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San Clemente Times
Leading up to the San Clemente City Council election on Nov. 6, the San Clemente Times is publishing six questions, one each week, that we’ve asked each individual who qualified for the ballot to answer. Be sure to look for next week’s edition when we publish the sixth and final question in our 2018 Election Guide. The list of candidates is published according to the random alphabet the California Secretary of State recently drew.
Week 5: What partnerships would you enhance, maintain or introduce to the city of San Clemente?
Gene W. James
The OCSD partnership needs to be improved. The working conditions of our deputies are deplorable. There is a perception of an anti-law enforcement attitude by city administration toward the deputies who protect our city. I have spoken at Council on several occasions to point out the officer-safety issues in the station and Council has refused to accept my written report. The unsafe and unsecure storage of firearms in the station poses not only an officer-safety issue but a public-safety issue. The failure of the city to purchase CCTV at the station again poses a danger.
San Clemente has a reputation of not being business-friendly. Business owners complain that it is challenging to work with the Planning Department, that obtaining permits takes three times longer than neighboring cities and that the rules change during the course of their projects. We all say how much we love our village character; part of that character is created by local businesses. I would work to enhance the city’s relationship with the local business community and Chamber of Commerce, with the goal of making it easier and more streamlined for small businesses to make improvements and get things done.
I would introduce a new partnership to San Clemente. I would partner with the California Choice Energy Authority. This would help San Clemente perform a study that could determine our city’s feasibility for Community Choice Energy. This would be the first step truly needed toward 100 percent renewable energy. Community Choice Energy is a program that lets our city control the competition of the electricity marketplace. Our city would purchase power on behalf of the community to provide more competitive rates while letting the citizens choose how much renewable energy we want.
Tiffany Joy Robson Leet
I’m interested in the partnership that we as City Councilmembers should have with our community. Residents need an avenue for their concerns and their voices to be heard. I am running for City Council because of my love for San Clemente and my desire to do whatever I can to preserve her integrity as a small town with small-town charm, safety, opportunity and character. I’m an attorney who can read the fine print and find real answers to protect our local interests. I’d like to foster a partnership with the Surfrider Foundation as well as the Orange County Historical Society.
Our city could take a major step forward by reestablishing an economic development subcommittee for the purpose of creating a framework for economic development and revitalization of business zones and ensure the government processes benefit businesses whenever feasible and do not work against them. I’d suggest forming a youth commission (teens) who advise the city on youth services, programs and community projects and an arts commission with a focus on implementing a public art program with community involvement and collaboration by local artists and residents that can lend to civic beautification and economic impact.
Cities all across Orange County are joining together in formal agreements to negotiate low-cost, clean-energy contracts for their residents. These joint agreements are formally known as Community Choice Energy (CCE), which is a system for city governments to collectively bargain energy contracts for their citizens, creating a government-sponsored option while allowing households the option to remain with their current provider without penalty. CCE also generates funds that cities can choose to allocate toward municipal sustainability projects. There is no reason why San Clemente shouldn’t join in a partnership with neighboring cities to ensure affordable energy contracts for our residents.
As your Councilwoman, I will work with residents to form historic districts in the downtown
Del Mar and North Beach zones. Historic districts can have a positive financial impact on our economy by increasing tourism. Studies show that cultural travelers spend more money than leisure travelers when they visit cities that have historic districts. Our historical resources are under-promoted and a missed opportunity to increase tourism and a missed opportunity for our city to showcase our rich history and pride.
As a Councilmember, I will provide enthusiastic support to those partnerships that help to enhance and maintain our quality of life. My career as a business leader in senior living means I am especially mindful of the partnerships that support our senior population (nearly 20 percent of city residents). We need stronger alliances with advocacy groups seeking to discontinue nuclear waste storage in San Onofre. Additionally, I will establish partnerships with organizations to further my ideas for economic development and entrepreneurship. Finally, I talked about a comprehensive homeless strategy and would partner to include stakeholders pertinent to that critical effort.
When my neighborhood was overrun with sober-living homes, I helped organize residents from all over San Clemente to create Take Action San Clemente. Together with staff, we enacted the STLU ordinance that returned our neighborhoods to the residents. I’m a local business owner with an office downtown—I support local business. I support local youth programs, like the Las Palmas Boardriders, which I helped create with another dad. I proudly support FAM, Mercy House, Gilchrist House, Friends of San Clemente, San Clemente Skate Park Coalition and the Positive Vibe Warrior Foundation—these programs make San Clemente so great.
Maintain and enhance nonprofit partnerships with the city. Currently, the city has dozens of nonprofits that provide immense contributions to the community. This needs to be enhanced, maintained and promoted. This type of partnership relieves the city from many activities that they would do throughout the community. Specifically, the San Clemente Historical Society needs space to store/display their invaluable photos and historical records, and the city needs to step up and provide an available city space for them without conditions.
San Clemente’s partnership with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has been an exceptionally successful one. This partnership has led to the creation of various wonderful amenities for our community such as the beach trail, the San Clemente trolley (with the highest ridership of any city in Orange County), and the train quiet zone through town. I would maintain this relationship by continuing to explore new opportunities to expand our trolley service to additional areas in town, especially inland areas like Talega, and by continuing to pursue safety improvements in the Pier Bowl area.
The most important partnership I would try to introduce is a multi-city, multi-year Police Services contract. This is similar to our current fire services contract, which is for 10 years and a maximum increase of 4.5 percent per year (can be less). The power of several cities bargaining and a multi-year strategy would bring greater predictability to our budget and enhance safety. Other partnerships to enhance/improve are with the business community and the Parks Foundation. Additionally, our great relationships with the Boy & Girls Club, and other great organizations should be maintained and nurtured.