On Wednesday, Sept 26 from 6-8 p.m. at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in the World Theatre, the first local candidates forum was hosted by Associated Students. The forum was facilitated by Humanities and Communication department chair Dr. Sam Robinson. Many candidates running for office in Marina and Seaside attended the forum to answer questions from the CSUMB community.
The candidates who attended included: two mayoral candidates from Marina, Bob Nolan and Bruce Delgado, three mayoral candidates from Seaside, Kayla Jones, Ian Oglesby and Lisa Anne Sawhney, and three city council candidates from Seaside, Jon Wizard, Sam Gaskins and Jason Campbell.
During the opening statements, tensions began to arise between Seaside mayoral candidates, Kayla Jones and Ian Oglesby. Jones said in her opening statement, “We can’t afford to revive old ways of business with the idea of a lively downtown [Seaside] floating around for ten or so years. It wasn’t until I joined the city council that we saw those ideas come to fruition and at an accelerated rate…”
Oglesby followed in his opening statement directly after Jones, saying, “I do want to be clear, no matter who wins the mayoral election for the city of Seaside, change is coming. To insinuate somehow me, or Lisa, is going to continue the same ways of Mayor Rubio or the current council I think is incorrect, and I push back on that…when you talk about downtown [Seaside] west Broadway area, that money that came for that street renovation was seven years in the making. That did not come 24 months ago. So for someone to try to take credit for what we worked on for 10 years, again, I push back on that.”
This opening set the precedent of Oglesby taking every opportunity in his question answering time to comment on any statements he heard that could be untrue. This resulted in Oglesby countering Jones almost every time that she responded to a question with similar statements and claims of action.
Although the night was mostly focused on the city of Seaside, due to the larger number of candidates from that area who were present, the mayoral candidates from Marina had good platforms as well.
When asked about available affordable housing in Marina, Bruce Delgado responded by giving a very technical and somewhat confusing definition of affordable housing, prompting Jon Wizard, a city council candidate from Seaside to say, “I want to thank both mayoral candidates from Marina, you got a very technical definition of affordable housing and a realistic definition of affordable housing however, in actuality, the median household income in Seaside is $53,460…”
Candidate Wizard went on to explain how affordable housing in Seaside became out of reach for the average Seaside resident, along with proposing a way for the city of Seaside to absorb some of the cost of land to make more affordable housing for residents, “How do we fix that [the housing deficit]? Campus Town… is about 85 acres, let’s take 5 acres of it out and the city will retain that as public land and lease it to a non-profit developer for $1 for 100 years… if we can eliminate $200,000 per parcel of value of dirt, then housing becomes remarkably more affordable very quickly…”
Much more discussion was had about Campus Town and its relation to the CSUMB, Seaside and Marina communities and how those communities should relate to each other. Another main topic of the night was regarding the inclusion of CSUMB and its students into the communities of Seaside and Marina and what these candidates would do in order to facilitate a better and more inclusive relationship.
The night concluded with Dr. Robinson reminding all students, faculty and community members that attended to remember to vote on Nov. 6 and you must register to vote 15 days prior to the election.