Name: Arkady Faktorovich
Occupation: Engineer; Business Owner; Substitute Teacher; Math Tutor, Los Banos Planning Commissioner, Former Military Officer, Honorable Discharge.
1. Why do you want to be elected to City office, and what makes you a better choice than your opponents?
As a Planning Commissioner of Los Banos, I have observed many positive changes implemented by the current Mayor and Council. I am running for City Council to make sure this trend continues. The three most important areas for me are: safety of our neighborhoods, fiscal responsibility, and jobs. It is up to the voters of Los Banos to decide who the best choice for our city is. I sincerely hope they choose me.
2. The City's unemployment rate hovers around 17 percent. What can you do, and please be specific, to bring livable-wage jobs to Los Banos?
In the past, our City wasn't friendly to business. Private business creates jobs. Government doesn't create productive jobs capable of improving our economy. Today, businesses are leaving California in large numbers due to excessive taxation and regulations. Therefore, the City must simplify the permit process and reduce the fees that businesses are charged. I think we are on the right track suspending RTIF fees (Regional Transportation Impact Fees) while maintaining local developer fees.
As a result, five new businesses have come into town, creating over a hundred jobs. I believe we can do more by eliminating RTIF and other fees permanently and streamlining our permit process even further. Los Banos is located in the center of the most productive agricultural area in the world and we must promote businesses which are related to agriculture, as well.
The rate of property crime has risen 18% in the first six months of this year. Given the crime rates and knowing there's no room in the budget to hire more police officers, what do you propose to do about it?
3. We need to applaud the Public Safety professionals we have. The City of Los Banos added two new police officers a few days ago and is planning on hiring more. Our police department is the greatest deterrent to crime in our city. Our violent crime is down more than 60% (including gang violence.)
We are going in the right direction.
In the past, the previous administration cut the police and fire department budgets. As a result, the crime rate went up. The property crime rate can be reduced by continuing the PAL, VITAL, and the Neighborhood Watch programs. I think getting the community involved can produce even greater results in reducing property crimes.
4.The Merced County Association of Governments is a part of local homeless efforts, the proposed Los Banos Bypass and several other projects. How do you view the City Council's relationship with MCAG, and would you change it in any way?
The relationship with MCAG is where it's supposed to be. We have an excellent representative on the Board; however, we only have one vote out of eleven. This organization was established by the State of California in the 1980s and, therefore, only the State can change the arrangement currently in place.