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In Hollister’s District 3, two candidates are running for the seat that will be vacated by Councilwoman Pauline Valdivia – former city councilmember Robbie Scattini, who previously served in District 2 until resigning recently when he moved out of the district, and Karson Klauer, a local Realtor who has served on the San Benito County Association of Realtors Board of Directors. Klauer answered questions about his reason for running, top issues facing the city and other questions. Scattini was contacted and encouraged to answer questions via email or fax and did not respond with contact information by BenitoLink’s deadline.

Name: Karson Klauer

Age: 26

Political Experience: Currently serve on the San Benito County Association of Realtors Board of Directors and Gibson Station I Home Owners’ Association Board of

1.      Tell us about yourself and why you are running for office.

I am a lifelong resident of Hollister and graduated from San Benito High School and San Jose State University. My wife Vanessa and I live in the Gibson Station Community with our dogs, Sasha and Bella. I am a Realtor with Nino Real Estate here in Hollister.

I have decided to run for city council because I think the city could use a different point of view. I am looking to focus on the future of our city. I hope to raise children in Hollister and would like to see the city start making the changes necessary to become more livable. I believe managed growth is necessary and healthy. As a city we need to work with developers to get the types of infrastructure and housing that our community needs.

2.      What would you say are the top three issues facing Hollister over the next five years?

I believe the top three issues that Hollister will face over the next five years are the local economy, aging infrastructure, and lack of recreational options.

Our local economy is what provides the funding for city services. I think as a city we should be investing in growing Hollister’s business sector. Reinstating the economic development corporation with a competent go-getter would be a great start. We need to make sure we are supporting existing businesses and encouraging others to come into town.

Our city’s infrastructure is aging rapidly. Many of our roads and sidewalks are subpar at best. It is vital that we invest in our infrastructure, especially as we see the increased vehicle traffic associated with projected growth.

Not only is it important that we get Hollister back to work, it is also vital that we get Hollister back to play. I would like to see the city cooperate with the county to expand recreational opportunities. Children and adults alike need more options in terms of leisure activities.

3.      Water is a pressing issue as drought continues in California. What measures would you support for conserving water in San Benito County for municipalities, business owners and residents?

I would support working with the local water districts to increase education on how to conserve water. It really is our most vital resource. I think the citizens of Hollister have already begun to cut back voluntarily and that is commendable. The next step would be educating the public on how to conserve beyond simple things like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth.

The last thing I want to see is water rationing and imposed fines. The local water districts have done a great job of keeping water reserves high compared to much of the state. It is now our turn as citizens to conserve what we have.

4.       A 6.0 earthquake hit near Napa recently. What ideas do you have to support emergency preparedness in San Benito County for potential disasters?

First of all I would like to lean on the local police and fire departments to learn about the disaster preparedness plans that they have in place. I recognize that they are the experts and that we can learn a lot from them. It would then be important to get the word out to the public about best practices for before, during and after an earthquake. Education and outreach is paramount.

Being prepared for an earthquake is essential. Making sure your family has a disaster plan and kit is a great start. Knowing where your electrical, gas and water mains are and how to turn them off is also very important.

5.      Do you support the proposed River Parkway and Regional Park in San Benito County that would connect San Juan to Tres Pinos with trails? If so, how would you provide support to move the project forward during your term in office? If not, explain why?

I do support the river parkway and regional park. I think that it is a very ambitious plan that will eventually have a positive impact on San Benito County. That being, said I understand that there are limitations to each entity’s budget. Only so much can be done at once. I would suggest that the park be built in phases starting with the components of the plan that could be income producing, such as softball and soccer fields.

It would be great for Hollister to become a regional hub for sports competitions. A sports complex would provide a bump in revenue for local businesses and sales tax. We need to give people more reasons to visit Hollister and I think the regional park and river parkway are great choices.

6.      What would you do to support economic development in your district?

As I stated earlier, I think the city needs to reinstate the economic development corporation. We need somebody who has the contacts and ability to bring in employers and is able to work with a helpful city staff to achieve results.

I love what the city has been doing with downtown and all the events that have taken place. I would like to continue that but at the same time find a way to showcase Hollister’s restaurants, bars, stores and spas.

Bringing in more events would also help. Weekend festivals can bring in huge amounts of revenue for the city if they are planned well.

Lastly, I would like to look at the impact and permit fees being charged. Permit costs should not be cumbersome for landowners trying to renovate buildings. As a city we are trying to revitalize downtown. We can’t do that without the help of landowners and the local business community. We need to work with them to make downtown the hub of activity that we would all like it to be.