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Monterey County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Dennis Donohue

Candidate for
Mayor; City of Salinas

This information is provided by the candidate

CRIME/SAFETY A Comprehensive Plan For Community Safety One of the greatest issues affecting our city is community safety. During the campaign, I discussed a comprehensive plan to reduce crime throughout Salinas. It's a plan that brings together the elements that have been shown to work by the most successful police departments in America, including:

  • Giving police the staff and resources they need
  • Putting more officers on the street where they can form closer relationships with the people on their beats
  • Involving community groups, businesses, churches and neighborhoods -- to prevent crime before it happens. As with most hard problems, crime won't be solved by simplistic solutions or empty slogans. It will be solved by putting together the kind of multi-dimensional plan that's been proven to work in other cities. We know how to do it. If we share the vision, we will do it.

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY The economy of Salinas sometimes looks to be caught in an inescapable trap, one built from skyrocketing land costs, competition from cheaper labor markets, the decline of our primary industry and the flight of our best and brightest.

The simplistic solution: "economic development". The harsh truth: Our city government--like our county government--lacks the resources to solve this problem on its own.

Despite the seriousness of our present economic problems, I am full of optimism for our future. I believe that if we look again at those problems, we see that they are not only telling us what is going wrong, they are pointing towards what will go right.

That's because the problem is structural. A city government does not have the power--and ours lacks the money--to solve such a problem. Furthermore, a faltering economy starves the city government of tax revenue, weakening it further. Thus a faltering economy can set up a feedback cycle, similar to the cycle of decline that afflicts crime-plagued neighborhoods, discussed earlier. It is critical for us to understand and apply the systems-level solutions needed to break out of such feedback cycles. One-dimensional fixes can only chip away at parts of the problem.

Despite the seriousness of our present economic problems, I am full of optimism for our future. I believe that if we look again at those problems, we see that they are not only telling us what is going wrong, they are pointing towards what will go right.

In economic terms, our problems are telling us to "move up the value chain":

  • Land too expensive to grow our crops profitably? -- Use the land for higher value purposes.
  • Foreign workers cost less? -- Train our workers for higher value work.
  • Traditional industries declining? -- Create an environment that encourages new industries--and that encourages older ones to reinvent themselves.
  • Losing the most productive young people? -- Give them reasons to stay. How to do these things? By realizing that the story of our future is The Salinas Valley Meets The Silicon Valley.

This does not mean that we pave over the Salinas Valley for chip and software companies. It means we can create the same environment for innovation and entrepreneurship found in Silicon Valley. And we use it to foster industries based not on silicon but on biology and agriculture. It happens that biology and agriculture are the areas of greatest future economic growth, and it happens that Salinas is ideally situated to benefit from that growth--if we recognize the opportunity.

CULTURE The Town Hall meeting on Image focused on the Arts, City Beautification and Code Enforcement. Not only do Beautification efforts help with the overall asthetic of community, they can help attract tourism and support economic revitalization. Current initiatives include a City Flower Contest. Community groups and major employers have committed to efforts to clean up medians and plant trees. Salinas' extensive creek system could become a nature pathways program for biking, walking and running. Salinas has untold opportunities to become a leader in the "green revolution". What City is more logical than the worlds's biggest garden, to become green?

I also support the reinstatement of the Salinas Arts Council,and that effort is now underway. The range of arts interests in this community is deep and wide - whether it's promoting the arts, participating in the arts, arts as an agent of social change, public art, or arts for economic development. By nurturing the arts through our institutions we can transform this city, even at the level of community safety: Young people excited about their ability to dance, play an instrument, sing, design buildings, or develop software know there is a better avenue in life than joining a gang.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 13, 2010 17:34
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