Editor’s note: Ahead of next week’s election, Voice of OC is publishing a series of candidate surveys for the various races. Click here to see all of the surveys.

City finances. 

Homelessness. 

Controversial development standards. 

These are the high-stakes issues at the top of candidates’ minds as Costa Mesa heads into a citywide election this November. 

We reached out to all eight candidates in all the council seats up for grabs – that’s districts 3, 4, and 5, as well as the mayor’s office –  and sent them a list of 20 questions, several of which were submitted by readers in response to a public invitation for questions.

Eight out of eight responded, and each was allowed up to 350 characters per answer, to keep the total length reasonable yet fair across the board. 

Below is the list of questions we asked candidates in each of Costa Mesa’s council races. The following sections contain their answers, which are the exact text each candidate submitted in writing.

To jump directly to candidate responses from a particular race, click one of the following: 

Mayor, District 3, District 4, District 5

  1. What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?
  2. Voters in November will decide whether to scale down a 2016 initiative that required voter approval of large development projects. Some say the measure, known as Measure Y, has become too onerous of a roadblock to building more housing in town to meet a regional and statewide crisis. Where do you stand on the current process for approving developments in town, and on the new bill that’s up this November, Measure K, that would walk the previous measure back and exempt certain projects?
  3. This year, Costa Mesa issued its first legal pot shop permits on Harbor and Newport Boulevards. Commercial cannabis is a debate that’s played out across Orange County for its potential to boost city finances. Do you believe cannabis retail belongs in Costa Mesa?
  4. From street-sweeping services to the city jail – the issue of outsourcing City Hall functions in Costa Mesa is one that’s played out for years, namely over what it means for the budget. Do you believe more or fewer city services should be done in-house, and what do you think that means for city coffers?
  5. 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?
  6. What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?
  7. What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?
  8. 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?
  9. What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?
  10. 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?
  11. 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?
  12. What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?
  13. Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?
  14. 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?
  15. What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?
  16. Do you support publicly posting meeting agendas earlier? If so, how early? And what if any steps would you take to increase public input in budget decisions?
  17. What is your perspective on climate change? And what, if any, action plans do you have to address climate change and protect residents?
  18. What local actions, if any, do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
  19. Do you believe the last presidential election was stolen?
  20. Do you believe you are participating in a free and fair election process? Subject to the established rules for recounts, will you accept the results of their election, win or lose, as certified?

Mayor

  1. What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?

John Stephens: “Public safety is always our biggest issue. Recruit and retain first responders. Provide state-of-the art equipment. And connect with the community through community policing and forums to build trust and confidence with our constituents. Address traffic and road safety through street design and traffic calming. “

John Moorlach: “Unfunded pension liabilities and reducing this debt. The city of Costa Mesa has some $378 million in unfunded liabilities for its pension and other post-employment benefits. Its pensions’ 61 percent funding ratio is the lowest of Orange County’s 34 cities. I would provide real world experience to review and improve the city’s annual budget.”

2. Voters in November will decide whether to scale down a 2016 initiative that required voter approval of large development projects. Some say the measure, known as Measure Y, has become too onerous of a roadblock to building more housing in town to meet a regional and statewide crisis. Where do you stand on the current process for approving developments in town, and on the new bill that’s up this November, Measure K, that would walk the previous measure back and exempt certain projects?

John Stephens: “Due to the requirement of a public vote on all substantial projects, building of housing units and revitalizing blighted corridors have stopped for6 years. Measure K will allow projects to move forward to revitalize corridors, lower rents, keep families together and reduce impacts of overcrowded units. “

John Moorlach: “I oppose the current process. Residents put Measure Y on the ballot by acquiring the required number of signatures. It was a bottom-up effort that received nearly 70 percent of the vote. The City Council hastily constructed Measure K with minimal to no public input. It was a top-down cram down by six of the current city councilmembers. “

3. This year, Costa Mesa issued its first legal pot shop permits on Harbor and Newport Boulevards. Commercial cannabis is a debate that’s played out across Orange County for its potential to boost city finances. Do you believe cannabis retail belongs in Costa Mesa?

John Stephens: “Yes. Measure Q passed 65/35. Previously, we had many illegal “trap” shops. The legal, licensed operators bring capital investment in our retail area, city revenue, and safe, tested product in secure stores. They also fund public art and a first-time homebuyer program. “

John Moorlach: “My libertarian side says that cannabis retailers should be able to operate in the city. However, cash-only businesses are an invitation to crime. Consequently, they should not be close to residences. My overarching concern, with so many applicants, is how many can be approved before this market is saturated and we see many of them shut down? “

4. From street-sweeping services to the city jail – the issue of outsourcing City Hall functions in Costa Mesa is one that’s played out for years, namely over what it means for the budget. Do you believe more or fewer city services should be done in-house, and what do you think that means for city coffers?

