We asked each candidate to answer a few questions so that you can know a little more about their priorities. See responses from other candidates: Erik Long, Jan Marx, James Papp, Abrianna Torres and Robin Wolf.
We have yet to receive responses from Kelly Evans and Jeffery Specht.
This year, voters will have the chance to enact Measure G-20, a sales tax that would support long term community and economic health through direct investment in key infrastructure, local businesses, vibrant neighborhoods, and the acquisition and preservation of open space; do you support Measure G? Why or why not?
Absolutely, I support Measure G-20 and voted to put it on the ballot. Renewing and amending the sales tax, with local control and community oversight, will generate the funds needed for programs, services and infrastructure to keep SLO special.
For more than ten years, buildings in the downtown core have been allowed to be up to 75 feet tall if they provide significant community benefits; do you support these current regulations? Why or why not?
The policies and zoning were developed with broad community input and careful controls. Although I believe most sites downtown are a good fit for under 50’, there are a few sites that can support additional height up to 75’.
There are nearly 2,000 homes slated to be built in the City of SLO through Avila Ranch and San Luis Ranch; do you think that this will solve our housing shortage or do we still need to build more homes?
The 2,000 homes will provide much-needed workforce housing, so that more people who work here can afford to live here. Going forward, we need more housing options and affordable units to support our community and the economy.
Rank the issues in order of importance for our city:
If elected, what will you do to address the issue you identified above as most significant?
Strategic economic recovery will provide the jobs and financial security our community needs while addressing other issues including climate change and economic inequality. Over the past few years, we tightened our city budget by almost $9 million and planned for long-term fiscal health, putting us in a stronger position for recovery. I will work to retain local businesses and support head-of-household jobs through investments in infrastructure, business outreach and maintaining clean, healthy public spaces. I will also work with partner agencies to help provide child care for working families.
Is there something the city is not currently doing that you would take up if elected?
We have accomplished a lot over the past four years, and going forward, I will build on that foundation, supporting economic recovery, housing affordability and climate action. Homelessness is a growing concern and I believe we need to do more, including developing transitional housing, deploying social workers to those in crisis and advocating for mental health services for all who need it. Finally, we are just launching a focused effort on diversity, equity and inclusion, a significant first step in making real and lasting change so all people in San Luis Obispo feel valued, safe and welcome.
What is your approach on traffic and parking issues? Are there any policies that you are committed to advocating for or against?
In my vision for San Luis Obispo, our city will be safe and comfortable for walking and biking, with frequent transit, so many people will choose to be car-free or ‘car-lite’, and those who need to drive will have reduced traffic and accessible parking. We are in a challenging time of transition to move toward that vision, and we must make significant investment in car-free infrastructure while optimizing our current parking to support businesses and accessibility.
Which theme in the Chamber’s economic vision, Imagine SLO , do you think deserves the most focus in the next four years and why?
Each theme is so important, and interconnected, that it’s hard to pick, but I think a key focus for the city will be We Before Me. We understood the interdependence of our region long before COVID, and now the challenges and opportunities are amplified. We must support a job-housing balance, recognizing that economic drivers and good housing options throughout the region will benefit all of us by reducing commutes, supporting head-of-house jobs and improving quality of life. Addressing infrastructure, transportation, homelessness, public health, water supply, energy, solid waste and emergency response are all regional issues.
What is the biggest opportunity for our City in the next four years and why?
The triple challenge of economic impacts due to COVID, the climate crisis and racial inequality sets the stage for courage and innovation, recognizing we can and must address all three concurrently. The pre-COVID economy was not just and fair for all people, so our strategies for economic recovery including job creation, skills training and business support should proactively reach disadvantaged communities. Our investments should support climate action and resilience, providing the programs and infrastructure that strengthen our economy while meeting our ambitious goals for carbon neutrality. By establishing an economic recovery using the lenses of justice and the environment, we have the opportunity to emerge stronger than ever.
What are you most proud of having contributed to our community in the past 10 years?
I’m proud of the policies and framework we put into place that are resulting in housing projects that will truly benefit our entire community. The new developments will provide homes that are affordable to the workforce, along with deed-restricted affordable homes for low-income families. There will be bike lanes, parks and neighborhood retail. Construction will be low-carbon, avoiding the costs and risks of methane while building resilience through renewable energy. Housing will include a “locals first” priority and initial requirements for owner occupancy, both of which will improve the jobs/housing balance and support local business.