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By Lucette Moramarco
Associate Editor 

Eleven candidates are running to fill 8 seats

 

Last updated 10/16/2020 at 12:51pm

Stephani Baxter

Stephani Baxter

There are eight seats up for election on the Fallbrook Community Planning Group and 11 candidates vying to fill them. There are 15 seats in the group with odd-numbered seats up for reelection. Incumbents Bill O'Connor and Karel Hanson chose not to run. Those incumbents who are running are Jerry Kalman, Roy Moosa, Stephani Baxter, Jack Wood, Lee DeMeo and Jim Loge.

The candidates were all sent four questions to answer, but Loge did not respond by press time. His answers will run next week if they are submitted.

Here is what they had to say.

Why did you decide to take this seat?

Stephani Baxter: To continue the work of serving Fallbrook and my seat is up for reelection. I'm privileged to be currently active in these groups:

Fallbrook Planning Group

Supervisor Jim Desmond's Revitalization Committee

Community Forum for Fallbrook Visioning

CSA-81

Fallbrook Trails Council

Live Oak Park Coalition

Chamber of Commerce Member

Parks & Rec Subcommittee

Design Review Subcommittee

California Protea Association

Fallbrook Vineyard Church

Lee DeMeo: I was first elected by Fallbrookians to the Fallbrook Planning Group in 2012 and have served ever since. As I have grown concerned for America, I became involved and ran for local office. As a conservative who believes in the U.S. Constitution, I believe in property rights. Fallbrook is the finest community I have ever lived in, a beautiful place to live with its rural charm and small-town America feel. As a member of the Fallbrook Planning Group, I have stood and will stand for your property rights and for your rights to keep Fallbrook the same community we all love and desire.

Jacqui Kaiser: I have never run for public office, but this current election cycle has really impressed upon me the need for civic minded individuals with a stake in the community to become involved in local government. I moved to Fallbrook in 2015 and absolutely fell in love with this "friendly village." I am seeking this position so I can use my personal strengths along with my extensive business experience to invest in the future of my community.

Jerry Kalman: I'm an active member of two committees and an appointed member of the full Planning Group. Since 2018 I have served as Planning Group secretary. If elected, I would like to continue as the organization's secretary and vice chair of the Land Use Committee.

Roy Moosa: Have spent the last 12 years on the Planning Group helping to keep Fallbrook's character. Will continue to fight for Fallbrook and the community.

Ross Pike: I come from a farming family and they instilled in me the importance of giving back to the community and looking out for your neighbor. I decided to run for the Planning Group because I saw an opportunity to give back to our community that I have fallen in love with. I also saw opportunities to improve the relationship of the group with the community itself. I will serve the community and have the skillset to get things done.

Collin Stephens: My wife and I chose Fallbrook to raise our family because of what it represents and offers...a charming small town feel, a mix of country and village living and a vibrant community core. As a young husband and father, I decided it was time to step up and take an active role in defining the future of where my children are raised. Our Community Planning Group has done an amazing job to bring us to where we are and I believe I am the right person to carry the torch and take the next step. [Editor's note: This answer was inadvertently left out of the printed version of this article. For more information on this candidate, see @collin4fallbrook]

Anna Strahan: I am seeking a seat on the Fallbrook Community Planning Group because I am passionate about local planning issues, am a Fallbrook native, and am confident that my professional and academic experience will make me an asset to the group. I grew up in Fallbrook and graduated from Fallbrook High School. I earned my bachelor's degree from UC San Diego and am currently pursuing my Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree at Cal Poly Pomona. I've worked at San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) as a Planning Intern for over a year. I look forward to the opportunity of serving the community of Fallbrook.

Jack Wood: I have been an active member, both elected and nonelected, for the past 20 years. I have a heart for Fallbrook and wish to continue serving the community to the best of my ability.

Thomas Harrington IV: Fallbrook is more to me than just my home. I grew up here, I went to school here, I am raising my family here, and I work here. Working in town as a firefighter over the past 14 years has shown me a side of Fallbrook that many people don't get to see. It has inspired me to get out in the community and lend a hand. I am seeking this seat as a starting place. I don't have an agenda, I just want to enter into this seat with an open mind, wide-open eyes and open ears.

What is the most important role of the Planning Group?

Stephani Baxter: Our job is to review and analyze planning and building projects, land use, and zoning and design guidelines to ensure applicants meet the Fallbrook Community Plan and County General Plan. Then we make recommendations to the County of San Diego. We are advisers, not county officials. Relationships with county staff, local leaders, and residents of our community are vital to the future health of our unincorporated town.

