VALLEJO – Central Vallejo voters will have the opportunity to choose between five candidates this year to represent them on the seven-person Vallejo City Council. The city switched from citywide council elections to district-based elections in 2019.
The candidates include local businesswoman Tara Beasley-Stansberry, Planning Commissioner Melissa Bowman, healthcare administrator Peter Bregenzer, college career advisor Tanya Hall, and business owner Dwight Monroe Jr.
To aid voters, the Vallejo Sun sent questions to all of the District 5 candidates on some of the city’s most pressing issues, such as homelessness, policing, and a possible sales tax increase on the November ballot, known as Measure P. Their answers have been edited for length and clarity. Candidates were also allowed to skip any biographical and campaign questions they didn’t want to answer.
Vote by mail ballots were mailed on Oct. 11 and can be returned anytime before Nov. 8. Find out more about how to vote here.
Who is Tara Beasley-Stansberry?
Occupation: Owner of Noonie’s Place restaurant/ human resources recruiter
How long have you lived in Vallejo? Seven years
Previous/current civic engagement: Currently serving as chair with the Community Housing & Development Commission, Co-Chair on Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee, commissioner on the Design Review Board, Co-Chair on Housing First Solano Continuum of Care, and advisory board member with the Veterans Resources Program
Endorsed by: Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan, Vallejo Councilmember Katy Miessner, San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton, Fairfield Councilmember Pam Bertani, Fairfield Vice Mayor Rick Vaccaro, Suisun City Councilmember Wanda Williams, and Fairfield Councilmember Chuck Timm.
What are your three goals while serving on the Vallejo City Council? I am committed to three principles: transparent, inclusive and being a catalyst of change.
On a possible sales tax increase: I was in support of Measure of P as a special use tax to repair our roads and bring them up to standard. It is my understanding that our city will need to raise approximately $26 million per year for 5 years and no matter what we do you cannot reallocate that amount of money. This would have a huge negative impact on our annual budget. If we want to see changes we have to make decisions that are not always favorable. I would also like to implement an oversight committee and clauses that stipulate how that money can be spent for Measure P funds to ensure transparency.
On homelessness: I would like to implement the Safe Parking Program for the unhoused living in cars to provide a safe rest haven, with security guards, trash receptacles making it a central location. The navigation center is a tragedy and our unhoused are suffering due to the countless errors. I would like to receive weekly updates on the navigation center to closely manage that project. Partnering with our local shelters and non-profit organizations to provide them with county, state, and federal funding.
Opinion on Vallejo adopting a strong-mayor form of government: Most major American cities use the strong-mayor form of the mayor–council system, whereas middle-sized and small American cities tend to use the council–manager system. I am in favor of a hybrid strong mayor form of government prohibiting the mayor from appointing or dismissing the city manager or department heads without council’s approval and citizens’ input. Citizens vote because they want to see elected officials making decisions that affect our city now and the future. There is no denying that our city is struggling to consistently hire a city manager long term and we cannot continue this cycle of uncertainty.
Job performance of City Manager Mike Malone: Mr. Malone came in to do a difficult job at a difficult time, our city is in a lot of turmoil. We are still waiting to see what the results will be regarding his job performance. I do feel that we should give him an adequate amount of time to deliver results.
On police oversight and reform: I think we can all agree a police oversight committee is a crucial piece to the reformation of our police department.
How would you restore confidence in city hall and Vallejo City Council: It is time to restore the trust of our residents, this can be achieved through transparency, councilpersons and city staff providing accurate information. The culture is often said to be tumultuous. I will bring humility, consensus-building efforts to work together with our councilmembers and mayor.
More information: tara4citycouncil.com
Who is Melissa Bowman?
Occupation: District Librarian for Vallejo City Unified School District
Family: Married for 38 years to David M. Bowman. We have one adult child, Michael, who also lives in Vallejo.
