With Alhambra's municipal elections approaching in November, we're asking our readers which issues they want City Council candidates to address in this upcoming campaign season. So far, 20 respondents have identified development as their top priority for City Council and the candidates to discuss.
One reader, who identified as a "23 year Alhambra resident" asked, "After the abandonment of such popular businesses like Mervyn's, Black Angus, Tony Roma's, Baja Fresh, Hollywood Video, and many more to name including Bewley Cadillac, what is the city going to do to attract businesses that a city would be proud? I'm sick of looking at empty buildings downtown."
With the recent end of the Redevelopment Agency, readers expressed their concern over the future of business in Alhambra, and how it will affect local jobs and economy. "Redevelopment has been a major key component of Alhambra's success," one reader wrote. "How do you plan to work at continuing redevelopment when the state has cut those projects? Alhambra needs more jobs just like the rest of the country."
Another expressed frustration over the issue of redevelopment: "Why is it now that there's no longer RDA funding they are hitting residents and businesses with code enforcement fines they never enforced before?? Why do we have to carry the burden for the city lack of funding!"
Yet development wasn't the only issue readers said were their biggest concerns. More than half of voters selected schools and budget cuts to educational programs, such as AVID, which was recently eliminated at Alhambra High. Homelessness also piqued reader interest, with 47 percent of votes, most likely in light of the recent controversy over the city's ban on homeless shelters.
Readers also took the opportunity to direct specific questions at City Council members about benefits and government transparency. One wrote, "Why do you think you are entitled to lifetime healthcare benefits after serving only three terms…and it is only a part time job?" Another asked, "Why don't the council people ever answer e-mails? Especially when you challenge them."
Other issues people mentioned included a desire to see more green spaces throughout the city and concern over pedestrian safety. Do you have a question for the City Council or an issue you want the candidates to discuss? If you haven't already, take our survey and let us know.