Cheryl Heitmann On the Issues
Issue statements by candidates are quoted from public media statements either direct or edited for brevity.
Expanding our local businesses, infrastructure and skilled workforce are my top priorities. I have continued to assist in adding buildable land to the auto center/freeway retail area to provide expansion opportunities for growing business and attracting new sales tax generators. Our permitting and licensing requirements must be business-friendly. As chair of the council’s Economic Development Committee I have led efforts to re-energize the city’s business tech incubator and coordinated with regional groups to train our workforce for the challenges of a changing economy. I have worked with the Work Force Development Board, the VUSD’s Ventura Adult and Continuing Education and our community college to develop training for the workforce needed by our local employers. In addition, the tech incubator space, which I support, is a place for start-ups and a way to grow our own businesses.
A healthy city has a range of housing types to meet the needs of its residents and local businesses. I support an inclusionary housing ordinance as a way to allow developers to build higher end housing, while ensuring more low income housing. In coastal California there will always be greater demand and higher costs. A developer can either include the low-income housing in the development or pay an in-lieu fee. The city also needs more housing for the higher end worker. Businesses wishing to move to Ventura have to be assured that there is housing for all income levels. Zoning regulation is important so as to provide clear identification of residential vs commercial zones and where denser housing is appropriate.
Addressing homelessness, with State Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin’s help we have secured land for housing and supportive services for our homeless veterans. The Park Ambassador program I championed is a public/private partnership made possible through city leadership and cooperation with county agencies, VPD, local nonprofits, businesses and others. These partnerships provide a comprehensive, compassionate approach and have successfully transitioned more than 100 people off the streets and into supportive environments at minimal cost.
Ventura has one of the finest police and fire professionals anywhere. They need to grow as the population of Ventura increases. I am working to find sustainable funding to increase public safety now and into the future.
The natural resources that surround our city are our greatest asset and make it a very desirable place to live. Future generations and the health of our community are depending on good stewardship and vision today. I support the botanical gardens. the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy and the SOAR initiative. I am advocating for the protection and enhancement of our beaches at the local and state level. One of my top priorities is to protect and expand our water supply.
I supported Measure O. Our tax revenues were not keeping up with inflation, we basically balanced the city budget by deferring maintenance. The additional tax money stays in Ventura to support our fire and police departments; improve road and sidewalk maintenance; serve our local seniors with improved public transporation. [Measure O was passed in 2016, adding a 1/2 cent transportation and use tax for 25 years, and generated about $10 million per year]