• Name: Steve Duron
• Age: 45
• Occupation: Attorney
• Neighborhood in which you live: Ocean Park
• Own or rent: Rent
• Marital status/kids: Married/two toddlers
• Obama or Romney: Obama
• Education: Where did you attend and what degrees do you have? UCLA, B.A.; Whittier Law School, J.D.
• 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?
As a father I now see how decisions made by the council today will affect the community my children live in tomorrow. Too many development projects are getting approved without considering the effects on our quality of life. Over-development brings more traffic, less parking and eats away at our community. I will make sure that any new development has compelling benefits for us, or I won’t approve it. I will form a commission dedicated to solving our traffic congestion. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy improved playgrounds and parks. I’m running because I love Santa Monica.
• What are Santa Monica’s three major strengths and weaknesses? What will you do to ensure the strengths remain and the weaknesses contained?
1) Location: Santa Monica is a place where people and business want to be. This means that the council can be and should be more selective on the development projects it approves. Unless there are compelling benefits to the community that offset the impacts created by more development, I will not support it.
2) Education: Keeping our public education system strong is one of the most important things we can do for the health of our community. I will work hard to find resources to make improvements to infrastructure. I will push for more after-school programs that focus on academic resources and creativity. And, I will work to ensure equity among students.
3) Diversity: The community provides wonderful opportunities for my children to learn about the world.
1) Development: Too many development projects are getting approved without considering the effects on our quality of life.
2) Traffic: Traffic congestion makes it very hard and time consuming to run into [local businesses]. I will create a commission dedicated to finding solutions for our traffic congestion. I will require that new development projects include plans to improve roads and infrastructure that will be impacted by the development. I will grant incentives to employers who hire a workforce of Santa Monica residents or who will use public transportation.
3) Economy: The economy has had an effect on everyone. Whether it is potholes left unrepaired, library services cut, public work projects put on hold or abandoned, our quality of life has diminished. I will engage with the community to assist in prioritizing needs. I will ensure that our fire and police departments have the resources they need to keep our residents and guests safe. And, I will fight to save our social service programs.
• 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 will support programs that lend a hand to our least fortunate residents, but remain mindful that as a council member, my duty is to serve all the residents of Santa Monica.
• Where do you stand on the City Council’s decision to increase the campaign contribution limit from $250 to $325?
I support it. It gives me more time to do what I enjoy most, talking with residents, and a little less time making fundraising calls. At the same time, the increase was not so significant that it eliminated the need for widespread support, which I think was a concern of those who opposed it.
• 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 do not believe an ordinance would pass constitutional law protections. More legal research is required.
• With Los Angeles cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries, it is going to be harder for Santa Monica patients to get their medication. If elected, would you allow medical marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in Santa Monica?
No, I would not.
• 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?
Because we are by the sea, we have sunshine, wind and waves. As technology improves in these areas and it becomes less obtrusive, it can create an opportunity for Santa Monica. I foresee a future for Santa Monica where it can not only be self sustainable, it can also become an exporter of energy and power.
I am a family man. I spend as much time as I can with my wife and kids. I am a triathlete. I enjoy staying healthy and fit. I am a budding ukulele player.
• What are you reading?
“His Excellency: George Washington,” by Joseph J. Ellis
“The Three Musketeers,” by Alexandre Dumas
• 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?
We would need to take a look at all of the projects in progress and proposed, ask residents what they feel the priorities should be and then execute accordingly.
• 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?
Keeping our public education system strong is one of the most important things we can do for the health of our community. A good school system directly correlates to strengthening our community — it raises home values, it creates opportunity for the future and it brings a community together. Budget cuts are chipping away at what makes Santa Monica public schools so great. I will work hard to find resources to make improvements to infrastructure. I will push for more after-school programs that focus on academic resources and creativity. And, I will work to ensure equity among students.
• 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?
Jesus Christ. I would want to hear it from him.
Abraham Lincoln. I want learn about his leadership, dedication and his ideals.
My dad. I would give anything to have five more minutes with my dad.
• Where do you stand on the Santa Monica Airport?
I will work to close it.
• 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?
Any time the community will be impacted by a new development, compelling benefits must be offered to the community or I will not support it.
• What is your definition of overdevelopment and what is your plan to prevent it?
The biggest issue facing our city is over-development. It is making our city too dense, producing more traffic congestion, which is compounding the greenhouse gases, and it could lead to a decline in property values. I will transform a pro-development minded council into one that limits development.
• 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?
This is a tough issue for me because I come from a family of public employees. My wife is a public school teacher, my father was a city employee and my mother was a principal’s secretary. I believe the fairest thing to do would be to make changes to new employees and keep the current employees the same. At least nothing would be taken away from people who have worked a lifetime to receive the benefits they expected when they retire and new employees would come into their job with “eyes wide open.”
• How do you get across town during rush hour? Any tips or shortcuts?
Patience and good music.
• What should City Hall’s role be when it comes to the creation of affordable housing?
I will remain mindful that rent control is what led to the diverse, dynamic community we have today. Affordable housing is part of that.