John Stephens: “Outsourcing works for a few city services such as the golf course, but city employees should deliver essential city services. We recently fired the vendor who provided our jail services because it was not paying payroll. The jail is now operated by city employees. In that case, outsourcing was the wrong approach and we fixed it. “

John Moorlach: “Due to the city’s lack of emphasis in reducing its unfunded actuarial accrued liabilities, one obvious solution is to outsource. Services that can be done by vendors, who probably have defined contribution plans for their employees, makes utilizing them less costly. The city must look for every spare dollar to pay down its pension debt.”

5. 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?

John Stephens: “We already have that procedure in Costa Mesa. It works well and I support it.”

John Moorlach: “Extending the time frame from three months to twelve is fine, as long as the term “any party” includes the public employee bargaining units representing the city’s employees.”

6. What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?

John Stephens: “We now have a 72-bed Bridge Shelter and have housed 238 people since 2019, reducing street homelessness by 20% since 2019. Continuing our housing-first model is crucial. Also, we directed $1.7 to mental health services. We should use the Care Court system to help those with mental illness and develop supportive housing. “

John Moorlach: ” I served as the inaugural Chair of the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness. I led the charge to implement Laura’s Law while the County Supervisor for the Second District, making Orange County the first to voluntarily adopt this strategy to assist the mentally ill homeless. I will bring my experience and network to the role of Mayor.”

7. What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?

John Stephens: “Development of Fairview Developmental Center will bring more units. Also we will be zoning to implement our Housing Element. I support affordable and workforce housing so people who work in Costa Mesa can afford to live here and we can keep Costa Mesa families in Costa Mesa. “

John Moorlach: “Costa Mesa has seen its population decrease by some 3,000 in the last two years. I support a free market approach to housing. Encourage developers to build homes and apartment complexes that harmonize with the General Plan and provides a potential profit margin. Affordable housing should be considered on a case-by-case basis.”

8. 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?

John Stephens: “I believe in rental assistance and we have provided over $1.8 million in rental assistance recently. I do not support rent control because it motivates landlords to raise rent to the maximum allowable and to displace tenants to raise rents further. Increasing the supply of housing units will lower rents. “

John Moorlach: “Affordable housing means lower assessed values and, therefore, lower property tax revenues to the city. Rental assistance is another out-of-pocket cost to be incurred by the city’s budget. Due to the city’s roughly $378 million in pension related debt, I would be reluctant to allocate funds toward subsidies or advocate for rent control.”

9. What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?

John Stephens: “We are building Active Transportation infrastructure such as protected bike lanes. I support Electric Trolleys such as those that are in other OC cities. I also support building housing units near job and commercial centers so people can commute by bike or walking. This exists in South Coasts Metro. “

John Moorlach: “It seems strange to be asked about reducing traffic congestion when the potential approval of Measure K will potentially increase the city’s population by more than 30,000 residents. As a former member of the Orange County Transportation Authority, I am fine with the current public transit being provided by this agency.”

10. 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?

John Stephens: “Public safety is multi-faceted. It includes crime prevention and law enforcement. But it also involves reducing vehicle speeds through street design and traffic calming, and providing positive outlets such as parks and rec programing. First responder staffing and equipment is vital to public safety. Safe streets programs are also important. “

John Moorlach: “California has seen numerous cities reduce their public safety staffing by 25 percent in order to afford ever increasing pension plan contributions. With personal property crime impacting so many of the city’s residents, it cannot and must not reduce the size of its police force.”

11. 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?

John Stephens: “Yes. This is already underway in Costa Mesa and I am very supportive. “

John Moorlach: “Having lost friends who were pedestrians and/or bicyclists who encountered moving vehicles, I would pursue any affordable approach to reduce these types of fatal accidents. Police statistics of these incidents should allow for measurement. Bicyclists not following appropriate rules should be required to take a training course.”

12. What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?

John Stephens: “We have a good balance of spending in our budget. In the future, there is a need to allocate more capital improvement funds to facilities that are aging and have great amount of deferred maintenance needs. “

John Moorlach: “Reducing the pension debt will reduce the annual required contributions to CalPERS. The city of Newport Beach has pursued this priority for several years and its ranking among the 34 Orange County cities’ balance balances sheets has been rising, while Costa Mesa is dead last.”

13. Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?

John Stephens: “Yes we have these. They are very new and are extremely beneficial to the public. “

John Moorlach: “Costa Mesa has maxed out its proverbial credit cards and is financially unable to pursue additional construction of these proposed and worthwhile amenities. The costs to build and then maintain these facilities would squeeze out funds for public safety. I would put them on hold until the city’s debts have been satisfactorily reduced.”

14. 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?

