Valley News Staff
With Temecula City Councilmember Mike Naggar’s announcement in June that he would not seek another term on the city council, the race for the city’s District 2 council seat has been left wide-open. Naggar serves on the council from an at-large seat, but Naggar has chosen not to seek reelection and with the implementation of city council districts, there were three candidates who qualified to run.
All three candidates from District 2 were sent the same questions from Valley News. Last week candidate Alisha Wilkins was featured in Valley News. This week we are publishing the answers from Jessica Alexander. These are the only two vying for District 2 as the third candidate, Andy Black, dropped out of the race and endorsed Jessica Alexander. According to Black, his name remains on the ballot as it was too late to have it removed.
What qualifications or personality/intellectual traits do you have that make you appropriate or the right person for the job?
Alexander: My leadership skills, life experiences and small-business background make me preeminently qualified to serve the people of Temecula on the city council. As a U.S. Marine, I served overseas providing protection to embassies. In this role I routinely interacted and collaborated with foreign dignitaries, government officials, foreign citizens seeking U.S. services, American citizens seeking help and advice and even working with U.S. presidential details for implementing executive security operations and diplomatic protocols.
As a former New York police officer, I have firsthand knowledge in what it is like to respond to that 911 call for help. I have rendered aid and comfort to the battered woman and to the abused child as well as bringing justice for the crime victim who suffered from an assault or robbery, or worse. I am keenly aware of the importance and sheer necessity of having well trained and fully staffed first responders to keep our community safe, secure and thriving. I believe this is one of the reasons the Riverside Sheriff’s Association and Cal Fire Local 2881 endorsed me, as well as Sen. Melissa Melendez and Councilmember Mike Naggar.
As both a Marine and as a civilian, I have extensively traveled worldwide while experiencing and learning from a variety of international cultures. I became fluent in Spanish while pursuing my college degree in Spain. I am naturally accustomed to interacting with diverse people in a variety of situations and I know my skills and experiences enhance my ability to serve the people of Temecula. My background as a small-business owner gives me insight into what other business owners face in these challenging and unpredictable times. As such I will be a proactive agent to provide stability and to cut through red tape and bureaucratic hurdles enabling our business community to quickly recover and prosper.
What is your motivation for wishing to serve Temecula and more specifically, the district you serve?
Alexander: As a military family, we lived near Temecula some years ago in Fallbrook, but we routinely traveled here to Temecula for our children’s schools, to meet with our friends and to shop and dine. We fell in love with Temecula back then. Military transfers took us away from Southern California for a while, but when we had an opportunity to move back, we chose Temecula because we loved the family-oriented community, the quality schools, the safe neighborhoods and the thriving economy. And though I was born in New York, I have fully bought into the community of Temecula. I could not imagine my family and I living in any other place.
As such, I feel compelled to give back to this community which my family and I have fallen in love with. My life experiences have given me a strong set of leadership and organizational skills that I will use to proactively promote the safety, well-being and heritage of Temecula for the people I will represent.
In the upcoming term, what are your top three goals to address or accomplish for the city and/or your district?
Alexander: First, funding the police and public safety. Most of us who moved here to Temecula did so because we know that this is a safe community. Funding cuts to our police and first responders would cripple their mission. Other American cities where city councils have crippled and politically abandoned their police have seen their crime rates soar. Predictably, businesses and people are fleeing and their once picturesque cityscapes now resemble war torn countries. I will always support the funding of our law enforcement and first responders to ensure that they are all fully equipped, trained and staffed to preserve and protect our community.
Next, working with small businesses. As a small-business owner, I fully understand and relate to the needs of businesses here in Temecula, especially small businesses. I will work with the business community to get them whole as quickly as possible. I will interact and listen to business owners to get them the needed support, not what I think might be best for them, but what the owners are saying they need to recover, to grow and to thrive.
Third, quality of life. I have been in New York City. There are too many places there that I could never go to with my child because of the crime and blight. In contrast, Temecula is beautiful. The streets and the parks are clean and safe, and I am comfortable taking my family virtually anywhere throughout the community without worrying about gunshots, open street drug trafficking or getting mugged or hassled by petty criminals. As a city councilmember, I will work hard to preserve and protect the traditions that have made Temecula beautiful since its incorporation.
What are the two biggest issues facing the city of Temecula in the next four years that you hope to address?
Alexander: First, city revenue. As city leaders we need to be good and ethical stewards of the public money that comes into the city’s treasury. However, I will not do this by raising taxes on the people. As citizens and residents of California we are already overtaxed as it is. Instead of more taxes and regulations I will grow our local economy by promoting more efficiency at city hall while also providing for a safe and secure business environment here in Temecula.
Second, economic development. This dovetails with the first issue concerning revenue. But this also entails the promoting of Temecula as a business-friendly community in which both residents and outsiders can feel motivated to open and/or relocate their businesses here with the knowledge that city hall doesn’t exist to be an obstacle to prosperity, but rather city hall will be there to promote prosperity. As a city councilmember I will work and strive to bring in more businesses into our community by seeking ways to make Temecula even more business friendly. I will look for innovative ways to streamline city government and to reduce regulations and business costs. My vision is for more new businesses opening up here and other established businesses rushing to relocate here in Temecula.
What do you bring to the council that is lacking if any? Or what do you bring to the table that makes the council better or more well-rounded?
Alexander: I will bring to the council a proactive attitude and a well-rounded vision for interacting with and responding to all people for their needs and concerns. As a U.S. Marine I was stationed overseas in which I collaborated with a variety of international diplomatic agencies, government officials, non-government organizations as well as responding to and assisting people of diverse backgrounds including foreigners and U.S. citizens traveling overseas.
I have traveled internationally and lived for extended periods in faraway countries including India, Japan, Russia, Israel and Spain. As an American woman, I have experienced the cultural anomalies inherent within some societies in which caste and misogynistic barriers still exist. Yet, I am someone who has always overcome such barriers. I am highly regarded by my peers as someone with a backbone and as someone who makes decisions based on what is morally right, not on what is politically expedient.
While living in Spain for five years I completed my college degree and became bilingual. As a New York police officer, I worked in America’s largest and most cosmopolitan city responding to and helping people of all backgrounds in times of crisis and need.
As a small-business woman and a mother, I can also easily identify with those business owners who have suffered during these governor-imposed shutdowns and I will provide support to these businesses to get them restarted quickly. As a parent I will do the same to get our children back into schools, back into extra-curricular and sports activities and to just quickly recover a sense of normalcy to the lives of families here in Temecula.
Valley News staff can be reached by email at email@example.com.