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Santa Barbara County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Jedidjah de Vries

Candidate for
Council Member; City of Lompoc

This information is provided by the candidate

I am running because I have the vision and experience needed to make this town thrive. Our local economy is suffering. Our unemployment rate is too high and our storefronts are too empty. I believe that Lompoc is capable of economic development. However, the current council's policies have been ineffective and short-sighted. We can't just hope that fanciful projects, such as the California Space Enterprise Center, proposed many times before, will suddenly take off, or that tweaking the zoning ordinances in Old Town will bring in new business. I am running for city council because we need council members with the vision and economic policies to help Lompoc meet its potential.

There are two things that I believe we need to be doing:

1. We need to shift our economic development from wait-and-pray to policies that makes life better today.

The point of economic development should be to make Lompoc an awesome place to live. There are a whole host of ideas that the current council hasn't so much rejected as failed to even consider because they fail to understand them as economic development.

We could use existing infrastructure to offer free Wi-Fi in Old Town. We could foster neighborhood associations. We could promote the use of empty storefronts as art galleries. We could work more closely with cities around us to pursue region-wide tourism. We could improve our bike lane network. We could turn empty lots into community gardens. We could...

Ideas such as these not only make Lompoc a better place to live today, but they build the infrastructure and community that will foster the economic development of tomorrow. At the end of the day we need to conceptualize economic development, not just in terms of business, but also quality of life.

2. We need our city government to be more transparent and welcoming, so that we can take advantage of economic opportunities.

Without openness and a foundation of trust we will be unable to attract the economic investment this community needs. This has been a problem for our city. The collapse of the Lompoc Housing and Community Development Corporation--which was supposed to manage our low income housing and redevelop our downtown--was, according to a Grand Jury report, "a failure of oversight". We can no longer afford a culture of complacency, that shies away from tough questions and airing concerns in public. Transparency is vital, both for the fiscal responsability of the city and to create a welcoming business climate.

My passion for public service was inspired by my grandfather, who was part of the resistance in the Netherlands during World War II. Having worked as a community organizer, I have experience bringing people together to make things happen. My master's degree in social theory and public affairs gives me an academic background in understanding and tackling complex economic and public policy issues. And I have lived on three continents, and have chosen to bring that life perspective here to Lompoc.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: September 17, 2012 12:40
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