Sat, May 05 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité
Incumbent Chula Vista City Councilwoman Pamela Bensoussan is up for reelection.
She’s running against Larry Breitfelder, Guillermo Brisseno and Bob Castaneda for Seat 3.
Bensoussan, 61, was elected to serve on the City Council in 2008.
She said the major issues include protecting and renewing the city’s bayfront, economic growth, and revival and expanding opportunities for culture, art, education and recreation.
Bensoussan was born and raised in Chula Vista and later moved to France at age 24. She studied in Paris, gaining an international perspective on economics, history and society.
In 1984 she moved back to Chula Vista with her family.
“I want to continue moving the city forward with the projects that are essential to our economic development,” she said.
Bensoussan said growth and redevelopment can be achieved in the city without sacrificing quality of life.
“The city is on the cusp of three drivers of economic development, including the bayfront, millennia project and finalizing acquisition of the land for the university park and research center,” she said. “We’re practically shovel ready for the bayfront development.”
Bensoussan also said she is committed to historical preservation and green efforts.
While serving on the Heritage Museum executive board, Bensoussan cofounded the city’s first historic home tour and received the city’s Historic Preservationist of the Year award in 2004.
Bensoussan said that bids for city contracts should be weighted heavily for local firms which provide local jobs.
“We have to be business friendly and send a consistent message that we welcome people to Chula Vista,” she said.
“We need to encourage residents to buy locally and provide more job opportunities locally.”
“As a council member, I’ve advocated strongly for expanding the enterprise zone boundaries, which would allow more businesses to benefit from the programs that give tax credits to employers for job creation,” Bensoussan said. “I also encouraged energy efficiency programs that leveraged state public good funds and stimulus funding to subsidize local purchase of energy efficient appliances.”
Bensoussan said programs such as the Clean Business and Green Challenge result in cost savings to local businesses.
Bensoussan is the city’s representative to the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, the international organization of local governments for sustainability. In December 2010 she won ICLEI’s prestigious Local Elected Official Sustainability Leadership Award.
As far as city services, Bensoussan said the city is beginning to recover.
“Every corner is important in Chula Vista and there are vast interests,” she said. “We need to look at the city as a whole … and provide a quality of life to all Chula Vistans.”
Bensoussan is also working to bring back the Vogue Theatre as a viable operation and encourages a newer Chula Vista shopping center.
“The owners of the Vogue Theatre have put it back on the market,” she said. “It’s really important to the success of Third Avenue; just like the streetscape plan, it will be a game changer.”
As far as district elections, Bensoussan said it’s a conflict of interest for council members.
“The Charter Review Commission recommendation to put district elections on the ballot addressed the possible politicizing of districts by recommending they be drawn by an impartial committee made up of judges, as opposed to council members,” she said. “I concur.”
Bensoussan also said she has no interest this time around to increase taxes and that a leaner city is a more efficient one.
“…We gave the residents an opportunity to decide if they wanted more taxes or cuts in services,” she said. “There’s no reason to do that again.”
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