Getting to Know the Mayor of Union City
As a resident and community member of any Bay Area town, do you feel your voice is heard? Do you have thoughts on how our communities could be improved?
Are you someone that speaks up and voices your thoughts? Do you believe that when the community’s opinions are heard it makes a difference for all of us?
Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci’s career as a city leader and elected official began by speaking up about her thoughts and opinions. She listened to her fellow students during her time at James Logan High School when she was student body vice president. She listens to our citizens now, sharing their thoughts on improving our city. In our interview we reminisce on her upbringing in Decoto, before the town of Union City was even incorporated. I asked her what Union City was like in those days and how our city has changed.
Mayor Carol has lived here her whole life. She stayed in Union City while attending college at Chabot and Cal State East Bay (Formerly Cal State Hayward) earning her BA in Psychology and Master’s degree in Taxation. She has run her tax practice here in Alvarado for over 30 years.
Her list of Civic Service is extensive and impressive. Just of few of her former titles, Alameda County Housing Commissioner for 13 years, past President of the New Haven Schools Foundation, past President of the Washington Hospital Health Foundation, and past President of the Union City Lions Club. She served 13 years on the Union City Council, with 3 of those as Vice Mayor. She has currently served as the Mayor of Union City for the last 4 years. This year she is up for Re-Election.
Mayor Carol is pretty passionate when it comes to why it is important for everyone to get involved in our city government and programs.
“Take a council meeting for example, if there is an issue that people are really passionate about … those that care show up. But you also have the majority of the people who stay home. As an elected official you can’t just play to the audience… you have to make a decision based on the community wide, and what you think the community wants. Not just because of the 50 people standing in front of you yelling. And that’s why the community involvement is so important. To pick up the phone or the computer and send an email to your elected officials and let them know what you are thinking about because otherwise, if they don’t have a gage of how the community feels, then the 50 people that are screaming in the front may have things done their way, to the detriment of the greater amount of the people.” ~Carol Dutra-Vernaci
The Mayor shares what makes her proudest about Union City. The CAREavan program for homeless families. Our upcoming Citizens Academy.
Also, what she feels are the most important needs here now, like the Dumbarton Rail Project to ease traffic. The housing shortage, and in-affordability, that the entire Bay Area is facing, which led her and three other City Council members to form the Rent and Tenant Task Force.
Some people are natural leaders, Mayor Carol is one of them. When I asked where her deep-seated drive for leadership comes from she says,
“Being involved and knowing how good it feels when you are able to help somebody. People come to you and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got problem.’ So you start helping and it just grows from there.” ~Mayor Carol
I appreciated her opening up about her greatest challenges, some of which we can all relate too. Like trying to find the best work-life balance. Some problems only the toughest people are capable of taking on. It’s a part of the consequences and the triumphs of leadership. Our show is called Union City Advice Givers for a reason and Mayor Dutra-Vernaci delivers with some great advice.
Mayor Carol’s Facebook Page
Re-Elect Carol For Mayor on Facebook
UnionCity.org – See the cities website for info on most of the programs we discuss in this episode, including the Rent and Tenant Taskforce which I am serving on. The Union City Citizens Academy is link is coming soon.