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Mayoral candidate profile: Marty Richman

Marty Richman

Marty Richman, 70, has long been a fixture at Hollister City Council and San Benito County board meetings. But if he wins his run for the inaugural mayoral race Nov. 6, he will be at the meetings in an official capacity for the first time.

Richman served in the military for 22 years before retiring as a chief warrant officer 4. After his retirement, he spent 22 years in the private manufacturing industry and then worked as a private consultant.

Richman said he supports Measure E, a ballot question to extend a 1 percent sales tax, but only under specific conditions.

“I’m willing to adopt the plan put forth by Victor (Gomez),” he said, of a plan to put 60 percent of the sales tax increase to public safety and others essentials; 18 percent to economic development; 12 percent to recreation; and 10 percent to strengthen emergency reserves.

If the measure doesn’t pass, he said, “I think we have to go back to the drawing board and come up with a realistic option. I do not think the austerity plan is workable. It makes assumptions that I don’t think are true.”

He said he would keep services but reduce the management structure.

Richman believes city government should be an active driver in economic development.

“The private sector is not strong enough to run economic development,” he said.

He suggested government should look at needs such as increasing high-speed Internet infrastructure or transportation networks.

Richman is in favor of consolidation of services between the city and county where “the benefits outweigh the problems.”

“I have no political objection to it, but does it work?” he said.

Richman said he supports special districts that could fund a variety of services.

“It gives the community the opportunity to speak out on whether they are willing to put their money up,” he said, also noting how the public can say no. “If they are formed correctly and managed, it only goes to functions the public supports.”

On the west side, he said the gateway beautification project should have been higher on the priority list before the redevelopment agency was dissolved.

“It’s not an attractive place for people to invest,” he said.

He said he would encourage business development.

“It’s a way people can move economically up the ladder,” he said, “by owning and running businesses.”

He would want to see an ordinance to shield neighborhoods from some of the industrial uses along Hollister-San Juan Road, through an opaque fence. He also called for a mix of housing types and said the city should look for partners who can help meet the affordable housing requirements now that the RDA is gone.

“It should not just be low-cost, but mid-price housing so we don’t ghettoize that side,” he said. “We need to balance population and housing needs.”

In terms of infrastructure, Richman said the biggest hurdle is budgetary.

“We have old infrastructure downtown – water lines – that are vulnerable to breaks,” he said.

He said city officials need to find capital to fix roadways as well and future developments should include a mix of housing types. He said the community would be good for senior housing that can take people from independent to assisted living.

As mayor, he said he would use the position as a bully pulpit to help the city prosper and do better.

“People voted (for an elected mayor) because they want more direction, more defined policy and a better understanding of where we are going,” he said.