Over the next several years, Seaside will begin a transformation that will usher in a profound change to our community. This election is too important to not make your voice heard by electing people to the council who will demand the city take a more sustainable approach to development, infrastructure, water, and affordable housing.
The majority of Seaside residents rent their homes, and the lack of available affordable housing is one of our city's most pressing issues. We must drastically change course from the status quo and work on bringing more housing opportunities to our low-income and middle-income families. As the core of the Peninsula's economy, and we can't afford to let these families be forgotten.
With over 1,000 acres of open space, the city must have a balanced approach between sustainable development and its commitment to conservation and environmentalism. Instead of rushing to develop every last square inch of land we have, we should be asking where the water will come from, if our low-income and middle-income families will be able to afford housing there, and whether these new neighborhoods will serve future generations of Seasiders instead of the people who own or lease out those properties.
Between the Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement with the Army to remove unexploded ordinance (UXO) from undeveloped spaces, the Habitat Conservation Plan to protect plant and animal species, and the Base Reuse Plan to return Army land to local governments, the future of Fort Ord is one of our region's most complex issues. If Seaside doesn't have strong leadership, we risk getting a bad deal that hurts all of us for many decades to come.
Seaside's city engineer has identified almost $300 million in public infrastructure improvements that need to happen, and almost $70 million of that is for our roads. Our Public Works Department has been understaffed for a decade, which has caused our stormwater drain system, roads, and parks to become neglected. We have to make our infrastructure needs a priority. With Measures L and G, as well as with revenue from new development, now is the time to repair our city and get our infrastructure back on track.
Between saltwater intrusion caused by Cal Am overdrafting the Seaside Basin and installing slant wells in Marina, a fee from the Fort Ord Reuse Authority on the water that Marina Coast Water District provides to former Army properties located in Seaside, Cal Am's proposed desal plant, Public Water Now, Pure Water Monterey, Citizens for Just Water, and the government oversight by the Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority and Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, there has been a decades-long fight over water on the Peninsula.
Seasiders deserve a competent and unbiased voice in regional water issues because our economic vitality and prosperity depend on having access to an abundant, clean, and inexpensive source of fresh water.