Four years go City Hall agonized over a police department that was understaffed. Elected officials hid behind unfunded positions and failed to disclose the real needs of our city. Now we know that the issue of staffing and morale includes all of our first responders. Public Safety is job one in our city, we must not hesitate in ensuring that our police, fire, and lifeguards are fully staffed and fully equipped.
District 1 is unique in its abundance of open space whether it is our canyons, coastal bluffs, or our beaches. We must protect our open space from degradation or encroachment. The environment is also about doing our part to address climate change by the sustained implementation of the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP.) Whether implementing community choice energy or addressing sea level rise we must not hesitate. I believe that implementing the CAP will also make for better neighborhoods as we change how we get around by transit, biking, and walking—mobility shifts that will not happen quickly given the land use patterns of District 1—but is a future that we can achieve working together.
We must address the needs of unsheltered individuals and families by building and staffing permanent supportive housing. Concurrently we must address housing affordability for our children and grandchildren. I will not make the false promise that if we just build more, housing will be more affordable. I commit to housing San Diegans at all income levels, making more housing more affordable for more San Diegans.
Constituent services goes to the heart of being a councilmember. Listening to residents, property owners, merchants, and business owners who live, learn, work, invest, play in District 1 and responding to their needs is what I have been doing for 15 years and what I commit to as your councilmember. The old ways of hearing and listening no longer work in today’s environment and our busy lives; the burden is on my staff and I to ensure that we are listening and responding. I will be front and center when issues are difficult or heated. I will be honest, not glossing over the challenges, and I will always tell you the truth.
Some neighborhoods of District 1 enjoy new infrastructure; however, today’s new infrastructure will become tomorrow’s repair and replacement projects. Unless we address the infrastructure deficit in the older neighborhoods of District 1 and city-wide, we won’t be able to address the future demands in the new neighborhoods of District 1. For far too long the city has promised public facility and infrastructure that it has failed to deliver. When the city doesn’t deliver, it reduces livability and makes residents resistant to change. I will not shy away from the difficult conversation of reallocating scarce taxpayer dollars or finding new sources of revenue to bring our infrastructure and public facilities current.
I envision a city that spends less time strangled by endless debates and focuses on addressing the challenges facing our city; that builds permanent supportive housing for unsheltered individuals and families; that makes housing more affordable to more San Diegans; that supports pipelines from high school and college to good paying jobs; that encourages a diversified workforce in the green and blue economy; that implements its Climate Action Plan and implements community choice energy and addresses sea-level rise; and, that provides robust and safe transit, bike ways, sidewalks, and crosswalks. A city that understands changing how we get around helps fight climate change but also makes for better, more livable neighborhoods; that protects its open space, canyons, coastal bluffs, and beaches; that spends less time on soundbites and photo ops and instead delivers promised public facilities and infrastructure to complete our neighborhoods; that engages the public in new and meaningful ways such as participatory budgeting; and, that ensures equity in public safety across every neighborhood.
When we take the time to listen and to collectively focus our vision, we can move our city forward. Much of this vision can be achieved in the near-term, but other parts will take sustained and persistent effort. Let us demand more from our elected officials who too often focus on “4 years and out” or “8 years and out” timeframes. Our residents and businesses are in it for the long term, so too should our elected officials.