The one critical area that has been the most neglected or ignored by city leaders is our city’s environmental resources.
The city participated in SANDAG’s planning process for habitat conservation in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, but never adopted our city’s subarea plan. Adoption would have clearly delineated areas for building and construction and would have given the city the power to issue Wildlife agency permits, cutting through the approval process and cutting costs. The City of Carlsbad wasted no time in adopting their own subarea plan, taking advantage of state funding facilitating maintenance and acquisition.
As council member, I was able to jump-start our zero waste and recycling programs, knowing that state mandates were on the horizon, giving our city time for significant public outreach. City staff partnered with OUSD in implementing zero waste and recycling goals – and in the process created and empowered a whole generation of activists – our students.
Our students, our kids, who in just a few years will become Oceanside voters, are demanding to know what city leaders are doing now to “save our planet.”
We need a strong mayor to lead in creating and implementing a plan for our city’s environmental sustainability.
We need to strengthen and implement our Climate Action Plan, which has not been completely incorporated into every aspect of our general plan and zoning laws.
We need to move forward with deliberate speed on Community Choice Energy and form a Joint Powers Authority with like-sized cities that will benefit our residents via purchasing 100% clean energy for our residents/ratepayers, with revenues to be reinvested right back into our communities for solar and electrification, especially for our senior communities and poverty neighborhoods, as well as to ensure rate stabilization.
We need to update our Local Coastal Plan, address sea level rise and adopt environmentally sustainable plans for preserving sand on our beaches such as city and regional sand replenishment programs and "living shoreline" dunes.
We need to adopt and fund our subarea plan, cutting down on the planning process and costs.
We need to dedicate El Corazon as parkland, stop the incremental loss of the park to residential use not part of the park plan that was adopted years ago.
We need to preserve what little is left of our farmlands, ensure their economic sustainability through a planning process and plan adoption that includes infrastructure to support agri-tourism but is not development-inducing, water program, farm to table programs, educational projects, etc. through a very public process.
We need to do more on environmental justice issues, including investing in community gardens, educational and community development projects, partnering with OUSD and Mira Costa Community College, and environmentally sustainable micro-economic and nutrition programs, including farm to table projects.
We need to adhere to Smart Growth policies, build housing near existing infrastructure, transit and services, and not change our general plan each time a developer convinces three council members that it’s ok if our city is not economically sustainable.
We need leadership now. We need action now.
I stand for strong leadership and strong policies that will ensure the environmental and economic sustainability of Oceanside.
Stand with me. Vote YES4Esther for Oceanside Mayor.