The Race for City Council
Leading up to the San Clemente City Council Special Election on Nov. 3, the San Clemente Times is publishing three questions, one every two weeks, that we’ve asked each candidate who is running for the two-year seat. Be sure to look for our 2020 Election Guide next week, when we’ll publish all the candidates’ responses to the third and final question. The list of candidates is published according to the random alphabet the California Secretary of State recently drew.
As a member of the San Clemente City Council, what will be your top priority on the dais? What initiative or policy do you hope to achieve as an elected official, and what will be your first step in working toward that goal?
The biggest challenge facing the city council is a lack of cohesiveness. My priority on the dais will be to encourage a culture of mutual respect and productive discussion, so we can build consensus and move our city forward. I will also work with city staff to identify process improvements that will help us serve the needs of residents and businesses more efficiently and effectively. I will further establish stronger ties with Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano to find opportunities for partnership within the tri-city area. My policy priorities are the following:
- Hire a strong city manager;
- Support small businesses with continued open-air dining and streamlined permit processing;
- Reduce homelessness by coordinating the efforts of public safety, mental health, and homeless outreach services;
- Protect our beaches, coastline, and open space.
George T. Gregory
Health and safety are priority No. 1, which includes an uptick in sheriff’s deputies and an audit of their time spent on particular calls. No more welfare checks for the homeless, drunk in public or defecating in public; you go away to county. Camping, you pick up and go or you go to county jail or Boise on the Greyhound bus—their choice—until the county builds some camps for the county’s homeless problems. A new EMT emergency medical technician team only? We do need another engine also, but EMTs are needed more because our existing EMTs are having a long time turning around to get back to our city from distant hospitals. Elect George T. Gregory on Nov. 3 for change and solutions.
When elected to the city council two-year term, here are my first priorities:
- Hire an experienced city manager;
- Replace the city attorney (BB&K) with a full-time, in-house attorney who will handle everyday legal issues. Also have expert attorneys to handle major legal issues;
- Have the new city manager prepare a five-year strategic plan for city services and the budget, to be approved by the city council;
- Have a Team Building Workshop for the city council to air out any differences between members so that the city councilmembers can work as a team!
My policy is to more fully support property owners and families of San Clemente, thereby keeping SC the city playground and park designed by Ole Hanson, author of the classic 1918 book Americanism vs Bolshevism. Funds from the sale of this book purchased the vacant hillsides on which SC was founded. My first step would be full transparency on any fee, or increasing expenses on families, through any bureaucratic add-on mortgage, or financial plan. I know that 7,550 SC voters are in agreement with me on this, because, on March 3 of last year, we voted down Measure H, whose creation can be influenced by a local official, and which, to many of us, was a less than genuinely promoted, non-transparent, financial plan, as also asserted by the CEO of the Orange County Taxpayers Association.
I will have several priorities as a newly elected city council person. To answer the question directly, my No. 1 priority will be to prevent the spread of infection and keep SC open for business. To open businesses and schools intelligently and responsibly. Be informed and lead on sustained recovery, balancing risks, listening to the science, following recommendations and mandates. Communicating with our residents and understanding their concerns is critical! Getting to know city staff, to know the people and the work that they do. I will work with staff to navigate additional funding, grants, opportunities for our businesses. I will be a face at city hall who understands business needs and objectives and builds consensus for moving forward.
Top Priority: Hire an experienced, competent and fiscally conservative city manager to vigorously oppose the toll road. I would recruit locally from beach-oriented jurisdictions.
- Eliminate the millions of dollars wasted annually on unnecessary litigation, lobbyists and consultants;
- Open a portion of our beach for responsible San Clemente dog owners to enjoy with their pets;
- Increase transparency by reinstituting the ethics code, which the prior city council rescinded when mismanagement and Brown Act violations were asserted;
- Rescind the anti-business, retaliatory ordinance forcing citizens that disagree with decisions of city staff to pay the city’s legal fees during administrative hearings.
My top priority now is to help the community recover from the current crisis and its economic havoc. The goal is to bring long-term prosperity through a combination of economic development and conservative fiscal policy to preserve our “Spanish Village by the Sea” vision and people’s quality of life. As a small business owner, five-year Planning Commissioner, and with a Master’s Degree from USC School of Public Policy, I will put my leadership skills and land use planning expertise to good use to achieve that goal. My initiatives include improving government transparency and accountability, hiring a city manager who excels in interagency collaboration and economic development, enhancing Del Mar and North Beach to stimulate business and job opportunities, guiding the hospital reopening process, and renewing the legislative effort to permanently remove the toll road’s threat.
I would say, for me, my first priority would be making sure that we can get something in place for the homeless, and make sure, once we figure things out, it stays in place. I would also say it’s time to stop making excuses and just get the job done.