An energetic new mayor with a vision can inspire transformation. Concord's new Mayor Tim Grayson lights up when he begins to talk about the city's future.
"In a word, it is opportunity. Concord has all the ingredients to be a great destination city. There is so much opportunity before us at the Naval Weapons Station for a world-class sports complex," Grayson said. "Along with that I want to see a fully operating (California State) university campus. We are the only county with over a million in population, without one."
Grayson is known for his service as a critical response chaplain with the Concord Police Department, Citizen Corps Community Emergency Response Team, and support for the Family Justice Center in Concord.
His experience as Concord's Redevelopment Agency chairman in 2011, owner of Grayson Construction, chairman of the Downtown Redevelopment Committee and involvement in the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce will likely help him muster the resources needed to make that vision a reality.
Recalling a 2010 campaign promise, Grayson says, "I do not want to see a city of haves and have-nots, new haves and old have-nots. We want to make sure there is a balance in development continuity between the Naval Weapons Station, downtown and the Monument Corridor."
After acknowledging the challenge of "unknowns and uncontrollable issues," Grayson said, "We can facilitate an environment where it (branding Concord as a destination) can happen. We have very creative business leaders."
Opening the city to public-private partnerships and successfully creating economic growth will require the support of the city and of everyone in Concord pulling together, "like a family."
Grayson contends that residents with a sense of hometown pride will promote the city and spend money locally.
With support from existing community organizations, faith-based groups, businesses and investors, Grayson is optimistic that the city can make a quantum leap forward even in challenging economic times and without compromising community values.
The homelessness task force is an example of how the city addressed the homeless issue compassionately by determining the difference between the homeless and criminals masked as homeless, and taking effective steps to address the underlying causes, according to Grayson.
That effort ties into his dedication to establishing a Family Justice Center in Concord and the concept of creating a safe, attractive environment conducive to economic investment and growth.
"When we put them all together, we can accomplish anything if we put our minds to it," Grayson said.
Since the Great Recession began in 2008, the Concord City Council has used a variety of strategies that combined cost-cutting, borrowing, a voter-approved short-term tax and some fee increases to balance budgets.
Pension and health care debt is still on the back burner, but is expected to be addressed at the Jan. 28 council meeting.
"I don't want to miss out on tomorrow because I am lost in yesterday. If all we do is fall back in survival mode, we will not be able to work ourselves out. There is going to have to be investment," Grayson said.
"I am completely open and available to hear creative ideas and innovations, and to be the platform where we can all come together to create powerful plans for the future," he said.
Reach Dana Guzzetti at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 925-202-9292.