By Victor Cabral
First, let me thank San Clemente citizens for giving me the opportunity to serve our beautiful city. The work has been nonstop since Day 1.
During my campaign, I committed to working collaboratively with my colleagues to address a variety of issues, the two most pressing being homelessness and improving and protecting our beautiful beaches.
As we all know, change does not often happen quickly, but we are off to a good start with the appointments of a new police chief and city manager, both of whom share the values and priorities of our citizens.
Our first order of business was to select a new police chief. I wanted a person who shared our concerns about the growing population of transients passing through our city, living on the beaches, drinking alcohol, consuming drugs, and abusing our residents. I think we found the right person in Capt. Jay Christian, a San Clemente resident.
We also recently set up a City Council Committee comprising Mark Enmeier and me to delve into the complexities of the issue.
We have all been told that court rulings restrict law enforcement and our city’s ability to move the homeless off our beaches. I don’t agree and am looking for ways to designate certain areas in our community as no-camping zones, consistent with federal court decisions. We are also pushing for regional housing alternatives that would give our police chief and city staff more tools to move people into secure housing outside of San Clemente.
And while I support and work toward a long-term regional housing solution, I will remain vigilant in pushing for law enforcement to arrest and prosecute those who break our laws.
Our second order of business was to appoint a city manager. We selected Andy Hall, who has an extraordinary resume and valuable experience that will serve our city well. He shares our vision in addressing the homeless crisis and restoring our beaches.
As part of my commitment to addressing our beach challenges, here again, we created a City Council Committee, comprising me and Mark, to set a laser focus on the issue. Our first step was to improve the city’s organization in addressing coastal issues so that the various disparate entities work better together.
With the guidance of our city staff, the Beaches, Parks, and Recreation Committee (BP&R), and the Save Our Beaches Coalition, we are working to separate out “Beaches” from BP&R to form a dedicated Coastal Committee that will direct its energies solely on the growing number of coastal issues.
We also asked the city manager and staff to explore the creation of a staff position dedicated to beach erosion, sand retention, identifying needed permits and funding sources.
I would be remiss if I did not thank Jorine Campopiano and Susie Whitelaw for their expertise and leadership in identifying several short- and long-term goals our city can tackle, such as renewing and expanding the Army Corps of Engineers permit, renewing our permits to secure sand from the Santa Ana riverbed, finding sand replacement alternatives to riprap, exploring the renewal of our Clean Ocean Fee and the establishment of an opportunistic sand dredging consortium.
There are a dozen more coastal issues we need to address, and I am confident that with our new Council Beach Committee, the leadership of our new city manager, a dedicated staffer, a new Coastal Committee, and the support of dedicated volunteer leaders and stakeholders, we will make substantial progress this year.
I reaffirm my commitment to prioritizing the coastal issues and the homeless crisis for the duration of my term in office.Victor Cabral was elected to the San Clemente City Council in 2022.
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