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Candidate Viewpoint with Alden Olmsted

The election is just days away. In Cotati it is now a confirmed five-candidate race for three seats with four candidates on the ballot and one campaigning write-in candidate.

Editor's Note: This is not an endorsement by the Patch for this or any candidate. We are giving the same questions and opportunity to all candidates so that they may express their thoughts to our readers in an attempt to get to know them better and what they think is important.

Alden Olmsted might be a bit of an unknown to some people in Cotati but he has been part of Sonoma County for years and is originally from Sonoma. His father, John Olmsted, was a well known advocate and protector of state parks within California. After John passed in 2011, Alden began to work on saving some of those parks as well which he covers in his most recent movie.

Why are you running?

I started a bucket campaign to save some of the parks asking people to just give a dollar because if everyone gave a dollar we would be able to raise the money we needed. From there it turned into creating a non-profit and then getting more involved in political venues and meeting different people because of the cause.

Recently some friends mentioned that I should run for City Council. At first I didn't think I would have the time but then the more I looked at it, it seemed like people around town were still having some of the same issues that they had years ago. I happen to see a need that wasn't being filled, much like the parks situation. There seems to be a disconnect between the community and the council. Really I am just a concerned citizen that loves a small town that feels like home. I don't want to see it turn into Windsor with the way it was developed.

It seems like we are at that same point Sonoma was at years ago. Do you want to make a city the people who live here will love or one that visitors will love? When we talk about change it needs to be done with tender, loving gloves and it doesn't really feel that way.

What do you want to accomplish?

I would like to see the Old Redwood Highway developed as a historical route much like other notable highways in the state. That could be a real benefit to our businesses and help to show tourists the history of the area and to celebrate that history.

Also it would be great to figure out a system of pathways and walkways to better connect the east and west sides of Cotati so you can ride your bike to the park easily. I had designed something before called the Cotati Loop Trail and it would be great to see something like that implemented.

Also we need more family-friendly activities. We already have some great things going on here in the summer and we need to keep those going and look at ways to add more that appeal to the community.

It would be great to create a more open forum with the City Council where ideas and opinions aren't just tolerated but actually wanted and needed.

Are there any issues critical to you?

The Downtown Specific Plan is a big issue for me. A lot hinges on Measure U. Depending on which way that goes we might need to design something new or work with the local businesses to see what they want and find something that appeals to everyone. I do support Measure U, but that is because I just don't think roundabouts work as well here in this situation. I have been to London and Europe and seen roundabouts work when properly implemented.

Also we need to work on filling the empty retail spaces. What is the point of making the downtown a big walking area if there is nothing to walk to?

What qualifies you?

First of all I am willing to do the job.  Really I will do whatever it takes to find the middle ground between the City Council and what the public wants because right now it seems like there is a disconnect between the two. I love Cotati and want to help it remain Cotati.

Why should people vote for you?

People should vote for me if they want a fresh voice on the City Council. My number one goal is to raise my hand and ask questions so I can understand why.

If you want the same ole same ole, then don't vote for me.

If you want to figure out how we can grow together as a community then vote for me. I want to put the people of Cotati and the City Council together on the same page. Maybe that sounds idealistic but it is good to have ideals.

For more information on Alden you can view his website. If you are going to vote for Alden you need to make sure to spell his name correctly on the ballot.

Election Day is fast approaching. November 6 is right around the corner so make sure to stay tuned to the Patch for more information about each candidate to help you make your choice. The right to vote should be taken seriously. It is your chance to make your voice heard so use it.

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