In part of the 2022 Election coverage, the Express is featuring Meet the Candidate articles to share information about the candidates with the community. Each week it will feature two candidates.
When asked to describe himself, City Council Candidate Michael Olivas said, “I’m very simple, I’m very pragmatic…I’m not one to meddle.” When approached about problems in the city by residents, he says the first thing he asks is, “Have you gone through the process?” and directs them to the city manager. “There’s a process that people have to follow,” and that, “a lot of things can get accomplished that way,” a belief he hopes to bring to the Winters City Council as a Council member.
Olivas said the City Council should do its best to defer to the city manager, overseeing but not interfering with her work.
“What we want to do, I believe, is to stay at the 30,000 ft. level, just overseeing what the city manager is doing,” Olivas said.
He spoke highly of the current state of Winters’ city plans. “We have some great plans,” Olivas said. “We have the Downtown Master Plan that’s fantastic, we have a Grant Avenue plan that I think is going to be great.” Olivas perspective on the purpose of the City Council is to observe and make sure the existing plans come into action, with “no micromanagement…just let the city manager do her job.”
Olivas spent 10 years on the Winters Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees, as well as being involved in the development of many of Winters’ existing city plans as a developer and overseer of construction, including a number of affordable housing areas, residential lots, and commercial developments. Looking to the future of Winters, Olivas says, “we have to know our constraints physically, and (of) our infrastructure,” and that updates to the General Plan will be necessary as the city expands and as aging infrastructure requires maintenance.
When describing his priorities for Winters, Olivas said, “my biggest desire is to ensure we have adequate, well-funded police,” that can respond to problems related to drugs among the city’s youth. Olivas cited his position as a high school football coach, and the danger that drugs like fentanyl pose to many young people. He hopes that a stronger police presence can, “help keep that to a minimum.”
Olivas also stressed the importance of Winters’ services, of making sure its residents have access to, “adequate water, adequate roads, adequate schools.”
He summarized these two priorities as safety, which he called, “job number one of the city.” An example he shared was citizen complaints of unsafe street crossings. “We have to do everything to protect our citizens,” Olivas said, and that as a City Council member he would work with the city manager to address safety issues like this and find a solution along with her.
A key aspect to accomplishing these goals, Olivas says, is creating a safer environment for productive discourse, describing Winters as “very polarized right now.”
“If you have a different opinion, that’s fine,” Olivas noted, “but what we can’t have is people getting upset,” saying of the discord, “that stuff’s got to end.”