John Stephens: “We do a good job on transparency and I support our efforts. “

John Moorlach: “I appreciate that the City’s website contains the Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports for the last two decades. It provides the history of how Costa Mesa went from near the middle of the pack in Orange County, to the bottom in a very short time frame. The budget module is difficult to utilize. I would improve it if elected.”

15. What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?

John Stephens: “I intend to work with council and staff to develop expectations and processes for being responsive to our constituents. Currently, council does a good job, but there are no clear standards to follow and measure our effectiveness. “

John Moorlach: “For the online budget module does not provide the budget in total. One has to drill down and construct it. This should be an easy transparency fix. Utilizing Open the Books would be encouraged.”

16. Do you support publicly posting meeting agendas earlier? If so, how early? And what if any steps would you take to increase public input in budget decisions?

John Stephens: “Yes, I think we should post agendas earlier. I would work with council and staff on a process for earlier posting. “

John Moorlach: “I have no issues with the current agenda posting policy. Where I do have concerns is that the agenda should have all the accompanying staff reports attached or linked. Having something like Measure K voted on and approved when the public did not have the documents is a disappointing occurrence that should not happen again.”

17. What is your perspective on climate change? And what, if any, action plans do you have to address climate change and protect residents?

John Stephens: “Climate change is an existential crisis. Sustainability is a core value and council goal. We have taken many actions to address climate change, such as EV charging stations at City Hall. We need to implement a Climate Action Plan in 2023 to address all ways we can enhance the environment. the “

John Moorlach: “The State of California is pursuing initiatives to address climate change. I would pursue implementing policies that are cost effective and reasonable. Everyone has their biggest concern about addressing their most critical issue impacting the future. For me, it’s addressing the fiscal elephant in the room – the pension debt.”

18. What local actions, if any, do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

John Stephens: “Bike lanes, smart development, EV infrastructure, plant trees, EV Trolley system. Costa Mesa is a LEED Gold City. We consider sustainability in public works projects. We need a climate action plan. “

John Moorlach: “I authored SB 1463 (2016) to reduce wildfires in highly populated areas, like Laguna Canyon. The greenhouse gases and particulate matter produced by a large wildfire is equivalent to all the cars in California driving for one year. It was vetoed by a Democrat Governor.”

19. Do you believe the last presidential election was stolen?

John Stephens: “No.”

John Moorlach: “No. But I also do not believe that elections are totally free of fraud and that more can be done to protect the voting process.”

20. Do you believe you are participating in a free and fair election process? Subject to the established rules for recounts, will you accept the results of their election, win or lose, as certified?

John Stephens: “Yes.”

John Moorlach: “As a former County Treasurer and Supervisor, I had the privilege of working with former Registrar of Voter Neal Kelley. I believe that he ran a professional operation. I have never disputed the voting results of my prior campaigns for public office.”

District 3

  1. What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?

Andrea Marr: “Homelessness – we’ve made great strides (including a 20% reduction in street homelessness since the last Point in Time Count) but the work doesn’t end. We need to continue funding our existing programs and look for ways to expand them, including working with the new CARE Court system and creating more housing opportunities.”

John Thomas Patton:  “NO on measure K. People are angry with the deception. I am not opposed to properly planned growth in Costa Mesa. There are parts of the city that need revitalization, but the council has had 6 years to plan. When people on all sides of the aisle come together in opposition you know it’s bad for the city.”

Jorge Miron: “An issue that comes up all the time: Why can’t I find parking near my apartment? Low-income folks (I grew up poor) don’t have the luxury of living close to work or spending hours walking, biking or on the bus. They have to drive. They work 60+ hours a week. I will work to start a shared parking agreement program between residences and businesses.”

2. Voters in November will decide whether to scale down a 2016 initiative that required voter approval of large development projects. Some say the measure, known as Measure Y, has become too onerous of a roadblock to building more housing in town to meet a regional and statewide crisis. Where do you stand on the current process for approving developments in town, and on the new bill that’s up this November, Measure K, that would walk the previous measure back and exempt certain projects?

Andrea Marr:  “K allows us to improve major corridors without touching existing neighborhoods.Every issue I’ve faced on Council-from homelessness to crime in motels–would benefit from Measure K.We will not have an approved state-mandated housing plan unless something changes, putting millions of dollars of state funding at risk and loss of local control.”

John Thomas Patton: “See above. K is deceptive at best and provides for no additional housing of any kind, contrary to the city website. It certainly does not provide for “affordable” housing. The opposition is a coalition of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and people that care about this city. This measure is bad for Costa Mesa.”

Jorge Miron: “I’m an early supporter of Measure Y, modeled on State-compliant “Right to Vote” measures in Redondo Beach. It could use some minor updates like vote requirement thresholds. In the medical field we say “don’t wield a sledgehammer when a scalpel is called for”. Measure K is a sledgehammer. Entire corridors will lose protections.”

