Vacaville Reporter Q/A with Raymond Beaty
Updated: Oct 23, 2018
Background: Joined Air Force after high school.Graduated from college with seminary degree, became pastor for 20 years. Ran headhunting service for seven years. Moved to Vacaville in 2007 and returned to ministry. Currently serves as community outreach pastor for The Father’s House and started nonprofit called We Love Our City which works to resolve local poverty issues.
What made you want to run for the City Council?
During the process of the last seven or eight years, working with all these government entities, (I’ve been) incredibly impressed at the men and women who provide these services to the city, everything from social services to public works to public safety. I don’t know where you get the impression that sometimes people who work for the government just want to work for the government, but everyone I’ve ever met in the last eight years do what they do at every level I just described because they love what they’re doing. They love offering services to people, they love providing resources to people. They love protecting people. As I filled in gaps for them that the budget had created, networking with these people and got in relationships with these people at all different levels, I felt like this was just a perfect partnership where government and faith-based organizations could come together, bridge some of the financial gaps. Wanting to run for council was just my interest in doing it at a broader level than I’ve been doing it the last six or seven years. Part of that bridge is the consensus piece that I’m most interested in. I know that everyone has a position on just about everything. You have a hard time moving people off their positions, but there’s always an issue driving that position. If you can get to the issue that’s driving the position, you can get consensus. It’s not even a compromise. It’s a consensus on “Look, here’s what was driving my position, but if you’re going to answer those questions, I can still keep my position, but you’ve resolved my issues.” I’ve been able to do that at multiple levels, and I want to be able to do that at another level.
What experience would you bring to the position?
That process of years of writing and doing training materials and placing people in the right position. Hiring people is extremely important. The negotiation process of having all the contracts that I have and being able to able to demonstrate competency at federal down to local levels to complete not only contractual obligations but to procedures that are necessary to keep it in place, building the infrastructure that’s necessary to make it run, the logistics that are always necessary to make sure it runs smoothly. The last eight years of what I’ve been able to offer all these agencies would be an example of what I’ve been able to do.
What would you say sets you apart from the other candidates?
The people who’ve endorsed me. John Vasquez, Solano County Supervisor, has. Skip Thomson has. The current mayor has. Dilenna Harris has. Curtis Hunt has. Mitch Mashburn and I suppose are running against each other, but we’re both endorsed by the Police Officers’ Association and we go to events together and support each other. Sherie Mahlberg is vice president of the Vacaville Unified School Board, she’s endorsed me. The Vacaville Police Managers Association, which is the command staff of the police force, has endorsed me. Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara has endorsed me. There’s a long list of people demonstrating my relationships with different government agencies, the ability to do things that need to be done. It’s a long list of endorsements, and a lot of business endorsements as well. From law enforcement to business to supervisors to people on the council to the mayor, a lot of people have already seen and understand what I’m able to provide.
What are the biggest issues facing the city right now, and how would you address them?
The one that everyone’s talking about is the unfunded liabilities. Obviously, fiscal responsibility is the primary responsibility of any government official. I believe at one point, it was reported over $140 million. Now it’s down to about $86 (million) because what has happened, city staff and City Council have been working diligently to put a plan in place to catch up from what was taken from them. There’s been no malfeasance involved, there’s never been inappropriate spending, there’s never been overspending. It’s just been a process of filling the gaps of what was taken from the city. The council’s done a great job. All the staff, employees, there have been furlough days involved, bargaining agreements, and everyone has worked very hard to close that gap that was created by the Great Recession. We just need to stay on top of that, continue to close that gap, make sure we’re making progress on that.
What would you do to ensure public safety is a priority?
All the public safety entities who have endorsed me understand what’s required for them to be able to do their job. A phrase that I’m fond of is, “Public safety is the community.” You can have as many parks as you want, and I want parks. As much open space as you want, I love open space. As much housing as we can possibly squeeze into the footprint that we have here in Vacaville, and I want more entry-level and affordable housing choices for people. All those things that everyone wants, I want as well. However, if there’s no public safety involved, then there’s really no community. For me, the agencies that are supporting me understand that I know that public safety is the community.
How would you help Vacaville grow its businesses and attract new ones?
I would continue more of the same. Hiring the economic development manager was a great idea, and it’s worked out really great for us. The addition of ICON and these expansions to other companies here in town, I believe we’re going in the right direction staying focused on what we’re doing. I know the East Main project is on the board to be completed, so we can move to be completion. There’s a lot of great things being lined up, and we’re just now getting to a place again financially where we can start unfolding some of those plans.
What would you say are the benefits and drawbacks of Vacaville having council districts?
From a democratic perspective, it’s a benefit. One of the purposes of a representative government is to make sure everyone’s represented. Expanding the number of districts to six, as is the discussion, theoretically brings more people involved into the conversation. That’s a foundational democratic principle to represent as many people as possible. I think it probably does create some myopic behavior in the sense that council people might just focus on their own district as opposed to focusing on how all decisions will be able to impact the city overall. That’s not a great ideal based on that process, so there are good and bad sides to both of the numbers.
If elected, what would be your top priorities?
My top priorities will continue to be focus on public safety. It’s something that if you’re managing well right now, that’s great, but if you don’t stay ahead of can get away from you pretty quickly. I believe Vacaville has a culture, and I want to do whatever it takes to maintain the culture that’s here: culture of safety, culture of opportunity, the culture of a healthy business environment. The culture that we have right now is something I’d like to make sure will be put in place, whatever principles, standards, organizations, entities, partnerships, networking to maintain the culture that we have and continue to move forward with the culture that we have.