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


  1. Replies
    1. Hello Samuel, I agree. I am going to work on some more content tomorrow. This Campaign season has had me running around with forums, meet and greets, as well as one on one meetings to get to get better data about the issues that SLO faces. I do encourage you to go to the Campaign Facebook page as well That will at least give you some more up to date information. Stay tuned here as well I will get more information up about How we can create work-force and affordable housing, water, and civic technology to bring a broader demographic in to city governance. I would also like to highlight the issues that are separating some of the candidates. Not to say one is better than the other, but to show that we are not all aligned on some very key points. Housing is number one on that subject. Two candidates have repeatedly come out against projects that offer true workforce and affordable housing projects. That to me is unacceptable. We know we are going to grow, we always have. But what we have not allowed in that growth pattern is housing for the average working family and individual in San Luis Obispo. The White House even wrote a paper in September about the national issues we are seeing by not building workforce and affordable homes.
      What this does to the fabric of our community is sad to me. We are seeing SLO become a city of "haves and have nots" For two candidates that seems to be acceptable. The rest of us, we understand that is not how you create a sustainable community. We cannot just close the housing door and say "the market determines affordablity." That is absolutely false. We determine affordability by our zoning regulation, fee structure, development timeframe, and type of homes we build. We cannot build our way out of this based on numbers, but we can design our way in to some relief. With our current general plan we will hit peak build at over the next 25-30 years with 57,000 people, 10,000 more than our current population. If we do not make as many of those new homes available to average people, we will further exacerbate the divide we currently see. Eventually this will be a county wide issue. My hope is that we bring more workforce in to our city, relieving commuter traffic and CO2 emissions. Within that time frame we will then see our transportation evolve through electrification and most likely driverless cars. It will also give the other cities throughout the county to create more efficient water use policies. Policies that mimic what we have done in SLO City. SLO will hit a growth cap in which we will have to update the General Plan and analyze how efficiently we are using resources. Until then we absolutely need to focus on bringing our workforce back in to the city, not sending them all over the county because of affordability issues. That was a little longer of a response than I anticipated, but I am very passionate about being an inclusive city in which we can actually foster diversity not separation. Currently as amazing as our city is, we are not as inclusive as we should be.
      Thanks for writing Samuel. And thank you for motivating me to get back on the blog.