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Issues

2018 Issues

Katrina Foley for Mayor 2018

As the City of Costa Mesa Mayor 2016-2017,  I led the city council with a goal of restoring civility during the meetings, including all voices in the public discussions, launching listening tours in our town, working toward unanimous decisions that consider a diverse council, and working to restore our depleted police and fire department staffing so we can protect our residents and neighborhoods.

I took the helm with a host of revisions to regulations governing local group and sober-living homes in Costa Mesa – including new rules aimed at increasing transparency and preventing occupants who are evicted or otherwise involuntarily discharged from becoming homeless. But we can’t protect patients nor the public without changing the state and federal laws that abusive rehab home operators are exploiting with this new business model. So we prioritized trying to change or clarify those laws. On behalf of the council, I traveled to Sacramento, and Washington DC to testify in committee hearings and educate members about the impacts and abuses of bad neighbor recovery homes and connections to our homeless and opioid crisis.  We began working with the County to obtain our fair share of the mental health funding I will continue to work with other cities and states to change the laws that allow rehab home operators to exploit and traffic addicts.

I care about this community and its residents.  Living in Costa Mesa should be safe, easy, and embracing of our creative culture. Under my leadership, a committee was formed and charged with developing plans to make the city more walkable and bike friendly.

We embraced our motto – City of the Arts. We now feature local resident artists in an art gallery on the 5th Floor.  I enjoyed christening murals by internationally acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, and opening the new Argyros Plaza where a diverse offering of music, dance, theatrical and visuals arts are on display year round for FREE to everyone.  We encouraged more public art and the Cultural Arts Committee is also finally working on a Master Plan for the Arts.

“Costa Mesa is the focal point of the county when it comes to culinary, artistic and shopping experiences,” said Mayor of Costa Mesa, Katrina Foley. “We are grateful for this new partnership with ART that offers those who live, work and shop here a free and convenient way to get to the hubs of creative culture and cuisine.”

And of course, as many of you already know, we enthusiastically welcomed the NFL Chargers to our community — which they have embraced and supported. They are investing in our community parks, recreation programming, schools, and non profit organizations.  Plus, they bring in tourism revenue to our hotels and restaurants. Costa Mesa is on the map.

In the future, I want to see growth better managed and planned to prevent the kind of over development we’ve seen popping up in all the wrong locations. While I am proud of the progress made on this issue, there remains a great deal to do.  We have initiated a review of the overlay zones that create too much density in all the wrong places in Newport and Harbor Blvds.  We are also reviewing potential changes to the small lot ordinance to ensure better projects more compatible and with more open space.  Finally, at my request, we will consider a visioning process for future development so that smart planning principles apply and neighborhoods remain liveable.

Fiscally, our budget remains strong and we continue to enjoy a robust economy due to South Coast Plaza, our diversity of businesses throughout the city, and a vibrant tourism program. We are growing our reserves and infrastructure savings accounts while still investing in outdated equipment, communications systems, and improvements to city buildings, as well as major projects like the Lions Park Projects with a new library, community center and 1 acre park, a new fire station on Adams, and plans to light and improve several school site fields, as well as increased multi purpose trials, street repair, beautification and traffic calming projects throughout the city.  This fiscal year we improved our reserves and self insurance fund to more than $60 million.  All while prepaying the annual amount of the CalPERS unfunded liability for all three of the bargaining groups in the amount of $15.5 million. That saves us money down the road.  Plus, under my leadership, we also negotiated contracts with our employee groups that are fair and frugal, but functional. They increased the health benefit bucket for employees so we can retain and recruit but do not increase our unfunded pension liability. Reasonable salary increases were negotiated to adjust for almost a decade of cuts without raises, but our employees now contribute more than any other city in the state toward their pensions.  As a result, morale and staffing improved and we are almost up to budgeted staffing numbers in all departments, especially in the police department where we show 26 new positions filled since December 2016 when we became dangerously understaffed. Our residents deserve a fully functioning city hall.

The Vision. We want to make certain — from the South Coast Metro north of the 405, to the East Side and the West Side — that Costa Mesa remains a great place for families, a great place for business, a great place for culture. That it’s a safe and thriving environment for all who work, live, and visit. The most crucial measure of success will be that residents, in all parts of the City, recognize that City Hall is listening and focused first on the public interest, delivering broad community benefits.

Priorities for the Future.

Public safety is paramount. Full staffing and rehab home operator reforms is key.

Fiscal stability is essential. Supporting our diverse businesses with emphasis on growing tourism will strengthen our economy and improve the quality without degrading the liveability of our community.

Strengthening resident amenities is important — for example, increasing mobility through better transit options, building on our parks and recreation programs for all ages, developing an integrated, citywide network of bike trails.

An ongoing challenge is to strike the right balance among sometimes competing interests. That becomes easier to do by— in fact it starts with — taking care to really listen to the public.

I’m honored to serve and respectfully ask for your ongoing support as Mayor in 2018 to continue our work for you.

Katrina Foley

 

LaDainian Tomlinson presented Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley with special football in recognization of her leadership.

LaDainian Tomlinson presented Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley a special, hand painted game ball in recognition of her leadership by the NFL Chargers franchise.