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Meet the Candidates 2022: Solana Beach City Council, District 2

Voting
(La Jolla Light file photo)

On Nov. 8, Kristi Becker and Kristin Brinner are running for the Solana Beach City Council District 2 seat. The district’s borders include I-5 to the east, Nardo Avenue to the south, Lomas Santa Fe to the north and extends west to the ocean. In alphabetical order, see their bio information and responses to four questions below.

Name: Kristi Becker

Kristi Becker
Kristi Becker
(Copyright of Kristi Becker)

Occupation: Solana Beach City Councilmember; retired lawyer; small business owner

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Law and Society, University of California, Santa Barbara

Juris Doctor, University of California, Davis, School of Law.

Community Service: Solana Beach City Councilmember 2018-present

Regional Board Experience: Clean Energy Alliance, SANDAG Shoreline Preservation Working Group, League of California Cities, San Elijo JPA, LAFCO

City Commissioner: Climate Action Commission; Parks & Recreation Commission

1. What are the biggest issues facing the city and how would you address them?

Our City faces significant pressure from the State to substantially increase development and density in our neighborhoods, based on the false assumption increased density will result in lower housing prices. They push for higher density even though the Tax Assessor shows Solana Beach already has among the highest housing density in the County (53% multi-family housing). Alarmingly, they seek to end public review of development and elimination of parking and view protection. I support local control over development. As we welcome new residents, a thoughtful deliberate approach is essential to respect and enhance the livability of our City making sure infill growth fits our community, negative impacts are minimized, and affordable housing is built.

Environmental sustainability is also critical. As Board Chair of the Clean Energy Alliance (independent electricity provider) and a member of our Climate Action Commission, I have unique experience and qualifications to ensure CEA is successfully managed.

2. What is your position on housing policy, such as implementation of the housing element and navigating new state housing bills that have potential to add density in Solana Beach?

I strongly support realistic and practical efforts to develop affordable housing in Solana Beach. Council zoned for all assigned housing units required by our Housing Element, locating them along commercial/transit corridors. I voted to eliminate the option for developers to pay a fee in lieu of providing affordable units so the units will be built. I supported designation of our City Hall property and a city owned parking lot as sites for construction of affordable housing (plus a City contribution of $2 million).

Recently enacted State housing bills that add density like Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) unfortunately do not address “affordability.” Actually, increasing density increases land and housing prices. Our Council enacted Ordinance 521 in a genuine and realistic effort to make housing more affordable and comply with the requirements of SB 9.

I’ll continue to push for legislation that provides money to make building affordable units financially feasible.

3. Are there any infrastructure projects you think are especially important for the city to prioritize?

Train Station Redevelopment: The Train Station is owned by North County Transit District. Redevelopment should provide housing, restaurants and businesses that contribute to the vibrancy of the Cedros Avenue business area. How this site is developed will have significant negative or positive impacts on Cedros businesses and nearby neighborhoods, including cut-through traffic and parking problems. I will work to make sure any project is compatible with the scale and eclectic architectural character of the Cedros Avenue design district and there is adequate parking.

Lomas Santa Fe Drive Corridor Project: Since I was elected to Council, we have been working to enhance the Lomas Santa Fe Drive corridor, which runs from Highway 101 to the eastern boundary of the City. The goal is to make this entire West/East corridor safer for walking, biking and driving. I will work to find funding for this important project.

4. How would you grade the city’s response to the climate crisis, and how much work still needs to be done to address rising sea level and other risks?

Solana Beach is a leader on environmental issues. During my term on City Council, we banned single-use plastics, required building electrification, electric vehicle charging and battery storage infrastructure in all new construction and substantial remodels, and required solar electric systems on commercial buildings.

