presents
Voter’s Edge California
Conozca la información antes de votar.
Presentado por
MapLight
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
KPBS Voters Guide@KPBSNews
November 8, 2016 — Elección General de California
Local

Ciudad de RidgecrestCandidato para Consejo Municipal

Photo de Thomas R. Wiknich

Thomas R. Wiknich

Businessman
2,470 votos (14.23%)
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
Para obtener más información a fondo sobre este candidato, siga los enlaces de cada pestaña en esta sección. En la mayoría de los lectores de pantalla, puede presionar Regresar o Ingresar para entrar a una pestaña y leer el contenido.
El candidato(a) proporcionó información.

Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • Public Safety providing police and fire protection. I SUPPORT Measure V.
  • To maintain infrastructure including roads and sewer services. I SUPPORT Measure V.
  • Economic development including new business's and new construction.

Experiencia

Experiencia

Profesión:Business owner with Federal and City government experience including non profit corporation experience.
President CEO, GUNS4US Inc. (1987–current)
President CEO, KZGN TV (2014–current)
Ridgecrest City Council and Vice Mayor, Ridgecrest City Council — Cargo elegido (2006–2010)
Ridgecrest Planning Commission, Ridgecrest Planning Commission — Cargo designado (2006–2010)
LAFCO representative, LAFCO — Cargo designado (2006–2010)
Chairman City Infrastructure Committee, Ridgcrest City Infrastructure Committee — Cargo designado (2006–2010)
Member City Organization and Services Committee, City Organization and Services Committee — Cargo designado (2006–2010)
Contracts Manager, Department of Defense (1987–2003)
Councilman, City of Ridgecrest (1984–1988)
Range Program Manager, Raytheon (1984–1987)

Educación

Cero Coso Level 2 State of CA Police Officer Training, Police Officer Training (2014)
Department of Defense Contract Management Certificate, Contract Management (1999)
Department of Defense Certificate Program Management, Program Management (1998)
Ridgecrest School of Law One year of Law School (1995)
University of Redlands Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with Minor in Accounting (1986)

Actividades comunitarias

PACT volunteer, Ridgecrest Police Department PACT volunteer Captain & Code Enforcement officer (2010–current)
Member, Ridgecrest Rotary Club (2015–current)
President, Ridgecrest Gun Range Association Non Profit (2004–current)
Lead Proponent voter approved RC City Council Term Limits, Elected Mayor , Initiatives Ridgecrest City Council Term Limits and Ridgecrest Elected Mayor (2010–2012)
Enlisted, US Army (1969–1972)

Biografía

I have lived in Ridgecrest since 1979, and am married to my wife, Shannon. I have a daughter, Denise, and two step daughters, Elizabeth and Nicole, including son-in-law, Kevin, I also have 2 grandchildren, Justin, Jolene, step granddaughter Charlotte and great grandson Draven.
  I have worked at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake thru Raytheon, where I was initially hired as a contractor, and eventually became a Program Manager at Raytheon in 1984. In 1987 I was hired by the Department Of Defense as a Program/Contracts Manager. I also retired from the Department Of Defense in 2005. I started GUNS4US in 1987 as a small business. As the business grew and I moved towards retirement from the Department of Defense, I then decided to invest in the business and Ridgecrest further. I also designed and built the over 3000 sq ft GUNS4US building that also includes the KZGN TV station. I am the President and CEO of GUNS4US Inc and the new KZGN TV station.

