The Alhambra Preservation Group recently sat down with Alhambra City Council candidates Dr. Steven Placido and Elizabeth Salinas. Placido, a dentist who currently represents Alhambra's 4th council district, and Salinas, his challenger and an immigration attorney, answered questions about local preservation and development. Here are just a few of the points they made. You can watch the full interviews below.
On developing pride of place and cultivating green space:
Placido: "Whether it's the Emery Park neighborhood, or the Midwick Tract, or the Bean Tract, or the Airport Tract, people go around and say 'Oh yeah I'm from Emery Park,' or 'I'm from Midwick,' and they take pride in that. We also landscaped the medians on Fremont and Valley and Mission, to make it not only look nice but make traffic flow improve and improve safety. We put potted plants on the overpasses for the railroads. And the underpasses for the freeways, there's a big 'A' in flowers. Those things just bring out community pride. And if people understand that the City takes great pride in the community, then hopefully the residents take pride in their homes and keep it up."
Salinas: "I'd like to see more green space in the City of Alhambra. And I'm not the only one. A 2007 resident survey that was done identified that as one of the desires of the residents…We have six beautiful parks and those parks need to be properly maintained, but apart from that we have a lot of development on Main Street. A lot of condominiums, a lot of town homes. I don't see any green space on those developments. I think those people should be allowed to have some green space."
On historic preservation ordinances:
Placido: "I think it's important to preserve the neighborhoods and the communities. Whether a building is there or not may not be as significant as the community itself…San Marino doesn't have any preservation ordinances, and their buildings and their homes are just spectacular. We've modeled our guidelines after San Marino's. And I was very active in championing that move and working with the consultant so that we can make those moves to make the additions more compatible, make it more integrated into the neighborhood, and make the additions, if you are adding on to a house, almost invisible. So when you pass by the street you think, 'Is that an addition? Or was that there when it was done?'"
Salinas: "I would support a historic preservation ordinance and I believe it should be part of the overall planning for the city. We've lost many beautiful homes and historic properties in the last decades, and a historic preservation ordinance would provide a measure of protection for those properties. I do see a value to it. And also because we're moving into the future, we can't forget that Alhambra has a long, rich history, architecturally, just generally. And I think that if we, not copy, but look at some of our neighboring cities that do have ordinances in place and see what they've been able to preserve, I would like to see that in our city as well."
On their goals if elected:
Placido: "[The 710 freeway completion] will take commuter traffic off our streets, it'll improve air quality, and it's the #1 project in the five Southern California counties that will improve air quality and traffic. Working towards that, I think it'll keep our streets safer, it'll keep traffic away from our schools, our parks, and where kids play. So I think that's important. I support public safety, keeping our first responders well trained, well equipped, and healthy. Fast and efficient are important to the quality of life in our community. And improving our communication networks and the tools that police use to better protect us is very important to me. "
Salinas: "One of my main goals and, foremost more than anything, I love the city but I'm also a homeowner, and I live in a historic part of the city of Alhambra, border of Granada Park district and Midwick Tract district. And if I'm allowed to be on the board, if I'm voted in, I will do my best to make sure that our historic neighborhoods are protected…my other goal is to get more involvement from the community when it comes to our city government. and that means doing open houses for the city government, having the people, residents, especially our young people, come in and see what's being doing at the local level, get them excited about city government. I'd also like to see a friendlier design on our city website. It's a little bit busy for the average person, myself included. So that also helps."
Placido: "I think we're doing a great job on council. I enjoy my time serving the public, and I look forward to another four years."
Salinas: "I would be the council person that would look after the average resident and try to maintain our quality of life."