One of the most impactful environmental actions we accomplished to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was establishing the first independent community energy supplier in the County called Clean Energy Alliance (CEA). CEA competes with SDG&E so residents and businesses can buy clean renewable electric power, prices stay competitive and profits stay local. Solana Beach already surpassed our 2035 greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Protecting our beaches and addressing sea level rise is a top priority for me. We have secured Federal funding for beach sand replenishment over the next 50 years! As a member of SANDAG’s Shoreline Preservation Working Group, I am pursuing a regional approach to beach preservation.

Name: Kristin Brinner

Kristin Brinner
Kristin Brinner
(Alex Ferron)

Occupation: Lead Software Engineer

Education: PhD, Organic Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley; BA, Chemistry, Haverford College

Community Service:

—Co-Lead, Beach Preservation Committee, San Diego Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, 2014-present

—Member, Sea Level Rise Technical Advisory Committee, City of Del Mar, 2015-2018

1. What are the biggest issues facing the city and how would you address them?

(1) Economic Development: I will encourage restaurants and local businesses to come to the city, and fight to keep existing businesses here, by ensuring a friendly environment. This will support city improvements by providing vital tax revenue.

(2) Environmental Leadership: I will work with the Climate Action Commission to update and implement the Climate Action Plan. I will pursue restricting single-use plastics that are still allowed, and enforce the city’s 2019 plastics ordinance that has languished. I will recruit residents and businesses to the 100% renewable energy program at the Clean Energy Alliance.

(3) Bike/Walk Safety: I will pursue cost-effective solutions to make it safer for our children to walk/bike to school, while working in the long term to secure funding for major improvements to transportation corridors.

(4) Transparency and Accountability: I will open communications between the city and its residents, and ensure decisions are made with robust community input.

2. What is your position on housing policy, such as implementation of the housing element and navigating new state housing bills that have potential to add density in Solana Beach?

The city has failed to address the critical need for housing. The city will continue to be subject to state authority over its housing development until the city updates its policies to show it can meet state-imposed requirements. We are already seeing the state move aggressively, with a flurry of housing bills aimed at easing the development of housing, and all written to decrease the amount of local control a city can exercise over housing projects. To regain local control, I will (1) pursue state and federal funding opportunities to address the state’s housing requirements; (2) create innovative solutions to address the housing crisis; and (3) champion reasonable housing policies that respect the community’s existing residential development guidelines. Providing housing for people like teachers or firefighters enriches our community by ensuring we have a diverse population.

3. Are there any infrastructure projects you think are especially important for the city to prioritize?

(1) Improve bike/walk infrastructure: In 2015 the city identified critical areas of improvement for bike/walk infrastructure. I will be a leader in pursuing funding for major improvements to sidewalks and bike routes on important transportation corridors such as Lomas Santa Fe and Stevens Ave. I will also advocate for traffic calming of our residential streets.

(2) Develop La Colonia Community Park: The city has owned an unimproved lot in La Colonia for four years. I will work closely with the community to determine the best use of the property. The residents might consider a community garden, parking solutions, or recreational field space.

(3) Identify opportunities for the train station property: The city should collaborate with NCTD and the community to determine options to improve the parking lot and surrounding property at the train station. I intend to be engaged in this collaboration to provide vibrant community spaces.

4. How would you grade the city’s response to the climate crisis, and how much work still needs to be done to address rising sea level and other risks?

I don’t believe our city is doing enough to respond to the climate crisis. I have been endorsed by all of the city’s former and current Climate Action Commission chairs as the candidate who will address this challenge. We must improve the city’s Climate Action Plan by addressing climate equity and prioritizing the development of funding and implementation plans. Currently, the city is not on track to meet the Plan’s greenhouse gas reduction goals or implement many of its adaptation guidelines. We should allow our city’s Climate Action Commission to broaden its scope and we should respect its findings. The city has also spent a decade trying to complete its Local Coastal Program. Without this document the city continues to cede local control over coastal development to the Coastal Commission. This process must be completed, and the Local Coastal Program then should be updated to address sea level rise.


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