Fillmore City Council Candidate Question #7
2012 Fillmore City Council Candidates (l-r) Manuel Minjaras, Rick Neal, Douglas Tucker, Gayle Washburn, Sandy Pella and Alex Mollkoy.
2012 Fillmore City Council Candidates (l-r) Manuel Minjaras, Rick Neal, Douglas Tucker, Gayle Washburn, Sandy Pella and Alex Mollkoy.
Question No. 7: Members of the council don’t always agree. How will you deal with inter-council disagreements, criticism from the community and scrutiny from the media?

Douglas Tucker:
In my opinion the council should deal with disagreements and criticism with professionalism, accountability and integrity. Each city council representative will have their own perspective; this is why it is so important for them to listen to each-other and the community prior to making decisions. I have received a lot of negative comments about how the council treats persons expressing their opinions only to have their comment refuted 1 council member at a time. The Council needs to treat everyone with respect and dignity. They need to ensure that they are fair when the public speaks including with time allotments and how the council responds to speakers.
If two or more council members disagree then agree to disagree and take the conflict to the closed session for resolution or simply vote and move on to the next agenda item. A council should truly have the best interests of the community at heart, they should be fair, have a code of ethics and conduct and they should most importantly put aside their personal differences and truly represent us the Fillmore citizens. If this is accomplished, the new media, citizens and each council member will unit and we can focus on the problems we face today and ensure we have solutions for our future. We may not always agree, but isn’t that one aspect of the U.S.A. that makes us the best nation in the world, our freedoms should be embraced not taken advantage of.
Douglas Tucker
Candidate for Fillmore City Council

Rick Neal:
Getting along with people boils down to treating each other with respect. I will treat people with respect and demand the same in return. As a leader I know criticism is expected. I look forward to hearing ideas and solutions from the community. There are some who have neither ideas or solutions and only want to criticise. They will get their 5 minutes during public speaking and can’t expect to get much more until they are willing to participate in finding solutions.
Disagreement is a part of life. There is no escaping it. There is no leadership model that will eliminate conflict. Knowing this, it is important to avoid getting defensive. When people get defensive winning the disagreement becomes the objective rather than resolving the conflict. We have seen evidence of this at our council meetings lately. The council has to get back to a place where city business is above personal politics.
I will lean on my business experience and my strengths. Some of which are remaining calm, looking for solutions rather than trying to win an argument, focus on areas of common interest and agreement, instead of areas of disagreement and opposition.
Finally, I recognize that respect is earned. As a new council member I will have to earn the respect of the remaining council members, I will have to earn the respect of the staff, and I will have to earn the respect of the community.
I look forward to the opportunity, and so do Manuel Minjares and Doug Tucker. We don’t always see eye to eye but we have committed to work together and put the needs of the community first. Fillmore needs problem solvers. Fillmore needs true leadership. We need your vote on Tuesday.

Sandra Pella:
Council members don’t always agree, but having differences doesn’t necessarily mean division. Differences in perspective stimulate creativity and innovative thinking. It’s when disagreements become destructive that communication breaks down and strife can occur. The best way to deal with disagreement among council members is to allow everyone to be heard; validating what that individual has to say as important to the discussion. I would encourage council members to express themselves, and then to evaluate what is said as objectively as possible. Sometimes disagreements occur when persons have their own agenda. The council has a responsibility to evaluate city issues and to act in the best interests of the community; thereby putting aside personal interests.
Criticism and input from the public is helpful in making proper decisions. The council represents the public and is answerable to actions taken on behalf of the city. However, often criticism comes from lack of information. I am committed to providing a quarterly newsletter on the city’s website which will provide information concerning actions taken be the council.
Being scrutinized by the media does not cause me concern. The word “scrutiny” implies that there is something about the character or conduct of an individual that warrants careful examination. There is nothing in my past or present that would disqualify me from serving on the council. I have strived to be honest and forthright in my professional life and in my personal dealings with people. The media, particularly the Newspaper of Record, also has a responsibility to report statements and actions of council members in a factual, respectful and unbiased manner. Failure to do so fosters undue criticism from the public, and may promote disagreements among the council.

Gayle Washburn:
I will deal with disagreements the same way I always have, with equanimity. It's okay to disagree. It is incumbent on each council member to have enough information to make an educated decision and then vote their conscience and I accept that.
I deal with criticism from the community the same way. I am always open to constructive criticism on any issue. I make it a point to welcome all to the podium for public comment regardless of their position. However, bullying or personal attacks are not appropriate.
Scrutiny from the media is welcomed as long as it is truthful and unbiased and free from personal attacks, name calling and libel. We don't have that in Fillmore.

Manuel Minjares:
Members of the council don’t always agree. How will you deal with inter-council disagreements, criticism from the community and scrutiny from the media?
Disagreements can be a healthy way to find the best solution to a given problem. Disagreements become problems when communication breaks down and those involved become angry and unwilling to listen or compromise. It is important to recognize that one can only be responsible to make a decision for themselves and not for the others involved, no matter how certain one is about their understanding of a given situation. If two council members are going to disagree, it is important for them to explain their position in an understandable and concise manner to the public. The public does not expect all 5 of the Council Members to agree on every issue; however they do expect their elected officials to navigate through difficult issues with professionalism, respect and clarity.
Criticism from the community and the media is needed and will no doubt continue. It shows that your community is concerned and paying attention. I would say that we need a larger portion of our community engaged in a positive and constructive manner because as we all know it is easier to knock something down than it is to build it up. I intend to reach out to those who are willing to offer their time, effort, energy, expertise or any combination of the sort to become more involved with their community and do our part to improve our community together.