Issues (City of HB and OVSD)
The Police, Fire, and Marine Safety departments work together within our communities to provide the highest level of quality service and protection. From HBPD to HBFD via 9-1-1 services, our HB team of public safety personnel must remain available and on alert for residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365. I intend to make sure that law enforcement, fire, ambulance services, park rangers, along with marine safety remain the number one priority of the HB City Council. In an emergency, we need the best firefighters, police officers, and marine safety officers to ensure that our public safety services are top notch. Emergencies come down to seconds, and we need experienced, well trained public safety officers in a time of emergency or crisis.
As a longtime school trustee, I have a documented record of performance in serving un-housed students and families in need. At OVSD, we have instituted the utilization of the McKinney-Vento Act to get services, housing, and take action to assist those experiencing homelessness. The issue is complex and often times creates frustration and upset in the community when mental illness and substance abuse play a part. Homelessness has many faces, and needs to be addressed through collaboration and coordination with multiple agencies, and not solely dealt with by the City of HB alone.
SAVING OPEN SPACE:
ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION SOLUTIONS
HIGH DENSITY DEVELOPMENT:
Having been opposed to HDD since being elected to the OVSD Board in 2012 has been a long term commitment to the environment. As the only current elected official on the ballot for City Council, and as president of the OVSD, I led litigation in 2015 against the City of Huntington Beach stopping the development of a 214-unit HDD apartment building at the corner of Beach and Warner. OVSD sued and prevailed, and the City HB had to permanently halt the project. In fact, that is the only lawsuit that has ever been successful in the history of HB in stopping an actual stack and pack HDD project, and I’m proud to have overseen the legal action. In lieu fees and lack of set backs are only two of the many problems created by unmitigated HDD. My decade-long track record is proof of my ability to save open space, and make sure that residential and commercial projects are built properly and to compliment the environment and beach community and not clutter it. We hear so much about affordable housing, but in fact, developments like Bella Terra and Elon are anything but.
Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs) vs. Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs)
At this time, it is not a financially prudent idea to bring back California's 400 RDAs in their original form, due to mistakes of mismanagement and being previously riddled with waste and eminent domain abuse. However, I might consider the newer Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs). If these alternative EIFDs gain traction, it is important that they avoid the mistakes of previous RDAs. Being an elected school trustee since 2012, has made me painfully aware that after decades of operation, the RDA funding model was a pipe-dream, as projects under-performed and these RDAs wound up consuming 12% of property taxes statewide. As a longtime school official, I cannot approve of such waste again. I'm currently in a wait and see mode, and look forward to learning more about EIFDs moving forward.
The U.S. Department of Education recently released the “Return to School Roadmap,” a resource to support students, schools, educators, and communities as they prepare to return to safe, healthy in-person learning this fall and emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. The Roadmap includes three “landmark” priorities that OVSD will be adopting to ensure all students have the best chance for success in the 2021–22 school year. Prioritizing the health and safety of students, staff, and educators. Building school communities and supporting students’ social, emotional, and mental health. Accelerating academic achievement is number one.
As students return to in-person learning with traditional schedules, OVSD has used multiple strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including mask wearing, physical distancing, good hand washing and respiratory etiquette, and staying home when sick, and getting tested. CDPH guidelines state that in-person instruction can occur without restrictions at this time.
CLASS SIZE REDUCTION
Studies have shown and I know from personal experience in my own classroom, that class size matters. Students receive more individualized attention and interact more with their teacher if class size is smaller. Teachers have more flexibility to use different instructional approaches with fewer students to focus on. Fewer students are less distracting to each other than a large group of children, behavior of students is improved. Teachers have more time to teach because there are fewer discipline problems. Students are more likely to participate in class and become more involved. Teachers have more time to cover additional material and use more supplementary texts and enrichment activities. Lower class size matters, and that is why when I was elected in 2012, I made it one of my primary goals to bring the high 29:1 ratio for K-3 classes back down. I made good on that promise and lowered class sizes to 27:1. With my re-election, more class size reduction has occurred.
COMMON CORE CURRICULUM
Being a twenty-five year classroom teacher, I have seen educational initiatives come and go. It can seem overwhelming for parents and teachers alike when adjusting to a new set of standards. Parents across the country are trying to make sense of Common Core Standards, a set of academic expectations that call for less focus on memorization and more focus on explaining how solutions are found. The Common Core can be frustrating for students and parents. When parents are frustrated, it’s important that educators listen to them, but they can’t listen unless the parents talk to them. Speak with your child's teacher for assistance, we are here to help.