The polls are open for the mayoral election. To help Santa Ramona Valley residents makes up their minds how to vote we publish edited extracts from the statements the two candidates made at Friday's mayoral debate. The format of the debate was that questions were posed and the candidates responded in turn. We have grouped their statements together so that readers can get a full picture of what they said.
The polls close in Wednesday at 10am. The result will be announce shortly after midday. Dimitri Rousseau won the toss and spoke first, so his statements appear first. The ones made by Angelyna Russo are below his. Dimitri Rousseau
" I am Dimitri Rousseau, a long time resident of Santa Ramona. I am former Mayor as some of you might recall, I was in term from March till June of this year and Ms Roisin Russo succeeded me. I'm running again as you can see. My platforms are briefly; Boosting the local Tourism industry via creating solid careers in these here in this city, Bringing in business and investment in both the North and South of the city through actual established connections and helping local businesses to boost foot traffic and activity. I am also collaborating with Ms Russo next to me in tackling unemployment and helping out with the homeless situation." "I have plans for creating two Tourist Guide roles here in this city, combined with an information booth where maps an directions can be handed out. We can have groups of people---newcomers and regular citizens, being led by a Tourist guide to visit different spots in our city - different backgrounds and' strenghten existing community ties while introducing new faces to older residents. And of course, these guides would be qualified in campin an outdoor skills. They would also lend business to local businesses--- imagine a tour guide bringing a group over to Miss Mancino's surf store on South side or catching a bus to go admire the SRV Studios and get they picture taken outside it and have lunch in the Hotel Cortez or in China town? This will not just promote tourism but drive up revenue for our local businesses... "Tour Guides taking people to local farms isn't unheard of or surreal either. In fact tourists buying your eggs and pies and produce or residents themselves would be providing you with revenue. But...only if you are business minded. And' sure, there was a Farmer's Market right in Shady Street for ...eons before the earthquake..and yet whether you wanted to charge people for rides up the valley on your horses and ponies and let them eat at your farm is one way of doing business but why not go with a Farmer's Market? People would be better able to locate it perhaps with a CityTour Guide Booth with information and maps... "Any local business who wishes to approach City Hall and request to be a part of the Tour Guide destination list would have to prove they are suitable for that position and might well enjoy having business directed their way in return. And that happens in plenty of cities, tour guide groups sponsor local business but hell, why believe me when you have actual references out side of this city, it's not my revenue you'll be driving up." "Pollution is a concern, studies show it linked to obesity in children, lower IQ and damages wildlife also. If elected, I would look into solar power for offices and government buildings, leading by example first. And also electric powered buses, docking spaces for charging electric cars as well as a campaign aimed at reducing littering. Brother Langham at the Church is always interested in leading groups to volunteer in such programs as clearing up our beaches, roadsides and so on. But really to drive it home, responsibility is not just on the leaders of the city but on each an every one of us, we can introduce proposals to tackle it but we do need our city to follow through... The time frame for [introducing electric vehicles] will depend on factors such as city budget. I assure you it's been implemented in many cities in California and so isn't some outlandish and surreal notion from the future to frighten you." "The police are doing their job, trying to curb illegal arms... they found more illegal weapons lately, I'd say they're doing their job just fine. But to encourage responsible gun ownership, a campaign by the SRSD and SRPD could be undertaken to promote such a thing." "The border has always been open with Mexico. But the border between San Verdan and Santa Ramona had shut down for an amount of time, yes. That border yes, has recently re-opened but, we're a big old state, California and there are a myriad of ways illegal arms can be smuggled in, a border re-opening between San Verdan and Santa Ramona may see an increase but we have to do due diligence and check all manners and means. As an FD Chief and former Mayor, my actions have always been to prepare for all kinds of scenarios---and cover as many bases as possible. Our law enforcement has as Mr Justice stated, been recovering more illegal arms so it does seem there is an increase, yet whether that is actually due to the border re-opening between San Verdan and Santa Ramona would have to be investigated extensively and that is a task for our police and border control. And with investigation due procedure should follow." Angelyna Russo
