Otto Guardado, City of Vancouver City Council Pos. 1

1. What has motivated you to step forward and run for office?otto.jpg


I was frustrated because the local city council does not listen to its residents. On numerous occasions, residents have voiced their concern about local projects, only to be ignored by the council. People want leaders that listen to them and are responsive, not a dysfunctional team that makes decisions without thinking of what is best for the people.


2. What makes you better qualified for this position than your competing
candidates?


I bring fresh ideas to the table, as well as strong financial sense. I have been a financial
planner for years, and understand the demands of the economy on people’s financial lives.
The incumbent has spoken about attracting new employers, but has not made significant
impact in this area. There are many changes – both large and small – that can be easily
implemented, such as limiting impact fees and streamlining the permitting process. I plan
to make business development a primary focus.


3. If you are running to affect change, what is it about the incumbent and/or the
governing body that needs changing?


First, leaders need to listen to residents and act accordingly. Local leadership often seems
like they are working against residents, rather than with them to achieve common goals.
Secondly, we need to create a vision of Vancouver with or without a new bridge. While we
debate about bridges, there is still a city in need of police and fire protection, senior care,
parks, and road maintenance, and all these services get lost in the acrimony. We still need
to manage these services, and create a vision for a Vancouver that is better for our children.


4. In your opinion, what is the proper role of city/county/board (whichever one you
are running for office in) government?


City- to deliver high-quality basic services to its residents: water, sewer, electricity, police,
fire, etc. Also, to create an environment that is safe and relatively pleasant for residents and
business owners. Cities that are able to attract business and provide safe working
environments will prosper over those that do not.


5. Is there a difference between powers and rights?


Powers are granted to officials by the people that elect them. Rights are guaranteed to
everyone by statute or from God

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6. Do governments have rights?


They have the right to defend themselves against outside threats. But they do not have
rights assigned to them outside of what is granted by the people.


7. Where does the power of the office you are seeking come from?


From the residents of Vancouver and from the Vancouver City Charter.


8. Can you define what the word "liberty" means to you?


The ability to live without the undue intervention (including taxation) of the government.


9. As a trustee of the public's funds how would you prioritize spending?


First, cover costs of current services and maintenance projects. Second, seek areas to save
on costs. Next, spend on areas that are likely to generate future gains in city revenue and
safety.


10. What projects should local government avoid?


Ones where the project does not benefit the majority of its constituents, or represents a
financial hazard that would be difficult or impossible to recover from.


11. What is your stance on the proposed CRC project?


I oppose the latest CRC project (now unfunded as of 7/7/13). It is inappropriate for the
cost associated with the project. Also, the idea of light rail has been voted on by Vancouver
residents and the majority voted against it.


12. Should the public have a right to vote on the light rail - tolling project called the
CRC?


Yes, of course. Currently, the issue is deemed illegal by city attorney Ted Gathe, and a
lawsuit appears to be pending against the city. I am not a lawyer, and have no comments
about its legality. If there is a legal way to put the light rail to vote, I would wholeheartedly
advocate for it.


13. What do you think motivates those on the C-Tran Board who are denying the
public's right to vote on light rail in Clark County?


I don’t know. I haven’t asked them, and it would be inappropriate for me to speculate.


14. Will you unilaterally oppose any CRC proposal that includes light rail?


Yes and no. Yes I would oppose it, in the near future while Vancouver has the population it
does, and without sustainable funding. No I would not oppose it, if there is a credible way
to fund light rail and if the need exists, or if the people vote for it to built.


15. Is it ever proper for an office holder to go against the majority if he/she feels the
majority to be wrong or misled?


I can’t think of an instance when they should, unless they had privileged information not
available to the public. Wartime actions or terrorism, perhaps..?


16. What are the most important issues facing the city/town/county/ board
(whatever entity you are running for office in) today and in the future?


First, jobs creation and business development. Vancouver has persistently high
unemployment that needs to be addressed. With almost 1 out of every 10 residents
unemployed, Vancouver should be proactively seeking ways to attract employers. Second,
our police protections need to be better funded to help protect our senior and minor
residents (in particular) against drugs, gang activity, and senior fraud. While our crime is
moderate compared to Portland, certain problems have begun to spill over, and our police
and residents say it is time we addressed them.


17. What do you feel is the job description for the office you are seeking?


First, to listen to the residents of Vancouver and address their concerns. Second, to deliver
basic needs such as fire protection, water, sewer, etc. Lastly, improve the livability of the
city by attracting more businesses here and making it a safer place to live.


18. What ideas do you have to promote job creation and make our community more
business friendly?


There are many ideas I’d like to advocate: eliminate or lower impact fees. These are fees
that generate surprisingly little for the city, but are a barrier for contractors and business
owners because it adds additional costs. Additionally, these costs are not financeable, and
must be paid up-front.
Streamline the permitting process. Many small business owners have voiced their concern
that it takes months to have basic permits executed in Vancouver. There should be no
reason why Portland measures their permitting process in weeks or days, while we take
months.
Reduce licensing fees for growing businesses- Currently, there is a $50 charge per full-time
employee per employer in Vancouver. I would advocate for a “new business” tax-holiday
for two years of a flat $125 business license and no surcharge. I would also advocate for a
“business growth” tax reduction for employers who can grow their full-time employees by
over 15% in any given year.


19. Ultimately, who or what is responsible for creating jobs?


People and entrepreneurs are responsible for creating jobs. Government can hire new
workers, but ultimately at the expense at the taxpayers. Government can encourage job
growth by rewarding entrepreneurialism and lowering costs to doing business, and that is
appropriate.


20. How much influence will the U.S. Bill of Rights and Washington's Constitutional
enumeration of rights have in your decision making when dealing with issues?


They are values for all office holders to strive for, and need to be respected in all areas of
the government, and will probably be a guiding factor in many decisions. Many decisions
on the local level are completely tangential to this, but others, such as freedom from
unreasonable search and seizure are vital to local governments.


21. What will be your greatest challenge if you are elected?


Juggling time commitments to my job, family, and public responsibilities


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