What do you see as your top qualifications to become a member of the Long Beach City Council?
I’m an international trade specialist, a self-employed small business entrepreneur for 23 years and property manager. Born and raised in Southern California, I’ve called Long Beach my home for over 30 years.
I am not a politician. I’m a community advocate. I’ve volunteered, and acted in leadership roles, for community groups in the past 20 years for the benefit of that have significantly benefitted Long Beach’s 3rd District as well as for the environment and quality of life city-wide. I’m a founding member of the Long Beach Chapter – Surfrider Foundation, which started the conversation in the late 1990’s about reconfiguring the Long Beach breakwater for recreational and environmental benefits. I served on the Board of the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust for 5 years, a local non-profit dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the Los Cerritos Wetlands in southeast Long Beach. I helped re-organize the Belmont Heights Community Association (BHCA) in 2008, serving on their Board until 2014. I currently serve as a volunteer with Rebuilding Together, Long Beach – a local non-profit serving low-income and disadvantaged homeowners in Long Beach. I was a member of the City of Long Beach Sustainable City Commission (2009-2014) representing District 3 and appointed by former City Councilman Gary DeLong.
My work with local non-profits has shown that meaningful community outreach by City Council and City staff can produce successful outcomes, but only if the public process truly engages stakeholders and fully values public input.
What made you want to run for city council?
I’m running for City Council because it’s been made clear to me, over the course of the past 4 years, that important concerns and issues being voiced by 3rd District residents were being ignored by our council representative. The 3rd District councilwoman has shown no interest in genuine community outreach or obtaining input from residents on important decisions.
And, when there has been outreach it’s been a “check the box” effort with no consideration
for input from residents. Our leaders continually engage in a policy of promoting pre-determined decisions and selling the final project to our community – and that has to change.
A couple of recent examples are the decisions on the Belmont Plaza Aquatics Center (BBAC) and the 3rd District’s Southeast Area Specific Plan (SEASP). The BBAC has a construction estimate of $103 million, it will never host an Olympics event and it’s going on our beach, at sea-level, against the advice of the California Coastal Commission and ignoring the City’s own Climate Resiliency reports. SEASP was promoted as a long-range planning project for southeast Long Beach, centered on protecting the Los Cerritos wetlands when a 12-story tower at 2nd and PCH was defeated over 5 years ago. SEASP was turned into a developer’s dream by overriding the concerns of residents, with 3-to-5 story buildings now planned for parcels across the street from wetlands, with two parcels that could hold 7-story hotels. The plan was also approved without any traffic mitigation for what is now the worst intersection in Long Beach.
Both of these projects were championed by the 3rd District councilwoman and were guided by pre-determined outcomes from City staff. And now, unfortunately, both projects are being litigated in court for CEQA violations. And the BBAC is under appeal at the California Coastal Commission. (I am one of the appellants on the BBAC and will continue that effort regardless of the outcome of this election.) I believe that expensive litigation and project delays could have been easily avoided had there been real leadership in the 3rd District and genuine concern for issues voiced by residents.
How have you been engaged with your community?
I volunteer in my community in every way I can, and as my time permits. Aside from the community engagement I’ve mentioned (Question 1, above), I’ve taken on leadership roles on Boards and Executive Committees, most often serving as Treasurer or Secretary, and have handled fundraising, outreach and advocacy initiatives whenever needed. Most recently, in 2017, I helped found a 501(c)(3) non-profit (Spanky Project USA) focused on educating people on the importance of spaying/neutering pets. We coordinate efforts with our sister organization in Canada which currently organizes a team of international veterinarians serving the Cuban people and their pets in Havana, Cuba twice a year. (I just returned from Havana in early March, volunteering on the latest campaign.) All the services are provided free of charge, all the vets work for free and most of the medical and surgical supplies are donated.
What are three things you would like to accomplish if elected (e.g. specific legislation, policies, and enforcement actions)?
