Colleen Andersen On the Issues
Issue statements by candidates are quoted from public media statements either direct or edited for brevity.
Government transparency and accountability Our community’s voice is increasingly being eclipsed by consultants and committees. For example, though we’re 130,000 strong, our latest community survey was based on only 690 residents. Survey questions were chosen by a consultant, staff and city council. 2400 online respondents took the survey but weren’t included in the final report. I will improve community input capabilities and ensure the community determines Thousand Oaks' priorities and future.
Roster of issue priorities
Our City Council must treat these issues with the utmost urgency.
• Covid recovery
• Mandated housing priorities
• Public safety
Economic Covid-19 recovery
All candidates agree; we need to continue supporting and growing our biotech, startup and industrial sectors. But our small businesses need to be the focus of Covid recovery. As of July, City Council’s approved only $340,000 of Federal, not City, funds for small business loans. Incumbents brag about our $11M budget surplus, in case of another Covid-19 lockdown. Our small businesses can’t wait for another Covid lock down for assistance.
Development along Thousand Oaks Blvd. and Civic Arts Plaza
$1.25 million of mandated Development Investment funds from the 299 T.O. Blvd. project has been allocated to residential rent relief and arts non-profits. Rent relief and the arts are important. But the arts, rent relief and a revitalized downtown won’t matter much if we become a ghost town of closed small businesses. We need to launch a budget surplus small businesses recovery loan program now to help small businesses survive, recover and thrive.
Community Covid-19 Recovery
Our City Council and staff correctly point out we need to follow state and county directives. But our City Council isn’t precluded from being pro-active. They can use the City’s paid lobbyist and their own voices to press and pursue progressive, safe opening of our community as our status supports it. They can offer resources and support for our schools reopening. They can use City marketing funds for community businesses promotions and get us back to responsibly, safely, enjoying our city again.
We are fortunate to live in one of the safest cities in California. We need to continue to support and innovate with law enforcement, social and faith agencies, to reduce crime and meaningfully address homelessness, mental health and drug issues. Remote work and learning have shown many of us our cell, internet and emergency response services and procedures are not adequate. We need to prioritize updating them for safety, equity and quality of life. And we need to significantly expand fire prevention to include our open space. As we learned in the last fire, 100 feet of defensible space around our properties isn’t enough. It’s time for COSCA to be part of the fire prevention strategy.
Resolve the housing shortage and ensure quality of life
TO’s mandated housing requirements response is due fall 2021. We need to break housing off from the 2045 General Plan process and finalize it first. Exploit Covid-inspired vacancies to create pedestrian friendly, town square experiences and housing options -- for all ages and income levels in our style and character. Include competitive work+live functionality and lifestyle amenities, while preserving open space.
Invest in our youth
As a member of City Council I will support and expand the active involvement of our youth in improving our City and solving challenges. We must enable schools, businesses and the general community to expand social and occupational opportunities.