The November 6th election will decide the next Mayor in Coronado as well as fill two city council seats. Five candidates will face off in the election for city council.
Below are the answers to four questions I posed to each candidate individually. All five candidates are members of eCoronado.com and their profiles can be viewed by clicking on their photo below:
Why are you running for city council?
Four years ago, I ran for City Council in order to preserve and improve those elements of Coronado that so appealed to us when we were deciding where to raise our five children. During my first term, I’ve worked effectively with other Councilmembers to set the policies that direct our outstanding City staff. It’s been an exciting four years! We’ve completed the Village Theater, Rotary Park, the Animal Shelter, Tennis Center, Skate Park building, Lawn Bowling Green, Boat House/Clubhouse, and have begun work on a new Senior Center. We’ve established a Transportation Commission, emphasizing residents’ quality of life; a Bike Master Plan to improve bike and pedestrian friendliness; and a Cultural Arts Commission to promote the expression of who we are. We established a Tourism Improvement District that has helped restore hotel tax revenues to pre-recession levels. I’ve been honored to serve during these last four years. I hope to capitalize on what I’ve learned to further improve our Coronado way of life.
I am running for City Council because my wife and I love Coronado and want to see the village character, sense of community, and overall quality of life on the island maintained for when we raise our family. Our city is changing demographically and we truly believe its time for the next generation of younger families to become engaged and ensure Coronado continues to be the best place to call home.
I have loved this town and felt privileged to have called it home. So I am stepping forward and offering you my time and my commitment. I have experience on local issues, a love of Coronado and a common sense approach to government. I have watched with dismay the over building of our village, with no consideration to the neighbor’s property or the neighborhoods. I want to help control that overbuilding! New structures should enhance our community not reduce the value of the adjoining properties or destroy the quality of life of their residents.
I consider it an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to run for Coronado City Council. Vacationing in Coronado was much like being in Hawaii –and much less expensive- with a family of five children. Our family fell in love with Coronado. Now, 35 years later, we are still “on vacation”. I became very active and involved in the community by joining organizations and committees and taking leadership roles and responsibilities. I consider this involvement in the community as “doing my homework”. I know and understand this Community. I am now, ready, willing and prepared to accept the responsibilities and challenges that lie ahead to be a positive leader for the future of the City of Coronado.
I love living in Coronado, I care about the people, this community and what happens here. I've lived a life of service both here and abroad and believe that I can make a difference.
What do you think are the biggest issues Coronado faces?
• Fiscal strength: Most importantly, we must manage our resources to remain fiscally strong in the face of the State’s budget difficulty. We know the State will continue its attempts to tap our City’s funding stream. We also expect further fiscal damage due to the State’s ending of redevelopment agencies.
• Traffic: This is the issue that most affects our quality of life. Whether it’s alley cut-through traffic due to backups at the North Island gates; or very long signal cycle times in the downtown; or the difficulty crossing Orange, Third, or Fourth during rush hours, or the long time it takes to transit from one end of town to the other, we all hate the traffic and want to improve the situation.
• Residential development: The sizes of some new houses in the R-1 zone are out of proportion to those of their neighbors. The new houses change the feel of the neighborhood. Even with our Residential Standards Improvement Program, which specifically intended to make the developments environmentally appropriate, we still are seeing some houses that just don’t fit. In the R-3 zone, we have multi-family developments that appear crowded, and create parking problems that affect their entire blocks.
The biggest issues facing Coronado really depend on who you ask. If you live near the military base entrance on 3rd St, a large concern is the recent increase in cars speeding down the alleys and roads at 5:30 am. If you live in the Cays, having your boat stuck in the sand during low tide because the area needs to be dredged is a huge problem. Appropriately budgeting for the long term to maintain and ultimately replace the buildings our residents enjoy with the Community Development Agency dissolving will be a challenge.
But the most frequent issue I hear from residents is the fear of "overbuilding" ruining the charm of the Village and peacefulness of the Cays.
Overbuilding is destroying our village. To me that is the biggest issue and we must bring that under control. Another major problem is the City’s lack of code enforcement. I would want to be “proactive” rather than “reactive”.
We also need to do a better job of cleaning our downtown sidewalks and streets. Please see my web site at www.keith4council.com for more information.
Traffic and Bicycle Safety are a real concern. With the economic concerns and Mr. Beach’s compliment about our beaches, tourism traffic and bicycle traffic has greatly increased for Coronado. I suppose I am bragging and complaining at the same time.
In Addition, I am a big supporter of historic preservation for Coronado. I want to expand our Mill’s Act participation, and make sure that the History of Coronado is revered with our current, and future generations.
How do you plan to solve those issues?
