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: Sandra Marshall-Eminger and Cherisse Sweeney.

We have yet to receive a response from Donald Hedrick.

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?

I support a thriving downtown, self-reliance, access to health and safety, retaining small businesses, helping the unsheltered and job creation for local people. Measure G is key to maintaining these values, by investing in what we want to create together.

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?

When a development includes considerably more affordable housing units with first priority given to locals as part of the conditions of the project, I am in favor of utilizing the building heights exception.

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?

These projects will help, but will not solve our housing shortage. Addressing the housing challenge in our city will take creative solutions such as affordable housing by design, expansion of ADUs, co-housing and converting existing infrastructure (buildings) to housing.

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?

All of the city’s programs are currently being re-evaluated and prioritized through the lens of public health and economic recovery.  We will have a Meta-City Goal of COVID recovery and resilience and this will be top of mind in everything we do. This includes partnering with organizations like the Chamber, Downtown SLO, and REACH to provide support to businesses in many ways including how to stay safe and operate successfully under COVID-19 guidelines.  Providing guidance to businesses trying to navigate local, state, and federal programs to maximize access to COVID-related support is a significant focus.

Is there something the city is not currently doing that you would take up if elected?

Creating a community of belonging is something we will be adding in as a focus moving forward.  Addressing our lack of diversity is a moral and ethical issue and our lack of diversity creates a significant barrier to economic recovery.  The newly formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force will help to identify and take action on things we can do to create a community of belonging.  This will lead to optimizing our economic recovery by attracting more businesses and individuals from a more diverse background creating a more resilient and robust local community and economy.

What is your approach on traffic and parking issues? Are there any policies that you are committed to advocating for or against?

We need a fresh and cutting edge approach to traffic and parking.  Our approach needs to be holistic and based on a thorough understanding of how to provide parking for those that need it and remove barriers for using alternate modes of transportation.  With COVID-19, being fluid and flexible is necessary because we can’t fully anticipate what will be needed with the recent implementation of the Open SLO program.  But, a holistic approach that includes improved ease-of-use and accessibility for parking meters, safe bike lanes and promotion and education of available resources and alternate modes of transportation are crucial components.

Which theme in the Chamber’s economic vision, Imagine SLO , do you think deserves the most focus in the next four years and why?

We Before Me Imagine SLO

I was honored to participate in the Chamber’s Economic Vision Team and be part of creating this visionary document. Progress towards this vision of Imagine SLO will require action that intersects across several themes.  Environmental stewardship will require innovation which will boost economic recovery.  Continued collaboration with educators, technology companies and local entrepreneurs will create opportunities for future-oriented industries such as renewable energy.  It’s critical that the work is done within the context of “we before me” to create that community of belonging with a collective responsibility to improve the quality of life for everyone in our community.

What is the biggest opportunity for our City in the next four years and why?

We can turn this crisis into an opportunity for our collective growth by reimaging what it means to be a vibrant and resilient community.  Flexibility for entrepreneurs to adapt and innovate while creating fertile ground for future recovery is the best economic strategy right now.  We will be a model for innovation and environmental leadership by creating more affordable-by-design housing solutions that also contribute to our goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.  By creating a community of belonging we can strengthen the fabric of our city while expanding our economic opportunities.

What are you most proud of having contributed to our community in the past 10 years?

Sustained fiscal responsibility during economic challenges, supported local small businesses with our Open SLO program and adopted a local hire policy for the largest infrastructure project in the city’s history.

Housing that more people can afford with projects featuring smaller units, issued the first legal tiny home permit in the state and repealed the burdensome Rental Inspection Ordinance.

Led on environmental stewardship by joining Monterey Bay Community Power, accessed more open space and created the most ambitious carbon neutrality goal of any city in the U.S which will drive local innovation and allow us to become a Greentech hub.