Name: Tony Vazquez
Occupation: Mayor of Santa Monica
Neighborhood of residence: 1630 Bryn Mawr Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90405
Own or rent: Own
Marital status/kids: Married, two kids
Party affiliation: Democrat
- Should Santa Monica provide more city sponsored services to homeless individuals including establishing a sober living facility in city limits?
I have advocated for more city sponsored services for the homeless and I feel that Santa Monica has been supportive of their needs. However, the problem of homelessness is a regional problem that also has to be addressed on a regional basis. I feel we need to strengthen our partnerships with neighboring cities to address this issue.
- Does the solution to traffic require life be made easier or more difficult for drivers?
The real solution to traffic congestion is to continually expand transportation options such as the Breeze Bike and Zip Car programs, Big Blue Bus and Metro transit operations and a proposed downtown city shuttle program like LA’s DASH buses.
- Does the city have too many alcohol outlets and should there be stronger limits on acquiring alcohol licenses?
I feel that there should be stronger limits on new liquor store permits. However, full service restaurants offering liquor to patrons should be evaluated based on their positive impact to the neighborhoods in which they are located.
- What percentage of your daily travel needs are met using something other than a private car?
Approximately 15 percent of my daily travel needs are met using something other than a personal vehicle.
- What, if any, apps are on your phone/computer/tablet right now were developed by a Santa Monica company?
- The city’s zoning rules now allow for marijuana dispensaries but the city has delayed
implementing the clause. Has the city been too cautious, too reckless or just right in its
approach to marijuana?
I believe the City of Santa Monica has been too cautious in its approach to marijuana. I believe, however, that it may be better to be a little more safe than sorry.
- What is your definition of overdevelopment and what is your plan to prevent it?
We have to be careful to not allow hotels to double their size with additional floors being built for luxury condos. The City of Santa Monica needs to be adamant in making sure this does not happen.
I like Golf and bicycling.
- Do you spend more time streaming video or watching cable TV?
I actually do very little of both. However, I get most of my news sources from cable TV.
- All cities have struggled to find money for affordable housing in the past few years. Is the current ballot measure raising the local sales tax the appropriate way to fund affordable housing?
The local sales tax measure is only one funding source. However, we must continue to seek out new and innovative sources of funding for affordable housing.
- How have you been involved in the Santa Monica Community in non-election years?
As the current mayor of Santa Monica I have been active on a daily basis with all facets of the Santa Monica community. From support for non-profits, to speaking commitments with schools and educational organizations, as well as day-to-day involvement in city issues, I am constantly involved in the affairs of Santa Monica.
- Have you ridden any of the attractions at Pacific Park? If so which ones and how often?
As a father and grandfather I have enjoyed most of the rides at Pacific Park. I also many times must entertain out of town guests who like to visit the Santa Monica Pier.
- How aggressive should the city be in its pursuit of closing the airport?
The city has been very aggressive in pursuing the closure of the Santa Monica Airport, if and when legally possible.
- To what degree should Santa Monica integrate with the surrounding municipalities?
As the Mayor of Santa Monica I have been involved in a working partnership with the mayors of our neighboring cities. I am also involved in the Westside coalition of governments. I believe it’s important to continue and strengthen our partnerships and alliances with surrounding municipalities.
- Businesses often talk about the difficulty of working in Santa Monica. Why is the current level of regulation appropriate and should the city do more to encourage and support the business community?
In the last few years we have worked to streamline the business permitting process and make our departments more efficient.
- What is the correct approach to operating the Santa Monica Airport?
The best current approach is to continue our legal battle to gain local control of the Santa Monica Airport.
- Where do you stand on the local ballot measures (GS, GSH, LV, SM and V)?
I support them all except for LV.
Please provide at least 100 words on each of the three questions. Candidates have a maximum of 600 words for the combined answers in this section.
Why are you running for council, what makes you qualified to lead, and what role do you see yourself playing on the dais if elected?
I am seeking re-election to the Santa Monica City Council this year to finish many of the projects we have already started and to initiate the progressive plans on our agenda for the future. I have devoted my entire political career to helping communities without a voice, advocating for progressive issues that unite varied ethnic and socio-economic groups and making sure that all residents of Santa Monica are represented. If elected I want to continue our agenda of progress and finish many of the great projects we have undertaken in transportation and solving traffic congestion, initiating green initiatives and sustainability, providing affordable housing and streamlining city services to better serve the business community.
What were the council’s best decisions in the past two years? What were the worst?
The first best would be the city council’s vote to shut down the Santa Monica Airport. The shutting of the Santa Monica Airport is important to residents because of the nose and the environmental concerns. The Santa Monica Airport is also one of the few municipal airports that is nestled inside a residential area. With it’s current traffic load it’s outgrown its intended use as a recreational airport.
The second best would be the vote to increase the minimum wage. I am proud that the city council vote was unanimous. This increase will provide numerous benefits to our residents that work in the service industry who now will be able to earn a decent wage.
Within the last two years I am proud to say that few decisions made by city council would qualify as bad decisions.
How has the city’s pursuit of sustainability been appropriately balanced with economic,
development and financial concerns?
The city of Santa Monica over the last years has done a fantastic job of meeting our goals to become a self-sustained city by the year 2020. We are on track to be self-sufficient with our water needs, and will not have to import any outside water resource. We are also reducing our carbon footprint by requiring that any new construction/development include photovoltaic panels. We also require that all electrical, plumbing and heating systems involve the most efficient equipment available. We are also allowing old hotels to upgrade their infrastructure, which gives us an opportunity to work with them to be more sustainable and install solar energy and more efficient water heating systems.