A. I want to increase education in our communities about climate change and the adverse impacts if we don’t do all we can to mitigate global warming and adapt for inevitable changes. A large part of Long Beach’s coastal area (Belmont Shore, the Peninsula, Naples Island) is at sea level and will face threats from climate change within 30-50 years. The annual King Tides illustrate the reality of that future but our elected City leaders have been remarkably non-communicative. We must begin a conversation about how to prepare and adapt to sea-level rise and other changes forecast from climate change. Further, I supported the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust’s opposition to the California Energy Commission (CEC) licensing a new massive gas-fired generation facility without any proof of need. I will oppose any approval of the unnecessary capacity approved by the CEC if the project comes before the CaliforniaA Public Utilities Commission. Also, I will work with the Long Beach Water Department to implement integrated water management programs to ensure, among other multiple benefits, the reduction of embedded energy in our water management system.
B. I want to reform the current practices of the Long Beach City Council and City staff of “selling” pre-determined projects and plans to the community rather than coordinating genuine community outreach and seeking public input. Community outreach is routinely handled with a ‘check the box’ method. Input from residents is not valued. Residents’ concerns are unheard. We deserve a City Council and City staff who reach out to the public before decisions are made, and who seek valued input from communities when identifying problems and finding solutions – and then use that input in determining the outcome.
C. Municipal financial insecurity. Long Beach is the highest taxed city in the county, we’re facing mounting budget deficits in the next 2-5 years and Measure A funds will likely soon be re-directed for general funds expenditures, not the public safety and infrastructure projects that residents were promised. Our budget process must be transparent, it must be re-structured, and it must reflect realistic, conservative spending and funding.
What would be your top environmental priorities if elected?
First, I would work to reform the recently adopted SEASPSouth East Area Specific Plan (SEASP).. Recently approved by the Long Beach City Council, this is a long-range land use plan which allows for very high density and 3-5 story buildings adjacent to the Los Cerritos wetlands, the single largest unrestored wetlands in Southern California. The City of Long Beach is currently defending their EIR in a lawsuit brought under CEQA and the plan must still be approved by the Coastal Commission under the City’s Local Coastal Plan. I I will advocate for a better plan in front of the Coastal Commission and commit to amending and revising SEASPthe Southeast Area Specific Plan and to create a robust development plan that does not threaten the goal of restoringpreserving the Los Cerritos Wetlands. The City of Long Beach is currently defending the EIR in a lawsuit brought under CEQA. SEASP is a flawed plan which will not support an environmentally sensitive restoration of the wetlands and, it which does not reflect the community’s goalwishes to preserve our wetlands, now and into the future. The City must reflect on the priority of restoring this natural resource without encouraging three-to-five story buildings across the street from wetlands.
Second, I would strongly advocate against construction of the The Belmont Beach Aquatic Center (BBAC) and and reverse the absurd decision to invest over $100 mMillion in public money for a municipal pool built at sea-level, against the advice of the California Coastal Commissionin the face of climate change, at sea-level, and ignoring the City’s own climate resiliency report. The proposed aquatic center is over 125,000 square feet, designed with 2 Olympic pools (one indoor, one outdoor), indoor platform diving and water polo facilities that include a mechanical floor for the indoor pool which changes pool depths to allow for simultaneous shallow and deep water pool uses. The entire facility will be built on a 7’ high concrete platform to protect it from future coastal flooding – what is effectively a “protection device” prohibited in the Coastal Act. Our public beach must be preserved for public access, not special interests that believe swimming, diving and water-polo can onlycan only be enjoyed in an aquatic center built on a sand beach with a beautiful within view of the Pacific Ocean. I’m an appellant to the City’s application for a Coastal Development Permit to the California Coastal Commission on the project and will continue that process regardless of the outcome of this election. Long Beach needs more municipal pools that are equitably accessible to all. However, our community’s open space and natural resources need not be destroyed in the process.
We need to implement sound solutions to improve recreational water-quality issues in Alamitos Bay without the misguided suggestion to use the AES power plant pumps (soon to be retired from their once-thru-cooling duties after upgraded technology is installed) at the pl to continue artificially circulating water in Alamitos Bay as pollution abatement. Solutions to water quality degradation and trash in all our local waterbodies is long overdue, and I will work to ensure full enforcement of the laws protecting water quality for human use and environmental benefits. However, we cannot achieve that goal by continuing to operate the cooling water pumps, and the now outlawed intake and mortality of marine life – especially given that the pumps will simply move polluted water from the Alamitos Bay to the San Gabriel River, also a degraded waterbody.
In all three cases, our city leaders must do more, – and better – community outreach. The process must include, with valuable input ,and transparency and education to achieve the best outcome for residents, visitors and the environment.
