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.
The development of the former Fort Ord will change Seaside's character forever, and it is critical that Seaside carefully consider how to best use the land it has been given. Our primary goal should be to improve the city and negotiate the best possible deals with developers. There are complex issues involving unexploded ordinance, lead, and asbestos clean up; habitat management; and water supply that require smart decision-making and a comprehensive understanding of how these issues are intertwined.
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.
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. We have the advantage of owning our own municipal water company, but it only serves a small part of the City. Cal Am operates most of the city's water system, and the Ord Military Communities are served by Marina Coast Water District. New sources of water are desperately needed, and this will require regional cooperation and long-term planning.