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Anna Miller

Anna Miller
Anna Miller - Grover Beach City Council Candidate

Grover Beach City Council

Why are you running for office?: I am running for a seat on the Grover Beach City Council because I believe we can work together to better our community.

I have worked in the public and nonprofit sector for over two decades. I currently serve on several local non-profit boards including the Five Cities Homeless Coalition and the Grover Beach Community Library where I volunteered as a librarian before becoming a board member. I was a member of the Grover Heights Elementary School Site Council and prior to that, served on a budget advisory committee for another California public school. I make time to assist with local environmental conservation efforts by volunteering with organizations like ECOSLO and Your Children's Trees. Like many other parents, I am homeschooling while juggling work. However, no matter how busy life gets, I am intentional about carving out time for volunteering because I care about my neighbors and my community.

I believe that we can set politics aside and come together as a community to tackle the important issues that affect us all. We must find a way to provide better access to affordable housing for families who are struggling to make ends meet. We need to continue critical street repair and other infrastructure improvements throughout our city. We must focus efforts on economic recovery for local businesses affected by the pandemic while we work to bring in new businesses. Grover Beach should be known as a city where businesses can thrive. Lastly, we need to consider ways to increase opportunities for resident engagement.

I hope to have the honor of playing a role in shaping the future of Grover Beach. I promise to be a representative of all residents, even those who may have opposing views from my own. I will strive to listen carefully, be open to learning, and lead with an open mind.
What makes you qualified for the job?: In March of this year, the City of Grover Beach adopted, for the first time ever, housing and homelessness as a priority. I have worked in a leadership position within the low income and affordable housing industry for over twenty years. I have the knowledge and direct experience needed to help address this issue.

Economic development is another priority for the City. I have a track record of successfully managing large teams (currently managing about 100 employees) and complex projects. I am experienced in policy development and in being able to balance multi-million dollar budgets. I have been a business owner for many years prior to moving to California. The skills I have attained through experience will allow for me to help the city in meeting its economic development goals. 
What are your two main priorities if you win?: My top priority will be to listen to the residents of Grover Beach. I would like to find ways to engage with residents so that I can hear from more of my friends and neighbors about the priorities that are most important to them. I see the job of a Council Member as being a representative for all voices, even those who may have opposing views.
How will you interact with other governments?: Local government is amazing in that it is intimate and immediate. What I mean by intimate is that we know one another on a more personal level. We can run into each other at the grocery store or while taking out the trash. It's a deeper, more connected relationship between local government officials and their constituents than at the federal or even state level. Local government is more immediate in that there is real opportunity to affect change and in a relatively quick process. There's less bureaucracy. However, local government has limits and can't do it all.

If elected, I would develop relationships with our counterparts at other levels of government, private stakeholders, and the community-at-large to collaboratively devise solutions within the council’s authority.
What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?: I appreciate that our state has been proactive in responding to COVID-19. The pandemic has been tragic for many families. Until there is a vaccine, the only way to overcome this is to work together to stop the spread and protect each other. Each of us must do our part to follow the recommendations and guidelines issued on the local, state, and federal levels.
Which two issues are most important to you?: The two issues most important to me are affordable housing and supporting local businesses. In my personal and professional experience I have met good, hardworking, individuals who struggled to make ends meet. These are people who were already working 40 plus hours a week but because of the high cost of living in our area, they were unable to find stable housing or were over extended, paying 50% or more of their income towards rent. Being over extended means sometimes having to choose between shelter and other necessities like food or medicine. Regardless of political affiliation, everyone deserves the dignity of having a place to call home.

The second issue that's most important to me is support for our local businesses. The pandemic and subsequent closures have been detrimental to small businesses. I was once a small business owner and can understand the hardships being faced by many of our business owners and the impact of not being able to operate. I understand the City has issued micro-grants to qualifying businesses and have allowed for an expedited permitting process to create parklets and outdoor servicing. This is a great approach but I think we can do even more to help small businesses get through these tough times and aid in their recovery after. One idea I would like to see implemented is the deferral of utility payments (like trash and water) for small businesses until they can reopen at full capacity.
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