2020 PLATFORM TOPICS
What our town needs more than anything is a cure for our chronic divisiveness. As your Councilmember, I will serve as an objective voice on the council, focusing primarily on respect, dignity, and fairness. I will establish and maintain strong ties with City staff, fellow Councilmembers, and elected officials from neighboring cities, to ensure we are working efficiently toward common goals. My main priority will be to foster an environment where honest and respectful discourse is encouraged, and where productive action is the goal.
When Ole Hanson founded San Clemente in 1925, he envisioned a “Spanish Village by the Sea,” with Spanish style homes and buildings, “a pool, a golf course, a fishing pier and a beach enlivened with people getting a healthy joy out of life.” He was a visionary developer, and San Clemente was to be the first “planned community” in California. That plan was thwarted with the Great Depression, but the gem of San Clemente remained. We need to continue to look through Ole’s lens when making important development decisions, to ensure that we are striking that delicate balance between promoting growth and preserving our treasured village.
In addition, for more than half of San Clemente’s history, our surf culture has defined our town. This has remained true because of our commitment to protecting open space, our coastline, and of course: the surf. We must maintain that commitment to ensure that generations of children can enjoy the unique culture and coastline of San Clemente.
Our small businesses are struggling through some of the most challenging economic times this city has endured since the Great Depression. Part of the charm of San Clemente is its small businesses community, and we need to ensure that small businesses remain a priority. As your Councilmember, I will work with local businesses to assess the damage of the COVID-19 lockdown; and ensure the city procedures are serving them, rather than standing in their way.
I think it’s important to emphasize the focus that we should truly give to local business. Restaurants, shops, and other businesses that are owned and operated by San Clemente (and surrounding) residents should be truly supported as much as possible. They are the essence of what makes us unique as a city.
We should not reduce funding to public safety, even in these trying economic times; but that does not mean we cannot increase the effectiveness of the deputies we have working for us. This means working to support police services in their efforts to enforce of our laws and protect our city. We should enrich programs like the RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) or the Neighborhood Watch, encouraging residents to join in the effort to maintain the safety and security of our community.
The FY20-21 budget, and more importantly, the forecast for the next couple of years is of major concern. This means our City Council will be challenged to be better stewards of our taxpayer dollars. It does not mean slashing budgets to reach arbitrary cutting goals, but rather, helping City staff to make decisions that will minimize the impact on quality of life, without raising taxes.
Where previously we may have tended toward opening litigation over an issue, now it will be more important than ever to be diplomatic, proactive, and courageous in order to prevent more needless spending on lawsuits.
Lastly, we must do what is necessary to ensure that the programs and operations of the city are offered as efficiently as possible. It will be necessary to make some cuts, but we must do so mindfully and carefully. Transparency will be a key word in this process, as the community should be involved in how tax dollars are spent.
No matter your views on this issue, there are common sense measures that can be taken right now to improve the homelessness situation in San Clemente. This means supporting case workers to assist homeless individuals into housing and services (mental health included).
I will bring a balanced approach to solving the issue of homelessness. I have worked on this issue as a member of the Human Affairs Committee, and led the planning group for the Town Hall Meeting on Homelessness we had last year. Our residents and homeowners deserve to enjoy the cleanliness and safety of this treasured beach community; and, we have a homeless population who ought to be treated with respect and dignity.
From the time I am sworn into office, I will work diligently with other Councilmembers, elected officials from our neighboring cities, and county officials, to tackle this issue immediately. We must begin the process of getting our homeless population off the streets and on the road to housing, and there is much we can do right now to improve the situation.
I am committed to protecting and preserving the natural environment in San Clemente. This includes not only our beaches, some of which have come up on California’s “dirtiest” list, but also our waste impact. I will work to ensure that San Clemente beaches and oceans are safe, well-preserved, and plastic-free.
Also, the rising sea level is becoming more and more present every year. Much of our infrastructure is in long-term danger (including our Marine Safety Building), and we need to enact plans now to be prepared as this problem continues to worsen.
Lastly, as someone who has worked in the solar industry for the past 6 years, I know how great it feels to produce power locally, instead of having to buy it from SDG&E. Cities and counties all over California are beginning to take control of the procurement of power; so their residents have an alternative option to the utility, and so they can procure more cost-effective and renewable forms of power. In addition, having local control of our power production will move us in the direction of having a more resilient electric grid in San Clemente, which will help us to ensure that our most vital facilities will remain powered during blackouts.
It may seem like a foregone conclusion, but the fight to stop the Toll Road through San Clemente is not over. As your Councilmember, I will continue to keep close watch on matters pertaining to the TCA, to ensure that their commitment to stop the 241 Toll Road extension at Oso Parkway remains so.
Furthermore, it will be important to involve San Clemente residents in the planning of the extension of Los Patrones Parkway untolled extension, to ensure that the project does not have a negative impact on the quality of life of our residents. This fight is not over yet, and I look forward to the opportunity to protecting San Clemente from the Toll Road.
We have the capability of serving our health needs more effectively with a more advanced healthcare facility within our city limits. Choosing the operator of the hospital grounds is a decision that should be given the utmost care and consideration, with the long-term needs of the community in mind.
In addition, we need to ensure that San Clemente is prepared for any disaster that may come our way. This means nuclear/earthquake/tsunami event preparedness, as well as developing our energy infrastructure so that vital resources are powered during blackouts.
One topic that is addressed far less than it should be is the mental wellness of our community – particularly of our children. Having grown up and graduated high school in San Clemente, I have seen so many young people fall victim to mental illness, drug abuse and addiction, and even death. This should not be happening in a community like ours, and we need to focus in on this issue to ensure that families in our community are supported in protecting their children from the dangers of mental illness. We need to break the stigma and make this issue a priority, not only for children, but for adults and seniors as well.
The City of San Clemente, in partnership with the community we serve, will foster a tradition dedicated to:
Maintaining a safe, healthy atmosphere in which to live, work and play.
Guiding development to ensure responsible growth while preserving and enhancing our village character, unique environment and natural amenities.
Providing for the City’s long-term stability through the promotion of economic vitality and diversity.
Resulting in a balanced community committed to protection of what is valued today while meeting tomorrow’s needs.
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