You're not going to do see anything flashy like building a skateboard park or amphitheater on my list. However, I'm a believer in the "Tipping Point": A lot of little things can make a big difference.
The "Big Difference" I am shooting for is to create a Moreno Valley that residents can be proud of and where the residents aren't ashamed to say they live here, but most importantly, where they feel SAFE. I also want to create a responsive city government where the needs of citizens are the priority.
NOTE: I feel the long-time neglect and disrepair of our streets has a lot to do with residents low self-esteem about the image of Moreno Valley. However, I didn't list street repairs below because supposedly, they are getting repaired. Time will tell. If elected, I will be on top of the progress to make certain streets are being repaired properly.
Here are some of those "little things", not necessarily in any particular order.
1. Create a personal sense of responsibility that it's not just one person--an elected mayor, who is merely a figurehead--but it will take each of use to make the city what we want it to be. I would focus first on two areas: Reducing crime and beautification, both designed in their own ways to "clean-up" the city.
The two kinds of posts on Moreno Valley Matters that not only drive me nuts but makes me so angry are 1) Crime, especially theft and 2) The littering and illegal dumping.
How does one person reduce crime? That will be the challenge especially when the laws of California have become so lax when it comes to personal property crimes. However, look at Irvine. They are still one of the safest cities in the country and they are in California. What makes them so different?
Because as a whole, their residents agree , not in any formal way mind you, but they have a culture of not committing crimes against each other! Of course, It doesn't stop people from other cities to come in and be criminals. I would like to know more about how the Irvine police department operates. My guess is that Irvine, that does have its own police force, can afford to have lots of officers on duty. If I am elected mayor, I will make it a priority to see what other cities with low crime rates are doing so that we might learn from them.
Next will be my emphasis on approving the appearance of Moreno Valley, including making business property owners clean up their strip centers and make needed repairs.
It is said that you can't judge a book by its cover. That might be true. However I do feel you can judge a city by what it looks like. Is trash picked up? Are streets without potholes and that look taken care of? Are the public streets well-tended?weed-free? But I'm not just talking about landscaping. I am also referring to the appearance of business centers and buildings. Research has shown that if a building looks run down and not taken care of, criminal element will take over. It's called "The Broken Window Effect." To start feeling better about living in our city, it's important that we begin by closely examining where we can approve the condition of Moreno Valley. Citizens must also do their part by not littering and and dumping illegally.
2. Public Safety. Improve police responsiveness to residents concerns and share better communication about the crime happening in the city.
3. Help create responsible pet ownership in the City. We have to help our residents become responsible pet owners and give them solutions besides dumping unwanted dogs in the eastern part of Moreno Valley. Even though it is a law to have dogs chipped and licensed, many are not. Maybe we need to hold licensing and chip fairs where residents can get this done inexpensively. Expand the Trap and Release program. Work even closer with rescues and animal organizations and find ways to financially support them.
4. Propose to voters a small warehouse tax, similar to the one the City of Redlands* that would be used to help fund projects that directly benefit residents and not developers.
*The Redlands' Warehouse tax: Measure J would increase the business license tax for distribution centers from 4.7 cents per square foot of gross area to 10.5 cents per square foot, generating an additional $530,000 annually to defray the costs of providing city services and supplement the city's general fund.
If we had extra funds available, we could implement a program like this, as an example. Help low-income residents with the cost of fixing their perimeter fencing. Let's face it! Appearances matter! When we are driving our streets and see homes in disrepair, this reflects on the entire community. It's also another part of the "Broken Window Effect" I wrote about above.
5. Financially-support Moreno Valley nonprofits whose focus is on the homeless and helping residents going through tough times.
6. Youth Court. Work in conjunction with the school districts to set up some type of "Youth Court", similar to what the City of Riverside has, or modeled after some other successful program. The schools can only discipline students for things they do at school. The city needs some type of program that will help our youth get on the right path of life. I would also like to see a program to deter youth from joining gangs.
““If you want to bring a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior…you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.” -- Malcolm Gladwell
7. Improve Code Enforcement and make certain that rules are enforced equally and not just when someone complains. Make certain the warnings, time remedy, and fines are fair and realistic. MVM has received messages from readers who are given a code violation and a neighbor isn't and their property looks the same. But more importantly, make certain CITY PROPERTY is maintained without relying on Community Cleanups. In addition, examine our Street Sweeping program to determine how effective it is.
8. Help our businesses--small, medium, and large--not just survive, but thrive!
9. Put cameras where illegal dumping takes place and prosecute people if caught.
10. Support Donkey Land. Become an even bigger partner with the nonprofit Donkey Land to make certain the donkeys are safe and that homeowners aren't impacted by these roaming members of the equine family.
11. Find ways so that our children can get swimming lessons during their summer break. It's sad a city our size does not have a public pool. But, I don't want to promise one without first looking into the logistics and expenses of building one.
12. Make certain that City-sponsored events have enough vendors and are properly staffed.
Every city's dream?