Chula Vista candidates racing toward June election

Now through June The Star-News will feature interviews with candidates running for a variety of public offices.

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Patti Groulx

COUNCIL DISTRICT TWO CANDIDATE PATTI GROULX

Patti Groulx is running for Chula Vista City Council District 2 being vacated by Council member Jill Galvez who is currently running for mayor. The 65-year-old Democrat grew up in New Jersey, attended Rutgers University’s School of Library & Information Science, so during her years in high school and college she worked in all areas of the library. She came to California in the mid-80s, and a friend suggested that she look at Chula Vista as a place to live and did so in 1998. Between her and her husband, they have three children, and three grandchildren.

“I love the atmosphere of Chula Vista,” she said. “The Bayfront, going to the Living Coast Discovery Center, events at the athletic training center, afternoon concerts at Memorial Park, street fairs.”

Groulx worked in the cataloging department at USD, then worked with the County in its Health & Human Services Agency. She has worked in governmental fiscal management and analysis since 2002, conducting eligibility evaluations for government services, monitoring government contracts, legislative analysis, homeless outreach, and conducting independent in-depth reviews of departments. After 34 years of county service, Groulx began looking at retirement. She said she looked at several options that could utilize her skills and decided to run for city council.

Groulx said the city needs to continue its efforts to bring more needed resources to the unsheltered in Chula Vista.

“While I was working for the county, I helped implement the first homeless outreach team in downtown San Diego, made up of two police officers, two licensed mental health clinicians, and myself representing social services,” she said. “Homeless solutions are not a one size fits all. Some folks have mental health conditions, substance abuse disorders, and some of that may have come about in dealing with having to live on the street. We need to work with our community partners, faith based organizations, regional partners including the County of San Diego, because it is an extremely complicated issue with no easy solution.”

Groulx said the city need to look at how to maintain adequate numbers of police and firefighters, and how to enhance recruitment and retention efforts.

“I would also be interested, because I do finances, seeing how we have used Measure A fundings,” she said. “When I was reviewing the City’s strategic plan, it is good to see that the city plans to have an initiative to restore and enhance public safety capacity.”
Groulx said the city needs to continue to enhance services for seniors and other vulnerable community members.

“We need to look at issues with transportation and working on things in west Chula Vista for that,” she said. “Access to food and affordable housing. And housing, in particular affordable housing is a big issue.”

Groulx said in looking for her first place to live in the 80s, she did not have much income, and was challenged to find a place back then.

“And I know the situation has gotten a lot worse,” she said. “Chula Vista does have affordable housing units, but many of the units are still out of reach for the low and very low income individuals. And the more affordable units have waitlists that go for five plus years. It is a difficult situation, and we will have to work with our developers to produce some doable solutions.”

Groulx said she is concerned about the bayfront project may lead to the gentrification of western Chula Vista.

“I have always lived in this area and cared for this area,” she said. “I am concerned, but we must do a balance. We cannot completely reject the bayfront because it will bring in much needed revenue. But we need to preserve the western Chula Vista culture. There really is a feel to it with the families, the Third Avenue street fairs, and those community events. We do not want those to go away. That is a priority. I do not think that people realize the impact that the bayfront project is going to have in that sense, that it could bring gentrification. People have focused more on it is going to bring us revenue and jobs, which is good, but we do have to look at that balance and not let revenue overshadow what is going on in western Chula Vista.”

Groulx said she has seen a couple of houses in the area purchased by developers, then “flipped,” so this is already happening. She said for the most part though, most of the people moving in her neighborhood are military or people that can afford a home and plan to stay.

Groulx said as we begin moving forward out of the pandemic, the city needs to look at its libraries, parks, community centers, and after school programs that help support communities, especially for families with children who have had a rough time during the pandemic and shutdown.

“Our current budget does include these as priorities, and with a teenage daughter that has utilized some of these services, I would like to work on making some of these happen and some of the improvements happen,” she said.

Groulx said she wants to continue to make the bayfront a community resource.

“But we want to make sure that we maintain what is there that the people of the community enjoy,” she said. “I love the Living Coast.”

Groulx said she is in support of bringing a major university into Chula Vista in “looking at the future of our children.” She said she also supports the city’s strategic plan’s initiatives related to opportunities for investment in western Chula Vista and providing services and programs that are responsive to resident’s priorities.

“After all, we serve the residents,” she said. “We must do what is best for our community with the resources that we have.”

Groulx said in her walks talking to people, that one concern that came up was street safety in residential neighborhoods.

“Like speeding cars through the Hilltop area where kids are,” she said. “I cannot say that I have a solution for that right now, but we need to find a way to look at it, evaluate it, look at traffic patterns. It is not necessarily traffic, but dangerous traffic. Just recently, somebody crashed into a wall on Hilltop, and there are kids walking around there. It is a concern to some people in the area where I live.”

Chula Vista candidates racing toward June election