Hercules Patch has asked each candidate to fill out a questionnaire to give residents information about his or her background. More election coverage.
Full, legal name: Donald Leroy Kuehne
Employment: Chevron Energy Technology Company, Richmond, Senior Research Engineer
Age: 59; born in Illinois
Spouse or domestic partner: Charlotte Kuehne
Children: David, 18; Erinn, 16; and Roberta, 14
Cornell University, bachelor's in chemical engineering, 1973
California Institute of Technology, master's in chemical engineering, 1975
California Institute of Technology, doctorate in chemical engineering, 1979
Military service: None
Have you or a business you owned or had principal interest in ever filed bankruptcy? No
How long have you lived in Hercules? 20 years
As an adult, have you been convicted or charged with a crime other than a minor traffic violation? No.
Campaign website: TruthAboutHerculesRecall.com
PREVIOUS ELECTED AND APPOINTED POSITIONS
Hercules City Council – elected 2008
Unsuccessful campaigns for public office:
Hercules City Council, 2004
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
I am running to retain my seat on the Hercules City Council. I have a good understanding of the City’s current financial problems and have been working diligently this year to solve them. Most of the problems originated from decisions that were made before I was elected in November 2008. With my leadership experience, I believe that I can play a vital role in our city’s economic recovery.
What will be your top three priorities if you get elected and why?
- To balance the City’s budgets. Both the General Fund and the Redevelopment Agency have large deficits. Substantial cuts in all areas are necessary to bring expenses in line with revenues. This is already under way with the termination of many consulting contracts, reduction of City services, and layoff of staff. The Council should review and implement many of the recommendations in MRG’s comprehensive financial audit. It is critical that the City avoid bankruptcy and defaulting on its loans.
- To maintain public safety and other vital community services. Input from the community is valuable in deciding which programs and services are most important. I will look for ways to provide these services more cost effectively.
- To continue pursuing Hercules’ vision plan for sustainable transit-oriented development. Although many of our development projects have been stopped, I believe that we should continue working on the Intermodal Transit Center and Bayfront projects because they not only benefit Hercules but are also important in regional transportation and housing planning. Substantial grant funding has already been obtained for construction of the ITC.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
My diverse leadership experience distinguishes me from the other candidates. My community service includes two years on the City Council, three years as a director of the Hercules Education Foundation, one year as an Education Commissioner, and ten years as a director of the Foxboro Village Homeowners Association. I have also worked 32 years as a professional engineer in research and development.
In my decision-making, I strive to do what is best for the community. I am not beholden to special interest groups or looking for personal gain or recognition. I hold myself to the same high ethical standards I expect of others.
I am a strong advocate of public education. All of my children have attended Hercules schools and I have supported education ballot measures, elementary music, and many fundraising activities. I believe in protecting the environment and planning sustainable development for future generations
About how much money do you expect your campaign to spend on this election?
At this point, I don’t know how much I will spend. As of April, I reported about $1,900 of expenditures.