Creencias poliza

Documentos sobre determinadas posturas

Revenue Solutions for the City of Ridgecrest

Summary

Revenue Solutions for the City of Ridgecrest

Revenue Solutions for the City of Ridgecrest By Thomas Wiknich Candidate for Ridgecrest City Council   Every candidate saying that the city needs revenue. While some common suggestions are provided, are any candidates offering any REAL solutions?   Some common suggestions from other candidates include: We need to review the budget and make cuts where possible, with no suggested cuts they will make. We need to renegotiate the tax split with the county, with no suggested approach to get that done. We need to bring new business to Ridgecrest, with no real proposed solution how to do it. Or other suggestions with no real solutions.   Here are potential, real solutions I propose: 1. First problem: The City of Ridgecrest receives only approximately 5% of the property taxes we pay to the county, while other cities get as much as 20%. With the county in a financial struggle, does anyone believe they will be willing to negotiate raising that right now? Not a chance. So, how do we fix the tax split with the county?   My solution: I propose we do it in a step negotiation. We start by targeting the NEW tax revenue that we get as a result of new construction. These are new tax dollars that no one has now. We go to the county and negotiate with them that we get a new, fairer percentage on new construction only. The county will not lose anything since this is new income. To offset the extremely unfair split now, let’s agree to split the new dollars at a 10 or 15 (or even 20%) split. We also ask for a trigger income level that when the county recovers from the current income shortfalls, and it WILL eventually happen, we set a new rate higher than the current 5%, to a fairer rate. You might ask what that means in real dollars. In 2015, Ridgecrest valued new construction at almost $20 million (math note to the engineers reading this; the percentages I use in this analysis are based on actual property tax rates paid. For simplicity of discussion, all numbers are heavily rounded.) The $20 million in valuation will net the city about $100K in new tax income at 5%. Just think, if it was 10% it would be $200K. At 20% it would mean about $400K in new revenue. So far in 2016, we have permitted 35 new homes to be built with other new construction totaling about $9 million so far. That equates to about $45K in NEW tax income at 5%. Now, bump it to 10% and we see $90K of new income. And bump it to 20% and we see $180K of new income. If the county would agree that Ridgecrest has been singled out and hit the hardest in distribution for years and years, and let us have a reasonable NEW rate for just NEW revenue, just the last 2 years would have provided the city $580K in new income. That’s a lot of money. And it would continue into the future.   2. Second problem: Most people agree the city needs to diversify our business base. Not retail, but industrial—real job creators. Again, more talk and NO real solutions from candidates.   My solution: Due to California having such a poor business environment, the odds of bringing in a new manufacturing business from out of the state is highly improbable. What do we do? Answer: we focus on business already in California—businesses that may be looking to move out of crazy, high-crime big cities; businesses interested in a clean, low cost, low-crime environment. Ridgecrest can provide that place. We focus on California businesses, since they are already under current California rules and policies. So we start recruitment of small businesses that would be a good fit to our area. Clean, low water use, and not affecting the base at all. There are organizations available to provide this service.   3. What about all the new employees the base is now hiring? What is the final result of bringing in new jobs? More homes or apartments are needed. Just think. The base announced they are bringing in 600 NEW employees this year. If just 10% bought a new home, that is 60 new homes to be built. At the current new home cost of about $225K, that’s $13.5 million in new construction. That would result in another $360K of new property taxes coming into the city at the 20% rate.   4. What about water? I have a solution for that, as well. Let’s qualify it though. We have an overdraft problem. But the real problem is a political problem. The state already gets almost all the water it needs to survive. The problem is the Sacramento, liberal politicians won’t solve the problem. The problem is our current system allows 74% of the fresh water that falls into California every year, to just flow out into the ocean. What we need is a state water system. A system that captures all that wasted water, stores it, and then we need a pipe line to move the water all over the state to anywhere it is needed. That even includes a pipeline to the eastern Sierra region; Ridgecrest, and the Indian Wells Valley; a pipeline from Lake Isabella to here. When they finally do have the lake full again, and excess water is available, it can be piped over here. There have been years where there was excess water there. Not now, but this is planning for the future. If by chance there still isn’t enough fresh water, then desalinization. We have a whole ocean out there just waiting to be tapped. The only thing stopping a state water system solution, is worthless politicians in Sacramento that are more worried about fish, and plants, than they are about the citizens of the state. If that excess water was sent south into the San Joaquin Valley, all those dying farms could come back to life. Thousands of jobs would be created all over. Business income would go back up. Taxes would be generated from the increase in business sales and payrolls paid.   My solution: Build a state water system that services EVERYONE in the state. Put pressure on the new GSA to send a message to Sacramento to immediately start creating a state water system that works. All the counties should unite against the state and send the same message. Then all the cities should unite via the league of California cities telling the state to set up the water system. Finally, We, the People must start yelling at the Sacramento politicians to do their job and to build this state water system NOW! If they don’t, we need to start voting those people out of office. NOW!    

Actual answers submitted to the Daily Independent Candidate Questions

Summary

Actual answers submitted to the Daily Independent Candidate Questions

1. Briefly give your background, including public offices you have previously held?
My education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with a Minor in Accounting from the University of Redlands, 1 year of law school from Ridgecrest School of Law, Department of Defense certification in Contract Management and Program Management.
 
