I consider public safety the top priority for the City. Thanks to our police department, San Diego is one of the safest big cities in the country. As a city, crime has dropped 3% and average call wait times have dropped to 3 seconds from more than 15 seconds. I have worked with neighborhood leaders to create over 50 Neighborhood Watch groups, and developed the Designated Online Transaction Space (D.O.T.S.), a convenient and public meeting place that can be used for carrying out or completing an online or private sale.
We need to continue to find innovative solutions to recruit and retain quality police officers. Despite reduced crime and call wait times, we are still over 200 officers short of our needs. These officers are needed to help develop personal relationships between our police department and neighborhoods that make San Diego a leader in Community Oriented Policing.
Our fire department has made tremendous gains. Last year alone, our firefighters responded to over 156,000 calls and put out nearly 6,000 fires. By next year, our department will be fully staffed and we are on schedule to open 4 new fire stations in the city.
As Chair of the City’s Public Safety Committee, it is my goal to ensure our police officers and firefighters have the resources and tools they need to keep our neighborhoods safe.
Jobs & Economy
San Diego has an incredibly diverse economy lead by innovative life sciences and technology companies, the military, tourism and our vibrant small businesses. District 6 transcends these pillars of our economy and it is important that the City play a leadership role in ensuring that businesses are able to grow and expand. With more than 75,000 individuals unemployed in the region, it is critical that we foster an environment in which businesses both small and large have the tools necessary to employ residents.
As a former small business owner, I understand that our small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Every day they have to deal with regulatory burdens and higher costs of doing business. I’m proud that during my time in office, the City Council passed my legislation that eliminated costly permitting fees and burdens for San Diego’s 35,000 home-based businesses.
San Diego is also home to more than 100 breweries and has gained an international reputation as the nation’s craft beer tourism capital behind numerous innovative and award-winning ales and lagers. In 2015, San Diego based breweries and brewpubs generated $851 million in sales and employed more than 4,50 workers.
In District 6, craft breweries and brewpubs generated more than $70 million in economic impact. These establishments produced more than $100 million in sales and supported 638 jobs, or about 10% of county’s total for craft brew employment and sales. To promote our local breweries, I developed D6beer.com to give residents and visitors and easy way to visit these breweries.
Roads and Infrastructure
The poor condition of our streets, sidewalks, water mains and sewer pipes are easily noticed by anyone traveling across the district. As the physical condition of our neighborhoods has declined, so too has our ability to financially keep open library, park and recreation facilities for our children and neighbors. City Hall is now paying attention and making these critical investments in our infrastructure. While the problem will not be solved overnight, we must prioritize projects most critical to improving the quality of life for our neighborhoods.
In 2016 in District 6, we repaired over 70 miles of streets, nearly 13,000 square feet of sidewalk, and filled nearly 13,000 potholes. We’ve also been able to invest in senior and children’s facilities, including a nearly $400,000 investment in the Mira Mesa Senior Center to get a new roof, air conditioning unit, and security.
In addition, my office has allocated nearly $50,000 to support the Balboa, Clairemont, North Clairemont, Mira Mesa, and Rancho Peñasquitos branch libraries. We have been able to partner with the San Diego Library Foundation to supplement these dollars with donor contributions, further providing resources to these libraries that support District 6 families.
Our neighborhood libraries, recreations centers, and senior centers are safe havens for our residents. The programs and services offered at these facilities keep kids off the streets, and allow for our seniors to remain active.
In District 6, we have been able to increase the number of hours recreation centers are open to over 60 hours. This past year, our recreation centers offered 280 programs for local residents.
The same can be said of our libraries. District 6 library hours are now open 53 hours a week, offer more than 3,500 programs each year, and nearly 820,000 books are checked out annually.
We’ve also worked to keep the Clairemont Senior Center open when it was on the brink of shutting down, and now has a new operator providing services to our most vulnerable population.
As a product of the public school system, I believe all children in San Diego deserve the opportunity for a quality education. It is up to all of us to ensure our elected school board members are being held accountable for the decisions they make. Our goal should be to work toward increasing student proficiency in math and reading, and close the large achievement gap in San Diego schools.
Our kids deserve better.
That is why I drafted the Reform Our School Board ballot measure. The Reform Our School Board ballot measure will give more power to voters within the San Diego Unified School District by requiring:
District-only elections: The current system requires candidates to run twice: first in their own district in the Primary Election, and then citywide in the General Election. The result is that a candidate nominated by district voters could lose in the General Election to a less successful local candidate with more resources and who is supported by special interests. District-only elections place the power to choose board members squarely in the hands of the local communities they represent.
School board term limits: Stable leadership is important, but when politicians make the school board a career, they can lose touch with the families they are supposed to represent. That’s why the Reform Our School Board ballot measures establishes a limit of two four-year terms – 8 years total – which allows for stability and continuity of leadership, while balancing the benefits of new leaders with fresh ideas and energy.
It is imperative that residents throughout the district have a voice and are engaged in the decisions that impact their neighborhood. This means interacting with neighbors, participating in important discussions at town councils, planning groups and community meetings and understanding the value of communicating with government and elected officials. We must recognize that our neighborhoods are each unique and we must make it easier for residents to obtain data and have the resources available to participate in government.
Since I took office less than four years ago, my office has worked with neighborhoods to create more than 50 Neighborhood Watch groups. Neighborhood Watch programs are one of the most effective crime prevention programs in the nation. It brings citizens and law enforcement together to deter crime and make our communities safer.