Community Questions Answered: Jesse Loren

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WE: What is your greatest accomplishment while in a leadership position? Loren: I worked hard to bring the College Promise Program to Winters and arrange for Rotary to support and fund it. I am very proud of being a champion of the Winters Affirmation of Community Values Resolution. I also value my collaboration with city leaders throughout California to design and create a Rural Caucus within the League of California Cities. This group, now called the Rural Information Exchange, supports the unique needs of rural cities (roughly 1/3 of the state). I am super proud of the work I did with seniors, which led to the report on Winters’ need for a Senior Coalition. Being the parent to three great kids, and watching them become great adults, that too is a great accomplishment! WE: Do you believe in a city government that is run by the council or run by the city manager? How do you define the separation of influence? Loren: Winters has a Council-Manager style of government, in which City Council hires the City Manager and City Attorney. The City Manager then directs staff to do the business of the city and to accomplish other goals set by the Council. The City Manager executes the priorities of council, while also adhering to state and local laws and long-term planning goals. In the future, I think Council should work more collaboratively on the larger decisions, such as setting goals for the City. WE: What do you think your role as councilmember should be vs. that of the City Manager/Administrator? Loren: As soon as I am re-elected, I plan to organize a City Council retreat with an outside facilitator to conduct a SWOT analysis of the city (identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), create a defined list of priorities, determine goals for 2020-2021, and create a work plan with the city manager to accomplish these goals. WE: If you could take action on one thing during your term, what would that one thing be? Loren: I’d like Winters to pay off the 1992 General Plan debt and create a new one with input from our current population. I would also work to create a Volunteer Academy to support Winters, organize a “welcome wagon” for people who are new here, and facilitate a more unified Winters. WE: What is your stance on the topic of annexation and development in Winters? Loren: No discussion of annexation should happen before we have a climate action plan, an updated housing element plan, and plenty of public input on growth. For those reasons, we have a few years of hard work ahead of us before I would begin to consider annexation of land within or outside of our sphere of influence. Annexing agriculture land carries the risk that our landscape would be irrevocably changed and the farming potential lost. No city, city manager, or council should make a decision of that magnitude without copious public input, careful study, and majority consensus. City Council is a representative form of government doing the people’s business in the people’s house, in front of the people. That’s the only way it should ever be done and the only way it would be done on my watch! WE: What is your stance on the amendment being proposed by the Keep Winters Winters group? Loren: Although I can’t comment on a proposal that I have not seen, I am in favor of focusing on infill development, affordable housing, and improvements to downtown Winters. I look forward to hearing more about the concerns raised by this group. I look forward to hearing what people think about what it means to be “Winters”. WE: The Winters city government is addressing the issue of communication, however, transparency is also a concern to some citizens. What would you do to address the lack of transparency with the current processes, especially as it relates to projects and development? It is possible to conflate communication with transparency? Loren: Upon my re-election, I will focus on improving communication in a variety of ways—starting by improving our method of recording council meetings with updated cameras and more dependable sound. In the long term, I will foster value-driven decisions and provide regular reports on our plans and goals. Also, communication goes both ways. Come to council, send an email or write a letter to council, but please share your thoughts with your representatives! WE: How will you support all areas of Winters from businesses, to homeowners, to agricultural, citizen concerns? There are no council districts, so you are responsible for supporting all members of the Winters community. What does that mean to you? Loren: I am the only person on the ballot who published their statement in Spanish and English, which I did because I want to represent all parts of Winters. That means supporting young families, children, teens, adults, business owners, retirees, and people of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. I can hear the views of many facets of our community because I am retired and have the time to reach out. I also have time for morning, afternoon, and evening meetings with individual residents and the boards on which I serve. Residents and business owners support my re-election because I listen and respond to their problems. As to Council Districts, studies show that cities with majority-minority areas are not well served by at-large voting. A demographer would say that our council does not reflect the demographics of the town. Yet voters don’t always consider city demographics when they vote. I hope people keep in mind that I am the only women and the only Hispanic in the race and support me both for the groups I represent and for the integrity, honesty, hard work, and dedication with which I have served my current term. Thank you.]]>

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