As a part of the 2022 election season, the Weekly requested candidates for a number of places of work to reply questions on a few of the points by electronic mail. Incumbent Steve McShane is operating for District 3 on Salinas Metropolis Council, in opposition to challenger Cary Swensen.
What are the largest points going through Salinas within the subsequent 4 years, and why are you one of the best candidate to deal with them?
The three largest challenges going through Salinas are reasonably priced housing, infrastructure (from our streets and sidewalks to seawater intrusion) and homelessness.
My 25 years of public service uniquely qualify me for main our metropolis via these challenges.
How usually do you at the moment attend Metropolis Council conferences? Do you suppose the present council is efficient?
I’m at nearly each assembly. I do know we will do higher. There was a significant shift of priorities amongst my colleagues that has impacted how successfully we work. What I can say is given our variations, I’ve labored exhausting to maneuver us ahead on points we agree on—specifically, parks and public areas, reasonably priced housing, and homelessness.
The Downtown Vibrancy Plan has been years within the making and it’s not simply on paper, however you possibly can see the adjustments within the streetscape and the neighborhood. Do you suppose the town did job on implementing this plan? What may have been finished higher?
The town did job receiving enter from stakeholders and planning for the longer term relating to the Downtown Vibrancy Plan. I’ve been a powerful supporter of the method and supported the funding. We’re actually reworking downtown into an space that enables life with out a automotive. I actually envision one thing that can be much more purposeful because the downtown grows and better residential improvement comes on-line.
With the Alisal Vibrancy Plan additionally within the works, are there any classes discovered you’d apply? What do you hope and consider is a sensible timeline to see that plan start to actually take impact now that SVSWA has closed the Solar Road Switch Station?
One of many largest classes we have now discovered is to price range further time for neighborhood enter. We’ve additionally discovered it’s key to interact the entire neighborhood within the course of, not simply political stakeholders. With the switch station gone, I feel we will see significant redevelopment within the subsequent 5 to seven years.
Salinas, like all native cities, is going through an bold housing creation goal. The town nonetheless has a RHNA obligation to zone for six,674 new housing items by 2031. What are you going to do to assist the town obtain that RHNA quantity, and to advance reasonably priced housing items particularly?
Throughout my time on Metropolis Council we’ve added 1,000 items, greater than 400 of that are reasonably priced. I’ve personally been concerned in two RHNA cycles as a member of the AMBAG Board. Salinas has made extra progress than any jurisdiction within the county. So long as we will clear the longer term progress space, we will be making a very significant impression in reaching extra items. Better of all, the longer term progress space will embrace trendy planning that features walkable communities, shared inexperienced house and transit-oriented housing. The longer term progress space can be earmarked for greater than 1,000 reasonably priced items!
By way of financial improvement, do you consider Salinas ought to pursue any explicit course? Is there extra alternative in ag tech? Would you wish to see an Amazon warehouse, for instance?
I assist increasing and diversifying financial alternatives within the metropolis. The third prong of affordability is employment alternative – nevertheless it must be alternative that advantages the town.
I’d wish to see extra packages for small companies to scale. This contains a big business kitchen, farmers markets and meals vehicles.
I’ve at all times believed in ag tech as effectively. I based the Salinas Valley Ag Tech Summit almost 10 years in the past and it continues to today. We’ve grown greater than 100 ag tech companies within the final 10 years and one was just lately acquired by John Deere for $500 million!
What ought to Salinas do about homelessness? What are your plans to deal with this concern?
Salinas can and should finish involuntary homelessness. I’m happy with our efforts to this point. We’ve opened drop-in facilities, hygiene facilities, street-based outreach and extra. I used to be an early supporter of Downtown Streets Workforce. The SHARE Heart has been one in every of our greatest successes providing wraparound companies together with assist with employment and transitional housing. Extra could be finished, together with coaching homeless outreach groups and dispatching a police officer who can construct relationships with service suppliers and the homeless neighborhood.
Do you suppose the police division is sufficiently funded, under-funded or is its price range bloated? What sort of adjustments would you wish to make, if any, to city-police division relations?
I consider the police division is under-funded, particularly relating to personnel. The fast enhance in break-ins and robberies has shaken residents throughout the town. Law enforcement officials not reply to automotive accidents until a private harm is concerned and can’t dedicate sources to recovering stolen gadgets. Public security is important for households to reside and companies to thrive in Salinas. Our first responders ought to have the sources they should be staffed appropriately for the wants of our rising metropolis.
Do you consider Salinas used its $54 million in ARPA funds successfully? What would you might have modified, if something, in regards to the allocation and course of for figuring out easy methods to allocate these funds?
I voted for our ARPA funding designation. It was an amazing instance of a democratic course of in motion that may lead to infrastructure, parks and funding in housing.
What ought to the town’s position be in pursuing regional water options?
Because the impacts of the Carmel River stop and desist order begin to have an effect on Peninsula companies and residents, coverage makers will proceed to look to the Salinas Valley. As Monterey One Water negotiates water agreements for the town’s wastewater, the Metropolis of Salinas wants to barter for extra illustration for Salinas and a heavier weighted vote for the town.
The town may companion with Pure Water Monterey to request an exemption to Ag Order 4.0 to make sure water from the Blanco Drain can proceed to circulate to the water recycling plan. With seawater intrusion threatening the town’s consuming water and drought affecting agricultural manufacturing and wash water, it’s critical to keep up a steadiness of wants to make sure water sustainability.
I’ve at all times supported a regional method to using recycled industrial wastewater for the advantage of Peninsula residents. I’ll proceed to advocate for regional collaboration to do extra. I am at the moment main an effort to put money into improved wastewater therapy in my district that may lead to an extra 1,000,000 gallons of doubtless recycled water per day. Salinas has an amazing deal to supply a regional water answer and I sit up for being part of the answer.
Do you suppose the town is doing sufficient to supply leisure alternatives and inexperienced house? Are there further steps the town ought to take to extend or enhance parkland?
We’ve 50 parks throughout our metropolis. As the daddy of a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old, I frequent them a number of instances every week. I’ve visited virtually all of them. I can say we do an amazing job given the restricted sources we have now. I’ll proceed to advocate for upgrades and extra parks staff. I am particularly happy with the 4 park employee positions we funded on this yr’s price range cycle.
I’m very enthusiastic about Carr Lake. I used to be an early supporter and stand able to allocate metropolis cash to bridge any funding hole within the proposed park and wildlife habitat venture.
Please price the efficiency of the town supervisor, the town legal professional and the police chief.
I price the town supervisor, metropolis legal professional and police chief very extremely. I discover every to be skilled and efficient. They’ve an inconceivable job that features implementing state laws, by no means having sufficient cash and balancing the wants and needs of every Metropolis Councilmember.
Who else are you supporting for Metropolis Council? For mayor?
I assist Kimbley Craig for mayor and Christie Cromeenes [for District 5] and Tony Barrera for Metropolis Council [uncontested incumbent in District 2].