• Name: Terry O’Day
• Age: 39
• Occupation: Director, eVgo, electric-vehicle charging services.
• Neighborhood in which you live: Pico Neighborhood
• Own or rent: Own
• Marital status/kids: Married; 2 girls
• Obama or Romney: Obama
• Education: Where did you attend and what degrees do you have? Stanford University, bachelor’s in public policy with departmental honors; Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs; UCLA Anderson School of Management, master’s degree in business administration.
• Why are you running for City Council, what makes you qualified to lead and what role do you see yourself playing on the dais if elected?
To continue the work I started on the council two years ago to provide a long-term vision for our city that includes all elements of true sustainability — environmental, economic and equity.
• What are Santa Monica’s three major strengths and weaknesses? What will you do to ensure the strengths remain and the weaknesses contained?
Strengths: My leadership is based on maintaining:
1) Our compassionate, diverse, engaged population.
2) Our diverse business sector and excellent municipal fiscal planning that has maintained our AAA bond rating.
3) Our exceptional schools, college, hospitals, public safety and Big Blue Bus.
1) Repercussions from cuts in state funding.
A) I work to partner with local agencies and cut waste.
2) Citywide loss of diversity and achievement gap among students.
A) I work to protect affordable housing and support youth enrichment programs.
3) Some city units lose money.
A) Adopt business plans to reorganize and repurpose some boards and increase council authority to manage operations.
• Homelessness continues to be a significant concern of many residents and business owners. How would you rate City Hall’s response over the last four years, what will you advocate for and does that mean more or less funding ?
I support the city’s approach to focus on creating housing first to reduce chronic homelessness and to realign service provision — focusing on outcomes and increasing efficiency and effectiveness. As the economy improves, we must restore funding to pre-recession levels.
• Where do you stand on the City Council’s decision to increase the campaign contribution limit from $250 to $325?
• Will you sponsor a local law banning smoking within multi-family residential units, i.e. condos and apartments? If not, what would you support?
I have been firm in protecting the health and dignity of residents in multi-family housing, which protects children with asthma and other respiratory diseases. To protect all renters, I’ve sponsored laws that designate units as smoking or non-smoking and to disclose the designation to potential new residents in the building.
• If elected, would you allow medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in Santa Monica?
• What policies will you support that will enable Santa Monica to deal with the increased competition for resources and the need to be sustainable, particularly when it comes to water and power consumption/generation?
I developed and led the city’s goal to become water self-sufficient by 2020 and am working on a plan that achieves it: to reduce costs, increase reliability and minimize our impact on environmental resources. We must revisit our goals for energy sustainability as solar power prices have collapsed. Every new development or substantial remodel must exceed the highest standards for efficiency and local, renewable energy production.
College football, rock climbing, hiking, languages and whatever my daughters enjoy from boogie boarding and baseball to playing Littlest Pet Shop or even painting dad’s nails.
• What are you reading?
“Demand” by Adrian Slywotzky
“Judy Moody’s Double-Rare, Way-Not-Boring Book of Fun Stuff to Do” by Megan McDonald.
• The loss of redevelopment agency funds dealt a serious blow to the City Council’s ambitious plans for the Civic Center, Samohi, and the park in front of City Hall, among other projects. If elected, what projects would you prioritize and how would you finance them?
It is still not clear which funds and projects will continue to be in the city’s control, but the outlook is very dire. I’ll prioritize the projects based on my values to protect subsidized senior housing, support affordable housing production, joint-use facilities with the schools, and high quality public space, including traffic circulation and integration with the Expo Line. To finance this, we’ll have to be creative through public-private partnerships, open space and public safety bonds, and delay or reduce some commitments.
• City Hall already provides the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District with millions in exchange for access to campuses, mainly athletic fields. Do you believe this deal is good for the city, or should it be revisited and modified? If so, in what ways?
Absolutely a good deal. It opens access to athletic fields for all residents and increased standards for our facilities for all ages. It has inspired a collaborative relationship that has streamlined services, reduced youth violence, enabled families to be healthier.
• If you could ride the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier with three people in history, who would they be and what would you want to talk about?
Bill Clinton, Frederick Douglass, my dad and we’d discuss social justice.
• Where do you stand on the Santa Monica Airport?
I support dramatically curtailing the airport’s impact on its neighbors, decreasing its pollution and noise and increasing its safety standards. I have a record of solving environmental problems in California and believe that, as we approach 2015, the date when our lease with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expires, we must address the needs of the community, engage in talks with the FAA, prepare a litigation strategy and seek enhanced authority to act.
• Community benefits as part of development agreements: what is your definition of a benefit? When should the City Council demand benefits and to what degree? And should some be part of a checklist that developers can choose from, or should the council always have complete control in negotiations with developers?
We are using too many development agreements, which is forcing every project into a contentious public negotiation process. I support using development agreements less often and getting our long-term plans and zoning ordinance completed urgently. The standard for community benefit should be clear: a commitment to any of a list of capital investments valued by our residents that exceeds what is required by the zoning for that project. Thus, affordable housing, for example, would only qualify to the extent that the number and quality of units exceeded what is required by code.
• What is your definition of overdevelopment and what is your plan to prevent it?
Overdevelopment is when public and private investment produces worse outcomes than beforehand. I was a leader in the development of the Land Use and Circulation Element. I’ve directly negotiated reductions in development agreements. I’ve voted to increase setbacks from property lines and decrease heights. I’ve put forward a vision that is pedestrian friendly and protects our residential neighborhood integrity.
• The sputtering economy and the rise in pension contribution costs have forced some cities to file for bankruptcy. Santa Monica is doing better than most, but if nothing is done to trim costs, deficits will become reality. What’s your plan for controlling public employee pension costs?
We’ve renegotiated contracts for every city union in collaboration with our employees. We’ve pre-paid our obligations to our pension funds, significantly reducing long-term costs. We moved to a biannual budgeting process to secure pensions and reduce staff time to draft budgets.
• How do you get across town during rush hour? Any tips or shortcuts?
1) Try not to.
2) Try a bike.
3) Try a Big Blue Bus and an iPod or book.
4) Root for the Expo Line and vote for county Measure J, which will hasten transit.
• What should City Hall’s role be when it comes to the creation of affordable housing?
The city must continue taking the lead to create and protect affordable housing as we still have a severe crisis in housing affordability and a serious job-to-housing imbalance.