Congrats to Jack Fisher and Mathew Leyba-Gozalez on their election to the Imperial Beach City Council to represent Districts 2 and 4 respectively. This was the first time that voters had the opportunity to vote for district-level council candidates in Imperial Beach and it provided the candidates a greater opportunity to walk their districts, talk to constituents (safely!) and see and hear about the issues in each of their districts. I have met with Jack and Mathew since their election and am looking forward to their swearing in ceremony next week on Dec. 9. Both are champions of pragmatic community and constituent based policies and I know they will both serve Imperial Beach and their district residents extremely well.
I would also like to thank the two outgoing council members Bobby Patton and Mark West for their exemplary service to the City of Imperial Beach and our residents. Bobby and I first met on the beach back in 1977 and later worked together as Imperial Beach Lifeguards. He leaves a lasting legacy for his advocacy for our kids and families as well as outstanding leadership on issues related to protecting our beach. Bobby helped to develop the very successful Junior LIfeguard Program in Imperial Beach and was a key player in helping to get the State of California to provide millions of dollars for the new Mar Vista High School swimming pool that is slated to start construction next summer. There was also no one else that did more to support our Public Safety staff--Sheriff’s, Lifeguards and Firefighters, and for that we should all be thankful. I wish Bobby and his wonderful family all the best.
Mark West has been a relentless advocate for our local businesses, neighborhoods and our coastal environment over the past four years (and before). Over the past year especially Mark has played a key role in securing funding for the business community for COVID-19 relief as well as working with city staff and business owners to attempt to make sure we could have flexible opening requirements so that establishments could stay open during the roller coaster of openings and closings that we have experienced. It was Mark’s close relationship with Congressman Mike Levin that helped to secure the $300 million in congressional funding to clean up the Tijuana River. Additionally, his longtime friendship with Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, in addition to the strong support of Supervisor Cox, helped to get the County to allocate funding for daily water testing in Imperial Beach. That results in quicker closures and quicker openings as well. Mark is a relentless optimist who whether he was getting murals painted all over the City or visiting businesses impacted by COVID-19, always put others ahead of himself. As a former Naval officer I hope that Mark enjoys fair winds and following seas as he continues his life of public service and environmental action.
Another longtime supporter of Imperial Beach, Supervisor Greg Cox, will be stepping down from a lifetime of public service. Over the last few decades, Supervisor Cox has been a big advocate for our little beach town. We owe him a big thank you for our beautiful County-funded ocean-themed library as well as for his very prominent role in advocating for cleaning up the Tijuana River. Supervisor Cox continually pushed to make sure we had adequate funding for water quality testing in Imperial Beach and was responsible for the Bayshore Bikeway. Supervisor Cox will be missed but not forgotten. I am confident that Supervisor-elect Nora Vargas will do a superb job of advocating for Imperial Beach and the entire South Bay.
Finally, I was elated to see that Proposition I received over 70% of the vote that will allow the City of Imperial Beach to safely and responsibly support public safety. It is clear that we must continue to prioritize clean and safe streets and neighborhoods and make sure we have adequate levels of staffing for our Sheriff’s, Lifeguards and Firefighters. We must also expand our efforts to keep Imperial Beach as one of the lowest crime rate cities in the County. Additionally we must invest in programs and facilities that support our kids, families and seniors. Nothing is more important than supporting improving the quality of life for all in Imperial Beach.