Carpinteria City Council
|Why are you running for office?:||My name is Natalia Alarcon and I am running for Carpinteria City Council. The desire to be a part of something bigger has always been a part of who I am. Carpinteria is my hometown. Growing up here I attended our local schools and I am now raising my family here.|
With 48% of Carpinteria identifying as Hispanic and/or Latino and 50% being women, there is a significant lack of diversity on the dais, which means many perspectives are not being taken into consideration when decisions are being made. I will amplify the voices of our underrepresented community members.
As your future council member, I will listen and work with you to find new solutions to city concerns. I will advocate for social justice and equity. I will work to support our small businesses and work in partnership with community members to make the best decisions on behalf of the community.
|What makes you qualified for the job?:||My unique experiences as a bilingual Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and nonprofit professional have taught me to listen and to work collaboratively with others for meaningful and lasting change. The skills and opportunities I have gained have led me to give back to the community I call home.|
As an active board member of Parents For Aliso I have been able to strengthen parent participation and raise funding for enrichment activities. And most importantly, I worked collaboratively with school administration to develop shared goals that were successful.
As a board member of the Rental Housing Mediation Program I stay connected with the issues pertaining to housing in the Carpinteria community. I have worked in the nonprofit sector for the past 10 years providing direct and administrative oversight to programs that have a significant impact on residents' most basic needs.
Educationally, I attended University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) where I earned my B.A. in History and earned my master’s degree at Antioch University of Santa Barbara in Clinical Psychology. Since graduating I have obtained my License as a Psychotherapist and have founded a small private practice.
|What are your two main priorities if you win?:||When I win for elected office, I will work to develop planned growth strategies so that our local and small business survive. I am a strong supporter of the city's “Business Restart Program,” which provides business owners with some of the resources they need to stay solvent. The $1000 small business grant allowed many of our businesses to stay open.|
I would like to explore how we can continue to expand this program and provide greater support. Deferring or halting fees to existing and new businesses can provide relief. Additionally, evaluating our businesses through a digital survey can give us data on their needs.
A long-term goal could be assisting with the creation of a business alliance. This would give us the ability to work in collaboration with a larger body of businesses, giving them a larger platform to express needed concerns and solutions to the city.
Additionally, in recent years we have seen a trend in Carpinteria of families relocating elsewhere due to the rising cost of living. Our community is changing and I believe through creative strategies we can develop balanced solutions that will increase affordable housing options and minimize overcrowding.
Creating housing solutions is essential. The city can partner with People’s Self-Help Housing and Habitat for Humanity to increase our housing stock. I want to increase the quality of life for many of our families living in overcrowded households. I want to create a community where our teachers can afford to live where they teach.
|How will you interact with other governments?:||When I am elected, I intend to collaborate and work with constituents, city staff and larger government offices. In order to be effective, I will listen, ask the right questions and explore “new“ ways of doing business. I look forward to being an active member of the California League of Cities, the County Homeless workgroup, and others so that Carpinteria is represented and has a seat at the table. Through clear communication and a mutual understanding of a respectful working relationship, I believe that positive changes can occur.|
|What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?:||Our community has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic; state restrictions and a decrease in tourism have put our businesses in challenging situations. Keeping our residents and local workers safe and healthy is paramount. The measures put forth by the city, I believe, have been with the goal of keeping our residents safe and healthy and our economy stable.|
Adhering to beach closures during holiday weekends and mask requirements have mitigated some of the social distancing issues inherent in this pandemic. Our city had a very successful “Mask Up Carp” sidewalk chalk event that had over 100 participants. As our county continues to move through “the blueprint for a safer economy” we can expect to see our community move closer to “normalcy.”
The city facilitated a partial street closure on a trial basis, creating a promenade in our downtown area. This did not work for our community, and the overflow of parking into Smart and Final was not a viable solution. I do agree with the bulb-outs which allow restaurants to expand their outdoor dining. A long-term goal could be assisting with the creation of a business collaborative. This would give us the ability to work in collaboration with a larger body of businesses, giving them a larger platform to express needed concerns and solutions to the city.
|Which two issues are most important to you?:||It is difficult to come up with only two issues, however I am looking forward to working on the council’s Resolution on Racial Equity and Social Justice. I believe this will lend to important conversations to be had in our community. I am also looking forward to actively participating in moving Carpinteria towards district elections.|