How long have you lived in Vallejo? Since 2013
Previous/current civic engagement: Currently serves on the Vallejo Planning Commission. Previously served as vice chair of the Architectural Heritage and Landmarks Commission and on the board of Loma Vista Farm and volunteered at the Empress Theatre.
What are your three goals while serving on the Vallejo City Council?
- I believe it is time for Vallejoans to Claim Our Streets! It sounds simple, and yet there are many implications to this. Traffic needs to be calmed. Right now most of our streets are wide, encouraging vehicles to move fast. This design makes it unsafe for pedestrians AND cars for that matter. I believe we can solve our sideshow problem with corrected street design. Part of this solution includes wide sidewalks, separate bike lanes and raised pedestrian crossings.
- Affordable housing is also part of the solution. The work the Planning Commission did last year when we revised the zoning code has now made it easier to build multi-family dwellings in places where they were prohibited before, for example Sonoma Boulevard. There are several projects on the books, and citizens will see that materialize in the coming months.
- Another goal that I have is to ensure that our youth has opportunities for participating in the arts, including instrumental music, dance and theater.
On a possible sales tax increase: Measure P will prioritize projects and programs for street repairs, the homeless, public safety and youth programs. Several citizens pointed out the risk of no oversight. I am grateful to them because they made me do the research to read exactly how the measure is written. There will be an auditor as well as an oversight committee.
On homelessness: Conquering homelessness is going to need to be a multi-pronged approach. I have been looking at some solutions that some other cities have implemented. For example, Los Angeles has created a few tiny home villages for interim housing. The tiny homes have two beds, a desk and a chair. Community bathrooms and showers are part of the village and meals are served in a community setting as well. Regarding the affordable multi-family housing I discussed earlier, there needs to be a certain percentage of rooms reserved as permanent housing for the currently unhoused, much in the way the Sacramento Street permanent supportive housing project designated 23 rooms for those with special needs.
Job performance of City Manager Mike Malone: I think it is a bit early to give a complete evaluation from where I currently sit. I am encouraged that the times where I have been in attendance for a city function that he has taken the initiative to introduce himself to me. That has not been the case with any of the previous city managers.
On police oversight and reform: I feel that a professional auditor/monitor that reports to a citizen board is the strongest model, because of the impartiality of a professional opinion.
How would you restore confidence in city hall and Vallejo City Council: First thing to do is study that survey and look for patterns of what forms an unfavorable view. At that point, we can address it. In some cities there are councilmembers and/or mayors that post a “fireside chat” ahead of the meeting so the items on the agenda are discussed in layman’s terms.
More information: melissaforvallejo.com
Who is Peter Bregenzer?
Occupation: Chief Operating Officer with Jurney Veterinary Neurology
Family: Married to Adam Bregenzer.
How long have you lived in Vallejo? Eight years.
Previous/current civic engagement: Previous member and vice chair of the Beautification Commission, currently serving as member and previous vice chair of the Architectural Heritage & Landmarks Commission.
Endorsed by: Vallejo Chamber of Commerce, Stonewall Democratic Club of Solano County, and Mayor Robert McConnell.
What are your three goals while serving on the Vallejo City Council?
- Make Vallejo a safer place to live by restructuring the Vallejo Police Department. We need to reduce crime and take back our city. Residents deserve to have officers respond when they call for help.
- We need wiser land use of our city's assets. We have several vacant or underutilized buildings and lots that the City of Vallejo owns where we are not earning any tax revenue from. If we cannot justify owning it, I plan to propose selling the properties to pay for other needs of the city, or use it to leverage new businesses to come to Vallejo.
- I propose to make cost effective improvements to the waterfront, which is Vallejo's "Front Porch." I would develop a plan to improve security, increase lighting along the waterfront and add benches, picnic tables and shade trees to make the space more usable for families.
