Councilmember David Shapiro is running for City Council for the first time after being appointed to his post in January of 2012.
Hoping to avoid a costly special election, the council voted to appoint Shapiro after former Councilmember Jonathon Wolfsons moved out of Calabasas in December of 2011.
“David Shapiro’s years of active involvement in so many aspects of our community make him particularly well suited to serve on the City Council. He is an outstanding choice to fill the vacancy," said then Mayor James Bozajian, who is now a councilmember and fellow contender for one of three open seats in 2013.
Four candidates are in the running.
Shapiro, a Calabasas attorney, is a board member of the City’s Library Commission and the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center Joint Powers Authority and has served on the Parks and Recreation Commission in the past.
Calabasas Patch: Why are you running for City Council?
David Shapiro: I am running for Calabasas City Council to make a positive difference in our community. I want to continue doing great things for our City as your councilmember.
Patch: What are some of the achievements of the City Council during the last year?
Shapiro: We worked hard to be a consensus maker, voted to repeal the OWTS, voted to enact a strong Cell Ordinance, and am on the Senior Task Force working to build a senior center in Calabasas for all our Savy Seniors.
Patch: What are some of the major issues facing Calabasas that you hope to address in your next term?
David Shapiro: With the state financial situation as it is, I believe we must be fiscally prudent and make certain our revenue stream keeps up sufficiently with our expenditures in the city. The development and building of a senior center, and enhancing our schools, as well as their safety, are of paramount importance.
Patch: How do you plan to address them, and which issue would you address first?
Shapiro: Our budget is very important and being fiscally responsible is necessary for the city to continue in the wonderful manner it has to date. We are lucky to have a top-notch CEO/CFO as well as a conscientious city council.
In order to maintain our strong financial reserves, we need to be supportive of our local businesses who provide a stream of finances to the city which in turn allows us to continue to provide the services our citizens appreciate and expect.
We need to carefully watch over our budget in the coming years and make certain we are finding ways to preserve our reserves for future security of our city.
Our schools are a top priority to me, as many families come to Calabasas in order to have their children attend our schools. We need to do all we can in order to maintain our schools as tops in the state.
The city can do this by keeping its strong relationship with the school board, the District, the PFC's and The Foundation. Keeping our schools at the top also allows us to help keep our property values high, which is good for the community.
Safety goes hand in hand with our schools, and we have great sheriffs and fire departments as well as first class public works, all with the goal to keep Calabasas a safe environment.
Moving forward with the development of the future senior center for Calabasas is a wonderful opportunity. The growing population of seniors in our city and the activity level of our Savvy Seniors make this a perfect time for the development of a place for our seniors to call 'home".
Patch: How do you think Calabasas can bring in more revenue?
Shapiro: As stated, revenue can be increased in a number of ways with initial emphasis on our own businesses in our city. We have a number of businesses that need our support as a community. As a city there are a number of ways we can work together with local business to increase their profits and the cities' tax revenues. We also should think about ways to maintain businesses in our community and incentivize them to stay in our community.
Patch: How can we make Calabasas a greener city, or are we doing enough in that regard?
Shapiro: Calabasas is doing good things. Our City Hall and the library are examples of what we can and are doing in this regard. We are currently looking into ways to increase our recycling in the city as well.
Patch: What’s your favorite aspect about Calabasas living and how do you plan to maintain it?
Shapiro: I love our city. We have everything from an amazing library and Civic Center to top schools, the commons, national parks and a safe city.
I want to work as indicated to keep our schools at their best, support local businesses thereby increasing our stream of revenue. By doing so, we also keep the ability to have such wonderful events for our community such as the pumpkin festival, 4th of July, Concerts in the Park, Flu Clinic, Extended Library hours and so much more.
I want to find ways to maintain and even increase open space and parks in our city. As for safety, that is a top priority and will continue to be.
Patch: What needs to change to keep Calabasas healthy?
Shapiro: We are healthy and thriving at a time when our state's finances are in trouble and other cities are filing for bankruptcy. We are thriving and maintaining approximately 90 percent reserves. In order to stay healthy we must find creative ways to increase revenues in our city while maintaining our open space, parks and the beauty that we all appreciate.
Patch: What is Calabasas’s best-kept secret?
Shapiro: If I tell you, it won't be a secret long... Actually, it could well be two: Leonis Adobe and our national parks with the newly opened Belinson Center at King Gillette. We are lucky to live in such an amazing city. We should all take a few moments to realize that and find ways to make our community a better place for all.