The Star-News


Mayoral candidates state their case

Sat, Oct 16 2010 12:00 PM Posted By: Ernesto Lopez

Mitch Beauchamp

Age: 64

Occupation:National City treasurer

If elected Mayor of National City, how will you foster economic growth?

 

I am currently working to re-open the desert rail line for access to the Union Pacific Railroad so that the monopoly by BNSF in the San Diego and Tijuana region is broken. This will allow for lower freight rates to the movement of goods into the region and make businesses more competitive by offering lower costs to customers, not just those with rail spurs. Senator-elect Vargas and I got the eastern line opened several years ago but a group involved with the monopoly closed it and they are now being removed from the scene by federal agencies.

The gaping hole along the Miles of Cars is an obvious need to restore commercial activity; but putting car dealers back in may not be the solution. We need to be long-range with this effort and the direction society is moving or will be moved, now that oil is declining as an energy source, has to be a consideration.

Small businesses are the heart of National City's employment situation. As Treasurer I have had to hammer the Fire Department to get business licenses cleared so small mom and pop enterprises could start up and get their value from paying the business license fee. Facilitating small business in our town is a very important work of the Chamber of Commerce and that coordination must be strengthened.

What's your top priority for National City?

The City policy makers must reduce the debt of retirement benefits. The guarantee of retirement income should not be the responsibility of the taxpayers.

The cost to maintain the current police and fire services has to be reduced by salary adjustments or staffing level modifications.

The use of volunteers has to be augmented. The Library has a fine group of Friends and this should be perpetuated through other social services, Sports groups need only a modicum of support through the provision of facilities or coordination to do what they do already so well. The abuse that the athletic group endured at their National City Boulevard site should never have happened.

The budget is balanced but on the back of depleted reserves and some overly hopeful outcomes. The financial reserves of the City are at dangerously low levels and these must be restored for legal requirements as well as for sound, prudent fiscal management.

What can you do that your opponent can't?

The first thing I can do is eliminate an aide that is not needed, whose presence with the present Mayor at political activities has the community in an uproar and whose continued employment, in light of letting core service employees go, shows a "let them eat cake" insensitivity to the public.

I do not mix my religion and my public service. Many in the community were offended by the "State of the City" presentation in relation to the religious affiliation of the present Mayor. Those that did attend commented to me that it was an uncomfortable situation. It reminded me of the atmosphere I encountered while doing an environmental survey at the Scientology facility at Gilroy Springs.

I have a level of education that exceeds all the candidates. I have service in Viet Nam as a Naval Officer. Two of my shipmates are Admirals. I can retain the liaison with the Naval presence in the City from a position of experience.

I have 35 years of running a private business that uniquely qualifies me to understand the stress and strategies needed to make a payroll that supports families and their futures. I can empathize with private business concerns and needs.

I am not supported by any special interest groups or political parties. Many of the issues that face the City currently are due to special interests dominating over resident interests. One need only to follow the money to see who is pulling the strings of the candidate. City government under my leadership will not be an easy, business as usual, affair. With two additional votes on the Council, I can make the hard choices needed to restore a sound fiscal basis to local governance.

Ron Morrison

Age: 60

Occupation: National City Mayor

If re-elected Mayor of National City, how will you foster economic growth?

Business growth in the region will most likely be limited over the next few years. I will continue to do everything I can to remove the hindrance local government can be to the business and development community. The use of the Enterprise Zone, financial and permitting incentives are crucial for economic and job growth. Our world has changed and our attitude of government toward business and the economy must also.

What's your top priority for National City?

As with almost all cities at this current time, long term fiscal sustainability has to be at the forefront of issues. Having a practical working knowledge of government finances, and the ability to make reforms at the governmental, fiscal and pension levels is going to be crucial. Controlling spending to provide services while realistically attracting new business' and jobs will take a lot of skill, leadership, experience and patience as we ride out this storm of both the economy and the State's woes. Our community has a lot of needs that can be met in part, or in whole, by local governmental services that will only be available in the future if we have long term committed strong leadership that puts the long range needs above politics, self ambition, or catering to outside interests.

What can you do that your opponent can't?

I bring to the table a proven record of practical governmental experience, political maturity, and the confidence of the community, inside and out, of the ability to get the job effectively done that the others cannot. The experience I have gained providing leadership for governmental bodies on the local, regional, state and national level will be invaluable for our future. This is not the time for on-the-job training or looking for a stepping stone for higher office. I provide a proven commitment to the people of National City that my only ambitions are their ambitions.

Alejandra Sotelo-Solis

Age: Did not disclose

Occupation: National City councilwoman

If elected Mayor of National City, how will you foster economic growth?

As a third-generation National City resident and homeowner, I am qualified, experienced, and ready to lead the city through these difficult and changing times. I have already worked to improve National City through my service as a Council Member and as a member of various community organizations. With my past experience working for two state Assembly Members, I know how government is supposed to work and how to change it when it doesn't. We need to continue to foster relationships with the Chamber of Commerce and encourage tax incentives through programs like the enterprise zone. In order to foster economic growth, knowing how all of these facets make up a community helps in guiding staff toward that common goal.

What's your top priority for National City?

I have two top priorities: the budget and revitalization of the West Side. National City should be encouraging projects similar to the Paradise Creek revitalization and housing project. We must take a closer look at how we determine zoning so that businesses and homes can be appropriately sited and pollution can be reduced so residents will be able to raise their families in healthy neighborhoods. Our residents are our lifeblood and our businesses are our backbone, and by partnering together, National City will continue to thrive. We must find a common ground where there can be a healthy environment for all residents and businesses will know they are appreciated and welcomed in National City and together we all can work to find budgetary solutions.

What can you do that your opponent can't?

I have the relationships in place to hit the ground running at the federal, state or local level. This is evident in my endorsements, as I am endorsed by our current Assembly Member as well as the city council president from the city of San Diego, state senators, U.S. Representatives, the Democratic Party, the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council as well as the National City Fire Fighters, many local civic leaders, community organizers and business representatives. As a leader and a community volunteer dedicated to National City I want to bring community involvement, open and honest government, and complete transparency with the city's business and community involvement. I will be a mayor National City can be proud of; a mayor that won't tarnish our fine city's reputation as an historic city with a strong belief in culture, history and family values.

Candidate Darryl GOrham chose not to participate in the question and answer.

 


© 2009 The Star-News