As a Realtor, I see how prices in Monrovia have gone higher over recent years, making it almost impossible for younger generations to ever be able to afford to buy a home here. Many of the blue collar workers and young people who grew up in Monrovia can’t even pay our high rents, let alone making a mortgage. I’d like to put an emphasis in making sure all of the development that is scheduled to happen in our city includes a mix of affordable housing. That might involve having builders work with entities such as Habitat for Humanity and allowing more Accessory Dwelling Units in order to help create a win/win situation for everyone.
We all know that one of the major issues facing the country is the homelessness crisis. In the San Gabriel Valley alone, there are currently 50,000 homeless people according to the San Gabriel Valley Consortium on Homelessness. For too long we have allowed our mental healthcare system to unravel before our eyes, as we let for-profit healthcare companies dole out opioids like candy while they cut back services and let vulnerable people slip through the cracks. We must address the skyrocketing cost of living and the disintegrating societal and family structures that leave people isolated and alone in crisis. The same disintegrating social structures that lead some people to attack and dehumanize others. Some residents have suggested that we should simply arrest all of the homeless people. I do not agree with criminalizing homelessness. Arresting people is the wrong answer to unaffordable housing, poverty, low wages, inadequate healthcare, mental illness, and addiction, which are just some of the causes of homelessness. While the State has a Master Plan to deal with the crisis, many cities, including Monrovia, are not meeting the requirements. If we don’t address the situation here, we stand a chance of being sued for not responding appropriately. Seniors, Veterans and Families are some of the hardest hit in our community. It’s important that we become pro-active in homelessness prevention, not reaction, which will then reduce the number of people without a place to live. Sprung structures, 3D printed houses, Recuperative Care, and other progressive ideas may help deal with the problems we see locally. We need to have conversations so that the City and Developers are open minded about options. It's our duty as human beings and fellow citizens to be a good neighbor!
With the recent passage of Measure K, our local tax increase, it becomes even more important to assure residents that the money being taken in is going to good use. While we definitely need to upgrade our Community Center, we have other problems that may be more pressing. I feel it's important to hear from the citizens on how to spend that money appropriately, concentrating on what will make us stronger, both fiscally and locally. I'd encourage a town hall meeting with all residents to see what is important to you, get your ideas, and then implement the funding for those concerns.
After serving for 20 years on the Historic Preservation Commission, and having lived in Monrovia for over 30 years, I understand the importance of preserving our history while at the same time working to assure responsible development. I know that not every old house is historic, and that sometimes it makes more sense to build something better. Four years ago, we saw a huge reaction in a local neighborhood after a small bungalow was torn down and replaced by a large two-story “villa” that didn’t fit with the rest of the homes it surrounded. As a result, the City put in place stronger preservation and neighborhood compatibility ordinances, which have gone a long way to preserve our neighborhoods. We need to stay focused on keeping our history in place. As a staunch financial supporter of the recent Legacy Project, I know how important preservation is to our citizens. I want to continue staying focused on that legacy. I am proud to have participated in the landmarking of over 100 structures in this beautiful town. In addition, I helped approve facades in Old Town Monrovia, including the building of the movie theater. Our history is as important now as ever, and I vow to continue with my efforts of preserving it for future generations.
Sustainability of local resources at a local level
In recent years, we have seen Monrovia pass a plastic bag ban, create a community garden in partnership with local citizens and churches, and ban the use of Styrofoam at City Hall and city sponsored events. This is a great start to sustainability at a local level, and it needs to continue to develop. With all the planned development scheduled in the coming months, water may become another issue since we will have more people using our well water. Finding ways to capture run-off, keeping conservation rules in place, and making sure that we stay focused on our resources will lead us into a strong future. I want to make sure we act locally, as well as globally to ensure a great place to live for all of us. In addition, considering all the added people who will be moving into Monrovia when all the new developments are completed, we will be stretching our public safety services to the limit. As it stands right now, our Fire and Police Departments are understaffed. We will need to discuss how to address the strengthening of those services so that our citizens remain safe. We will need to have further discussions with the people in our City to see how to add staff to these important departments going forward.
Traffic & Parking
With all the new development that is being planned, we really need to address the problems with traffic and parking. The 400+ units that are currently being constructed in Old Town Monrovia, will present even worse problems finding parking for those who want to shop locally. There is also a focus on providing more housing near the Gold Line, but by assuming that people who live close to transportation will forego their cars is a pipe dream. The City needs to continue to do more to provide parking and deal with the traffic on Huntington, Foothill, Myrtle and even our side streets. More people equals more cars equals more potential for problems. We need to be proactive in addressing these issues!