What do you see as the three most important (long term or short term) issues facing the City of Imperial Beach?
COVID pandemic recovery, housing affordability, and cross-border sewage polluting the Tijuana River Valley and our beaches. These are the three most important short and long-term issues facing Imperial Beach.
In last week’s IB Eagle & Times OpEd, I laid out the case for why we’re making progress on the cross-border sewage problem, and why after going to Washington DC to lobby Congress to include $300 million for us to build the projects necessary to stop the pollution, I believe we must use that money to execute the plan we’ve already developed. We know what will work, now we have the political will and money to do it.
In these candidate OpEd’s, I’ve also addressed housing in Imperial Beach. None of us want to dramatically alter the beach community quality of life we all enjoy. I believe the housing unit number assigned to Imperial Beach through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment from the San Diego Association of governments is too high. But, Imperial Beach is not only defined by our geographic location, it is also defined by the people, the families of this community.
Last week I spoke to one of our neighbors. He mentioned that he bought a home here 25 years ago, and didn’t understand why the community should give way to some new housing. My answer is quite simple: the reason we all get to live here is because someone, decades ago, made way for homes to be built that allowed people the opportunity to live here, like our neighbor who asked the question. There were voices then, who objected to allowing new housing, because they worried then about community character. But people then understand, as I believe now, that the community can’t reinvigorate itself - we cannot strengthen the ties which bind us - if we don’t allow the opportunity for kids who grow up here, to build their life and plant their roots here as well. I want to make sure they are given the same opportunity as before that allowed all of us to live here.
Our business recovery, while keeping the public safe during the COVID pandemic, is our most immediate issue to solve. You can see some of our efforts when you see restaurants allowed to move outdoors where it is safer to dine. We’re going to keep making those things easier. And we’re going to keep pushing for financial support to the small businesses that make our community vibrant, like we did when issuing nearly $150,000 in payroll support. And we’re working with the County of San Diego to improve COVID “test and trace” strategies for our residents, so that when some of us are exposed, we can make sure to get tested quickly and alert our neighbors that they need to be tested as well.
These are the three areas I believe are our most pressing needs in the short and long-term. I’m proud that we’re already working to solve them. I’m proud to have led on the solutions, and it’s my promise that we won’t rest until they are solved.
If you haven’t returned your ballot, you may do so by dropping it off between 10AM and 4PM (and 7AM to 8PM on November 3rd) at the Imperial Beach Branch Library from now through Election Day.
I’m Councilmember Mark West and I’m running for IB District 2. I hope I’ve earned your support.