Lee DeMeo: The most important role of the Planning Group is to do the two things I mentioned above. Protect the property rights of individuals and keep Fallbrook to stay Fallbrook.

Jacqui Kaiser: The Planning Group's main task is to assist and advise the County of San Diego on matters regarding planning and land use within Fallbrook. I believe that maintaining the unique rural, welcoming and friendly atmosphere of Fallbrook should be paramount. Fallbrook has a charm and warmth often missing in busy communities today.

Jerry Kalman: This Planning Group is a local body that serves the citizens of Fallbrook. Our 15 members reside in Fallbrook and meet on the third Monday of every month to review zoning issues, sign requests, traffic problems and matters pertaining to cell phone towers. We want to retain Fallbrook's rural character.

Roy Moosa: To ensure that Fallbrook's character remains intact and that changes are guided to remain within that character.

Ross Pike: It's imperative that the decisions of the Planning Group are representative of the community and what it wants. That's why I believe it is crucial that the group seeks out the input from the community. We can't wait for people to come to the group, the group needs to go to the people. That's why I have met with community groups like VOCES de Fallbrook and have earned their endorsement. Further, it is critical that the group is seeking ways to improve Fallbrook and that includes supporting our local businesses to ensure a thriving local economy.

Collin Stephens: The most important role is representing all community members when making planning and land use decisions. We must put our own personal beliefs aside, be nonbiased, nonpolitical and do what is right for Fallbrook and wanted by her residents.

Anna Strahan: The most important role of the planning group is collecting public input and making recommendations to the County on pertinent land use and circulation issues. This election is at large, which means that our board members represent the entire Fallbrook community. For planning decisions to truly benefit the community, we need to make sure everyone's voice is heard. If I am elected, I'm committed to ensuring that the planning group meetings are accessible and are promoted to Fallbrook residents.

Jack Wood: The Planning Group is the eyes and ears of the unincorporated area of Fallbrook. They advise the County on all matters that can have an effect on the lives of the residents and businesses in the area. The community would not have a voice at the County level without the Planning Group speaking on behalf of all residents.

Thomas Harrington IV: This is a great question. I feel that Community Planning Groups are a great way for members from the community to have a say on important issues in the community. The most important role of the Community Planning Group is to accurately represent all members of the community.

What Planning and Land Use issues do you think Fallbrook will be facing over the next four years and how would you deal with them?

Stephani Baxter: Underway is an update to current Village Zoning Guidelines. This helps thriving business downtown, and traffic improvements for driver and pedestrian safety, including trails/pathways. It's time to modernize our design guidelines which encourages better design while keeping the guidelines clear and easy to use for the applicants. Advise on new park elements, including a skate park on Fallbrook Street.

Lee DeMeo: There are large elements and laws of the federal, state and local government that are now forcing upon communities, including Fallbrook, principles of development and growth that will restrict our citizens' freedom and those of our citizens' children. These bad principles, known as "smart growth" and "sustainable development," will tell you, the members of the Fallbrook community, what your community will be like and must be in the future. I have and will fight against these principles. I believe that it is for Fallbrook and its citizens to decide that.

Jacqui Kaiser: Because land in Southern California is at a premium, and the housing crisis is especially apparent in San Diego County, I believe that there will be additional pressure on Fallbrook to allow more development within its borders. I believe that Fallbrook must consider any future development opportunities both thoughtfully and deliberately. Growth and development must always strive to preserve the unique rural qualities that make this community extremely desirable.

Jerry Kalman: Three challenges face us in the near term: traffic in/around the village; placement of 5G cell towers, particularly in residential areas; and availability of parks and other recreation facilities. With community leaders, we need traffic calming projects along Main Avenue. We must work with the County Traffic Advisory Committee to minimize speeding along East Mission and South Mission roads (particularly in the vicinity of Green Canyon Road). Fallbrook is underserved in parks and other recreation facilities in the community. These three topics do not diminish other important issues: safe paths and sidewalks for children, seniors and the mobility challenged; expanding beautification efforts, and coping with homelessness.

Roy Moosa: Major growth and development. I will fight to control those changes so that we can retain the community character which drew us to move here.

Ross Pike: Growth is inevitable as the population in San Diego County increases. However, we need to be smart about any sort of developments. We must be able to address this growth while also preserving our friendly village. That is why the rezoning project is going to be key to protecting our small-town charm. I will work with community groups to ensure that happens.

