San Diego City Council candidate Chris Cate.
San Diego City Councilmember Chris Cate. File photo

By Chris Cate

My four years in office as the councilmember for District 6 consists of a total of 1,460 days. Our office has tracked each day as it passes. We do this for two reasons: first to hold ourselves accountable when serving our residents, and second to remind ourselves that while we are fortunate to serve, each day is a blessing that could end in the blink of an eye.

With that said, our goals have and will continue to be to promote partnerships with my colleagues to advance proposals that improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and to maximize the effectiveness of taxpayer dollars.

Following our swearing-in, Councilmember Scott Sherman and I jointly proposed that Mayor Kevin Faulconer implement a zero-base, “smart budgeting” pilot program for one city department for the budget year beginning July 1, 2016.  As opposed to traditional budgeting practices, “zero-base” budgeting requires city departments to begin with a zero-dollar baseline and justify all of the expected expenses for the upcoming fiscal year. This smart budgeting method is a data-driven solution which will galvanize the efficiency and effectiveness of city services and encourage a transparent process for how we spend taxpayer dollars.

During my campaign, I made no secret that public safety was one of my top priorities. Every day for the past 24 years, I watched my father put his life on the line for the safety of our community as a California Highway Patrolman. Therefore, I was proud to join the mayor and my council colleagues to support a new agreement with the San Diego Police Officers Association. This is, without a doubt, a step in the right direction to addressing the recruitment and retention crisis our city faces on a daily basis. I believe that we must be a competitive employer and retain the best and brightest in public safety personnel, so our neighborhoods will be safe and secure.

In the first week of my term as councilmember, I was contacted by a constituent in Clairemont who expressed concerns about the lack of clarity regarding short-term vacation rentals. I immediately began researching relevant regulations and ordinances implemented by other municipalities in and outside of California. The ambiguity of San Diego’s regulations surrounding short-term vacation rentals has become increasingly apparent in light of today’s sharing economy. As a result, my office has engaged community stakeholders, hosted platform companies and consulted with city departments who will be affected by an ordinance change. We are drafting a balanced proposal that we will be presenting to the Smart Growth & Land Use Committee in April.

While these accomplishments are noteworthy, there is still much more to do to improve the quality of life for residents in the 6th District. I have been a staunch advocate for increasing civic and government engagement. The city of San Diego works more effectively, efficiently and collaboratively when residents are connected, involved and engaged. As such, we need more residents to empower themselves by volunteering to serve. Everything from joining a planning board to being secretary of your local town council, time and talent do matter. This is how your voice gets heard.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the backbone of our local economy. They bolster job creation and economic growth. Thirty-five percent of all craft breweries in San Diego call District 6 their home. Additionally, improving neighborhood infrastructure is vital to maintaining our city’s assets. I applaud the mayor for releasing his plan to pave 1,000 miles of roads over the next five years.

As promised, my team is accessible and exceptional. Working side-by-side with our communities, we are moving the needle on connecting all people in my district. In just 100 days, we resolved 135 neighborhood issues, attended 192 community events and recognized 644 constituents.

I am looking ahead with a clear focus on improving the neighborhoods of Clairemont Mesa, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa, Miramar, Park Village and Sorrento Valley. Although there is more work to be done, I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished in just 100 days. The next 100 days we will focus our attention on increasing civic engagement, bolstering equal opportunity employment and adopting a new fiscal year budget. There’s no “I” in team and together we will achieve more.

Chris Cate was elected in November to represent the 6th City Council District of San Diego.