On a possible sales tax increase: I support the intention of this measure to fix our streets and infrastructure, but this tax is being allocated into the general fund, where the $18 million in tax revenue could be used for other purposes. Planning and budgeting for infrastructure is a fundamental responsibility of our government. I’ve talked to thousands of District 5 residents and there is a resounding need for the city to fix our potholes. Vallejo’s general fund this year is $130 million and we still can’t fix our potholes. I don’t support Measure P, because Vallejo government does not have a track record of success with budget management, and Measure P spells more of the same budget mismanagement. Voters in favor of Measure P will not get the infrastructure improvements that they are expecting.
On homelessness: I am a strong supporter of the navigation center and we need to get it back on track. However, this only supplies temporary housing and is not a fix, just a first step. One of the main issues that drives homelessness is a lack of affordable housing. I propose that the city waive building permit fees for a certain period of time, to start to infill the empty lots that are scattered around every neighborhood, as long as the builder provides inclusionary housing units as part of the build. While walking District 5, I noticed in many areas where 4-6 unit structures have already been built and we need a lot more to solve our housing shortage.
Job performance of City Manager Mike Malone: Overall, I feel that there is an extreme lack of fiscal responsibility across the board. I question the hiring that has been done for several positions in the city. I do not see the changes that I would like to see with regards to how the city spends taxpayers funds. If I am elected, I will use my years of government finance experience to spend our limited funds wisely.
On police oversight and reform: Yes, I support police oversight. I support the Common Ground proposed model.
How would you restore confidence in city hall and Vallejo City Council: There are several reasons why there is a lack of trust with our city government. How the city council members treat each other, and the members of our community, is disgraceful at times. Residents want to be heard and the only way they know how is to hold demonstrations at the city council meetings. We have had some terrible events in our city. The brutal police shootings that have happened have left victim families no choice but to demonstrate and disrupt the council meetings. I believe that the city council has fallen flat on its face by not holding some type of city wide vigil or memorial so the victims’ families could gather side by side with our city leaders in mourning. These events would allow city council members to empathize and listen to the family members. Maybe then we could begin to heal and move forward as a united city.
Anything else you would like to add: These are the things that I plan to focus on when I am elected to city council.
- Just and Equal Community - All Vallejo residents should feel safe in their community. There is a resounding sense of lawlessness in Vallejo where residents do not feel safe to drive the streets.
- Equitable Housing - Every human deserves a safe place to live. Our unhoused population is at a crisis point, and middle income families can not afford to maintain or improve their homes.
- Wiser Land Use - We need to take a hard look at what properties the City of Vallejo owns and determine what is unutilized / underutilized and stop wasting taxpayer dollars on these properties.
- Business Development - I have a comprehensive plan that includes aid to small businesses, developing sustainable revenue streams for the city and growing our own workforce with Vallejo residents.
More information: bregenzer4vallejo.org
Who is Tanya Hall?
Occupation: College and career advisor for the Vallejo City Unified School District.
Family: Four grown children, two fur babies, a dog and a cat.
How long have you lived in Vallejo? Lifelong resident
Previous/current civic engagement: Architectural Heritage Landmarks Commission (current), Participatory Budgeting delegate, Parent Teacher Network, founding member of the African American Parent Network, serving as Cross Country Chaperone for Parents Connected for higher education, Inter Tribal Council member.
What are your three goals while serving on the Vallejo City Council?
- Invest in industry development. Explore ways to secure Vallejo's self sufficiency through economic development with minimal impact on taxpayers.
- Establish an Enrichment Foundation at 400 Mare Island Way for Vallejo's Youth, which would expand outside of any existing curriculum emphasizing on STEM, Vocational Training, and Creative Expression.
On a possible sales tax increase: There are definite pros and cons to Measure P. If approved it could have an impact on citizens whose only means are to shop local, and may act as an incentive for citizens to make purchases from other communities, ultimately resulting in negative cash flow for Vallejo.
On homelessness: I would approach the matter of the unhoused by way of a mandatory three tier system which would provide wraparound services, promoting self sufficiency, and ensuring well being. Individuals would be required to participate in a service area determined by qualified mental health evaluators.
