"We are long-time residents with a history of helping our neighborhood and getting things done to better the community.
Of high importance to me are safety, traffic, schools, horse keeping, pride of home ownership, recreation, green space preservation and quite enjoy of our special city.
My financial background will help as the city will likely face budget challenges from the COVID recession. My relationships with city staff developed during past projects will equip me to be ready on day one."
Access to City Government
How this city has adapted its meetings to the COVID-19 challenge may provide us with some improvements that we can use for a post COVID-19 world.
If a resident wants to address the full city council, the pre-COVID-19 process was to get your issue on the agenda then come to a scheduled meeting and speak for 3 minutes.
Now, you can speak via Zoom.
With my fellow council members concurrents, I would propose we expand access to council members using our new technology.
Equestrian Use in the City
As a long term horse keeper, I know equestrian activities are baked into the city's DNA. My wife Sheryl always says, "A day without riding is like a day without sunshine". It was Winston Churchill who said "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man".
We need to support and promote horse keeping. The City needs to assure the maintenance and preservation of our system of horse trails which spread through and connect stables and arenas.
They are a hidden treasure.
Traffic will always be a challenge with an ever growing population.
We strive to preserve our rural atmosphere and keep speeds down while also implementing logical and efficient traffic flow essential for a smooth operating community.
We must balance these competing interests while always
preserving and holding paramount the safety of our pedestrians, the elderly, equestrian, and specifically children.
Many of our homes in our city were built in the 60's or earlier.
The fact this home stock still works is a testament to owners who have been actively renewing, remodeling, and restoring.
I would propose we smooth the permitting process to accommodate this activity while preserving the character and conformity of our neighborhoods. We should also consider publishing written guidelines, which would lower architect fees, shorten construction time, and save homeowners money.
We are advised the state is pushing changes to housing density and land in an effort to ease housing shortages.
I think local control of decisions will generate the best long term housing policy for our city.
Age in Place
15 years ago we took in my mother in law who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. She has her own space and is a happy 95 year old. In the process I discovered the many wonderful helping resources available in our community to support people as they grow older.
I propose we build and expand on these services.
Parks and Recreation
We enjoy 52.8 acres of parks, 10 miles of bike paths and 16 miles to trails. Combined with open space, these are at the heart of what makes our city special. I want to continue to support and invest in maintaining and improving these spaces. We should continue to develop programming to promote their use and enjoyment.
City policing is contracted with the Lomita Sheriff's Department, who report most crime as petty theft. Even small value crimes make us feel less safe.
I would propose we ask the Sheriff's department to aggressively police this activity, to help deter major crimes.
I will promote the use of enhanced neighborhood license plate reading cameras and other technologies to this end. I am against proposals to decrease funds for policing as a binary choice to investing in needed enhancements to social service programs.
I would support both and continue our level of patrols with the suggested added activity.
Intuition says our current and continuing recession will impact the City’s revenue and ability to continue service levels and capital improvement plans. To be better informed about the severity of this revenue drop and adjustments to spending, I interviewed Michael Whitehead, Director of Administrative Services and we reviewed the budget trends.
I learned that our City took lessons from the last financial recession and has instituted firewalls and reserves that have helped to mitigate impact of our current and forecasted shortfall.
Comparing our 2018-19 actual revenues to the budget for 2020-21 the City estimates a drop of 18% in regular revenue and a net decrease 7% after adding back an increase in special revenue. Total revenue will decrease $820,000.
For the same budget operating expenses were reduced 10% and capital spending be reduced 68% in order to balance the budget.
Our City is solvent and well managed with 25% in rainy day reserves. I am told we compare well with peer contract cities. But the devil is in the details. We will continue to have to make tough spending choices in areas of public service, unfunded pension liabilities, building projects and contracted services.
With my financial background, I am well suited to help the team navigate these budget challenges and finding solutions that preserve and improve city services.
CLICK HERE for the complete record of City of Rolling Hills Estates, State of California
Estimated Budget FY 2019-2020 & Adopted Budget FY 2020-2021
Prepared by Administrative Services Dept.
Promenade Peninsula Shopping Center
One of the pleasures of living where we do is enjoying great local restaurants and shopping.
National trends in retail away from malls and to online and big box stores have been felt locally over the years by our own Promenade on the Peninsula & Peninsula Shopping Center. The coronavirus has sped up this consolidation of retail space and exacerbated the economic stress on our shop owners and restaurateurs. Especially businesses with high labor components in their expense structure are feeling pinched.
The most recent closure of the Ice Chalet is disappointing.
Our businesses have been innovative. They are promoting their safety measures, making attractive takeout/delivery offers and setting up virtual shopping. The LA Supervisors have been petitioned unsuccessfully so far to relax rules given lower infection rates locally. Still owners and their landlords are becoming increasingly desperate.
This is a big problem with lots of stakeholders and moving parts.
Statements in several commercial REITs talk about creating town centers that are more than just a place to shop, more multi-use entities where people come to eat and play. They cite new combinations of commercial and residential use that provide a steady stream of business.
I am open to learn more and commit to reinvigorating our Peninsula Shopping Center.