Monday, August 1, 2016

What does Sustainability mean and why does it matter?

Sustainability is a term that gets thrown around a lot. The definition is simple: the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed. Sustain: Keep up, prolong, or to carry. Given that definition it is understandable that it has been associated with the environmental stewardship movement. The reason I start with the definition is because as amazing as language is it still falls short. Far too frequently as individuals we do not define certain terms in the same way. We either do not fully understand the term or more often we associate terms with platforms we either like or dislike. As someone running for public office I need to be able to portray my perspective, which will take people understanding my definitions. That is the reason I am starting with sustainability. It is at the heart of how I choose to live and what I try to promote. I believe it is our duty as conscious people to live in a manner that truly is sustainable. That being said what does living sustainable mean in the political world? It should be the basis of all council decisions. "Is this policy environmentally sustainable, economically sustainable and socially sustainable?" I certainly realize that is not always easy to answer during tough decisions, but the question still needs to be pondered before each decision.
By infusing sustainability in to every aspect of the decision making process we can benefit not only our city but all other cities that follow our example. In order to do that we have to keep the "3,000 foot view" of SLO. Making sure that all policy decisions not only take the next few years in to consideration but also the possible needs of future generations. We should not be short sighted in our policy goals. Aiming to be of the highest benefit for all stakeholders.
I chose environmental stewardship, economic/business development, residential growth and community engagement as the four pillars of my platform because we are all stakeholders in those issues. Our choices in each of those areas will directly impact each and every SLO resident and business owner. That is why local politics is SO important in today's world. It is the one arena of government that everyone can truly make a difference. In order to do that we have to take some ownership of those powers. We need to stand up and make ourselves heard. Our system is not sustainable if we are only listening to the loudest voices. We need to listen to ALL voices; all socio-economic levels, home owners, renters, college student, retiree, laborer, entrepreneurs, life long resident, 2 year resident...basically EVERYONE. I could go on but I think you get the point.
It is very easy to have conversations with people that agree with you, but very little growth comes from that conversation. It is the conversations with people that do not agree with you that creates new solutions. Solutions that the majority of the population can get behind. And that seems to be the point of government in the first place. Governing the population to be of the highest benefit, in the most holistic fashion, to the greatest number of people. In order to bring it back around, a good government must be able to do all of the before mentioned in the most SUSTAINABLE fashion. I realize that is a moving target as we evolve, but making sure sustainability is always the target. If that is the case that it automatically removes any special interest that is not aligned with those principles.

I will go in to greater detail on each of these pillars and how they apply directly to SLO's issues. Not just the issues, but some proposed solutions! Here is a sneak peak:
-Water Management
-Diablo Shut down
-SLO's Jobs-housing imbalance (6th most unaffordable city in the United States)
-Head of household jobs/income levels of SLO
-Open Space
-Bike Plan!!!
-And many more amazing topics.
For now I have to go back to work! Happy Monday everyone