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Commentary: Time to address sober-living homes, homelessness, partisanship

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It has been my sincere pleasure to get to know so many of my Costa Mesa neighbors through the work I have done building Costa Mesa Public Square, a Facebook page known as CMPS. Now nearly 7,000 strong, our daily interactions through drought, coyotes, riots, growth, elections, scandal, triumphs, celebrations, memories of yesteryearand excitement for the future are testaments to the strength of our common bonds. We are a family in this city. It has been an amazing journey for me.

My hat is now in the ring for City Council. I support the improvements happening in our city. Making sure this momentum continues is a big part of why I am seeking election. It is also important that I share with you, specifically, what I intend to do as a servant of the people of Costa Mesa.

I pledge to support families. As a mom, I understand the importance of making a better place to live for our kids. I will strive for policies that make neighborhoods safer, enhance family interactions, provide healthy options for play and gives wholesome alternatives for “at risk” children.

I am committed to a continued, strong relationship with our board at Newport Mesa Unified School District. I will work closely with its leadership to ensure city support is provided to meet the needs of Costa Mesa students. I will be diligent in working to secure revitalized property taxes, which are needed to fund school improvements.

I pledge to continue the work of renewal in our city. I understand the need for safe neighborhoods, modern amenities and infrastructure, strong schools, robust job opportunities and preserving middle-class access to housing. I will work to eliminate crime attractants like problem motels and unsafe, unhealthy, overcrowded housing. I will seek opportunities to repurpose and repair obsolete, environmentally degraded industrial sites. I will actively pursue building our school, infrastructure and park funds through developer fees and expansion of our property and retail tax base.

I pledge to support our police and fire departments. I understand the burden that has been placed upon us with the passage of Assemby Bill 109 and Proposition 47. I strongly support both chiefs Rob Sharpnack and Dan Stefano to increase our capacity in combating these new obstacles. First and foremost, I am dedicated to removing the largest drain on our first responder resources: calls to the problematic motel properties.

In addition, I support the continued recruitment and hiring of first-class officers to increase our police staffing in order to return our specialized units to the streets. I advocate for foot patrols in the areas hardest hit by transient-related crime. I call upon our citizens to join me in making sure Costa Mesa is safe by supporting a See Something/Say Something approach.

I pledge to find even better ways to address the influx of homeless in our city. I applaud the actions of our Homeless Task Force. Its efforts are a model of success in our region. Identifying individual needs, connecting individuals with appropriate services and assisting clients to return to out-of-area family have proven effective. I will seek additional resources to continue our important relationships with organizations like Mercy House and Collette’s Children’s Home to fill that gap. I will request the Costa Mesa Police Assn. add a homeless services liaison officer to tie together law enforcement with compassionate service. Finally, some independent groups, while doing admirable work, have become attractants of transiency to Costa Mesa. I will work with local charities and faith-based organizations to assure coordinated partnership between public and private efforts.

I pledge to enforce and strengthen our sober living home ordinances. As an active listener to our community, I have heard the concerned cries from residents regarding the institutionalization of our neighborhoods. I am a proud supporter of Costa Mesa’s groundbreaking ordinances to address de-intensifying institutional uses in our residential neighborhoods. I congratulate operators who practice good neighbor policies and encourage the community to understand their benefit to our city and their clients. However, I will demand strict enforcement of our ordinances against operators who are non-compliant.

I pledge to get the facts on issues that face our city and put the best interests of Costa Mesa ahead of political advantage. As a first-hand witness to the partisanship that sometimes infects city government, I am fed up with obstructionism based on petty, personal grievance. I vow to look at solutions to city issues based on their merits and not on their political value. I will not pander. I am a straight talker and I am courageous. I will make the tough decisions and I will be accountable for them.

I pledge to represent all residents of Costa Mesa. As a major agent for bringing together differing voices in our city to air viewpoints, I understand the power of community. My door will always be open, I will be available to you. I will advocate for transparency and responsiveness. I will conduct myself with decorum, humility and respect. I will remember I am the face of Costa Mesa in all my official capacities and will execute those duties with honor.

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JULIE MERCURIO is a candidate for Costa Mesa City Council.

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