CANDIDATE FOR LA QUINTA MAYOR 2018 - LINDA EVANS
La Quinta Mayoral and City Council
November 2018 Election
Candidate: Linda Evans
1. What project or projects do you propose to improve La Quinta and the quality of life of our citizens? Please explain:
1) What is the project?
A. Village Complete Streets - making the Old Town and Village area more pedestrian friendly while activating art elements and addressing flood control and drainage issues
B. Restroom at the Top of the Cove
C. Free Fitness for Everyone - coming soon!
2) What are its benefits?
A. Village Complete Streets will slow traffic with the addition of roundabouts and land reductions, helping both the safety of our roads and the emissions/environment. It will allow for gathering places to increase, and walkability to be encouraged. It will also enhance our business and park sectors around Old Town & the Village areas.
B. With the focus on health and wellness, especially through hiking and outdoor recreation, having a restroom will encourage more people to hike/bike our trails, knowing they can stay longer if “relief”” is nearby.
C. Free access to quality exercise and recreation - coming soon!
3) How will it be achieved?
A. LQ received an Active Transportation Program grant to enhance OT/Village into a pedestrian friendly area. Construction will begin in late Spring 2019 in phases, with completion about 18 -24 months later. Timeline is somewhat based on CVWD construction project and the park use by LQAF.
B. Residents selected a restroom as part of the CIP projects at the annual community workshop. It was approved in the budget for this year, and will be constructed over the next several months. This entity, along with signage, should enhance the experience of enjoying our beautiful mountains and trails for both residents and visitors.
C. Save the Date: Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 9am - La Quinta Park, near LQHS. You’re invited to participate and enjoy!
2. Citizens have expressed concerns over potential safety issues on heavily used Calle Tecate at the top of the cove. These issues seem especially acute during the season.
1) Please share your views on these safety issues.
Safety is a concern everywhere. The challenges on Tecate are due to people parking along the street to use the trails, versus using the parking lot. People cross the street, cyclists and cars are constantly passing through at varied speeds, and visibility is sometimes a challenge. The new enlarged parking lot secured by the City through an Encroachment Permit with CVWD was done to help mitigate the volume of cars on Tecate into a more condensed environment without cars/people crossing the road to recreate.
2) Explain what steps, if any, you believe would increase safety at the top of the cove.
Fortunately, Cove residents have some concerns as well and have expressed interest in red-curbing all of Tecate. While this may work, we need to be sensitive to the side streets and the impact of those residents as well. And, because there are various entry points to our trails, the new parking lot on the East may not be conducive for those wanting to start their journey on the West end of the Cove. Signage may help. Speed enforcement may help as well.
3) How can they be achieved?
Red-Curb: City staff has offered to consider the red-curb if the surrounding residents agree. I don’t believe enough buy-in has been achieved through a petition signing. We can enforce speeding in that area on busy weekends, and we can evaluate signage that may promote more parking lot parking and awareness when crossing the road.
3. Economic development is a key element in the continued survival and success of any city. La Quinta faces vacant private commercial properties and is making plans for the Village and Silver Rock.
1) What specific steps can be taken to stimulate revival of vacant business properties?
We are actively communicating with brokers and owners about their property and have dedicated information on our website (LoopNet) to help promote business in LQ. We also partner with CVB, CVEP, Chambers, and East Valley Coalition to promote business growth. It’s supply and demand, however. We need property owners to be cooperative and develop incentives for businesses to choose LQ. We also need a buyer base to ensure success of certain businesses. People complain about the lack of a grocery store in the Cove/Village area. The stores have not survived because residents have not supported their success. People have to shop and invest in the local businesses to keep them viable.
2) What is the role of city government in the promotion of economic development on privately owned property?
Without redevelopment incentives, our role is somewhat limited from a financial incentive perspective. When the city is involved financially, prevailing wage is triggered, which increases the costs of projects and often makes them cost prohibitive to show a return on investment. Our role is in the promotion of our city, its safety, demographics, value, and quality of life. It’s also important for our staff to ensure an efficient application and permit process with reasonable fees to attract businesses to LQ.
3) What is that role in private/public partnerships like Silver Rock (SRR)?
SRR is unique because the property was purchased with redevelopment funds. Our “contribution” to economic development at SRR is the land, so a developer can secure funding to build hotels, homes, commercial/retail entities that yield revenue for the city. This revenue comes in the form of hotel, sales, and property tax. We have everything to gain for our financial future with the development of SilverRock. This is a complex site plan with many moving parts. It’s an exciting plan for La Quinta and will not only change our city landscape, but will provide an elevated sense of demand for our entire Greater Palm Springs destination for visitors internationally.
4. The largest single expense in the city’s budget is police service which continues to grow at approximately 11% annually. (actually, it’s 8-10%)
1) What do you suggest the city should do to address this ongoing and very expensive challenge?
We are currently in communications with our sister cities to evaluate efficiencies to combine services to help reduce costs for all of us.
2) Should the city continue to pursue a city-wide surveillance camera system, and if implemented, what limits, if any, should be placed on its use?
The camera system is still under review. There has been no vote to date on this project. However, I support learning more about the benefits of such a system, as other cities have experienced positive results by having it. My opinion on limitations would be to place cameras in commercial, high-traffic areas/intersections. The arterials and heavily trafficked areas are the key to ensuring rapid response to identify and address issues. I respect personal privacy, and do not envision having cameras everywhere in the city that may disrupt personal privacy, i.e. watching homes. These systems are another resource for law enforcement in LQ and surrounding cities to identify possible suspects and enhance the safety of the community. Many suspects have been captured through the use of cameras at homes and at businesses. Why not expand cameras into those public areas/roads to provide more coverage for a safer community?
3) What have you done to familiarize yourself with the city’s budget and operations?
It is my responsibility as your Mayor to review, question, advise, evaluate and approved our city’s budget and operations - regularly. I take my position as Mayor very seriously, and that includes ensuring an understanding of all aspects of our city’s budget and operations. I, like my fellow Council Members, feel accountable to our 40,000 + residents in managing our finances, recognizing our people, maintaining and enhancing our infrastructure, ensuring our safety and quality of life. It’s an honor to serve the residents of La Quinta and represent our fine city throughout the Coachella Valley. Thank you.