Rick Perez has been fed up with the way his neighborhood in District 1 has been neglected, watching the sidewalks shift and roads fall apart as the years go by.
The 56-year old Hollister resident, who lives with a disabled veteran and has two neighbors who are in wheelchairs, says it’s a struggle just to get around the block.
“They have trouble walking and it becomes a great obstacle,” he said.
Perez, who has an extensive background in building maintenance, thinks he has the insight to help with infrastructure repairs and other issues within Hollister if elected as City Councilmember for District 1.
Perez has a 20-year-old son and he has been a proud owner of his handyman service business for more than a decade. He said the reason he moved to Hollister after he became a single dad was to be around family, and he wanted to join a community that he believes is built by its residents.
“It’s still a small town USA,” he said. “People wave, neighbors know each other and it’s just a great community.”
Perez said the first and foremost thing that needs to change is the atmosphere of the city council, citing a clear need for peace and civility.
“I hope to bring some peace along with communication and respect for each other,” he said.
Perez pointed out that Hollister Parks & Recreation supervisor Tina Garza has done an excellent job and he wants to be able to continue her relationship with the city council.
“Our kids are our future and [Parks & Recreation] is a really big deal to me,” he said.
If elected, Perez said some issues he’d like to address are housing development projects and high traffic that flows in and out of town. But he said part of the solution is not just widening the roads such as the Highway 25 expansion project.
Perez said he’d like to see people spend less time on the freeways and more time closer to home, which means bringing in more business and industry—including entertainment and tourism.
“If we can bring that into town that’ll cut down on traffic,” he said. “I think the biggest part of that equation is if we can bring business and jobs to this city we’d be able to spend more time with our families.”
Perez mentioned there’s a growing homeless population, especially around the parks within District 1. He said some efforts have been put in place to help resolve the issue but it takes more than simply telling them to leave.
“It’s not just about kicking them out of our parks, it’s about finding a plan to get them on their feet,” Perez said about the homeless population.
Perez mentioned this plan should also include providing services and resources for the homeless.
“There’s some issues we need to address to help them stay off the streets,” he said.
And speaking of streets, Perez said the roads and sidewalks in District 1 are in desperate need of repair. Perez’s idea is to come up with a program that would have the city split the costs of the repairs with the residents instead of having them pay for it entirely.
He also suggested that they should allow a contractor to do the job instead of taking up time from city employees. “It would probably be a lot cheaper,” he said.
The city recently repaved the streets in his neighborhood; however, he claims the job didn’t turn out so well.
“That’s just from my porch,” he said. “From someone else’s porch, they have different issues. I want to be there to hear their concerns and to get them answers, even if the answers aren’t what they want to hear. At least they get an answer.”