The San Diego Union-Tribune asked all of the City Council candidates
a series of 17 questions covering a broad range of issues. Below you
will find Paul's answers. Click Here to go to the Union-Tribune page
and see what the other candidates had to say.
As traditional water supplies dry up, should the city recycle treated waste water into its drinking water suply?
Our city should investigate every option that is available to solve this ongoing problem. I think that we can use recycled water in places where humans are not consuming it. Some examples are irrigation and manufacturing processes.
Should Balboa Park be managed by the city parks department, a regional council or a nonprofit conservancy?
Balboa Park deserves all three entities involved in the management of its future. The Parks Dept. should be the final authority. The Balboa Park Committee should manage the day to day operation. Finally, the NGOs should assist in any way they can to provide a world class park.
Do you support the living-wage law for city contractors?
No, I don't believe it is necessary since there is a bidding process that is involved in city contracts. Any party that is involved in a city contract, and is not compensated adequately, oversight should correct it prior to the contract being enacted. That is one of the purposes of having a bidding process; the city and the taxpayers have a right to know all details of any city contract.
Would you ever support a fee for the city to collect trash and/or recyclables?
I would let the voters decide on this issue. There is a large portion of this community who believes that trash collection is a right. There are some other unused revenue streams that have not been explored. I think we can start a recycling program for businesses. This would reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill, but would also generate funds for trash collection. I am in favor of mandatory recycling programs. I have witnessed their success in Japan.
Do you think the city is over-using redevelopment? Are there areas you would add to, or remove from, redevelopment zones?
Our city has been overdeveloped for the last 25 years that I have witnessed its growth. I find it distressing that many of the old areas of San Diego are being torn down and turned into unattractive boxes undistinguished from one another. I am in favor of stylish and renewable development. I believe that every community should develop Planned District Ordinances that perserve the beauty and character of that neighborhood. All new development should consider all elements and impacts that it places on the community at large.
What should be done to make San Diego residents better protected againist wildfires?
The first thing that comes to my mind is permitting. Our Design Services Department should look at all permits with an eye toward the possibility of fire. Our building codes have to change with the newest and most practical techniques for fire protection. Our citizens may have to be denied the permit that they desire on occasion. In the event of any and all conflagrations, our city should contact and coordinate with the appropriate state and federal offices on behalf of our citizens. Our city should be cooperative and appreciative of any and all help that is available in any disaster situation.
Would you ever support charging for parking at city beaches?
No, the beaches are an asset to San Diego that both tourists and locals enjoy. I belive that both Balboa Park and the public beaches generate enough income through tourism to offset any attempt to reduce use through charging for parking.
Chould San Diego try to get the Chargers to rebuild at Qualcom Stadium site or let the team continue efforts to move to Chula Vista?
The Qualcomm Stadium was provided a $200 million retrofit that was supposed to provide adequate use until 2015. The Chargers are free to do whatever they want to do. I don't think that keeping them here with a bad deal is in the City's best interest. The Chargers have demonstrated some bad faith in prior agreements, like the ticket guarantee where the San Diego taxpayers were blacked out after ponying up the money to upgrade their stadium.
Do you believe further increases in water and sewer rates are necessary to fund repairs to the system? If not, how would you fund repairs?
Water and sewer rates will continue to increase. I believe that there is a lot of waste in all agencies that control our potable and wastewater. Distribution is one area that needs attention now. All city employees should use the best available technology to increase repairs and replacement and reduce costs associated with all water systems.
Would you approve use of eminent domain under no circumstances, for public works only or for public works and, if necessary, for economic development?
I would approve use of eminent domain only in extreme conditions where the public has no other choice than to seize private land, for public development only. I have very strong feelings on eminent domain. It is one of the most draconian actions any government can take. It is not something that should be considered lightly.
What should be done to reduce gang violence in the city?
Gang violence is a result of several factors that we can control. The first factor is the economy. If our young people have jobs to go to, they have a reason to stay in school and avoid gangs. This is clearly apparent in neighborhoods where people are employed. The next factor that we can concentrate on is our police force. Our city has about 1.5 police officers per 1,000 people. That is about half of the amount of police officers that any other large city has. San Diego simply needs more police officers. Once our city is properly staffed by 3.0 police officers per 1,000 people, they can start concentrating on proven gang-reduction techniques. If our city has a full police force, we can give programs like community-oriented policing and anti-gang units more than lip service.
Do you think San Diego needs a $185 million downtown library?
I think San Diego needs a library in Golden Hill first! I believe that our local neighborhoods deserve access to satellite libraries before our government spends $185 million on anything.
Would you push to outsource more city jobs?
No, on the contrary, I want to maximize city jobs. I want to get my money's worth out of all city employees. I want good service from all departments that the city provides. I want the taxpayer to see what their tax dollars are providing. I am not afraid to ensure that all city employees are busy and productive.
Should the city raise taxes to bring in more revenue or do you believe more cutbacks can be made to raise funds for things like the pension and infrasructure deficits?
The entire pension fiasco needs to be placed under a microscope. Audits need to be complete and accurate. Our city deserves justice with regard to those who are guilty of causing this untenable and embarassing scandal. I think that not indicting the guilty parties for causing this scandal is a bad precedent for future scandals. We should seize any and all assets from the guilty and then carefully plan out repayment for the remainder.
The city intends to build a permanent homeless shelter downtown. Do you agree with this? If so, where should it go? If not, what would you propose instead?
I am much in favor of the year round homeless shelter. I am also in favor of attracting new businesses to San Diego in order to reduce the number of jobless and homeless. Our city has to find a productive way of using these people to make a better community. It is in our best interest to have a city that is prosperous and with a low unemployment rate. I don't think many San Diego citizens would begrudge the homeless if they understood that it was not a permanent situation. I think that the year-round homeless shelter should be located near downtown, where the agencies and NGOs operate on their behalf.
The Police Department says it is short on staffing. What would you do to fix the problem? Would you support a tax increase to hire more officers?
I would support a tax to increase police protection only if it was used only for new police officers and their equipment. I believe that the San Diego Police Department is one of the best trained police departments in the country. The applicants who apply for police duty are from a diverse and talented pool, our citizens. We need more police officers, but we should keep our standards and training as high as possible.
Is there an important issue we missed, that you will be emphasizing in your campaign? What is it, and what should be done about it?
I think that our civic leaders should be above reproach in the operation of their positions. I don't believe that any action of an elected leader is invisible. I do not support the use of public funds for attorneys hired by elected officials. Transparency is my goal for the next San Diego City Council. Every decision that is made by the San Diego City Council is public domain. It is my opinion that there are many challenges that the next City Council faces; corruption should not be one of them.