Collin Stephens: Growth. Growth is inevitable, but smart and respectful growth is essential. I promise to make every growth decision with the residents' priorities in mind, not the developer or the county. We cannot steamroll current residents' voices and push through an unchecked, unwanted development. Though growth will continue to come to North County, we as a group can ensure the best possible outcome for our community.

Anna Strahan: Over the next four years, growth and economic development opportunities will be at the forefront in Fallbrook. I am committed to ensuring economic growth for small businesses, improving mobility options, and ensuring that planning decisions are made through an equity lens. We must have a plan in place to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Jack Wood: There are four issues that the Planning Group will be working on in the next four years

1. Revitalization plan for the downtown area

2. Increasing areas for parks and recreational areas

3. Improving trails and pathways

4. Maintaining the rural and tranquil area we call Fallbrook

Thomas Harrington IV: This is a fair question. I think Fallbrook will be facing many issues over the next four to eight years, ranging from aging public facilities, to increased traffic on our roadways and lastly the need for a clear plan on land use as we approach build out. Certainly, there is not an easy answer to any of the issues. I believe that each and every issue that we face deserves a collaborative effort from the Community Planning Group as well as our community.

In what direction will you try to guide Fallbrook?

Stephani Baxter: Fallbrook is known for its scenic rural charm and agricultural tradition. That's what drew my family to Fallbrook, and it's our hearts' desire to see it continue. If you love this special place like I do, I encourage more community participation. Fallbrook is a volunteer town, lots of ways to contribute!

Lee DeMeo: Again, as your incumbent elected member of the Fallbrook Planning Group, I have stood and will continue to serve my neighbors in Fallbrook. I will continue to stand up for your property rights and your rights for Fallbrook to stay and be the community it has been and we want it to be.

Jacqui Kaiser: I would like to see Fallbrook become the "Jewel of North County." Fallbrook has an abundance of natural beauty and historic roots within a friendly and caring community. I would strive to ensure that Fallbrook maintains and builds upon its rich heritage. Fallbrook must also develop credible plans and policies to attract and retain a vibrant business climate. For Fallbrook to continue to thrive, we must support our local commerce. This should include enhancing the aesthetic appeal and safety of our downtown areas, as well as encouraging and supporting local venues that attract community members and visitors alike.

Jerry Kalman: To retain qualities that make our rural community one of the most desirable in the county. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we see a surge of new residents coming into the community. Many do so for a lifestyle change and the relative safety a less dense area affords them. They're becoming our neighbors and we want to make sure those reasons are perpetuated. We want a Planning Group dedicated to retaining those qualities our residents seek.

Roy Moosa: A vibrant downtown with a small town atmosphere, I will push for the type of town that people will want to raise their children in and the type of town that many wish they could live in.

Ross Pike: I want to move Fallbrook forward as a community. It's important that the community is involved in decisions that affect them and their families. I want to see the community move together in a way that enhances our friendly village. Supporting our local businesses is essential to doing that. Visit my website, VotePike.com, for information about me and my vision for Fallbrook.

Collin Stephens: I pledge three main points when making any decision if elected. One, I will keep all resident's voices front and center and I will finally bring the young family voice to an elected position. Two, I will make our village revitalization a top priority and ensure downtown is just as treasured by the next generation as it has been by the past. Three, I will protect the community we all cherish by maintaining our small town, country charm. I invite you to stand alongside me and help shepherd our incredible town into the modern era all while maintaining everything we love.

Anna Strahan: I am passionate about economic growth for small businesses while maintaining Fallbrook's small-town charm. As opportunities for growth in Fallbrook arise, it's vital to weigh our options by consulting with our stakeholders. This means ensuring that community members and business owners have a seat at the table. Also, as a member of the planning group, I'd like to strengthen the group's partnerships with local boards and agencies in both Fallbrook and the region.

Jack Wood: A large number of residents moved to Fallbrook to escape the density and congestion of Orange and Los Angeles counties. My emphasis will be on helping to maintain the open space while continuing to improve infrastructure like road improvements, sidewalks and walkways.

Thomas Harrington IV: I would like to guide Fallbrook in a direction to see the roadways become safer. During my 14 years as a firefighter here in town I have come to know the roadways quite well. I have seen many incidents that were extremely tragic. I would like to make some sound recommendations for improvements in roadway safety to keep our community safe.

Lee DeMeoJacqui KaiserJerry KalmanRoy MoosaRoss PikeCollin StephensStephani Baxter

 

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