"I'm Angelyna Russo, I've lived over in Southside for a few years now. I came here from nothing, not unlike Mr. Rousseau, I been fighting to be something when I was brought up without a lot of hope. I came here and moved into the Southside area of Santa Ramona Valley, while just a few blocks from some of you here in Northside... it's a different place, but we're part of the same city. I am now a business owner, I run the gun and pawn shop, Lock n' Load and I run a small shop on the Southside Boardwalk. Now, here I am in front of all you folks running for mayor. I've been lucky to already be collaborating with Dimitri Rousseau on plans to give the homeless population medical attention, care, employment opportunities and real, sustainable change to the landscape they currently know. I also been working with Dimitri on a slew of ideas to invigorate business, tourism and take a step further what Ro Russo, the former Mayor, did to fight the drug problems that plague our city. Anyhow, good to meet you if I ain't yet and good to see you again if I know you." "There're so many opportunities in Santa Ramona Valley for our established businesses to flourish and new ones to crop up and take some of the pie too. My plan in Southside is to focus some efforts on the Southside Boardwalk. It's a prime location for entertainment, shops, small places that first time, lower income people interested in owning said piece of pie, could realistically do something with. I want to work with the financial institutions here to get some plans together for smaller loans with better interest rates to those just starting out on that dream. With an energized Southside Boardwalk area, the businesses all around will have growth and opportunity and the flavor and diverse people of Southside get to put that in a positive light. Tying into what Trey is suggesting, having more diversity in our locales, our offerings, our entertainment does everything to put Santa Ramona Valley ahead of neighboring localities in the tourism market. I want to give the foundation that tourism needs to thrive on, with our residents leading those businesses that provide the reason to keep coming back." "We're living in a time where everyone talking about taking better care of the environment. I've got to say, it's something I ain't much thought of as an individual. I know efforts been made to clean up what we see, which has a mixed bag of results. Air quality, our ocean, those things tie right back into the sustainability of what we want to have in Santa Ramona Valley. Ain't gonna be sustainable tourism if we got red days on our air quality or nasty stuff washing up on our beautiful coastline. I got to say I ain't got the reports and numbers that Mr. Rousseau do, which is why I petitioned to have the role of leadership enlarged to two members, where one might fall short the other might excel. Environmental impact is something I should know more about and I plan to... people in the audience should maybe do the same... like he said, it ain't just on leadership, but all us doing our part make an impact together." "I do a fair amount of assuring the guns on the streets are legal. I run a tight ship with the ATF, my paperwork and cooperation with them is impeccable. In saying that I'm glad to hear all you buying guns aren't out there shooting it up and using them in crimes. The very fact of that shows that the people going through the hoops to get their guns, are mostly law abiding citizens. The ones on the streets, using them illegally, are using guns they got illegally. Stricter gun laws and more red tape aren't going to stop criminals from getting guns. The system in place for legal gun sales is working. Responsible gun ownership is obviously working too... law abiding citizens using guns in responsible ways. Criminals aren't. Now, the problem with illegal arms, that's something that the law enforcement agencies are dealing with and i'd like to hear from them on the topic to see if they have ideas." "The legal border crossing to San Vardan has been reopened. Ain't nothing every stopped the illegal border that's always been there. To me it's just like the guns question... law abiding citizens are doing what they're supposed to when they buy they guns or cross that border. Illegal activity has been going on regardless, with law enforcement doing they part to stop it, of course. I think a little differently than Mr. Rousseau, I think if the border there is now regulated, watched and controlled, it would have less illegal traffic coming through that specific route." "If you've got an electric car, maybe you could see about a Farmer's Market every so often and bring the goods to the people... Fishmonger, Farmer's Market, Local artisans, bet they be a few interested in doing that one, a schedule perhaps."