Will Berg On the Issues
Issue statements by candidates are quoted from public media statements either direct or edited for brevity.
Small businesses need to be well-served and welcomed by the city. Small business has not felt appreciated, much less welcomed by the city. I support expedited permitting, restructured business licensing and more flexible land use regulations. We need to generate tax revenues, but they need to be sustainable to the employer. I think working with the business community to organically grow strategies that works for the city and business community is the opportunity we need to pursue for a more prosperous future. Port Hueneme’s most precious natural resource is its residents. A 2016 economic impact report by an expert firm, Martin Associates, identified 413 Hueneme residents are directly employed at the Port. Rather than attacking these job-generating entities, the city must partner with them to create even more opportunities.
The economic health of our communities can’t exist without a safe environment. Standard public safety formula calls for 1.5 officers per 1,000 residents. Utilizing this would result in 33 officers for the city of Port Hueneme. As officers take vacation or are otherwise unavailable for service the remaining officers must take on more hours to cover shifts. Excessive overtime hours wears down our police department. Our police department has increasingly become a responding department rather than the proactive department which they were initially trained to be. Newer, more modern equipment, including police dogs, must be incorporated into response programs. State and federal security grant programs available to the Port and Homeland Security teams can be collaboratively pursued to fulfill this need. We should also manage the city’s lifeguard program under the Police Department.
Communities are judged by how they treat those most vulnerable, young and old. Our city ignores our seniors. I am against rental agreements that name the tenant responsible for cleaning work. The city must take more responsibility for maintaining all city-owned and -managed properties. We need to take a hard look at our housing policies. Housing prices in Port Hueneme are the lowest in the county, while we watch housing prices boom throughout Southern California.
Of utmost importance is our pristine beach resource. This calls for a proactive, not reactive, strategy. We must pursue partnerships with all the players engaged in the bi-annual beach re-nourishment project to ensure we do not lose this precious resource to erosion.
Water issues driven by the drought pose very real challenges. Solutions need to be found by collaborating with our sister communities, the Metropolitan Water District through the Calleguas Water District and the state. Prior to our drought, no finer water could be found in the tri-counties than at Port Hueneme. We need to take a good look at formulas for segregating blended drinking water from other (outside) uses.
Trust in government
Doing nothing new and hoping for different results will not get our city out of the situation it has found itself. I am striving to create a new culture, one that is collaborative and embraces a new way of thinking to achieve a fiscal turn-around and create opportunities for our citizens. By way of example, I have a passion to create ladders of opportunity for our youth. In my job at the Port and through the various boards for which I serve, I connect our high school kids to career tracks that create hope and promise for their futures. We need management tools that link performance [of city officials and staff] to annual goals and budget appropriations. In short, we need a new way of doing business and managing our resources through fiscal restraint and setting the right priorities.