Delgado: harsh economic times threaten Marina’s future, but promise lies in downtown
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Tough budget times are threatening the city of Marina, local schools and CSU Monterey Bay, so now’s the time to focus on planning downtown’s renewal and step up community service, Mayor Bruce Delgado said in his first “State of the City” address today.
Leading with the city’s economic challenges, Delgado pointed to Marina’s shrinking reserves and a hiring freeze on non-public safety positions. “It’s likely that Marina is in for tough times at least for the next two years,” he said at the Kula Ranch luncheon.
Monterey Peninsula Unified School District may close Marina Del Mar Elementary School due to budget cuts, Delgado added, and CSUMB could become a satellite campus to San Jose State if they can’t settle how to pay development impact fees for university expansion.
Marina’s promise lies in redeveloping downtown, building infill projects in vacant lots, and opening internet cafes and underage clubs, Delgado said. “Marina’s downtown has the water, has the space, has the traffic to become a thriving university and tourist town,” he said.
Delgado, one of three Green Party mayors in the state, said the city’s future workforce must be built around green jobs, and he drew attention to improving bike lanes and the potential for bus rapid transit service in Marina.
Delgado, a progressive politician in a town long led by conservatives, struck a conciliatory tone throughout his address, singling out city staffers and former rival and ex-mayor Ila Mettee-McCutchon. He highlighted four city heroes, including Jackie Gonzales, the wife of Gary Wilmot (who Delgado defeated in November’s mayoral race) and Terry Siegrist, the city’s recreation director. He ended his speech with a call to service for everyone to help the city get through the challenging economic times.