What do you support/not support about the land use element (LUE) and how do you see it affecting the neighborhoods that you hope to represent?
I feel very strongly that Long Beach needs long-range planning. Our city needs more affordable housing and must start responding to the impacts of gentrification. I believe, however, that the LUE adopted on 3/6/18 is flawed because of the lack of community involvement and outreach – a fact acknowledged in remarks made by Mayor Garcia and many councilmembers.
In my opinion the LUE’s maps are based on artificial council district political borders and simply don’t represent a city-wide approach to gaining housing with density and building heights. The LUE does not provide for more affordable housing and it doesn’t reflect the potential for State of California legislative efforts to override local planning (SB35, SB827 and many others) in solving California’s housing needs. I believe that the LUE process can still be put on “pause” for a few months, even a year, until more information is gained on current and pending State housing legislation, and Long Beach should not be in a rush to move along with this plan when so much is still uncertain at the State level.
I value the work accomplished on the LUE by neighborhood groups in the 3rd District, the volunteers and residents who had the time and made the effort to follow the project and its
impact on our neighborhoods. Many of my neighbors turned into experts on land use, keeping up with the LUE process over time and communicating with residents – the Belmont Heights Community Association being a great example. I’m grateful that the BHCA advocated for residents and had an impact on the revised LUE maps.
I’m most concerned, however, about parts of our community that did not have volunteers and residents with the time to get involved with the LUE. I’m convinced that many residents may still not know about what the LUE represents to their neighborhoods and that folks were completely left out of the process. In my view it’s unacceptable that, in contrast to other Council leadership, there was not one single community outreach meeting hosted by the 3rd District council dedicated to the LUE where residents could publicly ask questions and get a response.
What is your plan to increase mobility options in your city? What challenges do you foresee and how will you address them?
Long Beach is investing heavily in mobility infrastructure (such as bike boulevards, sharrows, a bike path on our beach and road diets) and our City’s General Plan is currently being updated with long-range plans for future housing and development based on Transit-Oriented-Development, in keeping with state guidelines. However, recent data from LBTransit (our Long Beach municipal bus system) indicates that ridership is down, with corresponding revenue reductions that will significantly impact their business operations. This may be a trend across Southern California given recent data that suggests folks are buying more cars while public transportation ridership dwindles. I have a TAP Card and use it weekly so I understand the barriers that residents perceive when it comes to utilizing our local buses and Blue Line/Green Line system – it takes much more time, it’s not always perceived as safe, and it’s not always convenient (long walks and complicated schedules are often noted).
With respect to cycling, our neighborhoods have also seen a series of ‘bike boulevards’ installed on residential streets over the course of 5-8 years, encouraging cyclists to move across town east/west and north/south, protecting school kids getting to school on their bikes and mainly funded with state and federal mobility grants.
The residential area mobility infrastructure has also included “roundabouts” in place of, or in combination with, many 2-way or 4-way STOP signs at busy neighborhood intersections.
These roundabouts are intended to slow, but not stop, traffic. Many of the roundabouts are unpopular because they are misplaced or use redundant existing STOP signs, and they’re seen as a waste of “taxpayer’s money” and contributing to more accidents than the former STOP intersections. Further, LBTransit buses following streets with the newly installed roundabouts often have difficulty navigating the circles, stopping and backing-up to make the turns.
Although the City cites numerous meetings and outreach events over the course of the past 8 years, this is another example of a too-common and failed practice that simply presents and defends a pre-determined outcome with little interest for residents’ concerns. And while it is prudent to utilize state and federal grants for local projects, it is not acceptable to waste any public funds on ill-conceived projects that the public does not fully embrace.
Long Beach must think creatively and progressively to encourage folks to get out of their cars. I believe our leaders could encourage bus ridership by distributing free pre-loaded TAP cards at municipal events; offering incentives for ride-sharing (Lyft) and car-pooling; developing a transit program that clearly and easily connects LBTransit to the Metro Rail Lines, and by focusing on safety-related issues (better lighting, roving security, etc.) to make public transit more attractive and gain ridership.
What is your position on oil drilling (onshore and offshore) in Los Angeles County?
I’m opposed to more oil drilling in Los Angeles County.
President Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and is rolling back climate change rules and commitments. How should municipalities respond to this?