My city government experience includes former councilman, Vice Mayor, city representative Kern Council of Governments, Local Agency Formation Committee, Ridgecrest Planning Commission, and various CITY committees. I volunteer with the Ridgecrest Police Department as Captain in Police and Citizens Together (PACT) organization. I have completed Level 2 police officer training.
 
My federal and contract experience includes working as contractor on base. I worked up to program manager, then was hired onto base as a program manager/contract officer. I eventually became Department of Defense certified in Contract Management and Program Management writing and managing multimillion dollar contracts. I am now retired from China Lake.
 
Currently, I’m the owner and President/CEO of GUNS4US and the KZGN TV station here in Ridgecrest. I believe in Ridgecrest and have made significant investments into the town.
 
My nonprofit experience includes being the President of Ridgecrest Gun Range Association. This nonprofit has invested over $500,000 providing a top quality shooting range for Ridgecrest and the Indian Wells Valley.
I’m married to Shannon, and I have been living in Ridgecrest since 1979.
 
2. Why do you think you are qualified to be elected to this office?
Due to my diverse experience in City, County, and Federal government, coupled with experience in private industry and nonprofit organizations, I bring a broad range of insight to help solve the problems the city faces. I have the ability to conduct analysis from many different perspectives. In the campaign I have provided point papers on suggested solutions for the main problems the city faces. While most candidates just state the obvious, we need to look at specific issues and provide no solution-based ideas. I’ve been attending council meetings continually for several years, which means I am ready to hit the ground running when sworn in.
 
3. What are the biggest challenges you foresee and biggest goals do you hope to accomplish if elected?
I care about the city. I would love to have a city budget that can match most cities our size. Unfortunately, most cities in California our size have budgets 4 to 5 times larger than ours. We need employment diversification to fix that problem.  We need to stop the sales tax leakage problem we have. I’d like to see the city and chamber partner to make Ridgecrest the retail center of the Eastern Sierra region, from Mammoth Lakes to California City to Lake Isabella. Right now we don’t do anything to promote this. After making sure we have adequately provided for public safety and infrastructure like roads and the new sewer plant, revenue is the most important issue the city faces. Job creation is the most important.
 
4. Specific issues
My priorities are: public safety, infrastructure (including roads and sewer), economic development, raising revenue, solving the water problem, supporting Measure V, and quality of life projects. These are not listed in a priority ranking. They are all important and must be dealt with at the same time.
 
5. Do you support Measure V?
Yes, I support Measure V. It will raise about $4 million per year for the city. The current tax supports about 14 police officers, and it provides about one million dollars per year for road repairs. Using those road funds as a match component to federal and state grant funding has brought in millions of dollars for road repairs. Without Measure V, we’ll lose that capability.
 
6. Do you support the planned Timbisha Shoshone casino?
Economic development and business diversification is very important for the city to prosper. After doing my own independent analysis and research on this proposed casino project, I decided to support it. Here are the main reasons why.
 
First, I wanted to determine the impact to China Lake. My research determined the Navy had no problem with the casino or the location. NONE. This has been verified with various city and Navy officials, on and off the record. Next, I investigated the rhetoric that we cannot enforce any agreement with the tribe due to sovereignty. I found that was a problem at one time, but that problem was fixed by Congress, and tribes can be sued and held to contracts they sign with local jurisdictions. Finally, the benefit to the city includes 150 new jobs and $400,000 in annual payments to the city. The new jobs bring new home construction. The tribe waived sovereignty to City building codes, City Police jurisdiction, City Planning requirements, and most of the Cities Municipal codes. There will also be spin off benefits to other local business that will support the project.
 
7. What are your thoughts on the IWV Groundwater Authority and the problems facing the area? Where do you stand on the open vs. closed basin controversy?
We have an overdraft problem. Of course, we all need to conserve, but the real problem is political. This is not just a local problem. It’s a state problem. The state already gets almost all the water it needs to survive. Unfortunately, the politicians won’t solve the problem. Our current system allows 74% of the fresh water that falls into California every year to just flow out into the ocean.  The new GSA will levy fees on everyone in this valley eventually, and it won’t be cheap. Mark my words, when the new GSA finalizes a solution to the problem, the solution will cost millions of dollars. Yes, I said millions, and every one of us will be tapped to pay the bill. Conservation and cutting agriculture will only slow it down; it won’t solve the problem. A building moratorium won’t solve the problem. These are nothing but band aides.
 
