Santa Barbara County’s strong economy is facing new challenges. We must do more to provide better job opportunities for working families and help employers succeed. We need to create a County government that assists local business and supports entrepreneurship. I am pleased to have worked with local organizations like Women’s Economic Ventures to encourage and support local start-up businesses and to have developed the successful ACCELERATE program to cut red tape and make it easier to open a business in downtown Santa Barbara. As we face a national shift from traditional retail markets I will work with all stakeholders on the South Coast on a long-term plan to provide economic incentives that lead to the creation of head of household jobs that allow local workers to afford to live in our community. Working together we can encourage sustainable investment and make critically needed infrastructure improvements by welcoming and expanding economic development and job opportunities in all sectors.
The South Coast needs more affordable housing. Over 18,000 local workers are commuting from areas outside of the area every day adding to our traffic and congestion problems. I support new housing options for all economic levels near jobs and alternative transportation. No one community should bear the sole responsibility for providing all of the needed affordable housing. Mixed-use development, urban infill and small accessory units must all be part of a balanced solution to our housing shortage that respects neighborhoods and supports carefully-planned, sustainable new housing opportunities.
While last year’s rain eased the immediate drought we must continue to be responsible steward of our precious water resources. I am proud of my work to create one of the most diverse municipal water portfolios in the nation and to encourage our residents to conserve water. We must continue to look to the future and ensure that we have a safety net in place so that our community can continue to thrive while ensuring water security and environmental responsibility.
I have been a leader in regional efforts to create innovative, new alternative transportation options. In addition to working with employers to implement successful ride-sharing and other incentive programs, I helped MTD expand its zero-emission buses and increase regional transit. I led the City of Santa Barbara’s successful effort to secure a nearly $7 million state grant to build new crosstown bike lanes and have championed new safe pedestrian connections and safe routes to school all over the County. In the near future commuters can avoid congestion on the 101 by using new peak hour passenger train service connecting Ventura County to the south coast. We must continue to look for options to expand our environmentally friendly alternative transportation options.
Santa Barbara County and especially the Second District is an environmental jewel. From our pristine beaches and beautiful coastline, to our foothill mountain trails, the South Coast is filled with natural beauty and resources we all enjoy. I am proud of my work on the City Council to permanently preserve open spaces like the Douglas Family Preserve and the Arroyo Burro Open Space for public enjoyment and to have led the effort to clean up local creeks and beaches. I have been a strong champion for increasing recycling, providing local green energy and setting a 100% renewable energy goal for the City of Santa Barbara. I will continue to advocate for expanding fields, equipment, and opportunities for youth and adult recreation throughout the County. We must advance our environmental protection policies to keep our beaches, creeks and public places clean, safe and accessible for all.