The Candidates State Their Cases : VALERIE STALLINGS
Challenger Valerie Stallings, 51, is a researcher at the Salk Institute. She serves on the Pacific Beach Community Planning Committee and the Pacific Beach Town Council. Stallings is a graduate of UC San Diego. She lives in Bay Park.
The 6th District shares many of the crime, traffic and environmental problems plaguing other city districts. However, District 6 faces one unique problem--its elected council member. Four years of representation by Bruce Henderson have brought little to this district. We need more.
In every category of civic importance, the 6th District has been shortchanged. Levels of police protection have not kept up with an increasing crime rate. The Pacific Beach community was divided in a last-minute political deal and subjected to gerrymandered zoning patterns. Important decisions affecting the district are perpetually stalled, and citizen groups ignored.
The 6th District must also contribute to the whole city’s well-being by electing a council member who can work to build consensus, not undermine it. During a period when this city cries out for vision, Henderson has offered nothing new or useful.
For example, despite five years of drought, Henderson fights water reclamation and votes for huge developments without assuring water supply and infrastructure.
Mission Bay also was shortchanged under Henderson’s watch. Our children are prohibited from enjoying large sections of Mission Bay because of the stench and threat of contamination. Yet during Henderson’s tenure, $25 million allocated by an earlier council for bay restoration was never spent. Tecolote Canyon Park lost $45,000 in grant money while Henderson headed the task force set up to oversee the park.
It is little wonder that the Sierra Club and the group Prevent Los Angelization Now! say that Henderson has the worst record among elected city officials on growth and environment-related concerns.
It’s not that I oppose growth. The reality is we are growing. But how and where we build is crucial to keeping San Diego a livable city. San Diego County needs a balanced, regional-growth management plan that revitalizes older communities and concentrates development along transportation corridors. But new building must be supported with adequate infrastructure, so that services to existing communities are not eroded. possible.
On Sept. 17, voters in the 6th District will be presented with a very clear choice as to how they want their interests represented. The district’s primary problem is with its leadership. Remarkable as it may seem, in just one day--Election Day--that problem can be solved.