Our dependence on fossil fuels is driving climate change – that’s scientific fact and indisputable. Despite the lack of leadership at the federal level in moving us off fossil fuels, communities can take steps to transition to 100% renewable energy, if their elected officials step up to the challenge. For example, the City of Long Beach should have opposed, rather than supported, the CA Energy Commission license of new and excessive gas-fired electric generating station in the midst of the Los Cerritos Wetlands. As a councilperson, I will work to make sure that Long Beach is taking real steps to transition rapidly to a clean and renewable energy future.
Why do you think you are better able to address environmental issues in your City than your opponents?
I’m able to address environmental issues in Long Beach better than my opponent because I have experience in environmental advocacy and a deep commitment to restoring and protecting our local environment. My opponent, the incumbent District 3 City Council representative, does not have a vision or plan for improving the local environment and that is reflected in her decisions on City Council. She has championed the Belmont Beach Aquatic Center and Southeast Area Specific Plan, both of which are currently in litigation because of CEQA violations from ignoring significant potential impacts in the project EIRs. There was little effort to prevent these lawsuits and it’s shameful when community activists have no recourse but to use their financial resources for legal remedies to bad planning decisions. The incumbent District 3 councilperson has supported development of excessive and unnecessary new gas-fired generation in our community and ignored threats of sea level rise – evidence that she does not have a vision for either climate change mitigation or adaptation.
What do you believe the City Council’s relationship should be to the Port of Long Beach? What is your position regarding the Port’s “Green Port” Plan?
I believe that the City The Port of Long Beach is actually governed by the City of Long Beach. The City Charter created the Long Beach Harbor Department to promote and develop the port. Under the charter, the five-member Mayor-appointed Harbor Commission is responsible for setting policy for the port. Recent history has shown undue attempts by our Mayor to politicize Commission appointments and I’m hopeful that, with City Council oversight and direction, the Commission can make independent and transparent decisions in managing the Port. I support the Port’s “Green Port” Plan. While the Port of Long Beach is viewed as economically vital to this region, and my work in international trade has personally benefited by my life in Long Beach, it’s important to remember that the “Green Port” Plan is partly inspired by the need to protect our community from the harmful environmental impacts of port operations.
What is the biggest issue facing your district and how do you intend to address it if elected?
The greatest issue for the 3rd District is the fact that this area of Long Beach is going to be faced with one of the most consequential impacts of climate change – and that’s sea-level rise. Our neighborhoods in Belmont Shore, the Peninsula and Naples Island are the most low-lying geography in Long Beach, with much of the area at sea-level now. We’ve seen storm flooding in these areas over time however, climate change science indicates that we could experience up to 30” by 2060 in sea-level rise, along with stronger and more frequent storms that will threaten our communities and with higher degrees of flooding in these neighborhoods.
Residents should be very concerned our City leaders are promoting the construction of a $103 million aquatic center on our beach, simply accepting the fact that the structure will be chronically flooded within 30 years. There has been no dialogue with the community about planning for the future of climate adaptation in our coastal community. I believe our City leaders must start a pro-active approach to communicating the threat that Long Beach will soon face from climate change, and the need to manage infrastructure and property in low-lying areas.
In the past four years, what policy steps do you think could have been executed differently and how would you have amended them?
Two recent projects – the BBAC and SEASP – are examples of exactly what is wrong with policy at Long Beach City Hall, including our Planning Commission, City staff and City Council. These projects were presented to the community with “outreach” efforts that “checked the box”, that ignored input from residents and ignored important issues like sea-level rise (BBAC) and unmitigated traffic impacts (SEASP).
The residents of the 3rd District deserve a council representative who includes their neighborhoods in important decisions involving their neighborhoods. The outreach process needs to reach the neighborhood organization level – neighborhood groups, homeowner groups, business and environmental groups – at the start, and not just at the end when projects are unfurled and pushed along with pre-determined outcomes.
The City of Long Beach knows how to manage robust and complicated community outreach efforts and have done it in the past – the breakwater and the Army Corps of Engineers ecosystem study for San Pedro Bay is a great example. It takes time, it’s messy and it’s not always easy – compromise and consensus take time – but the result is community involvement that validates the process, and with an outcome that represents valued input from residents.
