After the Mayoral Debates on Friday, the Chronicles feels that neither candidate has the full answer to the problems facing Santa Ramona Valley. Both have good ideas, but whoever wins the election next week should think about ideas promoted by their opponent. And there are questions that are unanswered by both of them.
For example, the first question asked about the shortage of emergency and first responder workers in Northside and Southside. Roisin Russo proposes a job fair while Manny Moore wants to train more nurses and police. Both useful suggestions – as far as they go. But neither is the full answer.
The Chronicles notes that there are plenty of Federal programs that help low income individuals with training for some job markets and loan forgiveness for other educational programs. However, signing up for these programs can be intensive and without assistance they may be out of reach for those without a lot of formal education. The creation of a job agency may well be beneficial for those searching for opportunities beyond minimum wage jobs.
As far as the question about the divide between Northside and Southside is concerned, neither candidate answered the question. Moore came closest to answering the question by acknowledging that there is a divide. However, if you look at past elections this issue goes deeper than cleaning up the community and having events. There must be community engagement and buy in from both Northside and Southside in order for real change to occur. Cleaning off the graffiti and hosting events will not address the systematic poverty and the lack of resources that exists in Southside.
Te final question concerned the promotion of the tourism and entertainment industry. The Chronicles notes that almost every mayor of Santa Ramona Valley has used improving tourism as part of their platform but few ideas survive past their term. Many events are always suggested as part of increasing tourism, but tourism is not just about events. We must first have the infrastructure to support added tourism. Local businesses must also support added tourists. A few bad experiences in our shops or restaurants will earn us a negative reputation as a tourist destination. Perhaps the next mayor will consider creating a tourism council that will put some of these ideas into practice and can continue past the mayor's term.
The Chronicles recommends that voters consider the answers the candidates gave to the important questions posed, as well as other statements they have made and vote accordingly. An interview with Roisin Russo was published in the Chronicles on May 29th and we will be publishing an interview with Manny Moore tomorrow.
(The original third candidate, Lillian Llewellyn, has withdrawn from the race.)
The elections open on Tuesday June 6th and close at 9am on Thursday June 11th. The new Mayor will be announced at 11am on Thursday. The Chronicles hopes that you all get out to vote.