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Housing remains chief concern in City Council issues survey

Location

Alhambra , CA United States

We’ve been polling our readers all year about which issues matter most to them in the lead up to the City Council elections on Nov. 6. We’ve had 162 responses and similar to our roundup earlier this year, housing was the top issue, with almost 40 percent of respondents picking it as such.

Issues with housing seems to be at the root of other problems that people perceive with the direction that Alhambra is going in. Some respondents identified too many high-density and luxury developments, which may or may not add to the city’s traffic woes and do not have enough affordable units set aside. Others desire more affordable housing, while also preserving single-family neighborhoods, which seem to be in conflict with each other. The challenge is how to balance all of these competing interests.

Below are more detailed breakdowns of responses to each issue identified in the survey, with a selection of responses. We recommend using this as a guide to our Kids and Candidates forum, which will be held at Alhambra High School on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m.

Housing

In the survey, 38.89 percent of respondents picked housing as the most pressing issue for Alhambra to address. There was criticism that the city is welcoming too many luxury developments, without affordable units set aside. There were some calls for an inclusionary ordinance, as well as suggestions for rent control and a moratorium on development.

“[We need] rent control and more affordable housing — a plan and budget to assist those who are experiencing homelessness and don’t want to leave the area in the form of a shelter or transitional housing.”

“[We need] resources on affordable housing and to keep rent from going up. I am a renter and love this neighborhood. I have only been living here for a year and hope to for many more.”

“We are seeing a drop in our student population at the public schools and in the city over all. I contribute this to the rising cost of rental housing and the lack of affordable hosing in all the development that has increased in our city.”

“To be specific, AFFORDABLE housing. We have way too many luxury condominiums and more in the planning stages. That is wrong. Owned by outside interests in some cases, and rented out in too many cases. We need to make it possible for low-income (yes, I support the idea that a certain percentage of every development be reserved for low-income citizens) and middle-income citizens to live in our city.”

Traffic

Another issue of concern is traffic, with 22.22 percent of respondents choosing this as their most pressing concern. They suggested solutions for bad traffic on Mission Boulevard (with some criticizing the traffic islands created on Mission Boulevard) and the area near the 710 and called for increased pedestrian safety and bike lanes. Some linked increased development to Alhambra’s traffic woes.

“As the area grows and more places are being built, I hope that means more stop signs/stop lights, hopefully with a protected turn signal. I see so many accidents at four way stops.”

“We need strict enforcement of traffic laws for both vehicles and pedestrians for the safety of all. Bicycle Lanes and pathways need to become a priority for Alhambra! All surrounding cities are creating bike friendly access and Alhambra seems to not care. It is quickly gaining the reputation as the most dangerous city in the San Gabriel Valley to ride a bicycle! Bicycling should be supported and encouraged by the City due its many benefits including but not limited to health and traffic.”

“I am a Cardiac Cath Lab nurse at Huntington Hospital. I am on call to treat patients with life threatening heart attacks. I am required to arrive at the hospital from my home on Hellman in 30minutes once our ER identifies that a patient is having a heart attack. From 3pm to 7pm on weekdays it is increasingly more difficult to travel the 5 miles to Huntington in 30 minutes.”

“Main Street between Palm Avenue and Chapel now has more pedestrian traffic. Street lights should accommodate pedestrians needing to cross Main Street.”

Crime

The 19.14 percent of respondents who chose to highlight crime expressed concerns about thefts and burglaries. They called for a stronger police response.

“Theft and burglary are major issues in our community and I would like to see an increase in efforts to get a handle on this. Maybe additional officers, if possible? Additional community outreach at least.”

“I live on Story Place in Alhambra, Adele [Andrade-Stadler, City Council candidate for the 5th District] is right in that we need more patrol cars cruising our streets in the middle of the day and night. Packages [are] being stolen on our block in broad daylight.”

Immigration

The 3.09 percent of respondents who chose immigration alluded to a recent federal policy of separating families at the border. Declaring Alhambra a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants was among the issues discussed at a candidate forum last week.

Other

The 16.67 percent of respondents who chose this elaborated upon a number of issues that were loosely related to housing, development, transport and other concerns. Campaign finance reform, which has dominated this year’s City Council races, was elaborated upon here, as well as homelessness, education, historic preservation and infrastructure. Some residents also expressed concerned about the number of empty businesses on Main Street.

“Campaign finance reforms that institute donor limits, greater transparency requirements, and by-district elections would level the political playing field in Alhambra. Such reforms would prevent moneyed interests from swaying the outcome of elections. It would also encourage more grassroots candidates to run for local office, significantly lower the cost of running for office in Alhambra, and place a premium on messaging rather than fundraising.”

“Alhambra needs to embrace bike lanes and encourage green transportation, like many of the cities surrounding it. It is incredibly dangerous the way things are currently, and this discourages people from biking and walking. We need bike infrastructure, and we need road improvements… the streets in much of the city are in atrocious condition, which makes biking even more dangerous. The more people bike and walk, the less traffic and pollution we’ll have.”

“[I’d] like to focus on providing the opportunity for all of the kids in our district the best education possible. This includes providing the teachers the best facilities, supplies and support they need to perform their work. Ensuring that the kids have good school supplies, access to adequate facilities and other items they may need to do their work. After school programs and extra curricular activities are also important.”

“The two council members who were elected in 2016 pledged to support the adoption of an historic preservation ordinance in Alhambra, to protect and preserve the city’s historic architectural resources. This was identified as a key issue in the all the public meetings related to the development of a new General Plan for the city. As yet, there has been no discernible action. I expect better from our elected officials.”

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