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Alan Nagy

Newark Mayor Alan Nagy will face challenger Ray J. Rodriguez on the Nov. 4 ballot and two Newark City Council members -- for the first time in recent memory -- are not seeking re-election.

To replace incumbents Vice Mayor Ana Apodaca and councilman Robert Marshall, seven candidates are in the running for two four-year terms -- Mike Bucci, Jack Dane, Mark Gonzales, Mike Hannon, Francisco Preciado Jr., Elisabeth Reid-Gonzalez and David Rogowski.

One of five city council members, the mayor position is a two-year term.

Also on the ballot, voters will consider Measure Y, a five-year extension of a utility users tax, which expires in late 2015.

Mayoral candidates

Alan Nagy

A council member since 1980 and mayor since 2011, Nagy, in his early 70s, is a project manager at SRI International in Menlo Park. He succeeded David Smith, Newark's mayor for 33 years.

Nagy and his wife, Connie, have a daughter and two grandchildren.

He believes the major issues in Newark include maintaining a balanced budget, economic development, new housing, public safety (police and fire departments) and quality of life issues, such as city beautification.

The passage of Measure U has allowed the city to restore some of the services and programs that were cut throughout the lingering economic recession and to begin to replenishing the city's "rainy day" reserve funds.


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Conservative budget practices have balanced the municipal budget, Nagy said, however, budget projections forecast sizeable budget deficits in the years after the utility tax expiration on Dec. 31, 2015.

"Unfortunately, our major revenue sources of sales tax and property tax are not expected to recover quickly enough to make up for the loss of the UUT revenue. This is why the city council voted unanimously to place an extension of the UUT on the November 2014 ballot," he said.

The utility users tax funds will remain local and out of the hands of state legislators, he said.

"Every penny of Measure Y money is required to be spent in Newark -- no money can be taken by Sacramento," he said

Ray J. Rodriguez

A longtime Newark Unified School District Board of Education trustee and city resident for more than 40 years, Rodriguez, in his mid 60s, owns an Allstate insurance agency in Newark. He ran for mayor in 2011 and has served on Newark school board since 1996, holding the board president title four times.

Rodriguez and his wife, Anna, have seven children and eight grandchildren. He served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.

Newark was once a leader in attracting new businesses and bringing in revenue, however, the city has fallen behind neighbors Fremont and Union City, Rodriguez said. He believes in an "aggressive approach" with a fresh look at how to retain existing businesses and bring in new businesses, such as an Ikea store or Cheesecake Factory restaurant. For youth, he favors an indoor soccer facility and a bowling alley.

Another top issue for Rodriguez is public safety, such as residents being able to walk their dogs without worrying about speeders.

Rodriguez supports Measure Y.

To provide proper services to residents and for communities to survive, they need public support, such as through a utility users tax and bonds, he said.

"We have to find a way to get more revenue," Rodriguez said.

Newark City council candidates

Mike Bucci, a construction project manager who has previously run for a council seat; Mark Gonzales, an engineer; and David Rogowski, a code enforcement officer for the city of Richmond; did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

Jack Dane

A 49-year Newark resident who has run for city council in past elections, Dane, 83, is a senior tax adviser and small business tax expert.

He believes the utility tax has some pros and cons.

"It provides money for city needs, however, this may cause some businesses to go elsewhere," he said.

The E-Z8 Motel on Cedar Court is a drain on city services and should be closed if it continues as it has in the past, Dane said.

Also, Newark residents should get free use of the Silliman Activity and Family Aquatic Center on Mowry Avenue at a minimum of one week a year, longer if possible, he said.

Newark needs an easily accessible website listing licensed day care providers operating in the city and the existing municipal sign ordinance needs to be revisited to allow local business to promote their specialty and boost their street visibility, he said.

He also favors increased operating hours for the local library to "optimize the availability of one of Newark's finest resources to its citizens."

Mike Hannon

Hannon, 58, is vice chairman of the Newark Planning Commission. He was appointed to the planning panel by Nagy in March 2013.

Hannon and his wife, Kathleen, have lived in Newark for 31 years. She is a librarian at the Newark branch. They have seven children and five grandchildren with a sixth on the way.

A former employee of the City of San Jose, Hannon spent the final 11 years of his career there as deputy director with the city's Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department. As the code enforcement official for San Jose from 2001 to 2011, Hannon was responsible for managing 90 to 100 employees and an annual budget of $10 million.

At the direction of the city manager, he developed many ordinances meant to improve the quality of life in San Jose's neighborhoods.

He supports the utility tax extension.

Francisco Preciado Jr.

A Newark resident for more than 25 years, Preciado is a law clerk for EFP Law Group, according to his campaign website. Before law school, he was associate executive director of a Bay Area nonprofit dedicated to social justice through community empowerment and youth leadership development. Preciado is also a co-founder of a nonprofit group dedicated to the advancement of the Latino community through advocacy and education.

He is a product of the Newark Unified School District with degrees from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (juris doctorate), San Jose State University (master's in Mexican American studies) and Stanford University (dual bachelor's in political science and Chicana/o studies).

Preciado lists his top three issues for the city as public safety, neighborhood revitalization and promotion of economic development.

Elisabeth Reid-Gonzalez

Describing Newark as a "blossoming city," Reid-Gonzalez said her hometown "has a lot of potential that must be managed well in the years ahead."

Reid-Gonzalez holds a master's in public administration and is a certified professional in healthcare quality. She has more than 13 years of experience in health care process improvement and works for a community-based hospital.

"As a Newark City Council member, I will use these professional skills to improve the quality of Newark in the same way. Additionally, I will arrange for appropriate allocation of tax dollars for services that fairly serve all citizens without unnecessary increases -- this includes supporting the sun setting of the utility tax without any cuts to Newark services; propose and support changes that mitigate housing development pressures; ensure quality built affordable housing with true community approval; require evidence based and data driven decisions with continual follow-up and follow-through; support every citizen's efforts to get honest and prompt city responses; encourage stronger partnerships with our school committees and other programs (libraries, health services, and neighborhood based public safety programs); Ensure that a safe, clean, and healthy environment is at the heart of our growing city by holding those that violate fundamental regulations accountable for improvements and their final resolution," she said in an e-mail.

The mother of three young daughters, Reid-Gonzalez said balancing the city's future progress while retaining its hometown charm is essential.

"Newark's future must be aligned with the expectations voiced and established by current residents with the ongoing consideration for our future generations," she said.

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Julian J. Ramos is a local freelance reporter who previously worked at the Santa Maria Times and the Santa Ynez Valley Times.