We Need a National Vision and Strategy

If you are in putting-out-fires mode (crisis mode), then you are losing. I say this often. I remind people that if you have actual or proverbial fires, put them out, BUT make sure a consequential portion of your team is dedicated to thinking strategically to get out of crisis mode. Most 53rd Congressional District and national issues are as they are because they reflect a nation in perpetual crisis mode. We need to get a national vision and strategy for dealing with the future of the entire Universe--not simply our neighborhood or our world. If we had an overarching universal United States vision and strategy, the local and national answers to crises like mass shootings, health care, climate change, wildfires, immigration, border security, and cybersecurity could be made more obvious because they would be part of a sensible big picture and not based on always-limited and polarized crisis mode thinking. 

The Economy: Business, Health care, Innovation

I have been an entrepreneur since I was a teenager with a tennis racquet stringing business that continued as a side gig thru college and my early business years. I have mentored startup companies and not-for-profits via organizations like CONNECT and San Diego Sport Innovators (SDSI), and, most importantly, I have mentored (often volunteer/ pro bono) many members of the military, veterans, and first responders with respect to life and business matters.  I am all about having a sensible business environment because I've lived it. For instance, regulations should be reasonable, rational, and enforceable and never onerous unless absolutely necessary for health, safety, and security reasons. 

Health care is one of the biggest drivers of our economy and a key aspect of running a business and being an employee. I would like to see some form of single-payer system in the future, but having been around the Hill when Obamacare was born, we can't go through the ~1400-page reinvention of health care of the late 2000s right now. I believe we can find a way in the short term (2-3 years) to overhaul Obamacare into something where everyone can have actual very affordable access to real, suitable, useful health care services and which could build the framework for single payer.

Lack of Affordability in Housing, Homelessness

The 53rd definitely has a housing affordability crisis. There will always be the tug between business thinking that wants to see the value of people's investments in housing increase vs. the reality that not everyone can afford the most expensive housing in a given area. Given its status as a beautiful vacation destination, there is a quandry of where to encourage and where to draw the line on vacation rentals and other vacation home challenges. The shortage of housing in many areas means 53rd District municipalities have to at least think about potential solutions such as allowing more high-rise buildings. 

I am a fan of gentrification that pushes people up and NOT out. Too often, glitzy town centers pop up as an announcement to lower income and the homeless that they should start thinking about moving. I disagree with that method. I think that given enough time there are ways to have all ships benefit from the rising tide.  One of the challenges is that no one improves their situation overnight. Even if federal or other funds are injected into an area to give the homeless more support, provide low, middle, and upper income residents with higher paying work and business opportunities, and everyone training for higher paying opportunities, it takes more than days, weeks, or even months to truly improve one's situation to where one can really afford to stay in a gentrifying neighborhood. Those plans should make sure there are multiple years built into the pre-gentrification period.

Homelessness is one of our greatest challenges. For many, if not most, homeless people it is not a choice that they are homeless. Due to mental illness, physical health challenges, lack of employable record or skills, and the like it will take a well-funded multi-pronged approach that builds blocks of support into their lives over time. At the same time, we may be able to make that really difficult program simpler by removing those homeless who don't want to be homeless and for whom a shelter, training, and a job and eventually affordable place to live might be enough to get them off the streets. That makes the proverbial stack of needles smaller making it more obvious who is in desperate need of a much higher level of support.

Equality, Immigration, Border Security

Civil rights and liberties are at the core of my policy thinking: EVERYONE is equal under the law and in opportunity. 

I include immigration and border security here because I believe that many of the challenges we have in those areas are due to forgetting the importance of leading with EVERYONE Is equal under the law and in opportunity. First, we need the aforementioned national vision and strategy. Then, we can create a whole new immigration system based on strategic (where border security and immigration have related pieces, but are not treated the same) as opposed to crisis-mode thinking (where border security is always erroneously 100% interwoven with immigration). That system should be based on what we want to encourage for our own economic hope and national security. For me, we need to encourage legal immigration so our country doesn't get stale. Part of having an edge over the rest of the world in innovation is having new people flow into the country bringing their ideas and resilience. We need to rethink what asylum means to us. For me, we need a system that addresses the issue humanely. This form of immigration system is one that eliminates most of the needles in the stack of needles that are our border security challenge, thereby significanty reducing the complexity of border security.

Education and Science and Technology:

I am lucky to have grown up in a family of university and college professors, teachers, lawyers, and health care providers. I had access to computers and the pre-internet when I was a child and I used the internet as it was created and evolved so I am about as close to a digital native as one gets. I have an undergradute degree in Physics from Princeton University and have continued to be part of the scientific research community. I tutor K-12 students across San Diego in science, math, reading, writing, and test prep and I started tutoring two decades ago. I love helping others learn and have put a lot of effort into getting more people, especially women and girls, into STEM/STEAM fields. I have lived the crucial role played by science and technology investment, including in basic and applied research. We have reached a time where government and industry have forgotten that research for the sake of exploration of the unknown, otherwise known as basic research is even more important than the ever-crucial research with specific, often shorter term challenges in mind, otherwise known as applied research. 

Climate Change, Wildfires, Infrastructure Resilience

I have approached these monster challenges with many hats. Clearly, I have the scientist and sensible business hats. As a former Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and technical rescue provider (including vehicle rescue) who managed a rescue squad not far from New York City not long after 9/11, I have spent nearly 17 years dealing with first responder, emergency management, and other related issues. In the 53rd District, I have been a senior advisor to San Diego State University's homeland security center and program with their focus on humans, communication (including social media), and teamwork in disasters and other forms of crises. I have also advised Department of Homeland Security (DHS) research centers at Rutgers University and the University of Maryland at College Park where some of my work focused on infrastructure resilience, which is DC Beltway jargon for how communities prevent crises and survive those that occur. We need a national vision and strategy which embraces the future far enough out that it becomes obvious to deal with climate change and it is not an excuse from our fixing the problem that other nations pollute as much or more and how are we possibly going to stop them. We need to lead by example. This has happened before in our history. We have led the world into amazing places never envisioned by humanity. We can do it again.

Sports and recreation

I understand the important part sports play in building life skills, fostering leadership, and bringing people together around common interests. I have been part of the professional and Southern California (including San Diego) grassroots tennis community as a former member of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA). I was Coach of the Year in Billie Jean King's prestigious World TeamTennis (WTT) Professional League and have coached college and junior tennis. I am also a pickleball coach and player.