Q: Please explain your vision for the city in 150 words.
I want Santa Monica to be a place that provides safe streets and neighborhoods; a community that offers housing opportunities, good jobs and quality education; a town that protects its neediest residents; and a city that provides safe places for children to play.
The goals of our Sustainable City Program capture the vision for Santa Monica: “a city which can continue to meet its current environmental, economic and social needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.” We need to ensure that our neighborhoods retain their human scale with improved greenery, parks and open space…and are safe. And we need to have a thriving economic base that promotes arts and creativity as well as neighborhood-serving businesses. We need to improve transportation, provide transit choices like Expo Light Rail, to reduce traffic congestion so people can get to school, jobs, recreation and social activities. We need to support our families by ensuring an educated community, a healthy community and clean environment.
Santa Monica is for everyone. I want to preserve our small town – beach city heritage. I want a city where kids can grow up and afford to live in this city when they become parents. I want a city that treasures its diversity and nurtures its youth to maximize their educational opportunities. I want a city that welcomes visitors to our beaches and parks. I want a city where the residents want to preserve our environment, clean up our ocean and leave a better city for future generations.
Santa Monica is a great city, but we must be vigilant in defending its unique character. We need to protect neighborhoods by preserving existing affordable housing and promoting additional housing opportunities for our workforce and dwindling middle class. My vision includes well-funded educational institutions that reflect our commitment to lifelong learning. I hope we become a community where people will have shelter and access to necessary support services, so they do not need to live on our streets. I envision meeting the challenge of offering our youth hope and opportunity, so they can succeed in school and resist the lure of gangs. The future Santa Monica will be well served by public transportation with resulting reductions in traffic and pollution. I hope that someday we can enjoy quiet walks uninterrupted by the noise and pollution of jets utilizing Santa Monica Airport, and swim in a clean and healthy Santa Monica Bay.
I want to live the rest of my life here, in a diverse, livable city where personal opportunities and meaningful fulfillments are available to everyone, regardless of economic background. Protecting and enhancing the quality of life in Santa Monica starts with housing and schools. Although I’ve been working hard to manage development, unwise decisions from past decades have already overtaxed our traffic and other infrastructure in many parts of the city. This is why I fought hard and successfully to increase public and environmental review of development projects citywide. After two terms, I remain extraordinarily responsive to our residents and their concerns. I came to the Council as a community activist, and I have not lost my conviction that our city’s greatest resource is the people who live here. My commitment is to empower us in making decisions that affect our lives, not let economic forces drive the future of Santa Monica without respect for residents.
I propose an electronic online participatory interface, providing free wireless Internet access to create the world’s first electronic village. In these days of globalization, information exchange, corporate communication and insider trading, the economic expansion of corporate hegemony is attempting to take over world trade. The rate at which the Internet is exploding makes the information highway a powerful player. The Internet grew out of tax-subsidized research and liaisons between the military, scientific and academic communities. Microsoft, AOL and other cybercorps are taking over, but it should be returned to the people.
If elected, I would sponsor a telecommunications commission to implement making Santa Monica the first municipality in the world to be a totally free wireless Internet service provider, empowering the electorate to hold government accountable, audit the budget, expose corruption, incompetence and conflict of interest. We have an opportunity to change history forever. Imagine if this concept spread around the world, and the shared wisdom of humanity was applied to creating a “brave new world” of cooperation rather than competition… Think of it as evolution in action.
I will break down the barriers separating our community and make quality of life my top priority. I believe that our residents and visitors to our city should not fear aggressive panhandling, public intoxication and those who defile our parks and streets. I believe we must encourage our Police Department to fully enforce existing laws. Additionally, we must provide affordable for-sale housing to maintain our community’s essential diversity, offering it first to our fire, police and city workers. And finally, we must provide a safe, enriching educational environment for all our children. These are issues that will bring us together as communities rather than separate us.