3. This year, Costa Mesa issued its first legal pot shop permits on Harbor and Newport Boulevards. Commercial cannabis is a debate that’s played out across Orange County for its potential to boost city finances. Do you believe cannabis retail belongs in Costa Mesa?

Andrea Marr: “Yes but in a limited way. I’m concerned that we don’t have a cap on the total number of cannabis shops and I want to see how this initial experiement proceeds before we permit any more shops.”

John Thomas Patton: “The voters have decided that it does. However, like measure K it was poorly written. The implementation hasn’t been good for those on either side of the measure. We have to stop passing legislation and trying to figure out how to implement it later. It needs to be rewritten and we have to protect residential neighborhoods. “

Jorge Miron: “I have been a huge supporter of compassionate use since the 1990s. Prohibition doesn’t work. I would support an ordinance that would only allow cannabis licenses proportionate to the number of grocery stores that sell healthy food, and under strict zoning requirements such as minimum distances from each other, residential areas, and schools. “

4. From street-sweeping services to the city jail – the issue of outsourcing City Hall functions in Costa Mesa is one that’s played out for years, namely over what it means for the budget. Do you believe more or fewer city services should be done in-house, and what do you think that means for city coffers?

Andrea Marr: “Most city services are now back in house after years of failed outsourcing experiments. The recent issue with the jail – where the private contractor was unable to deliver services and simply didn’t pay its own employees – is a testament to why keeping city services in house actually saves money in the long run – you pay for what you get. “

John Thomas Patton: “The city is $240 million dollars in debt. Many of the services need to be analyzed financially and we have to implement what is most efficient and affordable for the city.”

Jorge Miron: “We have to be strategic about this. Contractors and vendors who are not unionized tend to provide a lower quality of life for their workers and have financial disincentives for quality services. But at the same time, professional services are a great opportunity for contracting.”

5. 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?

Andrea Marr: “I support it – the existing standard is pretty weak and allows too much opportunity for pay to play politics.”

John Thomas Patton: “I think it’s great. I am running a grassroots campaign and I am firmly committed to doing what’s best for District 3 and for the City of Costa Mesa on every issue.”

Jorge Miron: “Running for local office has really opened my eyes to the “pay for play” culture in politics. I am absolutely in favor of this. In fact the threshold should be $100 at the local level, within 1 year, and there should be a statewide database to register all contributions to any local elected official $100 or more for easy public inspection.”

6. What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?

Andrea Marr: “We need to continue using every means possible to address homelessness. Right now we have a homeless shelter open that allows us to enforce our anti-camping ordinance. We also have social workers and a number of non-profits engaged, providing everything from meals to job training. We also have a Project Homekey project that I’m excited to see open.”

John Thomas Patton:“It’s not a simple solution. You must address the addiction and mental health issues that afflict a large portion of the homeless first.population. We need greater non-profit involvement and a mix of compassion and code enforcement. I oppose spending $40 million on a hotel that won’t solve the problem. It’s irresponsible.”

Jorge Miron: “I support a regional approach. I would work with adjacent cities to offer similar-level services to avoid cross-border migration, reducing the burden on our City and make sure surrounding cities do their fair share. And if those other cities refuse to cooperate, I will support strictly enforce our anti-camping ordinance to discourage migration.”

7. What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?

Andrea Marr: “Yes. I have been advocating for an inclusionary housing ordinance for a long time and I expect to see us pass one by the end of the year. Measure K is also an attempt to create some thoughtful housing along our major corridors as part of an overal program of revitalization.”

John Thomas Patton: “If you want to address the housing problem, you have to have good city planning. We can’t continue to pass measure benefitting one side or the other. The city has had six hears to plan since measure Y. Their answer was a clumsy, poorly written attempt to honor special interest donors. We deserve better. “

Jorge Miron: “No matter what we do, Costa Mesa will always be a net job center. If we’re going to update Measure Y, we should at least put an affordable housing requirement in. Increasing at or below market rate homes compatible with neighborhoods will stabilize prices, not luxury units. Our residents want more housing, and will approve quality developments.”

8. 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?

Andrea Marr: “We have funded several million dollars of rental assistance programs – we need to do everything we can to keep people housed. “

John Thomas Patton: “New York city has the highest rents in the country. They also have rent control. This is where you get the term “slum lord”. When you impose rent control the opposite effect occurs, prices go up on the units that aren’t controlled. For those at-risk, the application process for assistance should be easier and non-profit lists available.”

Jorge Miron: “I am in support of rental assistance when that money is provided to the City by the State. Rent control will not stabilize prices – most people who benefit are people who can afford to pay higher rent. Poor people always get pushed out of the market. We need more at or below-market rate housing.”

9. What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?

Andrea Marr: “I’ve long been an advocate of biking and walking and finding methods to encourage both. In District 3 we now have isolated bike paths on Bristol and Merrimac and significant changes to several intersections including at Randolph. These projects are proof that we can improve transportation and parking while also encouraging more biking and walking. “

John Thomas Patton: “The easy answer would be to make sure to vote no on measure K. The city has not planned for 31,000 new residents.”