Both the BBAC and SEASP projects are now in court, facing expensive litigation for CEQA violations. It’s shameful when residents have no recourse but to engage lawyers to protect their community from bad planning and, worse, the City must defend their actions with outside legal assistance – costs that the City cannot afford. All of this might have been avoided had there been more concern for community involvement and input in planning these projects.
How do you feel about the city’s efforts to combat homelessness, how it’s affecting the Third District and what do you think can be done to improve conditions?
I think it’s important to distinguish what homelessness represents to the community – folks who are living on the street because of bad luck, and individuals suffering from mental illness, substance abuse or other issues who choose to continue to live on the street and not accept help. A recent survey in LA County shows that up to half of the homeless are on the streets because of financial reasons. I think the City is doing an admirable job through the Fire, Police and Health Department services, helping those that choose to accept help and getting them into the social service network. There’s not enough funding to help them all, of course, but Measure H money from the County will hopefully soon have an impact on permanent housing options to serve the homeless population, along with more substance abuse programs.
It’s clear to me that 3rd District residents have seen a rising homeless population affecting their quality-of-life, translated into increased petty crime and vandalism that goes unreported, or underreported, in official crime statistics for this area. I don’t view this as an issue that our Police Department should be expected to handle, given their current funding and staffing resources. I believe that residents deserve solutions for this criminal element of the homeless population that are driven by City-wide initiatives, and resources, and which are not artificially defined by council district borders.
What are your top budget priorities and why?
I believe the budgeting process for the use of Tidelands Funds, and the current method of allocating this money for projects within the historic tidelands area of our coastal zone, should be re-evaluated. Updated concession stands on the beach cannot be a priority when Naples seawalls, for example, are in dire need of repairs. I believe that repairs and maintenance of our public infrastructure along the coast should be given priority when determining the highest and best use of these funds, particularly given the future need to plan for a “climate resilient city”.
I’m also very concerned about the increase in Long Beach City employees now in the “$200,000 Club” (annual salary) and how that rise reflects a flawed management philosophy.
With the city facing projected budget shortfalls, if those prove to be true, what public services will you defend and which ones do you feel should be subject to trimming to balance the city budget?
First, it is a fact that the City is facing budget shortfalls. There must be clear, transparent and honest communication with Long Beach residents about the financial jeopardy that the City is facing. Our elected leaders and City management must take immediate action and stop “kicking the can” to the next budget cycle. It’s time to stop playing games with ‘optimistic revenue’ projections and ‘incremental budget cuts’ to get to an ‘estimated budget’ that is balanced.
I believe that Long Beach residents should be outraged at the number of City managers that make over $200K per year and the notion that Long Beach has to pay premium 6 figure salaries in order to attract the most talented management to serve our public. I’d recommend an immediate salary freeze, with no new salary increases and no new hires. I believe that contracting City services out to private companies may look like a cost-saving effort but often results in shoddy work, with less accountability and oversight. Our City Auditor should be more involved with more financial reviews and be given more authority to impose best-practices and financial management technique on City departments.
I also think it’s time for City management to consider a budget process that ends proportional budgeting and moves to budgeting City operations on the basis of resource allocation. The City budget is managed on a proportional basis with budget cuts assigned across the board – for example, a 5% budget cut is currently assigned equally across all city departments. The process doesn’t take into account whether a particular department activity is properly funded to begin with, whether more or less funding is needed to provide optimal services, or might need to be ended altogether. City services should be prioritized, some departments could be cut or eliminated altogether. That doesn’t happen with proportional budgeting and it’s time that revenue and costs be responsibly handled, in a business-like manner, in Long Beach.
Long Beach is one of the most tourist-driven cities in the county. How do you plan to bring further opportunities to the city?
Our city is the namesake of what was once a 7-mile long beach. I believe Long Beach leaders can do more to enhance the city’s connection with this beautiful open space. Our recreational water-quality in Alamitos Bay and our beaches should be a priority, and our sand beach should be more highly valued – not a potential construction site for a pool complex designed for indoor platform diving and water polo events benefitting NCAA or Olympic athletes.
