Danny Chulack On the Issues
While the current crisis has brought us together, caused us to provide for the vulnerable in new ways, and increased our concern for public health, it has also shown us ways we need to improve. Project Roomkey housed those without homes in our community, but it was a temporary fix. We must learn from this pandemic and develop policies that help these vulnerable people groups year round, not just during this crisis. Additionally, we need to continue to support our small businesses in any way we can, while also not compromising the health and safety of our community. On the council, I will heed the advice of the county and state health officials. I will also ensure that the spirit of concern and care for our neighbor that has developed during the pandemic can be shifted into programs that help the vulnerable in the years to come, long after the virus is gone.
As a city with a historic care for our open space, trees, and native plants & animals, we must continue to ensure that the policies we enact protect the environment and lead in the fight against climate change. It is not enough to merely protect our trees and open space. If we are going to be a leader in caring for our environment, we have to actively target several areas of concern that, if left unaddressed, could be detrimental to our city and the future generations. We need to look to other cities that have led in these areas and learn from them. We need to continue the legacy of environmental care that the City of Thousand Oaks has had, and become a leader for other communities to follow.
While many are concerned about changing the feel of Thousand Oaks by adding new housing, there are groups that lack the privilege to be concerned about these conversations. For many young people, it is virtually impossible to afford housing in our city. With CLU and Moorpark College nearby, we need to ensure that students can live in the city. We additionally need to create housing solutions for our seniors and those without homes, two other groups that are left out by the city’s current housing predicament. Finally, we need to ensure that new housing projects will not have a negative environmental impact, or primarily benefit the developers that build them. Protecting our open space and finding solutions to the housing dilemma are not mutually exclusive. If elected, I will be a fierce advocate for protecting our open space and addressing the housing shortage.
Some communities more vulnerable to discrimination than others. Specifically, inaction in regards to the environment, economic opportunities, and public health continue to exacerbate these inequalities. We need to expand our view of the concept of “justice.” It is not merely funding the police department, nor is it merely providing social services to vulnerable communities. True justice looks like evaluating the sins of our past and learning from them. It involves listening to the voices of people of color and making policy changes based on those voices. Recently, the Black Lives Matter movement has shown us what it looks like to fight for change in our communities. We must listen to them to create a community that works for us all.
It is essential that we support our community by providing opportunities that connect us to one another, cause us to care for our neighbor, and enrich our lives with new perspectives and worldviews. Each person has their own unique struggles, and when we begin to listen to these struggles, it gives us the chance to grow our empathy. I plan to facilitate these opportunities on the council, as I personally have benefited every time I’ve experienced a culture that differed from my own. We will realize that we are more similar to our neighbors than we thought, and our differences are actually what make us stronger. This is the way we will move forward as a city.