Laguna Beach is a key city within the 74th Assembly District, and as a candidate to represent this area, I would like to introduce myself and talk about the issues that I feel are important.
As an eight-year council member and two-term mayor of Newport Beach, I have been privileged to work over the years with several members of the Laguna Beach council on matters of joint interest. I am so proud to have the endorsement of Mayor Elizabeth Pearson in this Assembly race.
I am a fiscal conservative, and I will fight hard to make sure that the temporary sales and income tax increases in Proposition 30, giving us among the highest sales and income taxes in the nation, are allowed to expire when scheduled.
We must also protect Proposition 13 from efforts to weaken its protections, such as any push for the so-called split-roll increase on commercial property. This $6-billion tax increase would be devastating for small shops and galleries along Coast Highway and Forrest Boulevard, forcing up rents and raising prices for all. We must also find a way to put more Californians back to work and get our economy moving again.
For more than 20 years, my wife, Pamela, and I have enjoyed the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts and supported it as members. I am a strong believer in the value of arts, which not only define the community of Laguna Beach but are critical to its economic well-being. The same is true of parks and open space.
As a member and past president of the Orange County Parks Commission, I helped oversee the donation of more than 20,000 acres to the county for perpetual open space and parks. In the Legislature, I will work to see that our parks, open space and coastline are protected for future generations and that we foster support for arts and arts education in our state.
Laguna and Newport share a passion for clean water and the reduction in urban runoff that threatens marine life and the safety of swimmers at our beaches. We also share a risk for natural disasters such as wildfires, mudslides and sea level rise. I will work to see that our communities have the tools they need to effectively address these issues before disaster strikes.
I believe that elected city councils should make the decisions on issues such as fire rings, group homes and toll roads, not state bureaucrats.
Finally, I understand that protecting the high quality of life that we enjoy in Laguna and Newport requires a partnership among the federal, state and local governments. I pledge to make sure the state lives up to its responsibilities in this partnership.
KEITH CURRY is a Newport Beach councilman and candidate for the 74th Assembly District.