Mission Hills Heritage Q&A 2005
George R. Najjar
1. How do you intend to coordinate your efforts and still recognize the distinct differences between the unique communities that you will serve?
To reorganize City Hall, I will to replace overpaid political appointees with non–political, objective staff positions, such as Economic Analyst, Environmental Analyst, Engineering Analyst, and Community Liaison. The Community Liaison shall serve as a direct connection to my office for every person, business, committee, commission, neighborhood and civic group, and the press. There will be no more guessing by the constituency as to whom to contact with our municipal issues. Community Liaison and I will rely upon local boards, groups, councils, committees, associations and individuals to make sure community character and spirit are preserved.
2. With the strong mayor system being implemented in January, what actions would you take on to help retain the heritage of Mission Hills and some of the other historic District 2 areas?
Without heritage and character preservation, our communities will dissolve into homogeneity, which is in no one’s best interests. The City Council controls the City’s purse strings. I will use budget control to ensure that projects and other matters remain consistent with community character, design and plans.
3. Many residential areas of Mission Hills and other District 2 neighborhoods were built out long ago with single–family homes and small low–rise commercial areas integrated into the neighborhoods. The zoning laws and the current 17–year old Uptown Community Plan allow for higher density in many of these areas. What will you do to influence retaining the charm and character of our established older communities –– specifically as it relates to Mission Hills?
Again, without heritage and character preservation, our communities will dissolve into homogeneity, which is in no one’s best interests. The City Council controls the City’s purse strings. I will use budget control to ensure that projects and other matters remain consistent with community character, design and plans.
4. Do you believe that there is a need to increase density or change the zoning to decrease density in Mission Hills and in our older established areas?
Density is an unfortunate side effect of the increase in population. Westward expansion to the Pacific Ocean forces cities like San Diego to “build up.” Decreasing density may not be workable, but controlling the increase in density is within our power. San Diegans have voted for slow, responsible growth, but our politicians refuse to follow our instructions. I will make sure that our City grows slowly, yet responsibly.
5. What infrastructure improvements would you propose for Mission Hills?
To start, I would propose pedestrian and handicap improvements, sidewalk repair, tree maintenance, and tree planting. As a Pacific Beach resident, I must rely upon the residents of the other District 2 communities to properly advise me as to their needs.
6. When planning commission or historic designation appeals come to the City Council will you generally look to support the Board or Commission that head the matter before it came to the council?
6.a. In these cases, if findings for deviations have not been met or new research was found, what actions will you take if any or what will you require before you make you decision?
I will not make any decision affecting the community without the necessary information.
7. The General Plan update is being worked on now with plans for Community Plan updates to follow. What revision to the Uptown Community Plan and specifically as it relates to Mission Hills would you want changed?
Mixed use retail and residential development, if responsibly proposed, can harken to an earlier day when we lived and worked at home. But I am not in favor of, and will work to limit, projects incorporating roundabout driving circles designed to slow traffic and increase traffic density for commercial purposes, such as the Seahaus project recently constructed in Bird Rock.
8. What changes related to consistency between the zoning laws and the character provisions of the Community Plan would you support so that it is more consistent and a better planning tool?
Community plans apply a macro–view to neighborhoods with non–macro concerns. We cannot forsake neighborhood balance and tradition for a master plan that fails to recognize these concerns. I will listen to communities and neighborhoods, and help them resolve their concerns.
9. Planning for runway expansion at Lindbergh Field continues. This expansion would delay the inevitable construction of a larger scale world–class international airport and would be detrimental to the quality of life for residents in Mission Hills. What will you do to initiate a measure to take expansion of Lindbergh field off of the table?
I do not support the expansion of Lindbergh Field, period. I will not participate in any council action aimed to expand Lindbergh Field.
10. Mission Hills is nearly 100–years old with many quality homes and buildings that would qualify for historical designation. There are five proposed historic districts in Mission Hills, which, if approved, would provide these areas with preservation guidelines. Due to the fiscal situation at the city, the Planning Department has stopped work on districts all together. Given this fiscal issues that the city is facing, what will you do to support or assist the Planning Department to advance the completion of the historic district designation process?
Again, the City Council controls the purse strings. By addressing Planning Department issues at the budgetary stage, we can ensure that the Department has the resources necessary to perform all its functions.
11. Traffic congestion and parking are already a problem in Mission Hills, the Midway area and other parts of District 2. When new development projects in these areas are proposed, do you feel that the costs to address traffic and parking should be assessed to the project in the form of development impact fees or left to the community and city to pay the impacts through the general fund?
I will not vote to use the General Fund for developer welfare. All parking requirements will have to be met reasonably and intelligently by the developers to obtain my vote. I will limit variances in this regard.
12. Donna Frye proposed that the Mayor's office exclusively handle the responsibilities for managing the city budget and pension matters. Do you favor the proposal? If so, Why? If not, Why not?
I do not favor this proposal. In our system of government, the legislative branch controls the purse strings. In this manner, the people have a say in how the administrative branch spends our tax dollars. As for the pension matter, the people through their representatives must keep control over the pension matter since this matter will affect the city budget for the foreseeable future. We must make sure that the mayor does not unilaterally possess the authority to plunge our city into bankruptcy or otherwise cripple the city financially.