Q: How can the city best meet the demand and mandates for more housing, including at lower prices, while also preserving the quality of life for existing neighborhoods and residents?
A: Zoning restrictions should be more flexible and reflect current market trends and changing family lifestyles. The permitting process needs to be simplified and streamlined, avoiding delays that add to costs of projects and improvements. Housing should be allowed in vacant commercial properties.
Q: What can the city do better to fund and address aging roads and water and sewer systems and prepare for future infrastructure needs?
A: Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) should be accommodated, as required under current state law. Greater density can be allowed in under-utilized commercial corridors and near transportation centers while preserving the quality of life in our traditional residential areas. Mixed use developments can accommodate live-work environment, allowing people to live where they work and work where they live. We must get beyond the separation of all land uses toward a more wholistic and community-based approach.
Q: What can the city do better to fund and address aging roads and water and sewer systems and prepare for future infrastructure needs?
A: The condition of Fullerton’s roads has consistently ranked as among the worst in Orange County. The evidence of years of deferred maintenance is seen in the cracks, the potholes and the literal disintegration of this most basic of community infrastructure. We can’t go from worst-to-first overnight, but we can learn from the approaches other cities have used to better allocate resources an prioritize out budget. We must budget for the long-haul. Deferred maintenance today will only add to costs tomorrow. The 3rd District of Fullerton has some of the worst roads in the City. Having our own district finally allows us to have a voice. I am the only homeowner running in this district, so I know the impact of crumbling infrastructure on neighborhood quality. The City needs to more aggressive seek additional funding in state and federal sources and in the sale of vacant and unused real estate.
Q: How should the city balance paying off debts, such as pension liabilities, and building reserves all while meeting residents’ needs? Should a solution involve finding new revenue, trimming the budget, or something else entirely?
A: The council needs a more hands-on approach than simply allowing staff to muddle through decades of mediocrity. As a business owner (Ybarra Real Estate) I can bring real financial
experience toward making the hard choices and prioritizing real needs. Pension benefits for existing employees are not sustainable in the long run, and different benefits may have to be considered for new hires. Even as employees retire earlier, life expectancy continue to climb, thus retirees receive pensions for a longer period. A police officer or firefighter retiring at 50 is likely to live another 30 years. The actuarial sustainability of current public pensions is a serious issue at all levels of government. The City recently received a $275 million offer to purchase to Fullerton Municipal Airport for private development. An open mind must be kept on the airport’s long-term viability. Other offers have been made on other vacant, surplus properties. A clear-eyed objective analysis is needed to maintain core municipal services.
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest need your city faces, and how would you address it?
A: Maintaining our quality of life by maintaining basic city services. Improved co-operation with other public entities such as the State, County, public schools, the Community College and Cal State systems to serve our common constituencies. Improving the safety of our streets, sidewalk, parks and other public infrastructure must be a top priority. As a charter member of the Metropolitan Water District and with our own independent water department, Fullerton has a critical role in accommodating the current drought to assure future clean water supplies.
Q: Why would you make a good leader, and how would you represent the diverse communities of your city?
A: I know and love this City. I grew up in Fullerton and raised my family here. I am familiar with all the current city councilmembers and can work with them whatever our differences. If elected, I will be the only councilmember fluent in Spanish, the home language of over 20% of this City. I am the only candidate in the 3rd district who is a business owner, has paid city taxes and met a monthly payroll. I’ve been active in youth sports and in my church and can work co-operatively with diverse interests and opinions. I will never let personal differences or petty jealousies interfere with finding the best solution of the community as a whole. I’ve learned through experience that you can get a lot done if you give someone else the credit
Q: What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?
A: OCTA has consistently ranked Fullerton's streets as the worst in Orange County. Long-delayed maintenance and upgrades will costs us even more in the future. We need a better plan to maintain our infrastructure--and stick to it.
