Anne LaFianza 

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What are the major city issues of concern to you in the future?

Revitalization  of Thousand Oaks Boulevard, with a plan that uses sustainable development practices in the construction of mixed-­use properties, that protects our native oak trees, that creates green spaces for a pedestrian­friendly downtown, that updates the current boulevard while maintaining a small-­town feel, that provides ample free parking, and that protects the small and family businesses that are already there from higher rents.

The protection of our open space and native oak trees. Affordable housing and assisted ­living units for our seniors. Affordable and desirable housing for Millennials.

Traffic safety, and road repair and maintenance.

 

What issues in the past do you feel are not being addressed?

  1. I believe that it is an honor to be elected to public Public servants must know the community in which they have been elected to serve. I believe that means more than attending meetings and functions. I have been given the ballot designation of “Community Volunteer.” That is the most stringent of designations to receive from the secretary of state, and quite an honor. I have dedicated my life for nearly the last 20 years to hands-­on service to my community. I do not feel that all of the Council members practice due diligence in such involvement throughout our community, addressing issues with a hands-­on approach.
  1. The former city manager operated with little to no active oversight, which led to him abusing his position ­­ and eventually, after some resistance from the Council, his eventual
  1. The destruction of hundreds of mature trees at Regency Plaza occurred because the Council had changed the ordinance protecting trees, to one where staff had the ability to approve the Eventually, as vice­ chair of the ad hoc Oak and Landmark Tree Committee, co-author of the Minority Report, and a co-­founding member of COTA, the Conejo Oak Tree Advocates, I helped lead the effort to strengthen the ordinance that was approved by the City Council.
  1. Thousand Oaks has a reputation as a well-managed city with a balanced Though, documents on the city website paint a different picture. According to those documents the Street Improvements Fund which is used for maintaining our roads is in deficit  leading to a reduction in routine maintenance of our roads.The Lighting Fund which maintains our traffic and street lights is in deficit. This has a negative impact on public safety and quality of life. The Landscaping Fund, Solid Waste Fund and Library Fund are in deficit. And the Stormwater Fund that makes sure we are in compliance with the Clean Water Act is in deficit.
  1. Another issue that is not being addressed is developing affordable housing for our seniors who wish to retire in Thousand Oaks, as well as to the young professionals we hope to attract to live, work and raise a family here.  There are many unused and underutilized parcels within the city limits that could be used for this purpose, and it is possible for builders to make a profit with projects such as these using local labor, thereby strengthening our economy.  We owe it to the residents who built our city, as well as those who will do so in the future, to make sure they can afford to live in quality housing.

 

What are your thoughts on the state of local businesses in the city?

Thousand Oaks is blessed with hundreds of small and family-­run businesses, many of which have been here for decades.  They helped build Thousand Oaks and have provided excellent services for the residents.  However, small and family-­run businesses are in trouble, facing stiff competition from Amazon, Wal­mart, Target and other big-­box stores, as well as the Internet in general.  People are used to ordering everything online or getting it all in one place.  It is of paramount importance that the City Council works with businesses and the residents to create a culture that supports shopping and buying locally.

One example of this is the Thousand Oaks Women’s Guild that I started a few months ago.  The Guild meets monthly to visit local small and family-­owned businesses.  This introduces Thousand Oaks residents to the treasures that exist right in our community, giving them a deeper understanding of Thousand Oaks and the unique businesses we have.

The Thousand Oaks Boulevard Redevelopment plan presents some opportunities as well.  By employing sustainable technology, such as silva cells and solar panels on the parking structures, we can create a Boulevard that will preserve our namesake oak trees, creating a more pedestrian-­friendly green space.  Mixed use, which can include affordable housing above retail, will also help drive more traffic to our local businesses. 

What are your thoughts on current public safety issues?

I feel very fortunate to have raised my family and to continue to live in a city where we are so safe and crime is so low. I am extremely grateful to all those who put their lives on the line for us every day to ensure that we are safe.

What are your housing concerns for the city?  How will you address them in the future?

I am concerned about housing for our seniors, with regard to both affordable housing and assisted­-living situations. I am also concerned about affordable housing for our millennials.  I believe that there are many unused and underused properties throughout the city that would be good locations for both affordable housing and assisted living units. There are also the housing units that will be an important component of the mixed-­use development on Thousand Oaks Boulevard. These units must be affordable. As a decision maker on the City Council I would vote for the development of housing units that will be affordable. I would also vote for housing units that would provide assisted living for our seniors. We only have a small number of units that can be constructed in Thousand Oaks. They must be affordable.

How important are the city’s natural resources to you and what are you doing about it?

The protection of our open space and our native oak trees is incredibly  important to me. I have dedicated much of my time working for SOAR and the protection of our native oaks. I was the vice chair of the ad hoc Oak and Landmark Committee for the city of Thousand Oaks. I was a co-­author of the Minority Report and a founding member of COTA, Conejo Oak Tree Advocates. I am a proponent of solar panel­-covered parking to be instituted throughout the city. I am a voice for the use of recycled gray water in construction throughout the city. I am against fracking anywhere in the Conejo Valley.

Discuss other concerns you have with your city and what you will do to address them. This may include water issues, the state of your city’s school districts, the city’s financial stability, unemployment, etc.

We are still in a serious drought. There needs to be better coordination with the Water District to make sure that we are remaining diligent and well-educated about the water issues that we face.

I have great concerns over the lack of relationship between CVUSD and the city of Thousand Oaks. The issues that have been coming before the School Board are issues that also impact the city and its residents. There are issues about sidewalks, traffic and other safety concerns. There are programming issues as well that call for a City Council member that has a deep understanding of and experience working throughout the school district. I have nearly two decades of proven leadership at all levels of CVUSD. I would be a strong liaison between the two entities.