Adapting to Climate

San Diego City Council District 1 has miles of beautiful coastline that need to be treasured and protected against the threat of rising sea levels. As the climate of San Diego changes, wild fires, extreme weather events and coastal flooding will become more common. Kyle believes that climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humanity in coming decades. 

With a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California San Diego, Kyle Heiskala is well versed in the science and politics surrounding climate change. As an undergraduate, he advocated for an update to UCSD's Climate Action Plan. Working collaboratively with a group of students and administrators, he pushed for the plan to receive its first update in 2013 since being written in 2008. Kyle was the student lead updating the transportation section of the plan and also worked on the overall framework as a veteran member of the Student Sustainability Collective at UCSD.

While working as a City Council Representative, Kyle gained extensive knowledge of the City of San Diego's recently updated Climate Action Plan which was adopted by the City Council in December of 2015. Implementation of the strategies in the plan will be a long term project that as City Councilmember, Kyle would prioritize.

With all this experience and more, Kyle is well positioned to be a strong advocate for strengthened environmental policies and programs to prepare San Diego for the impacts of climate change.

Housing

The communities of District 1 feature some of the most valuable homes and highest costs of living in the region. The average rent in San Diego recently hit over $1,600 a month in March of 2016.  If someone is earning $10 an hour, they would need to work 40 hours per week for an entire month just to earn enough to cover the average rent in San Diego (not accounting for taxes). When you factor in the additional costs of food, transportation and even healthcare, the cost of housing is inaccessible for many.

"According to a survey of 27 metropolitan areas by Realtor.com, San Diegans need to make $103,165 a year to afford a median-priced home — including the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments. The per capita income in San Diego County is about $51,459, based on 2014 Census reports." - UT

San Diego can do more to ensure that housing is available and affordable and located near quality jobs with a variety of transportation options so that all San Diegans can go from where they live to where they work and play and anywhere in between. UCSD students that live in District 1 while attending are unable to afford to stay near potential job opportunities in the industries located near the University. 

It is essential that as our regions higher education institutions train the brightest that they can afford to live here and don't leave for other cities. In order for San Diego to compete, more can be done to attract younger professionals to trying to make their start in life by expanding the supply of affordable housing in the district next to employment hubs. 

Infrastructure

A $1.7 billion infrastructure deficit has been something that the City of San Diego has been grappling with in recent years since it was reported to the City Council Infrastructure Committee in January of 2015. A large amount of effort has been given by city staff to assess the condition of all assets from water pipes to sidewalks. Many streamlining measures have been implemented to improve the efficiency of project delivery and increase the total capacity for completing capital improvement projects. 

The disrepair of public facilities was created over many decades of deferred maintenance and  lack of prioritization of city leaders in funding infrastructure projects. Much more can be done to improve the delivery of projects, such as changing the policy that requires the City chose the lowest responsible bidder to something that values the quality and reliability of contractors.

Unfortunately, changes in project delivery or redirecting existing resources will not be enough. New sources of revenue will be needed in order to bridge the gap in our infrastructure needs. As Councilmember, Kyle Heiskala will work to find new sources of revenue to fix the deficit.

Innovation

District 1 is home to some of the world's premier research institutions, like UC San Diego (recently ranked #19 in the world) and so many others. This nucleus of science has spawned industries of innovation in the fields of science and technology that has morphed into a unique synergy in an environment of collaboration not found many other places on Earth. As Councilmember, Kyle Heiskala will facilitate the partnerships between academia, private industry and government. 

Raising the Minimum Wage

Many San Diegans work a full time job at minimum wage pay and can't afford to live here. Wages should match the increases in the costs of living. Paid sick leave and an increase to the San Diego minimum wage will be issues on the ballot in June.

Kyle supports raising the minimum wage because he knows first-hand how difficult it is to afford to live in San Diego with only one source of income on the lower end of the wage scale. At one point in time, he held 5 part time positions while attending school as a full time student, just to make ends meet. This is not something we should expect of our workforce.

 

Public Safety

Fire Fighters, Life Guards and Police Officers put their lives on the line to keep the public safe and as Councilmember, Kyle Heiskala would ensure that they receive better than adequate compensation and work to ensure retention programs are improved so that emergency responders stay with the City. Between July 2015 and February 2016, the San Diego Police Department lost over 100 officers to a variety of factors

District 1 is in need of four additional fire stations, according to a 2011 report which identified the top 20 fire station needs in the City. Much progress has been made since the report was first issued. A fast response squad has been deployed in for University City south of Rose Canyon, and the only station on track to be built of the four needed is a three story fire station was approved by the University Community Planning Group to be built at the intersection of Nobel Drive and Shoreline Drive. 

As Councilmember, I would make constructing the three remaining fire stations a top priority by working collaboratively with UCSD to build a station on the campus and working with the Mayor to allocate resources for upgrading the fast response squad in University City to a temporary fire station, and identify funding and a location for Torrey Hills and operations funding for all fire stations citywide.

Transportation

How we get around San Diego is severely limited in options. Kyle Heiskala dreams of a day when it won't be necessary to own a car in order to live, work and prosper in San Diego. Taking public transportation from Chula Vista to University City can take many hours. This is not right. With so many transportation alternatives out there, including bus rapid transit, shuttles, light rail, ride sharing carpool services, bicycle lanes, car sharing and the future of driverless vehicles, Kyle will fight to diversify San Diego's transportation options. Riding a bus or taking a train can be just as fast as driving a car if it is done right. With more San Diegans using alternatives, we can all spend less time in our cars on gridlocked roads and enjoy the regions trails, beaches and bays.

While at UC San Diego, Kyle negotiated with Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) to create a new transit program for all 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. He was successful in implementing the five year program which was approved by a vote of the student body with overwhelming support. The revenue generated by the students totals over $3 million a year with an additional commitment of $1 million from UCSD to operate companion shuttle services. He has also worked on alternative transportation projects and planning through the office of Physical and Community Planning at UCSD. Bike projects he worked on have changed the heart of the campus to make it much more freindly for bicycles and pedestrians.

 

Kyle believes passionately in transportation options beyond dependence on private automobiles. Working with SANDAG and MTS would be one of his top priority, to build connections between housing and jobs so that San Diego is a competitive, smart city of the future. The reality is, we will have to start moving more people with less resources. Kyle's experience in transportation planning and partnerships with the region's transit agencies make him uniquely positioned to improve this area of our lives in District 1 and across San Diego.

Water

San Diego needs to reduce the amount of water wasted and develop local, sustainable supplies of water. With droughts becoming more prevalent and San Diego's over reliance on imported water, we put ourselves at risk not only to pay more for water but potentially losing access to it. 

We can do more to expand rainwater capture on site of homes and businesses, recycle our water through things like the Pure Water program. San Diego can have the goal of having a 100% local water supply. Let's reduce our dependence on dwindling supplies and assert our water independence. 

Increased investment in current aging water infrastructure as well as funding new technologies and programs will be a priority.

Waste

The City of San Diego has the goal of becoming a zero waste city by the year 2040. In order to achieve this, plastics that cannot be recycled will need to be phased out such as plastic bags, straws and Styrofoam. Organic waste processing can be greatly enhanced, with food composting being implemented city wide for all businesses and households. We live in a beautiful place, let's protect our natural environment and end the use of landfills in San Diego.