My solution: We need a state water system that captures all that water, and stores it. Then, a pipeline to move the water all over the state to anywhere it is needed. That includes a pipeline from Lake Isabella to here. If, by chance, there still isn’t enough fresh water, then desalinization. How do we pay for it? The state needs to step up and help fund the solution. It is a statewide problem the state should help pay for. The new GSA should send a message to Sacramento to immediately start creating a state water system. All the counties and cities should unite against the state and send the same message. Finally, We, the People, must tell the Sacramento politicians to do their job and to build this state water system NOW! If they refuse, put an initiative on the next election forcing them to do it. If elected, I will fight the state on this issue.
 
8. What are your ideas for balancing the city budget? Do you have other ideas for raising revenue for the area, other than economic development?
The City of Ridgecrest receives only approximately 5% of the property taxes we pay to the county, while other cities get as much as 20%.
 
My solution: I propose we do a step negotiation. We start by targeting the NEW tax revenue that we get as a result of new construction. These are new tax dollars that no one has now. We go to the county and negotiate with them that we get a new, fairer percentage on new construction only. The county will not lose anything since this is new income. Further, to offset the extremely unfair split now, let’s agree to split the new dollars at a 10% or even 20% split. We also ask for a county trigger income level that when the county recovers from the current income shortfalls, we set a new rate higher than the current 5%.
 
9. What are your thoughts on economic development for the area? Do you think the groundwater issues should influence plans for economic development?
Most people agree the city needs to diversify our business base.
 
My solution: Due to California having such a poor business environment, the odds of bringing in a new manufacturing business from out of the state is highly improbable. What do we do? We focus on recruiting business already in California—businesses that may be looking to move out of crazy, high-crime big cities. Businesses interested in a clean, low cost, low-crime environment. Ridgecrest can provide that place.  What about all the new employees the base is now hiring? What is the result of bringing in new jobs? More homes or apartments are needed. Just think, the base announced they are bringing in 600 NEW employees this year. If just 10% bought a new home, that is 60 new homes to be built. At the current new home cost of about $225K, that’s $13.5 million in new construction.  If the state does their job and fixes the water problem statewide, there will be no water impact to economic development.
 
A number of agencies recently launched the “Love in Action” program to help with the homeless. What are your ideas for dealing with Ridgecrest's homeless/transient problem? The lack of mental health and substance abuse resources in the area?
Currently, the city has no funds available for financial involvement in these type projects. Further, this really falls more under the responsibility of Kern County. They already have programs dealing with these problems in other areas of Kern County, mostly in the Bakersfield area. They need to extend their current programs to the outlying areas. We are a two-hour drive for any of those services. Kern County gets our tax dollars now. They should be spent here on this side of the mountain.
 
10. What do you think the appropriate relationship is between Ridgecrest and NAWS China Lake?
China Lake is our major employer. As a retiree from the base, I treasure the people and the work being done there. The City and Navy have a partnership that is important. We need to work together to support and promote each other. The City should do everything that we can to help the base bring in new work, and bring in new employees. The fact that the base is hiring about 600 new employees is huge for the city.
 
11. Do you approve of the way city council meetings are currently run? Would you change things to increase transparency between council and the public?
I have two issues with the meetings. My first issue is the council’s lack of willingness to have a back-and-forth dialog with speakers at the podium. It works like this: staff gives a report, council comments, then public gets to comment, then it goes back to council to comment and make a decision. Rarely does the council engage with the public when they are at the podium. The council waits until public comment is over and then makes comments pertaining to what has been said. There is rarely an opportunity for the public to reply to the councils comments. That is NOT meaningful communication. It is one sided. Secondly, I would bring back quarterly town hall meetings. I had these in the past and they were well received by the public. Usually 20-30 people attended and had the opportunity to discuss with two council members things the people wanted to discuss. These town halls were informal and open with no restrictions. That provides openness and a willingness of the council to hear from the people.
 
 I want you to have a voice in how the city is run. Openness and sincere two-way communication is needed. I have presented REAL solutions to real problems. The council already does that. If a candidate says that, then they should have already studied the budget and tell us what they want to cut. The city’s problems are not simple. A diverse background is necessary to sorting out the pros and cons of issues and coming up with solutions and new ideas.
 

Información de contacto del candidato

Comparta este sitio para ayudar a otras personas a investigar sus opciones para las votaciones.

PUBLISHING:PRODUCTION SERVER:PRODUCTION