Christy Weis On the Issues
Issue statements by candidates are quoted from public media statements either direct or edited for brevity.
[Note—this assessment was made pre-pandemic] Ventura has the highest number of small businesses in the county. Our sales-tax revenues are increasing at the highest rate in the county. Businesses such as the Trade Desk , Patagonia, Hishmeh Enterprises, Community Memorial Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente provide quality jobs. The Trade Desk, which has grown from a few employees in the city’s Incubator space to a billion-dollar publicly traded company, is a good example of the impact of quality of life on attracting and retaining business. Ventura is a desirable place to locate a business because employees enjoy living and working here. Our downtown has become a vibrant hub for innovative and creative businesses such as DuPuis Group, an international design firm, and many unique restaurants and shops. The Market Street area is attracting many food-related businesses, in addition to the many successful construction-related businesses. Sales at the Ventura Auto Center are up and hotel occupancy and room rates have risen to record levels.
Challenges include an increase in drug use, which results in more burglaries and car thefts as well as violent crime. We no longer have a Gang Task Force, which makes it more difficult to investigate and prevent gang-related crime. Our Fire Department’s responsibilities include emergency medical response. A large percentage of their calls for service are for homeless individuals who need medical attention but refuse long-term care, so the result is many repeat calls for the same health problems.
Ventura is a desirable place to live and there is a constant demand for new housing. However, it is crucial that we consider the serious constraints we have on new development — increased traffic, decrease in our water supply and impacts on quality of life in existing neighborhoods. We need to carefully manage our growth to ensure that new housing development does not replace existing industrial or commercial uses that provide jobs, that higher density projects are compatible with surrounding homes, and that future demand for water is balanced with our supply. Every city needs a balance of housing to meet the needs of individuals and families, from very low-income to high-income. In Ventura, we have a healthy variety of housing, from small apartments to large single-family homes. Our General Plan states, and I support that “We desire to grow slowly and sustainably,” and that we need a “range of housing types.”
Streets need to be well-paved and clean, for safety and appearance. Sidewalks and landscaping need to be upgraded and maintained. Historical buildings should be preserved and renovated to remind us of the importance of Ventura’s heritage. New buildings should conform to strict quality and design standards, to enhance the beauty of our natural setting. There should be limits on “high density” and mixed use development to prevent over-urbanization. Keeping our oceanfront promenade in good condition is an ongoing challenge, as erosion from high tides and storms increases.
Police and fire services are the city¹s core services and should continue to work together to maintain our public safety. Developers should be required to plan for parks and bike paths in future building proposals. More attention should be paid to attracting tourism through marketing, as well as making our downtown and harbor areas more attractive to tourists through attracting more quality dining, shopping, recreational and cultural opportunities. Hotel and sales tax revenues from tourism bolster the city’s economy, benefiting all residents.
Ventura is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that benefit our residents every day — mountains, rivers, coastline and rich agricultural land. Stewardship of these resources is a primary responsibility of our citizens and our government, as we carefully balance economic growth with the preservation and enhancement of our environment. I am committed to protecting open space, greenbelts and orchards. Minimizing coastal erosion is a top priority because the coastline is our biggest environmental, economic and recreational asset. I have also been involved in the Ventura River Parkway project, which is creating public access to our beautiful river and removing invasive arundo and trash from the river bottom. The river ecosystem is gradually returning to its natural state, as illegal encampments and debris are removed. I support the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy, which owns and preserves several sections of the Ventura River and whose goal is to preserve and make publicly accessible thousands of acres in our hillsides.
I supported a “net zero” policy for new development, requiring them to provide water or pay an in-lieu fee which will be used for new sources of water. Growth management policies prioritize development projects that are of most benefit to our community so we do not jeopardize our long-term water sufficiency by allowing unsustainable urban growth.