Jorge Miron: “90% of people will drive to work no matter what we do to encourage healthier and greener transportation. The best reasonable measure to handle traffic congestion is to carefully consider housing or commercial development impacts and require full funding for mitigations. “

10. 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?

Andrea Marr: “Our police department is staffed at the highest level in the last decade but the reality is that people continue to feel the impacts of vehicle break-ins, burglaries and speeding. We need to make sure that our police and fire public servants have the resources they need to protect Costa Mesans.”

John Thomas Patton: “Public safety is people feeling safe in their homes and their community. We don’t. One of the reasons I am running is because we had a homeless woman living in our driveway. We called the police three times, and she came back. My wife and 1 year old did not feel safe. I didn’t know where to turn. Community patrols with more law enforcement.”

Jorge Miron: “The City supposedly uses a “data-driven” law enforcement effort, but when I talk to people, they see the same areas with the same crime. We need to do a deeper dive. I think in this instance we do need more resources dedicated to laterals and patrol for actual crimes (not just traffic duty), especially more bicycle police watching for drug sales.”

11. 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?

Andrea Marr: “Yes, see above.”

John Thomas Patton: “How? Where are you going to put them? Much of the city wasn’t planned for bike lanes and now we are trying to force the issue. There is a bike lane down the middle of the street in Mesa Verde. It isn’t safe and doesn’t make sense. I am willing to sit and listen to those that want them and work with the community on common-sense implementation”

Jorge Miron: “We already have an approved Bicycle Master Plan, which my husband worked on as a member of the Bike/Walk Committee, and I provided input on. We should support buffered bike lanes with reduced lane widths, and be careful to only remove lanes where there is no foreseeable congestion issue. Merrimac is a great location. Fairview is not.”

12. What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?

Andrea Marr: “Budgets are a reflection of our values – we need to continue prioritizing parks, open space, active transportation and upkeep of our basic facilities in an equitable way. “

John Thomas Patton: “Where do I start? We have $240 million in debt, with only 61% of pension liabilities funded. We have the second highest revenue producing shopping center in the world and can’t make ends meet. We don’t have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem. I would use my finance background to dig into the budget. “

Jorge Miron:  “Always find the best “bang for the buck”. Infrastructure projects – most qualify for State or Federal grant money but require small local match. We should always fully fund the critical 4: Police, Fire, Paramedic, and Infrastructure maintenance. First responders need minimal response times, which they can’t achieve with potholes or flooded streets.”

13. Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?

Andrea Marr: “We already have these things; we need to continue to fund the constant maintenance of them. “

John Thomas Patton:  “We have to pay down our debt and our pensions first. Then we need to look at the budget. If we have a need for additional schools that would be a priority. Community centers that provide after school and other children’s programs would be next. I want the next generation of Costa Mesa to thrive and prosper.”

Jorge Miron: “I would be open to looking at ideas to increase public amenities, but only if we can show they will be used. One thing I will prioritize is the creation of “pocket parks” from properties that go for sale, because Costa Mesa needs more park space.”

14. 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?

Andrea Marr: “no.”

John Thomas Patton: “Measure K is a perfect example of the lack of transparency. The process was deceptive, included probable violations of the Brown Act, and lacked proper community participation. The measure was changed right before the vote; public was given 15 minutes to read the new measure; 15 minutes of comment and a 6-1, as expected, vote. “

Jorge Miron: “The process for crafting Measure K is a perfect example of the lack of transparency at City Hall. Rushed through at the last minute in a smoke-filled backroom with Council members and developers. Any change to Measure Y should have been developed in the open with the public involved directly, not an ad-hoc committee, and subject to the Brown Act.”

15. What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?

Andrea Marr: “We need to continue offering more ways to engage the public in decision making, including exploring more creative, out of the box avenues.”

John Thomas Patton: “I’d like to see our elected officials hold more community town halls. As the district 3 representative it’s something I’m personally committed to doing. Whether I personally agree or not, I need to hear from my district and govern accordingly.”

Jorge Miron: “I will commit to reducing my work hours so that I can serve the City during scheduled business hours at least 8 hours per week. I will also hold monthly community listening sessions outside of business hours.”

16. Do you support publicly posting meeting agendas earlier? If so, how early? And what if any steps would you take to increase public input in budget decisions?

Andrea Marr: “Yes – as soon as is feasible by staff. “

John Thomas Patton: “As early as possible. Again, town hall meetings and listening to resident concerns. If I hadn’t been out knocking on doors and talking to the voters, I wouldn’t know that Mesa del Mar residents want more speed bumps and Eastside residents want more police patrol and cameras. “

Jorge Miron: “Before 2018 Costa Mesa published agendas 7 days prior. Most cities still do. But when this Council majority took over, they quickly cut the time to the 3 day bare minimum. That’s not enough time for a Council Member to read and study the Council packet, let alone the public. The budget link should be posted on our Home page, not buried.”

