SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.
By Councilmember Chris Hamm
I have been a lifelong resident of this community; my ancestors settled here in the 1800s—Forster Ranch was named after my great-great-great grandfather, Don Juan Forster.
I have been working with and serving the residents of San Clemente as a volunteer and firefighter for the past 20 years, and I can say with certainty this is the best place to live, work, and play in this country.
The past 16 months have been the most tumultuous I have seen in my lifetime.
During the past 16 months, our community has dealt with some big changes to daily life. A year ago, our Mayor Steve Swartz passed away. We have elected three new council members. And we are recruiting for a new city manager.
Our daily activities have been changed in an effort to reduce the effects of COVID-19. And now we are facing another vacancy on city council after the resignation of our current mayor.
We have an opportunity over the next six months to stabilize our town. On Tuesday night, April 21, we initiated measures to reopen our city’s beaches, trails and parks in a safe manner.
Over the next week, expect to see city beaches, trails and parks to reopen. I have been in contact with the state officials to get the state beaches within our city reopened as well. We need a skate park monitor to allow safe and controlled access to the residents.
After we have accomplished these goals, we need to work with San Diego County officials to get San Onofre State Beach opened as well. While no solution is perfect, we all need to do our part to limit exposure and maintain appropriate distancing.
Next, we need to focus our attention on the city’s budget. Fortunately, San Clemente relies on property tax for 53% of its budget. With changes to the city’s long-term financial plan, we will be prepared to get through this financial crisis, like we did during the recession of 2008, without slashing major public services.
As we enter the governor’s Phase 1 plan to reopen the economy, I will work with the downtown businesses to reopen responsibly. I have no doubt that the resolve of our community will ensure business flourishes once again.
Next, we need to turn our attention to ensuring the city’s future stability. Currently, we have an excellent interim city manager and are in the process of recruiting for a new city manager. We need to secure our interim manager through January 2021 and extend the recruitment to ensure the city receives quality candidates.
I would like to renew my dedication to the residents of San Clemente and thank them for their continued support. Together, we can get our city back on track.
I know everyone is struggling emotionally and financially. Now is the time to embrace the Triton motto “One town, One Team.”
I want to thank all city employees, the Orange County Sherriff’s Department, Orange County Fire Authority, grocery store workers, delivery drivers and other essential employees for keeping our community safe and healthy. I am not going anywhere; let’s work together to get our community back on its feet.
Please continue to reach out to the city council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Log onto san-clemente.org for updated information relating to COVID-19 and other city issues.
Chris Hamm is a San Clemente city councilmember. He was elected to the council in 2012 and reelected in 2016.