10 Questions for Campbell's New Mayor Rich Waterman

Rich Waterman, Mayor of Campbell
Rich Waterman, Mayor of Campbell

1. What are your chief goals as Campbell's mayor?

2. What are Campbell's biggest problems?

When I was first elected, the entire country was going through a big fiscal downturn. Campbell was not immune and the goal then was to get us through the downturn with limited disruption to our community. 

I believe, more than many cities, we succeeded. But now that things are improving economically, we need to move slowly and purposefully to improve our services, start to address fundamental infrastructure problems, and look at more long term strategic planning for our city, while at the same time maintaining strong fiscal viability.  

3. You all are already spending money researching improvements downtown and in other parts of town. What are your priorities?

Downtown and Winchester Boulevard are really starting to see the fruits of long term strategic planning by the city council and staff over the years.    We need to similarly start to focus on other strategic, long term planning throughout the city:

  • Our library and city hall are both showing extreme signs of aging.   For example, we have the oldest library in the system and our police are using mobile offices to conduct business.   That needs to be addressed over the long term by creating a vision and then starting to implement the strategy as resources are available.

  • With all the new projects coming to Campbell, we need to address traffic concerns both on the major artery streets and in our neighborhoods.    As more businesses and more housing is developed, we need to focus on overall traffic flow.

  • We need to look strategically at other areas such as Dell Ave, East Campbell Ave and Bascom Ave.   

  • And, most fundamentally, we need to continue to maintain the smalltown feel as we make changes throughout the city.

4. What's been the best thing about being on the council? And the most surprising thing?

The camaraderie with the council, staff, business community and neighbors is fantastic.    Everyone comes to the table with different backgrounds and perspectives.   Yet, we all strive as a community to find the right solution by talking through issues and trying to see things from each other’s perspective.    This is a special quality in Campbell.

5. What's been the worst thing?  

It is a lot of work! Besides council meetings, each council member is on various subcommittees where we need to prepare and participate in meetings.    It is also critical for each of us to meet with our neighbors to discuss issues as well as the various businesses, politicians, boards, foundations and chambers throughout the area.   As someone with my own business, things can sometimes get quite hectic and it can often be a real balancing act.

6. How is being mayor different than being on the council?

As Mayor, people look at you as the leader. You are the one that needs to bring consensus among the council and among our community at large.

And, as Mayor, you are the figurehead for the city and need to be around and help lead/organize important events, meetings, ribbon cuttings and other special events.   It takes more leadership responsibility and, of course, more time than as a council member only.

7. How did you celebrate your first day as mayor?

My family and friends were here to keep me grounded.   So the celebration was short-lived and muted.

8. Have you had to take any courses on Rules of Order?

Yes, as a commissioner previously, as a council member, attending various seminars, discussions with various council members, etc, we get very strong grounding on Robert’s Rules of Order as well other techniques important to allow folks to express their views while at the same time moving the decision making process forward.

9.  What got you into politics? What in your background prepared you for politics?

Growing up, we were taught early on to look critically at all sides of an issue.    

And, as a CPA with my own Campbell small business and a twenty year resident, I have been involved in lots of different activities in the community such as the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Chamber of Commerce Board.   

 In the end of the day, my friends in Campbell got me involved in local issues and, gradually,,I have been more and more involved in my neighborhood, my city and the community as a whole.

10.  How does it feel to be mayor?

Although you know as a council member that you may eventually become Mayor (generally all of us do), it is a humbling experience to know that you are looked at during a special period of time to lead the city and to help everyone in the community to look at all of our challenges that we face going forward and to make the best decisions based on the input of all of us who call Campbell our home.


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