17. What is your perspective on climate change? And what, if any, action plans do you have to address climate change and protect residents?

Andrea Marr: “I’m convinced that cities have the greatest capacity to make a meaningful difference in combatting climate change. We’ve taken some steps but we need to pass a climate action plan and begin to take more aggressive action on this issue. “

John Thomas Patton: “I’m focused on the local issues that have an immediate impact on Costa Mesa residents- No on measure K, Homelessness, Crime.”

Jorge Miron: “Climate change is undeniable. We should take a measured approach to incrementally incorporating sustainable practices, and look for opportunities for greener options when the market price is similar or more expensive than a more environmentally friendly option. In many cases the most economical option is also the most environmentally friendly.”

18. What local actions, if any, do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Andrea Marr: “Before we can reduce GHGs, we need a thorough accounting of them! That’s why we need a Climate Action Plan. “

John Thomas Patton: “*see above. “

Jorge Miron: “My husband and I are fortunate enough to afford an electric vehicle, which I drive daily. Low-income people do not buy electric cars even with subsidies. So my biggest concern with the switch to renewable energy is equity – both in time and money. Biking, walking, and transit improvements are a part of the solution but only a piece of the puzzle.”

19. Do you believe the last presidential election was stolen?

Andrea Marr: “No, that’s ridiculous. “

John Thomas Patton: “I’m not interested in giving any more thoughts to rhetoric that divides the people of Costa Mesa. I want safe and fair elections for every citizen.”

Jorge Miron:  “I can’t believe we even have to ask this. Of course it wasn’t stolen! I am more focused on local issues. I am however concerned about voter intimidation and would like to see more enforcement of electioneering laws rather than just reporting. People need to feel comfortable going to the polls or submitting ballots.”

20. Do you believe you are participating in a free and fair election process? Subject to the established rules for recounts, will you accept the results of their election, win or lose, as certified?

Andrea Marr: “yes”

John Thomas Patton: “Of course! “

Jorge Miron: “As mentioned before, I think it’s fair but we could do better at enforcing electioneering laws. I will of course accept the results, but with the slow process of vote counting with mail in balloting, the winner may not be obvious until a couple weeks after. That has been even as late as certification.”

District 4

  1. What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?

Manuel Chavez: “Housing. Costa Mesa has an anti-growth ordinance called Measure Y that requires voter approval of development projects not in the general plan. This lead to a complete halt of housing applications coming to the City. The Council put forth measure K to Costa Mesa which will allow certain commercial zoned areas on major streets to be exempt.”

2. Voters in November will decide whether to scale down a 2016 initiative that required voter approval of large development projects. Some say the measure, known as Measure Y, has become too onerous of a roadblock to building more housing in town to meet a regional and statewide crisis. Where do you stand on the current process for approving developments in town, and on the new bill that’s up this November, Measure K, that would walk the previous measure back and exempt certain projects?

Manuel Chavez: “Measure Y is the boogeyman in the room in Costa Mesa. Since it passed there has been absolutely no development of any size at scale, and it closed Costa Mesa for business to affordable housing development. My family and I will be voting for Measure K to address the worsening housing shortage.”

3. This year, Costa Mesa issued its first legal pot shop permits on Harbor and Newport Boulevards. Commercial cannabis is a debate that’s played out across Orange County for its potential to boost city finances. Do you believe cannabis retail belongs in Costa Mesa?

Manuel Chavez:“As a member of the Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee I worked closely with city staff to bring forward Measure Q to the Costa Mesa Voters, which subsequently passed with a resounding majority of the vote.”

4. From street-sweeping services to the city jail – the issue of outsourcing City Hall functions in Costa Mesa is one that’s played out for years, namely over what it means for the budget. Do you believe more or fewer city services should be done in-house, and what do you think that means for city coffers?

Manuel Chavez: “Whenever possible, we should have fewer city services outsourced to private, for-profit contractors. Time and time again we see that when a job is outsourced the quality can go down. Our residents deserve the best quality services and our city employees do an excellent job.”

5. 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?

Manuel Chavez: “I support the implementation of government transparency and campaign finance reform legislation such as SB 1439.”

6. What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?

Manuel Chavez: “One of the first votes I took when elected to Council was to establish the City of Costa Mesa’s first city-run bridge housing facility for our unhoused neighbors. “

7. What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?

Manuel Chavez: “I was the first sitting City Council Member to speak out against Measure Y, which has stonewalled the development of housing in Costa Mesa. I am a strong supporter of affordable housing and reducing barriers to its development, and have led advocacy for the city to develop an inclusionary zoning ordinance, which will be passed soon.”

