Below are the responses, Mariela Salgado, small business owner, candidate for Long Beach District 1 City Council seat, to a Press-Telegram survey ahead of the June 7 election.
To read the District 1 preview, click here. Poll responses for the other District 1 candidates are also available: Lee R. Charley, Zack Deere, Steven Estrada and Mary Zendejas.
In-person voting centers are open at Long Beach City College, 1305 E. Pacific Coast Highway, and Long Beach Senior Center, 1150 E. Fourth St. Find more information about voting at lavote.gov.
Survey responses have been edited for style and clarity.
Q: What is the biggest problem facing Long Beach today?
A: Mismanagement of taxpayers’ money.
In the past two years alone, we’ve had over $300 million in unnecessary expenses, which includes the Queen Mary, Community Hospital and now Measure M water charges – plus many more we don’t. are not fully aware. We need new leadership to keep our government open, transparent and accountable. We cannot fully support our economic, safety and quality of life initiatives if we are not fiscally responsible. It’s time to restore public confidence in city government.
Q: Most residents list homelessness at the top of their list of priorities. What would you do with the homeless in Long Beach?
A: The pandemic has hurt many of our residents and the most vulnerable in the city. But it also exposed long-standing inequalities in our city, ignored by the very people we trust to lead.
In the First arrondissement, the 2012 Downtown Plan gave way to mainly luxury rental developments. It was approved without inclusive housing and gave way to significant rent increases. It is estimated that more than 20,000 residents were displaced with this plan. The homeless population grows fastest when rent affordability – the share of income people spend on rent – crosses a certain threshold. Here in Long Beach, 57% of renters are considered to have rent encumbered. This means that many of our neighbors are having a traumatic event of being homeless.
Year to year, homeless counts show that approximately 50% of homeless people experience an episode for the first time. As the state decides on a CARE Court policy, I will focus on this homeless subpopulation for the first time by increasing the capacity of our REACH outreach team and engaging housing providers to accept housing vouchers.
We need to be able to impact this population earlier to prevent individuals from falling into the elements of the streets, which impacts their health and mental state. We need to intervene sooner. We must continue to increase the construction of transitional housing and housing with additional services. With new leadership, this presents opportunities and we must be ready to find creative solutions to have a more immediate impact.
Q: Affordable housing continues to be a major issue and business development is key to economic growth. How, in a built city, can these needs be met?
A: As we recover from the pandemic, businesses are returning to a new normal, including hybrid working models. This could be an opportunity to reallocate commercial space to support additional housing and the local economy, thereby increasing foot traffic in adjacent commercial corridors.
We should consider all options, including taking advantage of real estate assets in the city or the Long Beach Unified School District to reallocate – or purchase – to increase the supply of affordable housing and include townhouses and the condos in these opportunities.
Pathways to homeownership are critical as we add more homes. This allows first-time home buyers to enter the market and create more resilient households.
Q: Public safety is always a priority issue. Police and fire personnel have been constrained by budgetary problems for years. At the same time, there are some in the city who would like to divert more money from the police department to invest in social programs. What is your position ?
A: Our police service absorbs 64% of our general fund and while it can be easy to tip one way or the other, I believe that a large portion of those dollars are committed and absorbed by plan liabilities. of retirement. However, we must be prepared to ask the tough questions to prioritize the safety of our communities.
Should we hire more officers to avoid the exorbitant amount of overtime our officers are asked to commit to, which impacts their mental health and their ability to do their jobs well? Yes. Should we have more community policing? Yes. Should we invest in the community? Yes.
We need a better trained and diverse police service while seeking to invest in our communities, especially our youth.
Q: Long Beach continued to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic with financial support for businesses and families. Should more be done?
A: We need policy and systemic changes that remove barriers and create opportunities for our youth, residents and businesses in education, employment and access to capital, respectively. This work is now more important to minimize the gaps in education and wealth that we see as the effects of the pandemic. We need to get people back to work and support our business corridors. Here in the First District, well over 290 businesses have closed. Most of the city.
For me, there is a sense of urgency to stimulate our local economy through tax incentives, moratoriums and training opportunities for workers and small businesses. We need to identify and support industries that will drive economic recovery. In the end, it all comes down to political will and community work – who will the people of Long Beach trust, the status quo bought by special interests or an independent voice invested in their community?
Q: Since the murder of George Floyd in 2020, fairness has been at the center of many questions. What does equity mean to you and what can the city do to promote it?
A: Equity fills long-standing educational and economic gaps in our city. To me, that’s economic inclusion – that’s how we invest in and uplift the residents of Long Beach.
Residents of the First District have the opportunity to change leadership during this election cycle. In doing so, we put the voice of the community first, not of special interests. One of the challenges listed in the Racial Reconciliation Report updates was the need for independent leadership. We need an independent voice on council to make informed decisions for the betterment of the people and businesses of the First District and our city.
Q: Federal and state support helped the city weather the pandemic years financially. This aid is over and budgetary problems are looming. What are your priorities ? Do you see any cuts coming?
A: I want to prioritize the quality of life issues facing our residents – code enforcement, litter, street improvements – and have staff that are in community and commercial hallways.
Second, prioritize our economic recovery and public safety concerns – particularly how we will address them in the years to come with an anticipated fiscal deficit. Special interests cannot be the voice of the city council. We need an independent voice on the board to ensure that the needs of working families, children and seniors are at the forefront.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing your district? How do you plan to fix it?
A: First of all, I want to put it back in service. So many of our residents feel like their voice is not being heard – and I intend to change that by holding town hall meetings in the first year of office.
I want our residents and businesses to know that City Council’s priorities will align with their needs. Our First District has historically had low voter turnout and civic engagement, which has allowed us to be vulnerable and sensitive to those with political ambition.
Having lived in this neighborhood for more than a decade, I know first-hand the economic, safety and quality of life issues facing our residents. I intend to hire well and support initiatives around these three priorities – economic recovery, the safety of our residents, and support for our neighborhood associations, First District residents and businesses.