As the Trump presidency has shown, government is no place for amateurs. Our little city, just like the nation at large, needs decisive, intelligent leadership to guide us through the incredible complexities we’re now facing. Not only do we have the same set of problems we had before COVID-19 hit, we have a raft of new ones, especially economic issues affecting local businesses and low- to middle-income renters.
I met up with mayoral candidate Mary Koberstein when we were walking our dogs. I asked her if she had any ideas on how to help local businesses rebound from these devastating months. One of the things she mentioned was the possibility of revamping the zoning ordinances to allow more flexibility in the kinds of stores and experiences offered on Main Street. She emphasized that any changes that take place need to be done tastefully and in keeping with our community’s ambience. She also told me she strongly supports Paul Dohring’s concept of the Small Business Sustainability Loan Program, which the council just approved for merchants who’ve endured economic hardships from COVID-19.
On the subject of creating more financially accessible housing, she mentioned a number of city-owned sites that would be feasible for this if we partnered with a developer. They’re all either in town or within walking distance. She’s also working on revising residential zoning to increase affordable housing for the workforce.
As a member of the City Council, Mary has shown that she understands details, sees the big picture and can connect the dots. I’m really looking forward to hearing more of her ideas. I’ve been a resident of St. Helena since 1971, and I value tradition, but the world has changed a whole lot since then. Mary is innovative and also very practical, and I believe she can help St. Helena build on the present in a way that will provide us with a sustainable future.
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