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Regan’s housing experience key

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Michael Regan is ready to have more honest discussions with Petaluma.

For the longtime resident and local business owner, substantive progress on key issues calls for a more proactive approach to policymaking, as well as transparent conversations that he believes local officials haven’t necessarily been having with their citizens.

Regan is one of seven city council candidates in the hunt for three vacant seats at City Hall. To win over local constituents, he’s advocating for an immediate revamp of public safety recruiting, infrastructure enhancements across the board, and a more honest debate on housing.

“With so many of our issues that we have, I would hate for us to have a council that isn’t as proactive to get us through this time because we’re going to go through a time that — if we’re not proactive — it can definitely hurt the city,” Regan said. “At some point you’ve got to do something. That was why it just kind of drove me (to enter the race).”

Regan, 38, attended Petaluma High School and Santa Rosa Junior College, eventually graduating from San Francisco State where he earned a degree in broadcasting. After living in the east side of Petaluma for the last eight years, he relocated to the west in January with his wife, Patricia, and their two children, Bailey, 6, and Jameson, 4. His wife works with him at their mortgage advising firm, The Regan Team Home Loan Group.

Regan was the chair of the Transit Advisory Committee during the 2017-18 fiscal year, and oversaw the contract negotiations with MV Transportation in the spring. He cited that experience as an eye-opener for doing municipal work, balancing budget constraints with the needs of the public.

He has been or is currently serving on the board of several local organizations including the Petaluma Education Foundation, the Petaluma Chapter of Realtors, Petaluma Host Lions and the Petaluma Young Professionals Network.

If elected, the No. 1 priority for Regan is public safety, specifically addressing the staffing shortages facing the Petaluma Police Department, and the expansion needed for Petaluma Fire. He said he was “shocked” these aren’t top priorities for every candidate.

“We have to think critically about how we build our pipeline,” Regan said. “How is Rohnert Park having 12 (recruits in one class) and we don’t? What’s the problem? We’ve got to look at that, and we should have been doing it years ago.”

Included in that policy is his support of the Rainier crosstown connector, which would create direct access to Petaluma Valley Hospital, and acknowledge east side citizens that often feel neglected by city officials, he said.

Regan also called on voters to say ‘no’ to Prop. 6, a gas tax repeal measure that would remove vital funding for road repairs and widening Highway 101.

Establishing public forums, modernizing communications, and polling citizens for major issues like the fate of the fairgrounds would restore trust throughout the community, Regan said. He pointed to the controversial Water Street art project as an example of what can go wrong when the public isn’t adequately involved.

As far as housing goes, Regan supports the urban growth boundary as is, but wants to engage residents on the possibility of building upward in the urban core if Petaluma really wants to make progress.

“We’re trying to solve a housing problem but we have absolutely no one on city council right now — or a candidate — that truly has been in housing for a long time and knows housing,” he said. “Wouldn’t it make sense, if this is one of our problems, that you get someone that knows and has ideas on how to solve it? That’s where my niche is.”

(Contact News Editor Yousef Baig at yousef.baig@arguscourier.com or 776-8461, and on Twitter @YousefBaig.)