Q: When’s the last time you contacted your electeds? What was the issue you reached out on?
A: A few weeks ago, I urged Council to mandate wearing masks in public, including the streets, so we can bring the virus under control as Cal Poly and Cuesta students return to our community.
Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were a child?
A: A teacher, and that came true! I taught English in the Community College and now teach for San Luis Obispo College of Law.
Q: What is the biggest misconception others have about you?
A: Because I am soft spoken and kindhearted, they may think I am weak. Being underestimated is my secret weapon!
Q: For you, what’s the best part about living in SLO?
A: Knowing so many wonderful people.
Q: If you had a campaign theme song, what would it be?
A: History has its Eyes on You from Hamilton.
Q: Who has the best breakfast burrito in town?
A: Taco Temple.
Q: Knowing what we know now, would you have wanted to handle the city’s COVID response any differently and in what ways?
A: I urged Council to mandate wearing masks in public, including the streets, so we can bring the virus under control and restart the economy.
Q: Are there any changes you’d like to make to the City’s Climate Action Plan? If so, how?
A: I spearheaded the City’s first Climate Action Plan and support the current update. I would accelerate the implementation timetable. Climate Change is the existential threat to our species and the planet. I have been fighting to counter it for decades.
Q: Do you support Measure G? Why or why not?
A: Yes, I support sales tax Measure G-2020. During this pandemic and the consequent economic collapse, SLO City needs these revenues to continue to deliver the high quality of civic services that our community expects and deserves. Not only will it keep us in line with regional competitors, but it also will provide long term benefits expanding and preserving open space, supporting vital community programs, as well as securing road improvements and implementation of our Climate Action Plan. It will also support emergency response, homeless services and small business recovery. it is important to understand that with this sales tax measures, visitors to our fair city pay their fair share for the amenities they enjoy while here.
Q: With Black Lives Matter movements taking place across the nation and here in SLO, how do you propose to promote racial equality locally?
A: I support the Black Lives Matter movement, as long as it is nonviolent. The City of SLO has recently launched a Diversity Initiative, which I support. Our City would be enriched tremendously by greater diversity. As a white majority City, SLO needs to be extra vigilant in safeguarding the rights of people of color, make sure our Police are not engaging in racial profiling, as well as give greater support to Cal Poly and Cuesta students, faculty and staff from big cities who may feel culturally isolated here. By increasing the supply affordable housing, the City could help make a difference in diversifying our population. I personally am educating myself to be a better ally. I belong to the NAACP and Diversity Coalition. This is beyond the authority of the City, but it would be great if SLO had at least one Black music and food venue again, as it did back in the day.
Q: What do you think is the city’s role in attracting more diverse, young professionals to live and work in SLO? What can the City do better?
A: The pandemic makes getting the economy back on track and increasing head of household jobs the most effective way to attract more diverse young professionals to our City. I will work with business, manufacturing, and nonprofit sectors to update SLO’s 2015 Economic Development Strategic Plan, as well help develop effective regional strategies to increase workforce housing. I support policies which allow local hiring, so salaries are spent locally. I will advocate expansion of highspeed broadband and microgrids to make us an even more powerful entrepreneurial and high tech center.
Q: Do you believe adding density to the downtown core is one of the tools to help alleviate our housing crisis? What other tools should the City implement to make SLO a more affordable place to live?
A: Yes, adding density to the Downtown, so that it becomes a real neighborhood, is an important tool. However, SLO City should never look like “anyplace USA”, even at build out in 10 years. We should continue to develop within our Urban Reserve Line, expand our Open Space Greenbelt and never sprawl out into neighboring farmland. This means accepting more density. As stated in the General Plan, “San Luis Obispo will maintain its healthy and attractive natural environment valued by residents, its prosperity, and its sense of safety and community, within a compact urban form.” Besides continuing to protect our cultural and historical heritage, especially in the Downtown, we should encourage creative and energy efficient architecture, extend broadband, build more affordable neighborhoods, improve alternate transportation and maintain our infrastructure.
Q: How will you integrate the concerns of U40’s into your decision making process? What is your experience with mentoring or amplifying the voices of younger generations?
A: I encourage U40’s to speak out and speak up. On Council, I have made a point of recruiting qualified young people to serve on Advisory Bodies. It is understood that yours is a very impacted demographic. What with fighting the pandemic, building careers, often raising families, and wanting to explore the world and have adventures, there may not be a lot of extra time to volunteer for the City. Nonetheless, shooting an email or phoning your concerns are important ways to communicate your concerns.
Q: What is one of the biggest challenges SLO faces over the next decade and what are some ways to address it?
A: Outside of curbing COVID and recovering from this shock economically, SLO’s biggest challenge is how to increase environmental stewardship while embracing new technologies. Given Climate Change, our quality of life depends on protecting and preserving our natural resources, including open space, air quality, and clean water. Encouraging more renewable energy projects not only protects the environment, but importantly also creates head of household jobs. SLO should work harder to become a net zero City, facilitate microgrids and create incentives for electric cars and bicycles, storage batteries and charging stations. The City must do all it can to protect residents against blackouts, given our increasing dependence on air conditioning and dependence on electronic communication. Meeting this challenge successfully will make SLO thrive sustainably.