Jobs and Economic Development
From Upper State Street to Milpas, I understand the importance of working with local entrepreneurs and business leaders to create jobs and foster economic development. As Mayor, I will continue my work to make Santa Barbara a wonderful place to do business, shop and play locally, and earn a living wage while raising a family. Our City prospers when we maintain the strength of our property values through clean and safe neighborhoods as well as attractive public spaces -- our shoreline and downtown -- that both visitors and locals can enjoy. I maintain close contact with businesses in the Westside district and provide outreach to downtown businesses regarding issues such as smoking regulations and homelessness. I support organizations like Visit Santa Barbara and Hospitality Santa Barbara to promote tourism and business growth because when local businesses succeed, our community succeeds.
I will work to protect the unique character of our neighborhoods and support beautification and improvement projects all over the City. I have helped create neighborhood watch programs and am active with the Neighborhood Advisory Council on efforts such as increasing pedestrian lighting. To make our streets more safe, I will work closely with Public Works staff and neighborhood associations to identify areas needing traffic engineering or speeding enforcement solutions. Implementing our Bicycle Master Plan and enhancing public bus service are priorities for me, and I will continue to work with groups such as the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation to build community support. In addition to these issues, I am an avid supporter of our city libraries, especially reading programs for children and teens. Our neighborhoods benefit from robust after-school activities, and libraries provide those safe spaces. I am also an active supporter of the Santa Barbara Unified School District's A-OK after-school enrichment program, having developed relationships with district staff and school board members over the years.
Facing an unprecedented drought, we must continue to take deliberate steps to combat this crisis. I carefully studied and considered the re-commissioning of the City's desalination plant to ensure long-term water supplies, along with attention to subsurface intake and use of renewable power. We must also forge positive relationships with other jurisdictions sharing in Cachuma Reservoir supplies and work to implement environmentally, economically-sound solutions. In terms of water conservation, I applaud our residents for extraordinary careful use of water, and thank city staff for their commitment to helping Santa Barbara families make their households water smart. In the community, I have supported the work of Sweetwater Collaborative and the Youth Drought Project, both of which promote rainwater capture and infiltration, drought resistant landscaping, and potable water reuse.
Public Health and Safety
Under my leadership on City Council, overall crime rates in Santa Barbara are down, with gang crime down 75 percent. I founded the Pro-Youth Movement, a community forum empowering youth and families with a focus on gang prevention. We have hired a new police chief, who brought with her a community policing focus that earns trust and maximizes public safety. I have consistently voted for funding to hire the optimal number of police officers, with direction to fully staff our restorative policing team that works to get homeless people off the street. Helping disadvantaged and vulnerable populations raises the quality of life for everyone. I initiated an increase in Human Services funding, which helped low-income seniors and children, victims of domestic violence, and the mentally ill. We must also find ways to support the Rental Housing Mediation Program, which protects the interests of both landlords and tenants.
Protecting Our Environment
As chair of the Community Choice Energy Committee and member of the Council’s Sustainability Committee, I am a strong advocate for protecting our environment and moving Santa Barbara toward renewable energy independence. I worked closely on the Climate Change Action Plan that identified ways to reduce future carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions in our community. I have worked to prevent development of property that is now the Arroyo Burro Open Space, and led a successful effort to ban single-use plastic bags in Santa Barbara reducing pollution and protecting our marine environment. I am a strong advocate for steelhead trout, leading meetings about water diverted from Mission Creek via Mission Tunnel in an effort to address this endangered species challenge. As your Mayor, I will encourage community and council dialogue on ways in which Santa Barbara can become a more environmentally friendly city.
Developing working relationships with neighboring communities is critical to the success of our own. I am active in several regional decision-making bodies on the Central Coast and will work to strengthen these relationships. We share roads and highways, as well as water sources. We all have a stake in the health and beauty of our ocean and coastline. Political differences must not keep our cities and county from collectively striving toward the common goal of creating more jobs and prosperity for the Santa Barbara region. I will work each day to coordinate with neighboring jurisdictions and regional groups to tackle issues such as housing, youth safety, air quality, homelessness, coastal protection, water supply reliability, public transit, and economic development.