Candidates for Seal Beach City Council answer questions

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The Sun Newspapers asked each of the City Council candidates the following three questions. Note that answer for each question was limited to 100 words. In District Two (College Park East and Leisure World), Carole S. Damoci is challenging Councilman Thomas Moore. In District Four (College Park West), Mayor/Councilwoman Schelly Sustarsic is running unopposed.

Carole S. Damoci

Sun question: Because of COVID-19, most community governments are juggling their financial situation. Circumstances are expected to get worse before they get better. Describe what policies you would be inclined to support in order to balance the budget if necessary?

The staff has done a great job giving us a balanced budget for 2021. We need to put any large projects on hold. As much as some of us want a new swimming pool, now is not the time. Nor a new Lifeguard headquarter or tennis center. Money will be tight for the next year or two and I don’t believe in raising taxes. Anyone making under $400,000 a year already pays more than enough taxes. Summer is over and we need to help our small businesses stay alive as that helps our tax base.

Sun question: What are the unique qualifications and qualities you believe qualify you for this position?

I know how to bring people together. I listen and make people feel that their ideas have been taken into consideration in my decisions. I’m also not afraid of the hard decisions. I’m very creative in my decision making and am very organized. I have participated in union contract negotiations and know how important it is for everyone to get a fair shake.

Sun question: Please summarize your plan or platform you hope to implement during your term, should you be elected. In other words, what would you hope to accomplish while in office? (if not already listed above).

I also don’t go around telling everyone “I’m a tax advocate” or “I’m a tax watchdog”. What that usually means is I’m watching your taxes go up and advocating that the rich peoples are going down.

Thomas Moore

Sun question: Because of COVID-19, most community governments are juggling their financial situation. Circumstances are expected to get worse before they get better. Describe what policies you would be inclined to support in order to balance the budget if necessary? (Limit 100 words)

While I was 2019 Mayor, the City reduced spending to have a $1.5M surplus. This foresight enabled the City to have a balanced budget this year where most cities have struggled.

It’s important to look at the facts and look at policies that protect our seniors and at-risk population, yet do not shut down our local economy and, ideally, our quality of life in our community. I encourage everyone to follow guidelines and wear masks when needed.

I am supportive of every effort possible to help small businesses during the crisis including the parklets on Main Street as an example.

Sun question: What are the unique qualifications and qualities you believe qualify you for this position?

It’s important to represent all three distinct areas of District 2, which I have done well. As Mayor and council member I have attended every council meeting and most city events over the past 4 years. This has enabled me to be consistently aware of the community and know its leaders and I am endorsed by Mayors of every City surrounding Seal Beach. I listen and respond to residents’ concerns. I’m accessible and make a continual effort to do the best job that I possibly can. My professional experience in computers and technology have helped make the City more efficient.

Sun question: Please summarize your plan or platform you hope to implement during your term, should you be elected. In other words, what would you hope to accomplish while in office? (if not already listed above).

My platform is safety and security first, being fiscally responsible and using my experience in technology and business to make the City more efficient. I make sure that all residents are represented well and that their money is spent wisely. During my tenure, crime has gone down with 5 new police officers including one dedicated specifically for Leisure World. I plan to keep our community safe with other improvements to our infrastructure.  We will soon decide on plans for the Pier and our city will keep its small-town atmosphere as a safe and fun place to live — Seal Beach!

Schelly Sustarsic

Sun question: Because of COVID-19, most community governments are juggling their financial situation. Circumstances are expected to get worse before they get better. Describe what policies you would be inclined to support in order to balance the budget if necessary?

Seal Beach has taken a hit financially during the Coronavirus pandemic (Sales Tax, Hotel Tax, Parking), without Federal stimulus relief to backfill.  The City is very fortunate to have passed Measure BB in 2018, which has allowed us to pass a Budget last summer without employee layoffs and/or major cuts to essential services.  However, this budget year remains very uncertain with regard to future revenues, a lot depending upon how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out.  I am in favor of postponing some of our proposed infrastructure (CIP) projects until after we have a clearer picture of our long-term financial projections.

Sun question: What are the unique qualifications and qualities you believe qualify you for this position?

For the past four years, I have served on the Seal Beach City Council so I am familiar with our budget situation, infrastructure needs and upcoming challenges.  I have also served on the Orange County Airport Land Use Commission for 5 years.  Prior to being on Council, I was on the College Park Neighborhood Association Board for a decade, as well as 15+ years on the Seal Beach Recreation & Parks Commission and Los Al USD PTA Council.  Overall, this gives me a very broad knowledge of the residents in my district, our schools, recreation and planning.

Sun question: Please summarize your plan or platform you hope to implement during your term, should you be elected. In other words, what would you hope to accomplish while in office? (if not already listed above).

Keeping our residents safe is of highest importance – both from Covid-19 and via the Public Safety Departments (Police and Lifeguards).  In a second term, I will continue the support (outdoor dining, parklets and small business relief grants) of our local businesses as they rebound.  I will continue to work with the City and OCTA to monitor the I-405-related projects on Almond and Lampson Avenues, to minimize disruptions to residents as much as possible.  Additionally, I support a renovation of the Heather Park Playground.  My monthly newsletter, which keeps District 4 residents informed about issues affecting them, will also continue.