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My Intentions as Mayor

The Agora Foundation and its Ojai Chautauqua project have given me many 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 with my service to other local organizations, into City Hall and for our entire valley. 

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

We need a political reset in Ojai, encouraging civility and many points of view. I propose the following campaign commitments to my fellow candidates (as they emerge):

  1. We agree on a campaign spending limit and all other support goes to Ojai's non-profits.

  2. We agree to not litter Ojai Avenue with wasteful lawn signs.

  3. Most importantly... when our supporters attack a fellow candidate's personality or irrelevant history, we personally thank them for their support and explain, publicly, that this campaign is going to be focused only on the issues and what we intend to do about them. And that's it!

  4. We agree that whoever is elected into the position will consider the other candidates as advisors going forward.

Our expenses on legal fees are double what they were in 2018. Every new legal expense over budget should be publicized, and every special interest lawsuit should be highlighted and fought. No more catering to the will of a few individuals who do not want to compromise through the normal forum of dialogue and cooperation.

1. Priorities
  • A detailed plan to address the unhoused population at City Hall, including land acquisition (away from City Hall), non-profit partnership, and community investment

  • An Ojai Cultural Contribution - 1% of TOT goes to Ojai's
    non-profits


     

  • Implement a semi-monthly collaboration with Emergency Services to be as prepared as possible for the next challenge

  • Enact a 25 MPH city-wide speed limit and adding flashing crosswalks in front of the arcade and OUSD

  • Articulate and publish a concrete four-year city vision

  • Revisit building codes to allow more flexible and timely innovations

  • Explore Pickleball options as the issue seems to be unresolved

  • Even with our recent rain, keep up the pace of our water conservation efforts 

  • Build truly collaborative relationships with partner agencies (OUSD, Sheriff's Department, CMWD, etc.)

Community, Roads, Safety, Environment
3. Revenue Proposals to Evaluate
  • Complete budget and priority review in January 2025, with assessment of pensions commitment, etc.

  • Explore a 1% sales tax increase on ballot

  • Explore a 1-5% TOT increase on ballot, and options

  • Additional staff evaluation for enforcement / revenue potential

     

  • Research a mansion tax for the ballot (additional fee for high-dollar property sales)

  • Review of disincentive to leaving properties vacant, repairing corridor blight

  • Review a Short-Term Rental administrative fee and further increase of graduated lack-of-compliance fees

  • Create  an Economic Development Council to attract businesses to Ojai and to help new businesses establish themselves

  • Have any increase in revenue explicitly attached to specific projects.

A balance for the entire community
4. Expense Proposals to Evaluate
  • Revise road paving timeline (faster) and budget (larger)

  • Review budget for legal fees, and ensure every spend over budget is publicly highlighted

  • Review VC Sheriff contract

     

  • Libbey Bowl Investment (such as adding a permanent sound system)

  • Continue the Active Transportation Project

  • Commissioners to be offered a small stipend

  • Ongoing evaluation of ordinances for actual, real world consequences

Support and Accountability
2. Improve Council Procedures
  • Immediately move to ranked, at-large voting (instead of districts) in next election cycle

  • Make the stronger case to the voters to have the mayor again become appointed from within the council, with all council members serving four-year terms

  • Move to have the Mayor refrain from unilaterally placing items on the Council agenda

  • Use a separate workshop model on detailed issues

  • Use time-certain agendas and meeting extensions

  • Record all closed sessions

     

  • Have video playback on demand of prior City Council sessions, to avoid redundancy

  • Initiate an Ethic Advisory Committee beginning in January 2025

  • Have a review of City Attorney and legal expenses

  • Have a rolling 12-month ordinance review, with items placed on every agenda

  • Report of running priority list on every agenda posting

  • Have a 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

  • Have a Youth Council, with members aged 16-26, giving non-binding advice on pending discussion

We need more trust and collaboration
5. Improve Communication
  • Every Tuesday morning, 9:00-11:00AM, available for conversations in  Libbey Park, at the fountain

  • Website article publishing, and possible column in Ojai Valley News

  • Valley-wide priority survey to every home in February 2025


     

  • Monthly email from City with progress toward goals and budget

  • Working with Ojai's realtors, create and distribute a welcome basket to all new residents, inviting them to become active, contributing citizens to our city

Everyone who wants to should know exactly what is going on... with data and plain language
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