8. 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?

Manuel Chavez: “I am open to exploring rent stabilization, even though California has already passed its own version of statewide rent stabilization. I am proud to have led the charge to getting more rental assistance to Costa Mesa residents. Nearly 400 residents have been provided with rental assistance from an allocation of more than $2 million in city funds.”

9. What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?

Manuel Chavez: “We need more protected bike lanes and bike paths so that residents feel safe and secure using alternative modes of transportation to cars and vehicles. Just in the past few years we have already begun to make progress towards this goal. I also support increases to bus service frequency and the development of more public transit options.”

10. 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?

Manuel Chavez: “Public safety begins with trust & children kept entertained with academics, sports and extracurricular activities, and that these are funded and well supported by the city. It is further important for our police to be approachable and trusted by residents so that all incidents are reported. Costa Mesa practices community policing on a daily basis.”

11. 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?

Manuel Chavez: “Yes – bikes are a key alternative to using vehicles. I advocated to deliver funding in the budget to create a protected bike path on Placentia Boulevard connecting my district to the Wilson Bike Path, Fairview Park, Estancia High School and Newport Beach.”

12. What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?

Manuel Chavez: “I believe we need more money allocated for upgrading and creating more parks in the Westside. Currently due to lack of development we have been struggling to use depleted development fee revenue to upgrade our parks.”

13. Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?

Manuel Chavez: “Yes, in the last 5 years the city has created a new library – the Donald Dunger Library, remodeled our existing community center. Our public spaces like these exist to serve the community. Furthermore, our public pool could be better advertised so more of our residents use it.”

14. 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?

Manuel Chavez: “We can always work to improve government transparency. The budget process could have more community input and I believe that would be helpful for residents to see what the council is prioritizing.”

15. What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?

Manuel Chavez: “I believe the city should sponsor more town halls and listening tours in the different city districts ensuring another avenue for citizens to express their concerns.”

16. Do you support publicly posting meeting agendas earlier? If so, how early? And what if any steps would you take to increase public input in budget decisions?

Manuel Chavez: “Yes – I believe that staff should post meeting agendas as soon as they are able. I would prefer them posting it the Wednesday before the council meeting so residents have more time to prepare for council meetings. “

17. What is your perspective on climate change? And what, if any, action plans do you have to address climate change and protect residents?

Manuel Chavez: “Climate Change is already impacting residents of my district. On the city level I am constantly advocating for us to plant more trees in areas where they’re lacking to create more shade, cooling centers in heatwaves, & doing all in our ability to lower greenhouse emissions, like electrifying the city’s vehicle fleet & EV fast charging stations.”

18. What local actions, if any, do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Manuel Chavez: “Costa Mesa is a Leed Gold Certified City, we have been installing electric chargers throughout city facilities like city hall and the senior center, and we have to create more protected bike paths to make our residents feel safer getting out of their cars.”

19. Do you believe the last presidential election was stolen?

Manuel Chavez: “No – it was a fair election.”

20. Do you believe you are participating in a free and fair election process? Subject to the established rules for recounts, will you accept the results of their election, win or lose, as certified?

Manuel Chavez: “Yes, democracies are dependent on candidates accepting the results of elections. The County of Orange has an excellent Registrar of Voters that ensures our local election are conducted with the highest standard of integrity.”

District 5

  1. What in your opinion is the biggest issue in your city right now? How would you address it?

Arlis Reynolds: “Most residents are struggling with high housing costs; HOAG identified this as a top health issue in OC. High housing costs affect all of us. We need homes that people can afford. We can do this by investing in creative cohousing, efficiency apartments for students and young professionals, and multi-use housing that invites walkable communities.”

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

2. Voters in November will decide whether to scale down a 2016 initiative that required voter approval of large development projects. Some say the measure, known as Measure Y, has become too onerous of a roadblock to building more housing in town to meet a regional and statewide crisis. Where do you stand on the current process for approving developments in town, and on the new bill that’s up this November, Measure K, that would walk the previous measure back and exempt certain projects?

Arlis Reynolds: “Measure K is a necessary step to address housing costs, encourage investment in commercial zones, and maintain local control. It restores normal planning while protecting neighborhoods and requiring engagement to ensure updated plans reflect our community’s vision. The city website provides the facts: www.costamesaca.gov/hot-topics/measure-k”

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

3. This year, Costa Mesa issued its first legal pot shop permits on Harbor and Newport Boulevards. Commercial cannabis is a debate that’s played out across Orange County for its potential to boost city finances. Do you believe cannabis retail belongs in Costa Mesa?

Arlis Reynolds: “Costa Mesa voted to allow retail cannabis. Our cannabis program helps diversify revenue sources and has effectively curbed unlicensed, unsightly, unsafe shops. Our rules restrict locations, require substantial safety and security features, and allocate a portion of the cannabis tax revenue to arts programs and a first-time homebuyer program.”

