A Successful Senate Launch, Plus Lots of Local News!

March 28, 2021

I’m really excited about the positive reaction to the announcement of my campaign for state Senate last week. 
Fifty former and current elected officials have offered their support for my candidacy. It’s reassuring and humbling to see that my governance approach of bringing people together to bridge divides and accomplish big things has translated into such early support. 
Thank you for the financial contributions from my community of friends and neighbors! 
At this early stage, every dollar raised is particularly important. If you haven’t contributed yet, please do so now! 

Bluff repair funds will help threatened railroad tracks

A substantial section of the bluffs in Del Mar collapsed on February 28, jeopardizing the railroad tracks, an important transportation route. (Photo by Fox5 News.)

Locally, I continue working as mayor of Encinitas and chair of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) on the issues that affect all of us. 

I’m happy to report that the California Transportation Commission just allocated $10.5 million for emergency repairs to the Del Mar bluffs after a recent collapse uncomfortably close to the railroad tracks.

It’s a very serious situation, especially when you consider that this corridor is the second busiest in the nation, moving nearly $1 billion in goods, and 7.6 million people a year. 

The repair project will include almost 300 feet of seawall and 18 60-foot support columns. I was on KUSI News talking about this here. And the news article is here

SANDAG is currently performing the studies needed to determine the best location for a tunnel that would move the train tracks off the bluffs by 2035. At this point, there isn’t a funding source determined for this costly project.

Given the tremendous importance of the rail corridor to local, regional and interstate commerce, I expect that the money for relocation will be identified from federal, state and local sources. 

We’re making middle-income housing easier to afford

One of the most difficult problems in every California community is the cost of housing. In Encinitas, we recently approved a public-private partnership designed to create more middle-income housing, serving people like nurses, teachers, first responders and many others who are increasingly priced out of the communities they serve.

Here’s how it works – the California Community Housing Agency develops middle-income rental housing by buying properties, selling bonds and deed-restricting the units so that they always remain affordable.

Any potential project would come before the City Council for approval and follow all the required procedures. The city doesn’t have any liability or incur any cost. If you would like more information, here’s the staff report, and the presentation slides are here.

Working for cleaner roads and water

If you’ve been keeping up with these newsletters, you may remember that freeway and road trash really bugs me!

Through SANDAG, I chair the Litter Abatement subcommittee, a group of elected officials working to make our freeways and highways cleaner. We hold public hearings to ask Caltrans officials and others what they’re doing about the situation.

Litter blowing out the back of trucks is a major component of our current freeway trash problem. Through our joint efforts, a “Tarp Your Load” campaign has been started to encourage people to follow the law and tarp down any items in the back of a truck, whether going to the landfill or driving between destinations. I recently volunteered at the Otay Mesa Landfill to hand out free tarps to those driving into the landfill (see photo above).

On World Water Day last week, I spoke at a press conference with Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer and other partners of Project Clean Water about the need to keep trash and pollutants off our highways, roads and watersheds. Here’s the Encinitas Advocate story.

Do not throw away your shot! 

It was a great relief to receive my first COVID-19 vaccination last week (shown above), and I encourage everyone to get theirs as soon as they become eligible, which will be sooner rather than later.

People age 50 and over can make appointments this Thursday, and everyone 16 and up is eligible starting April 15! The MyTurn eligibility and registration site is here.

Recently, I was also able to volunteer at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Vaccination Super Station. In the photo above, I check in with folks who are resting for 15 minutes after their vaccinations to make sure there are no adverse reactions. What a friendly and efficient operation, and the joy of those getting their shots is contagious!

Despite the elation of watching the infection numbers come down, it’s important to remember what Dr. Fauci said in a recent TV interview, “You know that metaphor that people say, ‘If you’re going for a touchdown, don’t spike the ball at the 5-yard line. Wait until you get into the end zone.’”

So let’s resist the temptation to celebrate too early, and keep protecting ourselves and others from the coronavirus.

Rallying against anti-Asian hate

Like most of us, I’ve been horrified by the rise in anti-Asian hate speech and the killing of eight people, including six Asian women, in Atlanta. My thoughts continue to be with the victims, their families and all the lives affected by this tragedy.

Gun violence, misogyny and racism need to be widely condemned. We must stand together to create needed change. I applaud the student organizers of a recent rally against anti-Asian hate in Carlsbad. Here is the news article

If you witness any incidents of hate against Asian American Pacific Islander Communities (AAPI), report it at stopaapihate.org or StandAgainstHatred.

“By sharing what you experienced or witnessed, you can educate the public, empower others, show service providers where help is needed, and strengthen advocacy efforts for hate crimes response and prevention,” according to Asian Americans Advancing Justice

California’s safest cities

And finally, some generally reassuring news – according to home safety and security company Safewise, most of the cities in our 36th Senate District are ranked among the safest of California’s 229 cities.

Here are our cities, listed in Safewise’s ranking order:

2nd – Rancho Santa Margarita
5th – Aliso Viejo
8th – Laguna Niguel
9th – Mission Viejo
17th – Encinitas
18th – San Juan Capistrano
27th – Dana Point
31st – San Clemente
59th – Carlsbad
76th – Vista
135th – Oceanside

You can check Safewise’s ranking of all California cities here.

In ongoing service,

P.S. The first phase of the exciting Leucadia Streetscape project is underway! In fact, the new and much-needed pedestrian undercrossing connecting residents on both sides of the railroad with a school, park, bus stop, the beach and businesses is taking shape, as seen in the photo below.

At the center of the bridge is the engraved sign “To Vulcan Avenue,” a most welcome promise!

Sorry, you are not in the 38th Senate District.
You are in the 38th Senate district!