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Castilla, Long vie for Ventura County Supervisor

By   /   Friday, August 26th, 2016  /   Comments Off on Castilla, Long vie for Ventura County Supervisor

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Editor’s note: The Pacific Coast Business Times chose five contested tri-county races in the November election to feature in a Q&A format. Each candidate was asked the same four questions about business, housing and the economy.

Carla Castilla and Kelly Long are candidates for Ventura County 3rd District Supervisor.

Carla Castilla

Age: 39

Residence: Camarillo

Family: Married

Occupation: District director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson

Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of California, Los Angeles

With the new minimum wage law, new regulations and higher taxes, there are rising complaints that California doesn’t have a friendly business environment. How would you change that?

Castilla: I helped run a small family business with my husband so I am no stranger to the challenges small business owners face in California. My goal is to streamline permitting processes making it easier to start small businesses and grow them in Ventura County. Continuing to work with local partners such the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County, S.C.O.R.E., U.S. Small Business Administration and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and our local chambers is critically important to keeping our local economy healthy.

The high cost of housing is making it hard for employers to attract and retain high quality, skilled employees. How would you ease the housing crunch for working families?

Castilla: Affordability continues to be one of California’s biggest housing challenges. New construction has to be balanced with the state’s environmental goals. Almost half of California renters are paying more than 35 percent of their household income for housing. We need to boost affordable housing supply. Partnering with organizations such as the Ventura County Housing Trust Fund helps fill funding gaps during planning and construction phases. In 2014, voters authorized $600 million in bonds to provide multifamily housing to low-income veterans and supportive housing for homeless veterans. Such actions help address the housing gap.

Times are good now and unemployment is low. But the good times won’t last forever. How would you help businesses prepare for the next recession and get through it? How does government cost factor into your solutions?

Castilla: The same way any Ventura County family should prepare for hard times, by saving. I believe it is the government’s responsibility to be mindful of spending while maintaining a rainy day fund. If and when hard times hit, government can help lessen the blow on our small businesses and families.

How do you strike a balance between our legacy of environmental leadership and economic development on the Central Coast?

Castilla: It is critical we continue the legacy of environmental leadership from the Central Coast that preserves our quality of life while sustaining both a clean environment and healthy economy. In order to achieve this there needs to be a balanced relationship to build the healthiest communities possible for future generations to thrive. The extension of the SOAR initiative will ensure that the people of Ventura County have a voice in determining that balance. Additionally, supporting local transportation infrastructure improvements to keep people and goods moving throughout our region is vital to the economic health and well-being of the Central Coast.

Kelly Long

Age: 44

Residence: Camarillo

Family: Married, two children

Occupation: Pleasant Valley School District trustee; small business owner

Education: Bachelor’s degree, California State University, Long Beach

With the new minimum wage law, new regulations and higher taxes, there are rising complaints that California doesn’t have a friendly business environment. How would you change that?

Long: Ventura County needs to be considered business friendly. My focus is to work with state legislators, county supervisors and organizations to ensure that we grow our economy and sustain our quality of life. With 52 percent of our working class moving out of our county and state and an economy with less than 1 percent growth, we need to change the way we work with our small businesses. This includes reducing regulations and making the permitting process quicker for businesses. We want to ensure good paying jobs, which enables people to afford housing and not have to commute as far, reducing traffic.

The high cost of housing is making it hard for employers to attract and retain high quality, skilled employees. How would you ease the housing crunch for working families?

Long: Housing stock is an important factor when companies are hiring employees and current limited stock is driving up housing costs and negatively impacting our regional economy. We have to plan and build in a smart, sustainable way. Our citizens appreciate open space but we also need affordable housing. It will be important to evaluate new development and redevelopment of property to get the best for our citizens. Land use regulations are one of the main factors driving economic segregation. The board should support the expansion of rental housing assistance, promote homeownership and increase affordable housing through land use regulation.

Times are good now and unemployment is low. But the good times won’t last forever. How would you help businesses prepare for the next recession and get through it? How does government cost factor into your solutions?

Long: To me it is important to understand how our companies work. Knowing what works well and what needs to be improved gives us the information needed to make good decisions and create strategies to ensure prosperity. I would work to meet with companies and citizens to get that information. I would encourage working with our colleges and schools to ensure that we continue to build the workforce we need in Ventura County. It is also important that our government is fiscally conservative and works with the state to reduce the costs to our small businesses.

How do you strike a balance between our legacy of environmental leadership and economic development on the Central Coast?

Long: My focus is to ensure that we can sustain — and improve — Ventura County’s quality of life. We need good paying jobs, affordable housing, reduction in commute time and decreases in traffic. Ventura County’s job composition has changed significantly over the recession and subsequent recovery. Median single-family home price is approaching an all time high. The board should encourage environmental stewardship, and respect and protect private property rights. Securing property rights provides powerful economic incentives to conserve. Put these facts together and you see that one of the dominant economic stories in Ventura County is growing income inequality.

 

 

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