Platform: A Voice for…
I am committed to advocating for the needs of our residents and business community. Solvang’s charm shines through not only its architecture, but through its diverse residents, organizations, and home-grown businesses. We live a car ride away from large cities, yet we enjoy idyllic hills and countryside, and friendly ties with our neighbors as a small town. As most of our economic growth depends on out-of-town visitors, we face the challenge of helping our businesses thrive, while at the same time protecting our sense of community. City officials must help our community by putting the needs and wishes of our residents and businesses first. There is no better resource for learning about what Solvang needs than the people that live and work here. This includes families, workers, youth, and people of color.
In order to make sure our voices are heard, I can be easily reached by phone, email, or social media. I will advocate for a welcoming and respectful atmosphere at city council meetings and workshops where residents can voice their concerns. I will always bring up such concerns in the decision-making process.
I want to improve the engagement of our community members and city management by nurturing relationships between the public and resident staff & officials. We all need to have a voice in order for a democracy to work. We all need to be heard to shape a better tomorrow. We must communicate to understand our needs and wants as city residents. As a council member, I want to make sure we are making every effort to keep the public engaged on city topics, and give everybody a chance for input when making decisions. Projects involving large developments that affect our businesses and residences should always come with workshops with opportunity for public input and comment. Consultants hired for overseeing and studying projects should take into consideration the wishes of those that work and live here, and not just a projected dollar amount.
I want to bring back a relationship between the local Chamber of Commerce and the City of Solvang, so that local businesses are properly informed of events, developments, and opportunities for input and collaboration. We currently have no long-term agency that promotes tourism, nor a visitor’s center that can assist visitors to better plan their stay in Solvang. I want to make sure that as we come up with solutions to these needs, that locals have a chance to collaborate with these organizations.
The City Council and staff are trusted with its residents tax dollars. As city officials, we should be transparent about how we spend the city’s time, resources, and money to make our community better now, as well as the future. Nobody should be treated with disdain or disrespect when asking how we are spending the city’s resources, and we should be relying on the expertise of knowledgeable staff to make the best decisions we can make.
This year, the City’s budget was dramatically impacted by Covid-19, and thus many staff members were let go. While fiscal responsibility is important, we can’t ignore the fact that we need resident staff, and not just consultants, that are familiar with local issues and history that can advise the City Council. Contracting interim positions and out of town firms to do jobs that are best performed by local expertise does not save us money in the long term, as uniformed, short-sighted measures can be costly. If consultants and firms are needed, the public should know how much money is spent on them, and what their value to our community is.