Ahead of election day on November 8, 2022, The Coronado Times has asked the four City Council candidates to answer the following questions in their own words to give the community insight on their background and views. The Q&As will be published in the order received.
Q: How did your Coronado story begin?
A: My active-duty military career as a Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer brought me to Coronado in 1988, and I decided to make Coronado my home. Numerous military assignments (four in Coronado) involving both command and staff positions, taught me the value of listening to all sides of an issue and the need to make clear decisions once all the facts are carefully considered. Returning from the Pentagon in 2004 to command Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One, my wife, Jill Olen, and I purchased our home in Coronado Cays.
Q: Share an overview of your professional experience.
A: Educated as an architect and mechanical engineer, I spent 28 years on active duty as a Navy Special Operations Officer (EOD). After leaving active duty, I became a senior civil servant in the Department of Navy coordinating interagency homeland security efforts to improve the security of America’s ports and harbors from underwater explosives. Additionally, I teach homeland security and engineering management graduate courses as an adjunct instructor at National University and consult in interagency collaboration and contingency planning.
Q: What are some highlights of your community involvement?
A: In Coronado, in addition to my tenure on the City Council, I have served on the Coronado Planning Commission, the Coronado Community Emergency Response Team Board, the Street Tree Committee, and the Coronado Cays Homeowners Association Board. I also volunteer on the committee for the San Diego Bowl Game Commission, the Regional Council for the National Parks Conservation Association, and as a trustee for VFW Post 2422. In local organizations, I am a member of the Coronado Rotary Club, the Coronado Historical Association, the Coronado Flower Association, the Friends of the Library, and the Silver Strand Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.
Q: What motivated you to run for City Council?
A: I have spent my life serving others, in my youth as a Boy Scout, serving my nation through the Navy, and as a volunteer in various communities across the nation. Having served on various local government commissions, I ran for city council to help guide my community into the future. Making a difference on issues such as modernizing underground infrastructure, and maintaining quality public safety, I am running for re-election to continue the infrastructure focus, get control of our streets, and improve our environmental posture.
Q: Please give us your brief perspective on the following issues and indicate your top priorities ~ beach sewage solutions, e-bike safety, infrastructure issues: including Satellite Watering Recycling Facility (SWRF) and utility undergrounding, Caltrans roadway relinquishment, ways to promote and maintain a balanced business district, and community grants.
A: Four years ago, I promised to focus on public safety, underground infrastructure, and traffic planning, while maintaining a financially sound city. We have made accomplishments in these areas, but there is more to be done and these remain my top three areas of interest.
In public safety, we hired an additional emergency dispatcher to allow text reporting of emergencies and a second police School Resource Officer to support our schools.
In underground infrastructure, we installed 2.7 miles of new wastewater lines, replaced the Trinidad pump station, and designed the new Parker Pump Station. Our progress on the Satellite Watering Recycling Facility (SWRF) had some setbacks in cost, but it remains an approved project that will be revisited in the near future. Our progress on undergrounding power lines has been slow, but we are moving forward on multiple projects in coordination with SDG&E.
For traffic planning and mitigation, we had a last-minute setback in the legislature in 2021, but I remain committed to seeking relinquishment of Highways CA 75 and CA 282 from CALTRANS.
While the transborder sewage situation remains a top concern, the recent announcement by the Government of Mexico that they were committing $144 million to add to the $300 million which was appropriated by the U.S. Government is good news. While additional funding is still needed for a complete solution, we are on the right path to significant improvement in the coming years. It is important that Coronado and other local jurisdictions continue to work on additional funding, to create a complete solution.
While the police department and city have proactively addressed the increased power and speed that electric bicycles have brought to our bike lanes and youth riders, we need to continue the aggressive outreach and enforcement of traffic laws to prevent serious injury involving e-bikes.
Our community grant program has evolved over the past six years to a better, criteria-driven program that ensures the non-profit organization that is receiving Coronado taxpayer dollars is benefiting the citizens of Coronado. The program will continue to evolve, but provides prospective applicants with clear guidance on acceptable uses of these public funds.
Our city can promote and maintain a vibrant business district by providing safe, clean streets and public areas to encourage customers, both local and visitors, to linger and patronize our businesses.
In city finance, the pandemic had a negative impact on Coronado reserves, but through careful cost control, our budget remains balanced.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Coronado?
A: While our beautiful beach and coastal setting are great, I most appreciate the people of our community. We have an amazing group of talented residents, from lifelong Islanders who help connect our local history to more recent arrivals, many of whom have had impressive careers and are experts in numerous fields. The ability to sit down next to a neighbor who is a nationally known expert at the Sunday Concert in the Park is special.
Learn more about the candidate here Heinze4CoronadoCouncil.com.