Danville Mayor Candace Andersen decided to run for District 2 county supervisor because of concerns surrounding Contra Costa's fiscal situation. With over 21 years of experience, Andersen said she wants to ensure the district is led by someone with local government expertise.
An attorney with a degree in public policy, Andersen has over ten years experience serving on city councils and has sat on more than 30 commissions and committees within the county. She currently sits on the Central Contra Costa County Transit Authority (County Connection) and Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority, among several others.
"I've been watching for several years as (the county has) dealt with serious pension issues and a serious, in my mind, under-prioritizing of public safety," she said. "It's important to me that someone who has council experience be elected."
One of the most important issues facing the county is pension reform and modifying vested benefits that are unsustainable, she said. More than 37 percent of the county payroll goes to pensions, Andersen said, and the county uses a 7.75 rate of return for investments when it should be utilizing a 6 percent rate.
"Right now they're underfunded $1.1 billion. There's a huge gap in what is not funded right now and it is very disconcerting how we're going to make up that difference," Andersen said. "Looking at the retirement age, how the county calculates returns and a catastrophic change in markets….It's coming up with new ways of looking at how we're going to fund it."
Andersen said she would collaborate with other supervisors, workers and unions to find solutions to the pension issue. Additionally, Andersen wants to prioritize public safety countywide. In the town of Danville, which contracts with the county for Sheriff services, a 7 percent increase in cost per officer will likely lead to the town having one fewer officer on patrol.
"We are losing a lot of officers because they are lowest funded officers in the area. You have both a numbers issue and a pay equity issue, but when you have criminals that are getting away with small crimes like breaking into a car, into a house…they get emboldened, and what is to stop them from committing a more serious crime?" Andersen asked.
The District Attorney's Office isn't able to prosecute as many cases and is losing deputy district attorneys to better paying areas, Andersen noted. Part of her public safety platform would include giving the Sheriff and District Attorney additional funds (though the board is already in the process of increasing funding to the Sheriff) to run its respective offices more efficiently.
"I believe countywide people want to have a safe community and it's important to me that the Board of Supervisors continues to prioritize safety," she said.
In addition to pension reform and public safety, Andersen promises to provide support for businesses and increase job creation by streamlining the county process for permitting and implementing innovative programs. She pointed to several local programs, such as Danville's business concierge service and the iGATE initiative, that have made marked economic development.
Andersen is endorsed by retiring District 2 Supervisor Gayle Uilkema, County Sheriff David Livingston, District Attorney Mark Peterson, San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson and frormer Assemblywoman Lynne Leach, among others.