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High Hopes For City’s Future

POSTED February 1, 2011 11:59 p.m.

With dozens in attendance, Oakdale Mayor Pat Paul presented her State of the City address at a lunch hosted by the Chamber of Commerce at the Oakdale Community Center. The Jan. 26 event was attended by over 100 people, including city officials, local business owners, members of the Rotary Club, and Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno.

The address, titled “Oakdale 2011 & Beyond,” covered several topics including consolidation of city services, improving customer relations, and generating sources of income for the city.

“I’m an optimist and believe in possibilities,” Paul said as she opened the presentation, pointing out that government also needs to be open, respectful, and civil to succeed.

Paul told the audience that cities are the economic base of California but that California is unfortunately known as, “the anti-business state.”

“Oakdale is open for business,” Paul claimed, inviting citizens to contact her for ideas on the city’s improvement.

The recently elected mayor — winning the seat in November — then conducted a PowerPoint presentation starting with areas where she felt the city could do better.

The mayor mentioned streamlining city bureaucracy, especially in the process of obtaining building permits and dealing with city services. The mayor commented on consolidation of city services including joining some forces with the City of Riverbank, pointing to the partnership between the Oakdale Fire Department and Oakdale Rural Fire District.

Paul’s biggest focus in her address was on improving sources of income for the city. She identified the airport, stating that it “should be a money maker for the city” and that the city years ago missed the opportunity to extend the runway. Paul spoke about enhancing tourism for the city and outlined a plethora of ideas ranging from city tours to various partnerships with private businesses and the Chamber of Commerce. She also felt retail development should have more options and less city interference.

“You used to be able to get everything in Oakdale,” Paul said, talking about the types of stores available in the city.

Another key issue Paul highlighted is strengthening relationships with schools, Oak Valley Hospital, Oakdale Irrigation District and city service organizations.

“You service organizations make things happen in this town,” Paul said to representatives of those organizations on hand.

After the presentation, Paul fielded questions from the audience, which ranged from those regarding the city’s homeless, downtown redevelopment, and senior housing. She ended by stating there were new assembly and state senate representatives for Oakdale and encouraged citizens to contact them for state money.

After the presentation, John Lane, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, said he was encouraged by the mayor’s speech and was very interested in the stimulation of downtown.

“There were a lot of ideas for openness and facilitating partnerships,” said Lane, “especially for public input and accessibility.”

Mary Guardiola, CEO of the Chamber, felt Mayor Paul presented the city in a positive light and the address was well received.

“I’m hearing positive remarks from the attendees,” Guardiola said. “It went very well.”

Mayor Paul said she plans on giving a similar presentation at the next city council meeting on Feb. 7, 2011 so interested persons can attend and ask questions.

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