Some of my thoughts
Improve the city's infrastructure. The condition of our streets
and water system particularly are not good. Frankly, the city does not have
the money to do much in these areas. Lomita operates very frugally, which is
a tribute to city councils over several years and to city management. Only
one city in the South Bay spends less per person overall than Lomita.
[Somewhat surprisingly, that city is Rancho Palos Verdes, which suffers from
a lack of commercial properties to provide sales tax. Most of the sales tax
generators on the peninsula are in Rolling Hills Estates.] The idea of taxes
such as a utility tax is simply not acceptable to me. Instead, let us work
to fill our empty storefronts and encourage businesses that can provide for
our local needs. In turn, that generates sales tax and other revenues that
pay for our infrastructure.
Encourage quality development, not quantity. Lomita has been
plagued by a number of poor developments, especially some of the poorly
designed apartment buildings the county approved in single family
neighborhoods prior to the city's incorporation. As a planning commissioner,
I have pushed developers to make their projects the best they can be within
the existing guidelines. At times, these guidelines are quite weak. As a
city council member, I would create higher development standards and work to
create a shared vision for our community that considers the needs of all
sectors of our community. Historic preservation should be part of the plan.
Encourage developments that will create a more walkable community with
local services. We should not need to drive to surrounding cities for so
many of our goods and services.
Support our sheriff's deputies and firefighters.
I have developed strong relationships with the Sheriff's Department and Fire
Department, working with them regularly (weekly at the least) on a number of
Seek regional solutions to regional problems such as traffic, education
and regional infrastructure. Lomita is not an island. We are a part of a
large metropolitan community. I have been active with the
South Bay Cities Council of
Governments (COG) for several years. The COG consists of fifteen cities
working together to solve shared problems. Council Member Susie Dever is
currently the chair, as was Mayor Ken Blackwood a few years ago. Because of
my work with the COG, I have strong relationships with elected officials in
surrounding communities. A few of them are listed on my
Enhance the Lomita Railroad Museum,
making it the centerpiece for revitalizing Narbonne Avenue and showcasing
Lomita's small-town heritage. My wife and I have been financial supporters
of the museum for years. There is nothing else like it closer than Griffith
Park (and our displays are in much better condition). Did you know that only
a small part of the collection at our museum is on display? The museum has
its own board that operates it and a foundation that raises money for it.
They have done a great job of getting things going to expand the museum.
Keep an eye out for good things happening there.
Support the city's recreation program. The staff at our parks is
wonderful. My sons have participated in a number of sports at Lomita park
and have always had caring and dedicated coaches who have taught them so
much. I would like to use park bond funds to relocate the existing county
maintenance yard, which is not compatible with a residential area in any
case, to expand the park. By the same token, I strongly support efforts to
maintain the Little League field on Western Avenue. There is simply not
enough recreation space in this region, especially space that gets as much
use as the Little League field.
Bring back local control over land use.
Sacramento has taken away much of our authority to regulate land use,
especially in the area of housing. Certain low income housing developments
cannot be denied by the city according to these laws, even if they are in an
inappropriate location or poorly designed for their residents. The result
has been a number of poor proposals that the city could not turn down.
Luckily, none of them has been built. Let's not rely on luck. On a related
matter, the city has little ability to turn down second units (so-called
granny flats), and the legislature tried last year to remove even that
authority. These are examples of heavy handed solutions from Sacramento that
encourage bad development and create conflict in our communities. I have
been active in opposing these types of policies for several years. As a
council member, I could have a greater impact, both with our own legislators
and through our regional associations.