Accountability today makes tomorrow better for everyone is the theme of my campaign. I am going to do this by asking hard questions and proposing alternative solutions. Some of my solutions for current problems are listed below.
The residents of Monterey County deserve an accountable government where fairness is in the forefront so everyone will feel respected and valued.
The first thing I would like to do is to make the County Supervisor's office accessible to the people and provide a staff that will be advocates for the concerns of the citizens.
Most people in District 4 have not been to the supervisor’s office, and that should be changed. We need to move the supervisor's office to a place where people congregate, so that it will be more accessible to the public.
I also guarantee that I will bring accountability to the county by instituting a 24-hour policy. If you contact my office, we will respond within 24 hours and no one will be ignored. I will also open an investigative unit in my office which will handle complaints. Thus, giving the people in our community a voice in how their county government is run.
In the county complex located on the corner of Noche Buena and Obama Ave is an abandoned building that backs up to a residential neighborhood. The County Supervisors decided to spend 1.3 million dollars to remodel it for thirty-eight homeless people.
This decision was made without consulting the people in the apartments near this shelter or the people in the neighborhood behind the building. People in this neighborhood, especially those with children will feel increased anxiety. The county has an obligation to inform the community and solicit input before considering any course of action.
I agree that we need to help the homeless and that we need to fix up this eyesore. The solution is a simple one. This building should become the office of the District 4 Monterey County Supervisor allowing greater access for the public to use the services of their elected official.
The area on Ford Ord where the current office exists should be turned into a village of tiny homes. This model has been used in Austin, Denver, Los Angeles and San Jose which is building two villages of forty homes each.
The San Jose model which would work here consists of hard-sided cabins with 80 square feet of interior space. In the remodeled current supervisor's office, residents would share bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, kitchen space and common areas with computers, internet access, and job boards. The cabins and the needed facilities would cost much less than 1.3 million dollars.
Examine Existing Practices
Examine Existing Practices
I would also like to examine current practices concerning water, electrical power, sewage, the justice system, and the fair treatment of our employees.
Water is an important issue. In 2018, we voted on Measure J to explore a buyout of Cal-Am to make water processing and delivery a public utility. Shortly after, Cal-Am announced our rates would be increased. I will work hard to make sure there is an adequate water supply for the future and I will focus on reducing our water rates.
I will continue to question the practices of our public agencies. For example, instead of providing rebates, the power company wants to accumulate 100 million dollars in reserves to get low-cost loans. This does not make much sense because people need their electrical bills to be reduced.
Most counties add the sewage assessment to the tax bill. In this county, the bill is separate and as of a few months ago, anyone not paying a bill received a tax lien on their property. Removing the lien costs $60. When I did a freedom of information request, I found six pages of properties that had liens for less than $100.00. I complained and they changed the policy. Now, there are no liens for less than $100.
The Superior Court of Monterey County maintains a database of all criminal complaints and these records have never been purged. So that if you are accused of a felony and there were no grounds for the charge, your name would continue appear on the database with the felony charge. In other counties, the records are purged on a regular basis. That does not happen in this county and if I am elected, I will demand that all records be reviewed and purged in accordance with state law.
I also believe that county departments should not be allowed to investigate themselves. There should be an independent auditor for public and employee complaints. Currently, the department head decides the validity of complaints. This is not fair.
While attending the Board of Supervisor's meetings, I have observed lots of unfairness in the way county employees are treated. One incident involved bilingual translators. Two units did exactly the same job, yet one was paid more than the other. We really need to examine county policies and practices to ensure fairness.
Celebrating diversity is also important to me. At the top of Obama Avenue on Fort Ord is vacant property for a proposed new family courthouse. We just spent a fortune redoing the main Courthouse in Salinas. Do we really need another legal building?
I propose that we create a commission to study the possibility of establishing the Seaside Regional Multicultural Center for groups from Seaside, Marina, Del Rey Oaks, Salinas, and Sand City. At the top of the hill would be a building consisting of several rooms, a 300-seat indoor theater, and below it would be a 2,000-seat amphitheater which would face the bay.
The facility would be surrounded by gardens, and there would be cultural activities, such as folk dancing, and cooking classes. Multicultural events in the theaters would be held year-round. Concerts in the evening during the spring and summer would feature big names in the entertainment industry. Inexpensive seats on the grass surrounding the amphitheater would be available so everyone can come and enjoy the events.
The Seaside Regional Multicultural Center will help us to unite our central coast communities. With the right leadership at the County level, it can be built to be a place dedicated to all of those communities and groups that have made this such a great place to live.