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Know Your City Council Candidate: David Mejia

Image courtesy of David Mejia

 


The Alhambra Source reached out to each candidate, asking for a biography, platform statement and a few reader-generated questions. The Source does not endorse any candidates nor statements.


 

Biography

I, David Mejia, was born and raised in Lincoln Heights and graduated from Cathedral High School. I earned an Associate of Arts Degree in Administrative Justice from East Los Angeles College and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Cal State Los Angeles.

I have been happily married to Carmen, an Assistant Principal at the Alhambra Unified School District, who has been an educator for 25 years. We have two kids, Andrew (10) and Lizzie (7) and, like many kids these days, are persevering through the struggles brought on by distance learning.

As a Sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department for over 24 years, I have dedicated my career to public safety. Some of my assignments have included working patrol at Foothill, Rampart, and Southeast Divisions. I have been a Field Training Officer, Detective, and now a Sergeant and held coveted assignments within the LAPD, such as a narcotic and vice investigator, a Training Division Instructor and a Gang Impact Team Detective. I am currently a member of the Department’s elite Special Operations Division, as an Internal Affairs investigator. My professional achievements include graduating from the Los Angeles Police Department Leadership Institute, formerly known as West Point Leadership.

Prior to being elected to the Alhambra City Council, I served eight years as a commissioner for both the HCDA Citizen Advisory Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission. In November of 2016, I was elected to the Alhambra City Council and served as Mayor through August of 2017. I continue to serve on the Alhambra City Council as the current Mayor since mid-August 2020.

Platform

I am dedicated to ensuring that our residents’ quality of life is not diminished by expanding and integrating various programs and departments. These departments and programs include our Fire and Police Departments, enhancing traffic mitigation measures throughout the City, increasing services to our youth and seniors, and ensuring that we facilitate and provide our renters the opportunities to purchase an affordable home within our City.

As a 24-year police officer, I realize that Public Safety is an essential issue for our City. I will continue seeking funds to hire firefighters and police officers and increase access to new technology. Additionally, I want to increase youth participation in both the fire and police cadet programs. Lastly, I will work towards securing additional funding for homeless advocacy and code enforcement. These measures can be funded by soliciting funds from the Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, or the Bureau of Justice Assistance and don’t require dipping into the General Fund.

Another primary concern facing our city is traffic. I will continue to work with regional stakeholders to mitigate traffic and obtain additional METRO Dollars beyond the $200 million I negotiated to reduce both the traffic and the toxic fumes affecting our residents through poor air quality.

Our Parks and Recreation Department provides exceptional programming for our seniors and youth. As a park-poor community, Alhambra deserves additional green space through pocket parks and increased green space within new developments.

Lastly, the lack of affordable and supportive housing within Alhambra has to be addressed. As Mayor, I prioritized placing the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance on the Agenda and am proud that we passed it with a unanimous vote under my watch. I will continue to advocate for all of our residents, young and old, renters and homeowners; we are ONE ALHAMBRA.

Responses

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated small businesses in Alhambra. What is your plan to help these businesses and reinvigorate the local economy?

I have continuously advocated for relief for small business through this pandemic by implementing policies that ease permit processing for outdoor dining for restaurants, informed businesses about the PPP loans available to them, and participated in workshops through our Chamber of Commerce which educated both the owners and leasees about eviction moratoriums and the availability of state and local funding. Through the City, I am currently seeking federal SBA dollars to assist our small businesses through their hardship. Their hardship is precisely why I am in opposition to Prop 15, which would increase taxes and rents during an already tumultuous time.

How will you help Alhambra reach its affordable housing goals?

Affordable Housing is the number one issue that I requested to be placed on the agenda upon becoming Mayor. We adopted the Affordable Housing Ordinance, which mandates 15% of all new developments over seven units to have an affordable component. Our City has to balance the need to maintain a small-town feel with the State mandate of creating 6,810 homes through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment by 2032. If we don’t construct the units, the State can take away our Gas taxes and sue the City, adding a $10,000 fine for each unit we don’t approve. In addition, the Housing Accountability Act (HAA) establishes limitations to Alhambra’s ability to deny, reduce the density of, or make infeasible housing development projects or emergency shelters, that are consistent with our development standards and contribute to meeting the housing need. My goal is to require that all development projects have an affordability component, seek HUD and CA HCD money to reduce the gap financing to lower the cost of homes and make all residents of Alhambra have priority for these homes. Unfortunately, housing laws prevent us from making them available to only Alhambra residents, or I would.

How do you plan on increasing the city’s green space and tackling sustainability issues?

Green Space and sustainability is a quality of life issue that affects our residents; that is why, if the voters bless me with their vote and I can serve them another term. I will update our Local Action Plan and include it as a significant component of our Environmental Justice Element of our General Plan. Alhambra has some of the worst air quality in the entire San Gabriel Valley due to congestion and being park-poor. There are direct items that I would ensure that our Local Action Plan:

  • create a Bike Master Plan, which provides for multi-modal components
  • conduct a walkability study for our city
  • increase the number of vehicle charging stations
  • ensure that we implement the Tree Ordinance, which the City Council and I passed last year
  • expand our commitment to reducing fossil fuels by providing that our ACT buses are all hybrid and ensure that any City contractor working within the City has a zero-emission fleet.

Also, as we begin construction on the $200 million dollars worth of improvements, I was able to negotiate with Metro for 710 Freeway Improvements, further reducing air pollution and lowering greenhouse emissions. Lastly, I would like to review and potentially bring forward Quimby Fees, or park in-lieu fees for developments to increase the funding sources available to the City to purchase new land for parks and maintain our existing parks.

What is your plan for improving the air quality for Alhambra residents?

Air quality goes hand in hand with transportation and sustainability, and I plan to work with SCAQMD to place additional air quality monitoring stations that will provide us the necessary data to successfully seek additional funding from the EPA, the Air Quality Management Board and Metro. I will also ensure that we look at our potential housing projects that come to the City to ensure that we thoroughly negotiate a balance of affordable units with the potential for increased traffic.  What most residents don’t know is that as you demand additional affordable housing units, developers are given, by law, density bonuses and reduced parking. This means that developers would be able to build more units in smaller lots with less parking. I do not want that for our community. For this reason, we have to find the balance that will NOT have the adverse effect of increasing traffic and worsening our air; coupled with the planting of additional trees as mandated by our new Tree Ordinance and creating additional tree canopies to a minimum of 40 percent in our parks. These additional trees will clean the air, reduce water runoff and prevent soil erosion.

How will you improve traffic safety for both drivers and pedestrians?

Once again, I am a big proponent of updating our General Plan which includes the Traffic Element.  I have been part of the SGV Coalition of Governments and negotiated with Metro to move the issues of traffic since 2014.  I want to ensure that we re-evaluate our complete street models that take a multimodal approach to pedestrian and driver safety.   Implementing road diets, curb bulbs, ADA compliant intersections, protected bike lanes and signal synchronization to improve traffic flows will be part of the items I will be looking for as we develop the new Traffic Element of our General Plan. Ensuring that we have safe, walkable, and complete streets is essential to protecting and improving the safety of all who use our streets.

Visit David’s website.

 

Return to the main page for the other candidates’ biographies, platforms and responses.

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