All candidates were given an opportunity to provide written answers to a set of questions provided by SMDP and two sets of answers will be printed each day. Answers are also available online alongside additional information from each candidate. To hear interviews with the candidates, visit www.smdp.com/pod.
What is your justification for using government authority to require private property owners to subsidize inflation, fees, utilities and other costs for rent controlled tenants?
Rent control is critical pillar of the Santa Monica Community and one that I support. I also believe there must be a balance between renters’ needs and the needs of landlords. While ideally, the government should not be needed to create this balance, in Santa Monica we risk losing working families due to extremely high rent prices if city leadership does not take steps to protect renters. My goal as a council member is to advocate for renters like myself, while working together with property owners to make sure they feel heard and represented.
Do government subsidies of homeless services do more to get people off the streets or attract more individuals to the city? Depending on your answer, why should that money continue to flow to service providers or be reassigned to other needs?
Santa Monica deploys a broad array of homeless services. Our challenge is to quantify how many individuals, experiencing homelessness, we are able to effectively help. We must do a better job at identifying which homeless services meet our objectives to mitigate homelessness in Santa Monica. And, subsequently we need to aggressively fund those efforts which create the change that Santa Monica residents and visitors want and deserve to see. This is one of our greatest challenges for which we must succeed.
Why has Santa Monica become a hub of transit innovation including scooters, self driving cars, delivery drones and zero-emission vehicles and is this industry one that should be encouraged to grow here?
Santa Monica is robust with a lot to do and see for residents and tourists. It makes sense that we would be a hub of transit innovation. With public safety in mind, I am committed to supporting ways to decrease traffic and congestion in our city. I support the growth of zero emission vehicles, however we must always strive to consider the safety of our residents and tourists. This means implementing these innovative breakthroughs in an organized and strategic Manner.
What specific technological, policy or regulatory ideas do you have to address resident concerns about a declining quality of life in Santa Monica?
When I speak to our residents their biggest concern regarding their quality of life is the overall perception of a declining public safety. In order to restore the public’s confidence we must apply very effective and precise policy that has the ability to reverse this perception and restore our public spaces. People don’t want to see public urine and defecation anymore. They don’t want to see people doing drugs in our parks. They don’t want to read about stabbings, assaults and violent crimes. We HAVE to make these things the rare exception not the norm.
What role does tourism play in Santa Monica’s culture, economy and government?
Tourism is woven into the fabric of our beautiful city. Santa Monica has been a coveted and highly visited place for a very long time. As a council, we must continue to balance the needs of our residents and businesses with a vibrant tourist population. At this time, the residents, businesses and tourists are aligned in a shared request: to restore the perception of public safety in our shared public spaces.
Does Santa Monica’s approach to law enforcement need to change and if so, what would you do to alter the department to meet the needs of the city?
Our Santa Monica Police Officers have been amazing public servants for our city. Along with our Firefighters, these men and women not only put their lives on the line for us every day, but they support and embrace the values and mission of our city. Of course we must always evaluate our approach to law enforcement, and our Police Officers have always been collaborative in embracing that continuous evaluation.
How do street vendors impact the experience of using Santa Monica’s public spaces?
Permitted street vendors can provide an enjoyable and safe experience for residents and visitors in our public spaces. However, non-permitted vendors only worsen the perception of a declining public safety. Our public spaces are for everyone to enjoy safely. Anything jeopardizing safety in our public spaces should be mitigated and stopped immediately, even if the intent of the activity isn’t meant to jeopardize safety.
Do you think residents fundamentally trust local government and what can be done to address the feelings many residents have regarding local politics?
Sadly, I believe the majority of the population does not trust local government. As local leaders we can’t look to blame others. We need to strive to regain that trust. I believe if we can effectively address the publics’ top priorities we can work towards regaining that trust. This means making significant strides in reducing individuals experiencing homelessness on our streets, reducing crime, and restoring the perception of public safety at our most frequented city spaces and throughout our entire city.