that are required by the state to provide the opportunity to develop a specific number of units, as well as the creation of better bike paths, walkways, parks, public art and trail connections, it should be possible to meet the state required housing growth while maintaining the small-town character of the city.

Cameron "Cam" Burks
The newcomer to the city council this year, in an uncontested election, is Cameron Burks, who brings a fresh perspective to the table.
Burks is a Bay Area native who worked for many years as a diplomat and Special Agent in Washington, DC and at U.S. embassies around the world. He led U.S. Government counter-terrorism strategy in multiple foreign countries; managed multi-million dollar budgets; oversaw complex public programs; and negotiated policies in the best interests of U.S. diplomacy and the national security of the United States. He is now the Deputy Chief Security Officer at Chevron Corporation.
He settled back in the Bay Area six years ago and now lives with his wife and two school-age children in Lafayette. He has been involved coaching youth soccer and is passionate about the trails, which he walks with his dog. He has remained committed to public service, serving on the City Council's Crime Prevention Commission in 2011, and was elected Chair in 2013.
His number-one priority within Lafayette is development and growth and the need for protecting the semi-rural feel of the city. He is for balanced growth and solid planning, including straightforward solutions to improve traffic, congestion and parking, strategies for preserving open space and a strong commitment to maintaining city control of Lafayette, keeping any potential aggressive development from outside in check especially bearing in mind the large projected population growth in the area over the next five to 10 years.
Burks recognizes the importance of public safety as a key factor in the city and will work to ensure police have the resources they need. He values open communication within the community and says paying attention to changes in federal and state enforcement/sentencing guidelines to stay ahead of crime trends is essential. Burks has worked closely with Lafayette's police chief during his involvement with the city council's Crime Prevention Commission and spearheaded the implementation of city cameras that, over the three years in operation, have reduced residential crime by 60 percent.
As a third priority, Burks lists preserving the city's excellent schools and recreation opportunities - the library, parks and recreation and senior services - and will work to find common ways that the city council, school districts and parents can work together to address aging infrastructure and traffic challenges as student population grows.
He recognizes the importance of fiscal accountability in all areas and says he will prioritize spending that maintains Lafayette's semi-rural environment and quality of life when considering "wants" vs. "needs."
Says Burks, "I have a lot of confidence in the existing members of the council and am looking forward to bringing a fresh perspective."

Mark Mitchell
Mark Mitchell returns to the city council for another term this November.
Raised in Lafayette, he attended local schools. He went through the tunnel for college however, graduating from UC Berkeley in business administration but settled back in Lafayette with his wife to raise their children. He has been very involved with the Boy Scouts and youth sports, coaching for 11 different teams.
Mitchell identifies traffic as being one of the biggest problems facing Lafayette today and says possible road reconfigurations analysis is essential to see what improvements will provide the most benefit. He wants to see if it is possible to work with regional transportation organizations for additional funding. He points out that the city council has instituted two major studies to address traffic in Lafayette, the Downtown Congestion Study (DCS) and the Pleasant Hill Road Corridor Study. The DCS was funded with a $450,000 grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The Pleasant Hill Road Corridor Study is funded by the city's general fund. The data gathering process started earlier this year and the recommended improvements should be identified by the end of the year.
As Lafayette's retail and restaurant scenes flourish, Mitchell also sees parking as another big problem and says that the city is gradually adding more parking spaces throughout, such as the 50 spaces added on Moraga Road, the planned 27 spaces at Golden Gate Way and First Street, and is looking forward to adding 16 extra spaces next to Ace Hardware when East Bay Municipal Utility District has completed the new pumping station.
Mitchell values protecting the small-town character and points out that although Lafayette is required to have a Housing Element approved by the state (requiring zoning for very low-income, low-income, moderate and above moderate housing), it can define how potential development will occur. To do this the city created a Downtown Specific Plan. This plan limits the heights and use of buildings. Additionally, Mitchell says that by strictly enforcing existing ordinance the small-town character will be maintained. He intends the city to continue to fund capital projects, park improvements and street landscaping projects in the downtown.
Mitchell says, "It has been an honor to serve as your mayor, council member, and planning commissioner over the past 15 years. Growing up in Lafayette and living here for over 50 years, I share the values of our residents. We require a prudent fiscal plan for our city government. We are proud of our schools. We savor our small-town feel. We want responsible growth that is sensitive to our concerns about traffic, parking, and the protection of the views of our semi-rural community".
To Meet the Candidates
Mike Anderson and Mark Mitchell will be available for questions at a Candidates & Issues Night at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Lafayette Community Center.
Cam Burks will meet residents and answer questions on issues at an event hosted by Venture Quality Goods, at 7 p.m. at 3571 Mt. Diablo Boulevard on Sunday, Oct. 2. There will be light food and refreshments. Residents should RSVP to camburks2016@gmail.com.

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