Mayoral Candidate Paloma Aguirre

Imperial Beach Mayoral Candidate Question #1:

This week is your introductory piece … your “elevator pitch” if you will … “Why did you decide to run for the Imperial Beach City Council, and what do you offer that sets you apart from the other candidates?”

I’m running for IB Mayor because I care deeply for Imperial Beach and want to keep fighting for it. Whether it’s the sewage crisis, the housing crisis, or keeping our streets safe, we need someone who not only has the grit but the experience to take on these fights.

I am the candidate with the most experience. I have dedicated the last 17 years of my life fighting for cleaner beaches on behalf of IB. I’ve served on council for four years, representing all 27,000 of our residents. During my tenure on council, I have served on the San Diego Metropolitan System and Sandag Board of Directors. In 2021, I was selected from dozens of elected officials in the San Diego County area to serve as the San Diego Coast representative on the California Coastal Commission, a statewide agency dedicated to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations. I also bring congressional experience to the position, having worked for United States Senator Cory Booker in Washington D.C. My Masters in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, one of the leading centers for ocean and earth science research in the world. has equipped me with the legal, scientific, economic, and business skills to keep leading IB forward. I also bring professional experience having led coastal and environmental conservation programs in our region and in Imperial Beach. Serving as Imperial Beach’s council member has been the greatest honor of my life. As a first generation Mexican-American who fell in love with Imperial Beach back in 2003 while surfing its waves, I never would have imagined that today I would have the opportunity to serve as IB’s next Mayor.

We’ve made tremendous progress these last three years-particularly as we faced so much loss due to covid. We came together as a community and worked to bring help to those who needed it. I want to build on that momentum and work to address IB’s existential threats such as protecting the federal funding we secured for sewage infrastructure to help stop the sewage crisis, prioritize public safety including keeping our streets well lit, and increasing crosswalks, and, ensure a post-covid fair recovery for all IB residents, including addressing the housing crisis, helping small businesses, and protecting public health.

During my time on council, I worked to create the city’s first Housing Specialist. This new position helps landlords and tenants navigate regional and state rules, regulations, and assistance programs. This position also works in partnership with regional programs to help homeless people in IB find permanent housing. As Mayor, I want to expand the City’s Housing Department so that IB residents can have better access to these resources.

I also fought to help secure $300 million to expand the sewage treatment plant, which will reduce up to 60% of beach closure days starting in 2024. I also pressured Mexico to invest $140 million in repairs to the Punta Bandera wastewater treatment plant, which is currently dumping 40 million gallons of sewage per day and is primarily responsible for our summer beach closures. This fix will reduce IB’s summer’s beach closures by 95%. As Mayor, I will ensure we keep the pressure on Mexico to honor their commitment and I will advocate for additional federal and star resources to help us stop more sewage spills.

I supported the creation of a Parks and Rec Department in the City of Imperial Beach which supports programs for seniors, adults, and youth and will help build a stronger community with more family-friendly events and activities. Since the creation of the department, Parks and Rec staff have created events at IB’s parks such as “Movie in the Park”, “Día de los Niños/Children’s Day”, “Día de los Muertos”, and “Explore IB Parks”. These events provide free recreational and cultural opportunities, as well as resources for people of all ages. As Mayor, I will make sure we expand our programs and services to include teens and after school activities to help enrich their lives, socially, culturally, and physically.

In summary, I believe that my professional and educational background, combined with my deep passion for our community make me the best candidate to lead Imperial Beach into its next chapter. I hope I can count on your support.

Vol. 38, No. 40 - Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022

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