From episode: Thinking About Running for Office with Walnut Creek City Council members Loella Haskew and Cindy Darling - EPISODE 15
Jared Asch, the host of The Capstone Conversation. Today, we are joined by not one, but two awesome women from the city of Walnut Creek. We are going to hear about what inspired them to run for city council. What are some things that they want to encourage in other candidates who are considering to run or not to run as you make the decision ahead of next year's elections? That applies to people throughout the whole East Bay area. That's not just here in Walnut Creek. So hopefully their message will resonate with people throughout.
This blog post was written by AI software from a transcript from the podcast and contains errors. Please check out the full episode to learn more.
First thing we will do, Mayor Pro Tem Haskiw, do you want to go ahead and tell us a little bit more about yourself? In my career, I was a CPA specializing in tax, but I also did family law consulting and other business consulting. I was inspired to run for a couple of reasons, one of which is I was close to many of the people who were on council and I just absorbed a lot of what they could accomplish by talking to them and watching them work. But also, I believe that we were going into an interesting economic cycle and maybe somebody who had my experience would be a good addition to the council.
Our next guest is Councilwoman Cindy Darling. Cindy, tell us a little bit about your background and what convinced you to run. Well, I'm one of the newest members of the council. I was elected in 2020. Before that, I'd served 10 years on the planning commission for Walnut Creek. So I'd seen a lot of the issues that were working in the development end of things kind of bubbling up that were going to council. I was interested in having a bigger voice on those than you just have a planning commission. I'm also a small business owner here in the city, and I spent most of my career working on really tough, naughty environmental problems around the Delta endangered species. I felt like I developed a lot of skills there in helping people work together and solve problems creatively. And I wanted to take those skills and bring them to the council and help move Walnut Creek in a great direction.
Hawkew, you've been mayor two times, including 2020, during the start of the pandemic. Pandemic issues, businesses shutting down, and then lots of looting here in Walnut Creek. What was it like to be mayor during that time? Can I say that the first round was sweet. I really enjoyed the first time when it wasn't quite so stressful. But I will say about 2020, whenever I've talked to anybody who could have had been mayor in Walnut Creek the worst year to have been assigned a job with mayor, there were so many issues. We had a police shooting that was under scrutiny. We had looting. I'm not even sure anybody knows to this hour what triggered the big looting that was at Broadway Plaza. It could have just been the gangs that were beginning to form and take over other places. But we forgot about Walnut Creek has somenice high-end stores to do. Then they all came. I don't think it had anything to do with the political choice. Nevertheless, it was incredibly damaging to the people who were at Broadway Plaza and it didn't stop there. Other people were involved in it. I make a joke about the fact that when George Floyd had been killed and people were really involved in making protests, a whole group of people showed up at nine o 'clock at night on a Wednesday and had a riot in our front yard doing a significant amount of damage to our garage doors, burning flags, scaring the bejeebers out of our neighbors. The police did call us and say, get out of the house. So we were safe, but it was an ugly experience for the neighborhood trying to find the best of the worst. We did have to buy a new garage door and we now have a battery pack up. And then I made it onto the news the next day. So good spads, but it was tough and the fiscal issues were tough. We started out with anticipating a comfortable excess budget. It turned out that when everything had to close up, sales tax went away and then we had to figure out what to do about that. We got lucky that we came upon the pop-ups, the restaurant pop-ups, and we tried every way we could to save all the businesses, did away with our now famous parking meters, and let people park. There weren't that many people using the parking meters. And so it was a very difficult time. Nevertheless, a sense of proportion, a great council, a great staff got the city through probably one of the most difficult years the city had to survive.