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CAMPAIGN 2018: Seaside Mayoral race

There are three candidates in 2018 running to be the City of Seaside’s next Mayor – current council member Kayla Jones, businesswoman Lisa Anne Sawhney, and former Mayor Pro Tem and council member Ian Oglesby. Both Sawhney and Oglesby say our drought and high water costs are impacting Seaside’s ability for new development, and high housing costs are hitting residents at a disproportional rate.

The average monthly rent ($1,887) is only about 60 dollars less than Monterey’s, according to Rent Cafe. But Data USA numbers show Seaside’s median annual household income is roughly 15 thousand dollars less.

Sawhney says the city needs to figure out what “affordable” means. Does it mean a supply of subsidized housing, or providing assistance to buy or rent a home? Her answer, is building housing catered to specific groups of people.

“If you’re a college student graduating, an apartment or condo-living might be much more comfortable
ultimately. And we really don’t have those opportunities,” Sawhney said. “When you get older, and when you’re a senior, you’re also looking for maintenance free.” She adds, “allowing people to live in Seaside for their whole life.”

She says the new housing initiative needs to be paired with a plan to attract new jobs, and develop unused land.

“A business complex of some sort and whether it’s for smaller entities and start ups, and maybe we
have a couple pillars that are coming in,” Sawhney said.

Former Seaside councilmember Ian Oglesby has spent nearly 20 years in politics, touting his role in helping create the Seaside resource center, which he says helped halt gang violence.

Now his focus is also housing. He wants to assist residents making less than 75 thousand dollars a year by, first, building on available land within Seaside city limits, then moving on to former Fort Ord property.

“Housing is just too expensive. And if Seaside built more inclusionary housing, they would be able to reduce the cost,” Oglesby said.

Oglesby says the way to increase housing is to work with non-profit, low income housing providers, and building more granny flats.

His goal is to attract high tech jobs, but says we need to first determine the skills local schools and colleges are already providing students. Then, attract the kind of employers that will hire them.

“People say high-tech jobs, but first you need to have the companies move down here and want to hire high tech. So, you really want to have the jobs meet the skills of the students that are graduating,” Oglesby said.

Oglesby lost his council seat in 2016 to Kayla Jones. Jones has been at the center of multiple city investigations. She accused other members of sexual harassment, and then was called out for spending more than 16 thousand dollars in unauthorized city funds, on travel and childcare during cross-country political and leadership events.

Despite requests, Jones has not addressed any of these issues with KION. She did release a statement saying in part: “A City is better served if their elected officials attend workshops and conferences to
stay current on the law and learn new ideas that can be brought back to the City.” She went on to say that all actions were cleared by city staff.

On her campaign page, Jones calls herself a progressive.. She wants an alternative to Cal Am water, to redevelop the former Fort Ord, and address homelessness, as well as improve infrastructure and programs for kids and seniors.

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