Job performance of City Manager Mike Malone: I am pleased with our city manager’s performance. He has brought back to the table the morale that Vallejo had missed and so yearned for.
On Vallejo adopting a strong-mayor form of government: I do not support a strong Mayor form of government. Authority should be maintained by the city manager.
On police oversight and reform: I support a model that would consist of a 12 citizen selection similar to a jury duty process, overseen by the city manager. Police presence improved in the city. Implementing efforts from outside services would be an enhancement to Vallejo's police force and would allow officers to focus on urgent matters.
How would you restore confidence in city hall and Vallejo City Council: Conducting personal, time limited [meetings] with citizens to address their concerns and hear their voices.
Who is Dwight Monroe Jr.?
Occupation: Local business owner - Dwight's Mobile Brake Service LLC
How long have you lived in Vallejo? 8 years.
Previous/current civic engagement: Currently serving on the Vallejo Economic Vitality Commission, also serves on the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum Board. Has been attending city council meetings and special meetings since 2016.
What are your three goals while serving on the Vallejo City Council? If elected, three of my goals while serving on the Vallejo City Council would be to focus on economic development, create youth programming and recreational centers to help guide our youth, and get the navigation center built so that we as a city can provide the resources many of our unhoused community members need.
On a possible sales tax increase: I support Measure P because I want to see this beautiful city grow and develop. This tax is estimated to generate $18 million annually to the city's general fund and would be addressing multiple things many Vallejo residents are concerned about. The tax will address the community’s priorities of keeping public spaces safe and clean, prevent illegal dumping and blight, and fix our roads. Also, this tax also aims to get the community better emergency medical response times.
On homelessness: Homelessness is one of the bigger issues here in Vallejo. To address homelessness currently I regularly participate in community cleanups with various community based organizations like WatchMeGrown Inc, The Washington Park Neighborhood Association, Angels With Heart, and WAHEO, also just participated in my first Coastal Cleanup. I love volunteering with Faith Food Fridays every other Friday to provide food for our unhoused neighbors. The navigation center has been proposed as a one stop shop that aims to provide services and shelter, the center aims to help approximately 500 people annually. If elected I will continue to advocate for the rights of our unhoused neighbors, and make sure we break ground on the navigation center.
Job performance of City Manager Mike Malone: I believe that City Manager Malone is doing a good job, he has been the most open and community-oriented city manager I have seen here in Vallejo. Yes there's always room for improvement in every job but in my opinion he is doing a good job and is proactively looking to fill up all the vacancies we have on city staff. I would support a strong mayor form of government.
On police oversight and reform: I strongly support the Common Ground Police Oversight Model. I would like to see the city establish a Hybrid Police Oversight Model if we cannot afford the Common Ground Model.
How would you restore confidence in city hall and Vallejo City Council: I will always listen carefully to the residents of Vallejo and my vote will reflect what the community’s wants and needs are. I plan on restoring confidence in the council and city government by being a true public servant to Vallejo, being transparent with the information I can share with the community, and lastly voting with a humanitarian mindset, I will always be the community’s councilmember.
Anything else you would like to add: If elected I can promise that the residents of Vallejo will have my full attention, I will work hard for you every single day and you will know that I have the community's best interest at heart. I am an independent thinker. I am a man of my community. Our shared vision for Vallejo is safer neighborhoods, better schools, Vallejo jobs and trust between our city government and citizens of Vallejo.
More information: www.facebook.com/MonroejrforVallejoCityCouncil2022/
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THE VALLEJO SUN NEWSLETTER
Investigative reporting, regular updates, events and more
- Election 2022
- Vallejo City Council
- Vallejo City Hall
- Tara Beasley-Stansberry
- Melissa Bowman
- Peter Bregenzer
- Tanya Hall
- Dwight Monroe Jr.
John Glidden worked as a journalist covering the city of Vallejo for more than 10 years. He left journalism in 2023 and currently works in the office of Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown.
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