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My Intentions as Mayor

The Agora Foundation and its Ojai Chautauqua project have given me many a thousand opportunities to read carefully, listen with patience and an open mind, and strive for civil discourse and information sharing. I promise to bring this experience, along my service for other local organizations, into City Hall and for our entire valley. 

Addressing a
Declining Middle Class

1. Lead the initiative on Affordable Housing, rather than be forced into state deadlines, by supporting projects we would like to have here. Partner with organizations like
Help of Ojai to acquire and manage existing locations to provide increased permanent and temporary affordable options for our residents who need it. 

2. Develop a true partnership with Ojai Unified School District to support affordable housing for teachers, dynamic learning collaborations with non-profits and businesses, and a future where people move to, and stay in, Ojai because the public school system is outstanding.

3. For a long time tourism jobs have increased and professional and highly-skill positions have declined. Our city has made it very hard for a clean business, offering pay that allows people to live here, to want to relocate or stay here. So many larger employers have left. We need to remove obstacles and Diversify our Economy so our over-dependence on tourism can be managed and our middle class and live and work here. 

Priority Issues Facing out Valley:
  Our middle class families - working with OUSD on true partnership, affordable housing, higher paying work
•    OUSD semi-monthly meeting, support for housing projects
•    Work more closely with Help of Ojai, consider apartment complexes for purchase for affordable housing, Trusts 
•    Contract with Chamber of Commerce on attracting businesses we want to relocate to Ojai 
    (clean, consulting, etc) - Diversifying economy and growing middle class a top priority
•    Particular review of ordinances, especially parking for residential and commercial… Spirit v. Letter of law
•    Ojai Cultural Contribution (OCC) from TOT, non-profits making up for small staff size
•    Clarity on city purview… refrain from virtue signaling
•    Council concretely articulated 4-year vision - Sustainable, Flourishing Community… how!
•    Possible Mesa model with County for permanent location for unhoused, NOT at Kent Hall
•    Revisit building codes to allow more flexible and timely innovations

Revenue:
•    Complete budget and priority review in January 2025, with assessment on pensions commitment, etc.
•    1% sales take increase on ballot
•    1% TOT increase on ballot
•    Additional staff evaluation for enforcement / revenue potential
•    Mansion tax on ballot
•    Review of disincentive to leaving properties vacant, repairing corridor blight
•    STR administrative fee and support increase graduated lack-of-compliance fees

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Priority Issues Facing out Valley:
  Our middle class families - working with OUSD on true partnership, affordable housing, higher paying work
•    OUSD semi-monthly meeting, support for housing projects
•    Work more closely with Help of Ojai, consider apartment complexes for purchase for affordable housing, Trusts 
•    Contract with Chamber of Commerce on attracting businesses we want to relocate to Ojai 
    (clean, consulting, etc) - Diversifying economy and growing middle class a top priority
•    Particular review of ordinances, especially parking for residential and commercial… Spirit v. Letter of law
•    Ojai Cultural Contribution (OCC) from TOT, non-profits making up for small staff size
•    Clarity on city purview… refrain from virtue signaling
•    Council concretely articulated 4-year vision - Sustainable, Flourishing Community… how!
•    Possible Mesa model with County for permanent location for unhoused, NOT at Kent Hall
•    Revisit building codes to allow more flexible and timely innovations

Revenue:
•    Complete budget and priority review in January 2025, with assessment on pensions commitment, etc.
•    1% sales take increase on ballot
•    1% TOT increase on ballot
•    Additional staff evaluation for enforcement / revenue potential
•    Mansion tax on ballot
•    Review of disincentive to leaving properties vacant, repairing corridor blight
•    STR administrative fee and support increase graduated lack-of-compliance fees

Expenses:
•    Revise paving timeline (faster) and budget (larger)
•    Budget for legal fees, and every spend over budget is publicly highlighted
•    Reviewing VC Sheriff contract
•    Libbey Bowl Investment (permanent PA)
•    Yes to continue ATP
•    Commissioners offered a small stipend
•    Greater compensation for Council members (after my tenure)

Procedures:
•    Immediate move to at-large voting in next election cycle
•    Make the stronger case to voters to have the mayor move as elected among the council, all four-year terms
•    Mayor refrain from unilaterally placing items on the agenda
•    Separate workshop model on detailed issues
•    Time-certain agendas and meeting extensions
•    Recording of all closed sessions
•    Video playback on demand of prior City Council sessions
•    Ethic Advisory Committee beginning in January 2025
•    Review of City Attorney
•    12-month ordinance review, item on every agenda
•    Report of running priority list on every agenda posting
•    Valley-Wide Advisory Council, with a representative from Casitas Springs, Oak View, Mira Monte, 
    Meiners Oaks, the Canyon, East End, and Upper Ojai… giving non-binding advice on pending discussion
•    Youth Council, members 16-26, giving non-binding advice on pending discussion

Additional Priorities:
•    25 mile per hour city-wide speed limit
•    No more catering to lawsuit threats from special interests
•    Coalition (Center) for non-profits, environmental non-profit coalition, Public Progress Display
•    www.ojaiinstitute.org, ojaiknowledge.org, www.ojaisustainability.org
•    Pickle ball at Soule Park, Sarazoti Park, OUSD behind skate park, move away from City Hall
•    Groundwater management in the Arbolada

Communications:
•    Every Tuesday morning, 9:00-11:00AM, in Libbey Park
•    Website article publishing, column in Ojai Valley News
•    Valley-wide priority survey to every home in February 2024
•    Monthly email from City    

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