We must bring a focus back to our beach as a destination for recreation and enjoyment by tourists and residents, alike. I support the City’s partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers to study our beach in a comprehensive manner (The East San Pedro Bay Eco-System Restoration Study) which is currently looking at sand erosion, the breakwater’s role in blocking waves, habitat restoration and the LA River’s impact on our water quality. Our restored Los Cerritos Wetlands will be a destination for tourism and recreational open space following restoration, much like the Bolsa Chica and wetlands projects in Huntington Beach. The City now has the opportunity to support a robust and science-driven restoration of the Los Cerritos Wetlands in southeast Long Beach and has failed, so far, by promoting a long range development plan (SEASP) that values building heights & density over sensitive habit. We must focus on reducing traffic, creating a wide and passive buffer zone to protect wildlife in the wetlands and stop the construction of buildings that are over 3 stories across the street from this environmentally sensitive habitat.
I hope that the City of Long Beach soon recognizes that short term rentals (i.e. AirBnB, VRBO), especially in the coastal areas of our city, can be a valuable economic opportunity. It’s a new business model but must, of course, be regulated and controlled for potential quality-of-life concerns for neighbors from unscrupulous landlords. Our City would do well to encourage this tourism model as a low-cost and affordable access to the beach and coastline in our coastal neighborhoods.
What are your views of term limits?
I favor term limits, not only for elected public office but for leaders of non-profit organizations. And a ‘term limit’ has to be a reasonable period of time in which to gain experience in office and understanding of the job and government processes. I firmly believe that elected leaders have a responsibility to identify others over time with the skills and interest to fulfill leadership roles– this is how the next generation of leaders are inspired. I think it’s especially important for non-profit volunteers who can easily take on too much and burn-out, all too often leaving the organization without a replacement.
What are my views on campaign finance and public financing of campaigns?
I think Citizen’s United should be reversed. On a local level I believe that the Long Beach City Council’s decision last year to triple the Council member’s annual “office holder account” to $30,000 is morally wrong. Significant sums from these accounts ‘donated’ by our elected officials to the campaigns of other local elected officials only serves to fuel political mistrust. Money is access, and access is power – and constituents should not have to compete against PACs.
Rent control may be on the ballot this year, and the only mayoral candidate challenging Mayor Garcia has a pro-rent control platform. Could rent control work in Long Beach, if not, how do you propose stabilizing housing costs to slow the displacement of residents who are being priced out of the city?
It’s clear to me that when over 60% of the City’s residents are renters, and when these voters view rent control as a solution to affordable housing – and vote accordingly – rent control will be a reality in Long Beach in 2018. However, if the experience of other cities like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco is a guide, I don’t see rent control as a ‘silver bullet’ to protect renters and slow the rental rates that are driving folks out of Long Beach. In my view, economic studies and affordable housing statistics just don’t support the argument that rent control protects renters over time and promotes affordable housing.
I manage a small rental property. I’ve seen how rents have increased in Long Beach. My own philosophy over 20 years has been to maintain below-market rates in order to retain good neighbors and tenants. I value the business relationship with my tenants but I’m afraid that philosophy is not shared by most ‘corporate-style’ property management and landlords in Long Beach.
While I cannot personally endorse rent control, I applaud the work of housing advocates in Long Beach and their signature campaign to bring this issue to the ballot for voters in November 2018. I support their efforts to educate and inform renters’ of their rights, to highlight the health and safety abuses by slum landlords and their management companies, and to hold landlords accountable for unlawful behavior. I believe that California is facing a housing crisis and that housing is a right. I endorse “just cause eviction” to stop landlords from displacing tenants and to slow gentrification in our neighborhoods. And, last, I believe that the City of Long Beach must step up their efforts to create developer incentives for not only more housing but affordable housing.
Do you believe it’s time for Long Beach residents to have a full-time City Council?
I think Long Beach residents deserve a full-time Council but it won’t happen because of the costs. Our council member have a salary that’s proportionate to the Mayor’s (roughly 30%) and the Mayor is the only City Council official with a full-time job. The Long Beach City Charter doesn’t actually define the amount of hours required of Council members. Showing up on Tuesday nights is pretty important, of course, but most of our current City Council members work full time, relying on their Council office staff to conduct business during the day for them – and that’s been standard operating procedure for years. And I think that needs to change. I believe 3rd District residents deserve a Council representative who goes to work at City Hall, 9AM to 5PM, and who’s available to speak to them when they need assistance. Office staff can answer phones and emails but don’t have the responsibility, or authority, to resolve many issues. I will commit to working two full days in the office – and evenings and weekends – to be available to 3rd District constituents, and businesses, and City staff.