Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fairfield Leaders Lobby for Transportation, Crime Money

Fairfield Leaders Lobby for Transportation, Crime Money
By Ben Antonius

FAIRFIELD - Transportation and crime, two major issues in Fairfield politics, were on the agenda Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Harry Price and Councilman Jack Batson spent their third day of their lobbying trip arguing for federal help for police and social programs to combat the city's gang problem.

They also spoke with Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek, about the recent rash of crashes on Highway 12 and the prospects of finding enough money to renovate the interchange of Interstates 80/680.

Tauscher, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was "very aware" of the problems on Highway 12, they said. She also indicated the interchange project was unlikely to happen without some local money to match.

"She told us she can't argue convincingly with her peers without us passing that half-cent sales tax," Price said.

The Fairfield delegation also met with representatives for Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa. They are hoping to secure more than $4 million for police, transportation and social programs in the city.

Batson said his top priority was finding $500,000 to finish an ongoing overhaul of the Fairfield Police Department's dispatch and recordkeeping system.

"It's an obsolete system. The software is no longer supported by the manufacturer and we're very afraid this thing will break down," he said.

They were looking for another $305,000 for equipment for the police department's violent crime and gang suppression task force. That would pay for high-tech gadgets such as Global Positioning System tracking devices, graffiti cameras, camcorders, night scopes and "pinhole camera systems," Batson said.

"California has a gang problem and we're being very proactive about it," he said. "I feel pretty positive we'll get something there."

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

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