Q: Some of the Korean American business owners at Sunrise Village have been raising concerns about the shopping plaza being converted into housing and having to relocate. Nearby residents are raising concern about losing the only commercial zone in their area and having to shop in La Habra. At the same time, the state is putting pressure on the city to zone for new housing. As an elected official, how would you balance the need for housing and commercial spaces? And how would you handle this project in particular?
A: The City cannot micromanage every shopping center. Zoning rules should be flexible enough to respond to market forces and new ideas. Replacing long-dormant retail centers with mixed use should be an option.
Q: The City Council has been exploring shifting fire service to the Orange County Fire Authority. Do you support or oppose this? And what’s your understanding of what happens to city firefighters’ pension, seniority and health care coverage if the city shifts service to OCFA?
A: Regionalizing public services can lead to economies of scale and improved service levels. I'll approach all proposals with an open mind, working with residents and employees to get the best deal for Fullerton.
Q: What are your views on the OC Power Authority? What are your thoughts on the city’s role in it?
A: The OC Power Authority was created by the City of Irvine, which has lured only 3 other cities into it--Fullerton, Huntington Beach and Buena Park. Why have 30 other cities refused to join? The Grand Jury investigation has raised critical questions about rates, administration and accountability. Serious questions demand answers, and Fullerton residents have been largely left in the dark.
Q: What, if anything, are you going to do to make the Power Authority more transparent and live up to what it has said it will do for the public? Do you believe the city should pull out of the Power Authority? Why or why not?
A: The Fullerton City Council should take the Orange County Grand Jury report seriously and respond to its recommendations. Community meetings must be held to better inform our ratepayers as to where we're heading.
Q: What is your position on SB 1439, which passed in the Legislature and would restrict local elected officials from taking official action to benefit campaign donors within certain timeframes of accepting money?
A: Current laws requiring full disclosure are adequate. Bills like SB1439 make running for office more complicated and force citizen candidates to hire pricey accountants just to follow the law, all while doing nothing to restore confidence in our elections.
Q: What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?
A: I'll work collaboratively with law enforcement, social service agencies, non-profits and mental health providers address this intractable problem.
Q: What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?
A: The Governor and legislature have adopted a number of measures that relax zoning restriction and environmental red tape, and these should continue. Fullerton has taken a supportive position on allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and this should continue. We can expand housing opportunities while still maintaining quality residential neighborhoods
Q: What is your position on rental assistance and rent stabilization policies in your city to assist those who cannot afford or are at risk of losing housing?
A: I support existing state and federal housing programs (such as Section 8 rental vouchers). I would not support city rent control measures or spending precious general fund money on housing.
Q: What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?
A: We need better signal co-ordination and modernization. Traffic lights must be more responsive to real time traffic and limit motorists' waiting times. We should get our fair share of OCTA transit dollars and services.
Q: How do you define public safety? What’s your perspective on how the city can best enhance safety for the public? And what specifically would you do to enhance public safety?
All stakeholders need to co-operate to improve public safety: law enforcement, residents, landlords and school administration. People must feel safe in their homes, businesses, streets and schools.
Q: Do you support a systematic implementation of protected bike lanes throughout your district? If so, how would you go about doing that and measuring progress?
A: Bike lanes must be more than just stripes on a street. Protected lanes through our parks on recreational trails are a distinct feature of Fullerton. At the same time, bikes are legal street vehicles that should be given full respect and deference by motorists.
Q: What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?
A: We need to fully fund an infrastructure improvement plan, and follow through with it.
Q: Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?
A: Our existing state-of-the-art Janet Evans Aquatic Center must be maintained at the highest level. We to more fully utilize city Recreation and meeting centers in city parks. With the internet, the role of libraries is changing, and we must stay on top of technological advancement.
Q: What do you think of how the agency you’re running for handles public transparency? Do you have any specific critiques or areas that you feel need improvement?
A: Greater on-line access to city documents would help. We need a complete evaluation of current City websites and make improvements where necessary.
Q: What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?
