The two Mayoral candidates, Roisin Russo and Manny Moore, came head-to-head yesterday, Friday June 5th, at the Mayoral debates. Former governor Jay Stone posed the questions and the tone was generally civil, with only a few sideswipes at one another on points of disagreement. (The questions are in Bold, as are the candidates' names.) Currently there is a lack of emergency and first responding workers in both jurisdictions. As mayor what will you do to address the understaffed nature of the municipal agencies to assure that each are up to par? Roisin Russo: I would have job fairs. I would like to have a job agency that caters to both north and south. With job fairs and an agency we can pair up interested workers with locak EMTS, FD or SD or PD. Manny Moore: My plan to address that need would be to of course try and get more funding, first for the Southside PD. It was created, but according to an article today, there's barely any space to work in there. Job fairs of course, but we can also offer free training in basic care to anyone who wants to participate. Training to be a nurse, funded by the Valley, Training to be a cop, a certificate program if you will, paid for by the Valley. If you give people the tools, they can succeed. In rebuttal Miss Russo asked how understaffed departments would have the manpower to train new staff. She also asked where the funding for these new programs would come from. Mr. Moore indicated funding would come from Northsiders paying their fair share. Other ways could be shadowing members of emergency services, letting them study from home and setting up a help line. He also stated that we should tap into grants that would help pay for these programs. Many citizens notice the marked difference in county lines between North and South Santa Ramona Valley noting a major discrepancy between the areas. Northside with its gleaming, tall buildings and pristine beaches, Southside with a cramped character littered with graffiti and run down buildings. As mayor will you choose to bridge the divide or do you not believe there is a divide? What will you do within the community to carry this on if you do? Roisin Russo: I am more than happy and willing to help clean up along side anyone else. I will get my hands dirty by picking up trash on the beach, painting over graffiti, planting new trees and creating new green spaces in Santa Ramona. I may live in Northside, but my business is on the Southside and I am there daily. I don't think there should be a divide. I think we should all work together to make our home where we live and work a beautiful and safe place to be for our families and children. I believe that the key to bridging the divide is stronger, safer, community. Getting people into work helps with that and cleaning up is the next step. That will promote events on both sides of the city and cleaning parties to work together to clean up which helps make the community stronger and closer together. Manny Moore: The divide between North and South is clearly obvious. Each side lives in the same city. "Perfectly fine, but we need to include the people of both sides more than just work. We can hold community events in both sides of town. Parades that go through both sides, things that involve the community." Long have we been regarded as a tourist town as entertainment is one important thing which people come to town to enjoy. As Mayor how will your promote the tourism and entertainment industry? Roisin Russo: As part of an employment program I wish to do I intend to have a recruitment section for tourist guides and would like to produce a guide for people visiting Santa Ramona so they can see all the areas, like our beaches, trails, our fine eating places and dance places. Camping trips, outdoor concerts, movies on the beach and fashion shows would be great. Manny Moore: The TV studios literally across the street has the chance for us to become a regional hub for information, advertising and even television programs. That along with of course Legacy square, can be used for outdoor events and such of course, but we also, on top of placing ourselves on the map we need to be connected to it. It would be nice if we had a airport, a small, regional airport that I am sure, given the hub for mass media we are becoming, will fit us perfectly with the stature we deserve. We have buses in town yes, but we need better connections into our city. I propose a decent sized airport that will finally bring people who want a quaint, well managed, city in the Valley to stay in. If not that, then perhaps a railway station.
Thankfully we don't have what the big cities do. The crowds, the obnoxious noises, we have a community that knows each other and will always in the end, look out for each other. That alone will make us a tourist hot spot. Final Statements from the Candidates: Roisin Russo: Our city needs us. We have a job to do. I truly believe that. I believe that I stand for the people for progress, but not just for the sake of it. Focus on the assets we have, the things that make our city great.I am still the woman who will fight for a nice clean green city, housing and poverty issues and safety and security for us all every time. But the way we will get these things done is by focusing on building a strong community, cleaning up our city, and employment.
I am running for Mayor because I have seen first hand that we can and MUST expect more, and tonight I pledge to each and every one of you that I will work hard every day to live up to that expectation. So, let’s get to work. We have a big job ahead of us, but we are ready for that challenge and I will work hard to earn your vote and to deliver my promises. Think of the Future and Vote to make a difference! Manny Moore: I love our quaint city. It has given me a home, a business which I am proud of. And I want to simply give the same shot to everyone living in our city. I see what Santa Ramona Valley can do for us. It can make us the envy of the region and perhaps the state. I know pretty much everyone in this room. You don't get that in a big city. I hear you. I will be a voice for you in City Hall and make us reach for better things. I am honored to run against Ms. Russo. She is a woman who is a self made woman in her own right and I respect that about her, but we have a choice in this election. I for one, want us to build more, together. (For the Chronicles' opinions see our editorial.)