Dougie Michie On the Issues
Issue statements by candidates are quoted from public media statements either direct or edited for brevity.
Public Safety – Police & Fire Departments
Having worked with police officers and sheriff’s deputies as a former L.A. County prosecutor, I am against enacting policies that would put our officers in danger if implemented. I will not blindly adopt Campaign Zero, nor the 8 Can’t Wait prescriptions, many of which would endanger our officers in the field.
I am absolutely against defunding the police department. I oppose the recent proposal to cut additional positions from the Police Department and from the Fire Department. If we want to maintain our public safety, we can’t do it by reducing positions. Instead, all authorized police positions must be filled, and all authorized firefighter positions must be filled as well.
I am tired of the impact on quality of life by those homeless that have drug problems and mental illness. By doing nothing, we are not helping these homeless. Meanwhile, the strange behavior, and sometimes aggressive behavior, is allowed to go unchecked, and we have to endure that behavior.
The Ventura Police Department wants to address this problem by Enhance Patrol Task Force (PTF) coordination with County Behavioral Health and social service stakeholders and by utilizing enhanced patrol officers in public areas. They would also reinstitute gang prevention and intervention programs and focus on habitual offenders. I am all for these strategic goals of our police department. And I support filling all positions so as to provide the police department with the means to implement their plan to address the homeless.
For those families that are homeless because of finances, the ARCH by Mercy House is a great resource. By helping get these families off the street and back on their feet we all benefit. I support ARCH and mental health and drug addiction intervention to help and reduce our homeless population and to win back our streets.
The Ventura City Council took it upon themselves to order the removal of Fr. Serra’s statue, as they felt he was offensive under current ethnic beliefs. This cancel culture must stop. If elected I will insist on a ballot measure to vote the fate of Father Serra’s statute.
Ventura’s Community Development Planning Department has lost sight of its mission. Its unexplained delays are allowed to take place with no apparent oversight. There is no reason to add tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of dollars to the cost of building housing or making a business improvement because of an underperforming department that causes businesses to face delays and roadblocks. I support nearly all the recommendations of the Matrix Report.
Projects that provide needed housing should be fast tracked, not delayed. We must streamline our Planning Department so that property owners are treated fairly, they are not required to go through numerous hearings, and their applications are not lost for years waiting for the department to take action on them.
Water & Net Zero
Because new building cannot produce its own water, all new building is assessed yet another fee – the Net Zero fee. The price of housing in Ventura is so high that I doubt that, when they are ready to become homeowners, that my children could ever afford a house here. There is no basis for the exorbitant fees placed on new residential housing by Net Zero. Moreover, in these times of financial stress on business and property owners, fees should be lowered, not raised.
Not only is Net Zero forcing our children to move out of Ventura, but it is discouraging businesses from locating and building here. We are losing the tax revenue that these businesses could generate, as well as the jobs they could bring to our city.
How can we attract more tourists, who visit, spend and leave with no demand on schools and other services, if high fees prevent more quality dining, shopping, recreational and cultural opportunities from being created? We are losing hotel and sales tax revenues from tourism, because high fees are discouraging new businesses and hotels from opening. Net Zero fees should be eliminated, or at least reduced. Let’s save $300 million dollars and NOT activate our state water allocation at this time.
No Tax Increases
With a shortage of funds coming in as a result of the COVID restrictions on business, the wrong answer is to increase taxes on those same businesses and employees. I am adamantly opposing to increasing taxes once again. I will oppose any and all proposals to increase taxes on Ventura’s citizens.
We all choose to live in Ventura because it is beautiful. I support SOAR and I will protect our open spaces and agricultural resources. But because growth is unavoidable, rather than taking an ostrich approach to growth, I will plan for growth.
We should take a lesson from the countries of Europe. Rather than subdividing and paving over our productive fields, growth must be up – not out. By having a more walkable/cyclable city, we can limit traffic trips and protect our air quality. I support smart growth and the mixed-use of property.
Housing and Zoning
The City should reexam its past exclusionary zoning policies. Why does the south part of town only have light industrial uses? Why can’t neighborhoods develop there that will provide new areas for affordable housing? And why should multi-family apartments be exclusionary zoned to only a handful of areas in the city? By mixing housing uses in neighborhoods, a more dynamic sense of community can be developed.
If a business cannot profitably operate in its property, then the city should allow a residential use. We must reduce restrictive zoning codes so that residential properties can also accommodate some retail and commercial uses.
I have a PhD in Urban Planning. I am well versed on issues that can develop in the updating of our General Plan. It is critical that the General Plan be transparent and easily locatable by all interested residents. Everyone should be given the opportunity to provide their input into the plan.
I am not excited by the idea of increased traffic, increased population – growth. But since growth is inevitable, I support the growth going up and not out. But density will increase. Let’s deal with it, rather than stick our heads in the sand. If we don’t plan for growth, I guarantee that the state will do it for us.
I am a smart growth advocate and believe that exclusionary zoning has done more harm to the physical structure of Ventura than good. High density and mixed-use development should be encouraged throughout the plan to prevent even more subdivisions, and to stop productive fields and orchards from being paved over.