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

4. From street-sweeping services to the city jail – the issue of outsourcing City Hall functions in Costa Mesa is one that’s played out for years, namely over what it means for the budget. Do you believe more or fewer city services should be done in-house, and what do you think that means for city coffers?

Arlis Reynolds: “My focus is on cost-effective solutions. The lower cost option is not always the most effective nor the cheapest long-term; the formerly-contracted jail service is a good example of that. We have had low-cost contractors provide poor quality work that becomes more expensive to fix and maintain over time. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

5. 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?

Arlis Reynolds: “Support.”

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

6. What are your plans to address homelessness in your city?

Arlis Reynolds: “I will continue to support our successful Bridge Shelter system, partnering with service organizations who help people back into stable situations; collaborate with the county and other funding sources to support affordable housing–especially for seniors with fixed incomes; and create options to provide affordable and dignified housing options. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

7. What are your plans to address the housing crisis? Do you support more affordable housing? If so, what are your plans to increase it?

Arlis Reynolds: “Implement our Housing Element’s key programs, including 1) streamlining ADU production, 2) incentives and partnerships for senior and affordable housing, 3) parking programs to update standards in walkable districts, and 4) an inclusionary housing ordinance. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

8. 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?

Arlis Reynolds: “One of the primary drivers of homelessenss in our community is the growing gap between housing costs and wages. Our city council has established rental assistance programs to help keep people in homes and is partnering with community-based organizations to support people at-risk of losing their homes. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

9. What are your plans for reducing traffic congestion in your city? And what, if any, changes to public transit would you seek?

Arlis Reynolds: “We need to understand sources of congestion and strategies to reduce the number of cars on our streets. We can reduce school drop-off congestion with safe walk/bike routes to school. We need better sidewalks and bike lanes for that enable people to move around the city without a car. We must collaborate to invest in public transit options. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

10. 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?

Arlis Reynolds: “A safe city is a place where people both are safe and feel safe. We need to track issues affecting safety, employ strategies to address those issues, and evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts. We must address both existing issues and root causes to address safety now and improve safety in the future. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

11. 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?

Arlis Reynolds: “Yes. Progress is people, including students and families, using the bike lanes because they feel safe.”

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

12. What are the main things, if any, you would change about how your city spends its dollars?

Arlis Reynolds: “We need measurable goals for each budget initiative, so that we can better evaluate how effective each strategy is. For example, if a program to reduce speeding and collisions is not achieving that goal, we should invest in other strategies. Similarly, as we identify successful programs, we can continue investing in those strategies. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

13. Do you believe your city should create additional public pools, libraries and community centers? Why or why not?

Arlis Reynolds: “Yes, absolutely, 100% we must invest in public spaces that are accessible, affordable, and welcoming. These public spaces reduce create opportunities for people to live and play and meet other community members. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

14. 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?

Arlis Reynolds: “We have improved transparency and access with remote access to meetings, new communication channels, bilingual information, and higher budgets for community outreach. Our council has a specific goal to develop effective communication channels to develop effective tools and strategies to reach our diverse community segments.”

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

15. What, if anything, will you do to make your agency and its elected leaders more transparent and open to constituents?

Arlis Reynolds: “I will continue to push for expanding community engagement and transparency efforts. I have hosted many community engagement events and plan to host quarterly District 5 community meetings throughout the district to continue my efforts to engage residents in local government. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

16. Do you support publicly posting meeting agendas earlier? If so, how early? And what if any steps would you take to increase public input in budget decisions?

Arlis Reynolds: “Yes. I would like to establish a participatory budgeting program through through which the public (e.g., community organizations, neighborhood groups, or student groups) develop and vote on projects and programs. This is a great way to generate new ideas based on community input and engage our community in the budgeting process. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

17. What is your perspective on climate change? And what, if any, action plans do you have to address climate change and protect residents?

Arlis Reynolds: “We need to adjust our urban planning strategies and building codes to reduce energy consumption, vehicle miles, and greenhouse gas emissions in our communities. We also need to grow green space and plant more trees to encourage environmental cooling and carbon capture while creating more healthy spaces for our residents. “

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

18. What local actions, if any, do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Arlis Reynolds: “Plant more trees. Invest in sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes to encourage more walking and biking and reduce reliance on vehicles. Invest in vehicle charging infrastructure to encourage the transition to electric vehicles. Support the wetland restoration along the Santa Ana River for carbon capture. Plant more trees.”

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

19. Do you believe the last presidential election was stolen?

Arlis Reynolds: “No”

Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

20. Do you believe you are participating in a free and fair election process? Subject to the established rules for recounts, will you accept the results of their election, win or lose, as certified?

Arlis Reynolds: “Yes”
Robert Dickson: (Did not respond)

•••

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