Elected leaders plan to address many issues impacting Pacific Beach
From homelessness and public safety, to protecting beaches and ocean, addressing the fentanyl crisis and lowering people’s cost of living, the area’s elected leaders have a full agenda of issues they plan to tackle in 2023.
“As often follows from midterm elections, 2023 will bring a familiar set of challenges with a divided government,” said Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat. His 50th District includes Pacific Beach. “President Biden and a Democratic controlled Senate will have to learn to work with a slim Republican majority in the House of Representatives to deliver for the people we represent.
Health care and the rising cost of living in a post-pandemic recovery period are among problems that need to be addressed, Peters said.
“I will continue my work to fight climate change. This includes permitting reform to accelerate domestic clean energy production, policy on wildfires to keep our air clean and communities safe, and policy on water to address California’s enduring drought,” he said, mentioning the Save Our Sequoias Act as an example.
“I also look forward to the continued implementation of provisions from the landmark Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022.”
The House passed an omnibus bill on Dec. 23 to keep the government running. Peters said it included “a regional victory for San Diego” due to a transfer of $300 million to clean up the area’s coastlines and Tijuana River Valley. “This environmental problem is far from over, but we will keep fighting to fix it,” Peters added.
Immigration reform is among polarizing issues Congress needs to prioritize, “with an emphasis on getting the labor supply our economy needs to thrive, border security and human rights,” Peters said.
“Year after year, most Americans agree that lawmakers should forge a path to citizenship for DACA recipients who have called the U.S. home for as long as they remember,” he said. “I remain committed to this issue to honor the hardworking DACA beneficiaries in San Diego and throughout the country.”
Peters can be emailed through the link at scottpeters.house.gov. Constituents can call his San Diego office at 858-455-5550.
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State Senator Toni G. Atkins, whose 39th District includes Pacific Beach, said she is “deeply humbled that my colleagues have again entrusted me with the responsibility and honor to lead as the President pro Tempore of the Senate.”
According to Atkins, the Senate has worked hard to find solutions to some of California’s biggest problems, from wildfires to housing and health care.
“We have made great strides on getting real relief to families struggling to make rent, and keep up with rising costs at the gas pump and in the grocery store,” she said.
As for the new two-year session, climate change, wildfires, homelessness, affordable housing, access to health care and mental health, and a challenging financial future are among issues on the agenda.
“In years past, the recent report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office forecasting budget deficits would have kick-started talks of painful cuts and middle class tax increases — not anymore. We have prepared for this moment,” Atkins said.
“Over the past decade, California’s leaders have turned our state’s fiscal condition around and made responsible budgeting our top priority,” she said. “We built our reserves to record highs, paid down debts and avoided committing one-time resources to ongoing purposes, while also making historic progress with new commitments that strengthen the middle class, assist struggling Californians and fight climate change.”
Due to this “responsible approach,” Atkins said she is confident the state budget can be crafted without ongoing cuts to schools and other core programs or taxing middle class families.
“As the new year begins, I feel a sense of increasing hope, optimism and resolve,” Atkins said. “There are still great challenges ahead, from growing extremism, to climate, to housing, but I’m noticing more of a willingness among reasonable people and elected officials to come together when it matters.”
Atkins can be reached at sd39.senate.ca.gov/contact or call her district office at 619-688-6700.
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“As a third generation San Diegan who learned to surf at Law Street and spent many high school nights out at Mr. Frostie’s, I am very proud to represent Pacific Beach on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors,” said District 3 Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. “I look forward to making progress on key county priorities for Pacific Beach in 2023.”
She said these include protecting the beaches and coastlines, tackling homelessness, expanding access to mental healthcare, taking on the deadly fentanyl crisis and reducing ocean pollution.
“While the county government doesn’t fill your potholes or maintain your streetlights — that’s the city — we’re focused on providing the human and ecosystem infrastructure to ensure Pacific Beach can thrive.”
Investing in aging stormwater infrastructure is needed to protect beaches and coastlines from pollution and rain run-off, she said.
“From pesticides running through the gutters on Law Street to sewage flowing from dilapidated treatment plants in Tijuana, our region needs significant investments to overcome decades of inaction,” she said. “I fought to invest $40 million from our most recent county budget to improve our stormwater infrastructure and in 2023 I will continue to work with our partners in the federal government to invest $300 million dollars to tackle cross-border pollution.”
Expanding and improving Mobile Crisis Response Teams is also needed to address the rise of mental health challenges, she said. The county has launched the new emergency response program which dispatches teams staffed with trained psychiatric clinicians instead of armed law enforcement to respond quickly to those experiencing a mental health crisis.
“Please call 988 if you, a loved one or someone you see is experiencing a mental health crisis,” Lawson-Remer said.
Regarding homelessness, she said the county has created a $10 million partnership fund to provide cities with funding and wraparound services to provide additional shelter options to ensure every San Diegan can live with dignity. In addition to a new 150-bed shelter in the Midway District, funded hotel vouchers and safe overnight parking lots throughout the region last year, in 2023 the county is launching a first-of-its-kind rental assistance program to prevent seniors from falling into homelessness.
“In Pacific Beach, we’re partnering with on-the-ground organizations like Shoreline Community Services which just opened its new Compass Station on Chalcedony Street to provide unhoused San Diegans access to showers, healthcare, charging stations and more,” she said.
To fight the fentanyl crisis, in 2023 the county will education and outreach to schools, improve its data infrastructure to better track and prevent overdoses, and deploy vending machines to make the overdose medication Naloxone widely available, she said. For information and training on using Naloxone, email HarmReduction@sdcounty.ca.gov.
She said 2023 will also be the first full year that the county’s Environmental Health and Quality team will utilize a cutting-edge ocean pollution monitoring system to more quickly detect pollution in our waters and keep swimmers and surfers safe from infection. For up-to-date information on beach water quality, visit sdbeachinfo.com.
Constituents can contact Lawson-Remer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 619-531-5533.
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“Pacific Beach and its community is in a very unique position right now,” said Charlie J. Nieto, 2023 Pacific Beach Town Council president. “Due to redistricting, nearly our entire lineup of local reps are new to representing our town. Personally, I am very optimistic about this change in representation.
“I’m excited for this because it presents our community members with fresh opportunities to work with our newly appointed local leaders who seem prepared to support PB,” Nieto said. “However, this can also potentially leave us vying for attention from representatives who have to simultaneously serve a wide array of distinct and diverse communities.”
He said the Pacific Beach Town Council will need to take a strong stand ensuring PB “has a seat at the table and that no special interest groups absorb all of the oxygen out of the room.” But with several town councils uniting and firmly supporting the Sidewalk Vendor Ordinance to protect our local businesses and boardwalk, Nieto said it “gives me a great sense of optimism and hope for all coastal communities.”
Nieto said the council will also be watching the development of various issues such as the new public beach bonfire regulations, coastal zoning and treatment of Mission Bay Park, especially at De Anza Cove and the Kendall Frost Reserve.
The PB Town Council meets monthly at 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday from January through November. For meeting agendas and details, visit pbtowncouncil.org.