A: I've published my personal cell hone number: 714-313-9739. Anyone is free to call me anytime with any concerns.
Q: Is rent control good public policy?
Q: Should private property be subject to price controls?
A: Prices of in voluntary transactions are best set by the marketplace; the Law of Supply and Demand. Government price controls inevitably lead to shortages and corruption.
Q: Is housing a human right?
A: Human rights are civil rights (freedom of speech, religion, fair trial, etc.) not a right to a particular economic benefit. Governments, through the political process, may choose to grant economic benefits (education, health care, housing, etc.) to certain people, but that is a benefit, not a right.
Q: Should tenant remain in rental housing and not pay rent?
A: No. This would amount to a taking from the apartment owner, many of whom are small business owners and families who cannot be expected to provide free housing.
Q: Should tenants prove financial hardship while not paying rent?
A: There are government programs to help to needy. Private apartment owners cannot be expected to bear this burden.
Q: What specific government programs should be created to solve rental debt?
A: Under the 5th Amendment, the government must compensate private parties whenever they take from them.
Q: Should rental property owners be forced to rent?
A: They will rent voluntarily under favorable market conditions.
Q: Should rental property owners be able to occupy their own property?
A: Of course, they should.
Q: How does price control of privately owned rental property affect affordable housing production?
A: Discourages it.
Q: What is your position regarding mandatory rental housing inspections?
A: Against. Inspectors should respond to specific complaints, not engage in fishing expeditions looking for violations at random.
Q: How would you deal with the association:
A: I would consult with all affected stakeholder in dealing with housing issues.
Q: How do we work together on controversial housing issues.
A: Co-operatively and rationally. Some existing residents will reflexively oppose the construction of any new rental housing. Apartment owners and developers must be willing to marshal public sentiment in favor, as well.
Q: What motivated you to run for City Council? What strengths will you bring to the role?
A: The newly created 3rd District gives East Fullerton a real voice in City Hall. As a long-time resident who raised a family here, I have a stake in its future. I’m the only candidate fluent in Spanish and the only business-owner in the race.
Q: What needs to be done for the Council to function better?
A: The City Council voted to join the Orange County Power Authority with little public input or staff analysis. Now we learn our rates could go up as much as 15% compared to Edison. The recent Grand Jury report raises serious questions about the whole scheme. We need answers.
Q: What strategies and policies would you enact to address housing unaffordability in Fullerton, both for homeowners and renters?
A: We must take a flexible approach to opportunities to build new housing. Empty commercial and office spaces can be repurposed for creative mixed-use residences. The City is expediting permits for new ADUs, allowing for more residential opportunities and owner-occupied rentals.
Q: What needs to be done to effectively address homelessness in Fullerton?
A: Homelessness must be addressed by a multi-pronged effort of social services, public works, public health and law enforcement. Some homeless only need a temporary hand to mainstream back into conventional housing. Others need more intensive long-term care.
Q: Fullerton is understaffed—police, fire, Library, public works, and maintenance. How would you address that?
A: Economies of scale can be found in considering regional bodies to address public safety, i.e. Orange County Fire Authority and Sheriff’s Dept. Huge savings have already been found in contracting out tree-trimming to West Coast Arborists and other such opportunities should be considered with an open mind.
Q: Which is a higher priority for you—fixing infrastructure or fully staffing departments? Are you willing to cut one to pay for the other?
A: In a recent survey by OCTA, Fullerton’s roads were rated the worst in Orange County. That’s last out of 34 cities. Last isn’t good enough. We can’t afford to further defer maintenance, as repair
will cost far more in the long run than sticking to the schedule of repairs.
Q: Would you support an ordinance allowing cannabis dispensaries in Fullerton? What restrictions/limitations would be in that policy?
A: The medical benefits to consumers and the potential tax revenue to the City must be weighed against the real concerns of neighborhoods. Cannabis regulation is a delicate balancing act, and I will keep an open mind to all stakeholders and points-of-view on this issue
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