Shane will keep Merced moving forward
Merced deserves robust, professional, well-trained and properly equipped police and fire departments that operate with openness and transparency. When the women and men who keep us safe do so with legitimacy and accountability, they deserve our applause.
We need more high-quality jobs in Merced, plain and simple. That won’t be easy at a time when businesses of all sizes and industries struggle to hire and retain staff. We can start by creating employment opportunities for early career workers graduating from local high schools and universities like UC Merced and Merced College. We should also take advantage of the Valley’s emerging culture of entrepreneurship to diversify our local economy.
Participation in our society should depend on nothing. I have mentored young people from diverse backgrounds throughout my professional life, just as others helped bring me along when I was young. Join me in opening doors for Merced’s youth.
The phrase “affordable housing” should not be the wedge that tears us apart. We must work together to figure out how we are all going to live in the leading small city in the Valley. That means promoting development around transit village models within the City limits, balancing the expansion of suburban areas in annexed land against preservation of our agricultural heritage, continuing investment in Downtown as Merced’s anchor, move-in assistance for lower income residents, programs combating intentional long-term home vacancies and blight, and creating real incentives for housing units within reach of residents of varying means.
Edge of Town Issues
In the Davenport Ranch neighborhood where my family lives, empty streets next to a vacant school site and unbuilt land attract controlled substance use, muscle car demonstrations, and lots of trash, often right next to people’s homes. Our experience is no different than what other neighborhoods face on the leading edges of town. City government should take an active role in combating these behaviors that threaten our safety and quality of life. It could be as simple as improved lighting and targeted traffic ordinances. But solutions are overdue.
Did you know that the City archives house a 66-page Community Plan for neighborhood revitalization in South Merced? Published in November 2007, the Plan elaborated a 2003 South Merced Strategic Plan drafted by a “who’s who” of Merced and even includes a final environmental impact report. It’s time to recapture that focused energy and advance the ball for south City residents. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to think about projects that move the needle. Like a minor league professional soccer stadium near the upcoming CP-42 youth sports complex at Mission Ave. and Tyler Rd. What are your ideas?
None of this matters if we don’t have enough water. The City has an obligation to actively promote policies that keep as much of our region’s water here at home. And just like farmers and ranchers, the City holds a reciprocal obligation to ensure only reasonable, beneficial uses of City water resources, and to continue to improve water efficiencies in our municipal delivery system.
Decorum & Civility
Like you, I have been disappointed by the recent tone of local government meetings. The pandemic was hard on everyone, and I certainly stood firm — sometimes forcefully — in the face of abuse at the dais. It is time for everyone’s comments at City Council meetings to reflect mutual respect and commitment to residents’ welfare.