Fiscal: We’ll continue our practice of careful budgeting and management. Our City staff is superb in making clear to the Council the impact of policy decisions, and in executing the approved budgets. Nonetheless, the loss of redevelopment agencies state-wide has taken away a tool we used extensively. Now that we’ve lost our ability to fund projects through the redevelopment agency, we are seeking to increase revenues to the city through an increased Transient Occupancy Tax this November. I ask you to support that ballot measure to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax by 2%, from the current 8% to a proposed 10%.
Traffic: Our Transportation Commission has identified many areas in which improvements can be made. We will continue to improve signalization; add countdown timers for pedestrians; and change lane configurations to speed clearing of the intersection. Any proposed changes can now be modeled with the software that the City recently purchased, to see what effect the changes will make. Most importantly, we need to work with the Navy and the San Diego Area Governments to encourage carpooling, and more effective public transportation. Other changes we would make in the city would calm traffic to further encourage walking and biking.
Residential development: Public input will be the key, because we have to identify what the public would like to see changed. Is it the percentage of coverage? The height of the building? The location on the lot? In many cases, the real issue is context. We may need to address this issue by requiring or encouraging a design review of plans for certain properties. The City is overdue to consider steps to deal with these R-3 properties. We will need to consider better ways to develop these properties. We will need extensive public input to do so. A process similar to RSIP will help us explore the range of possibilities.
The first step in finding solutions to the issues we face is to elect someone that has the energy to go out into the community and listen to the concerns of residents and their ideas to solving those issues. Hearing from residents that show up to council meetings is great, but an effective councilmen should be willing to knock on doors of residents outside of their usual circles.
On traffic, we won't be able to eliminate all the cars from tourists and workers, but we can make marginal improvements that make commuting and parking easier. How we arrive at these improvements vary from street to street, area to area, but all it takes is listening to those residents that drive that route everyday to find a solution.
On issues effecting the Cays, its the job of the council to make sure those residents are listened to and respected so they don't feel like a "step-child." The Cays is a vital part of our community and huge contributor to the City's tax revenue. As councilman I will make sure the City's obligations to residents of the Cays such as dredging and disaster preparedness are met in a timely and upfront manner.
On the CDA, my background as a Financial Analyst gives me the skill set to understand and effectively plan for budgets in the long term so we do not end up like Mammoth or San Bernardino. Perhaps increasing the T.O.T. will help alleviate some of financial burden, but it alone will not be enough. Our city does a good job of reducing costs by contracting out work to private businesses, however, we need to continually review those contracts and expect better value for our tax dollars.
On the issue of "overbuilding," there is most likely not one single solution. I fully support preserving our Village character, however, I will not support a policy that infringes on the property rights of our homeowners. Striking this balance is going to be a challenge that will require someone with a fresh perspective and the ability to bring people together to find a reasonable agreement. I don't know what that agreement will ultimately be, but I am committed to listening to everyone and working to find a solution that improves the quality of life for our residents now and in the years to come.
Bottom line is that we need better dialogue between local government and residents. I will be in the community actively seeking out opinions from our residents and not relying on preconceived notions about how to address any issue. The best ideas always come from the community, not the government.
New homes should fit onto their lots and design elements which rob their neighbors of sun, space and privacy need to be more closely monitored. In fact, I think we should work to bring back that sense of neighborliness that once was one of Coronado’s great attributes. We should strive to protect the rights of everyone.
Coronado is blessed with concerned citizens who volunteer their time and energy on the many Boards, Commissions, Committees, and Advisory groups. As a councilperson I would listen to their recommendations - in this case, the Transportation Committee and the Bicycle Committee
I support expansion of the Mill’s Act commitment to our precious homes. In addition, I am a strong supporter of our Coronado Historical Association.
What is your favorite thing about Coronado?
I especially enjoy seeing Coronado through the eyes of visitors. We have a fascinating history, extraordinary recreational activities, vibrant downtown, beautiful views of the beach and the bay, quaint village areas, waterfront living, and a patriotic populace. I never tire of telling visitors about our City.
My favorite thing about Coronado is the sense of pride in our community and country. Everyone is always happy to live in Coronado and proud to be an American.
I love walking downtown or Ocean Blvd. and seeing friends and family at every turn. I love the different examples of architecture and the various Coronado neighborhoods all reflecting that we do indeed live in a very special community. Of course the weather doesn’t hurt, but it is the pride that we all have when we call Coronado home. That is what makes this town so special.
There are many books and articles written about this wonderful, beautiful Isle of paradise. But, most of all, it is the Residents of this community that make us a hometown with a warm feeling. We are like one big family that truly cares about one another.
I love being able to walk out my front door, see familiar faces and greet people I know. Not only is Coronado a beautiful spot, it has welcomed our family with open arms. As a representative of the Citizens of Coronado on issues big and small, I would appreciate your vote and thank you for the opportunity to make a difference.
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