CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 4 CANDIDATE OCTAVIOUS SCOTT ANSWERS A FEW QUESTIONS
Affordable housing, STRs, transparency at City Hall and supporting the City's kids top list of issues addressed
Editor’s note: We had hoped to run answers from both City Council District 4 candidates - Scott’s opposition is incumbent Karmolette O’Gilvie. However O’Gilve did not respond. Concerned that our emails weren’t received we contacted the Council Secretary who confirmed that O’Gilvie had seen them. We will publish the Mayor’s answers should they be received.
Desert Trumpet: What concrete steps would you take to increase affordable and market rate housing?
Octavious Scott: Increase homeownership for local residents through self-help construction programs and partnerships with community based organizations. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Coachella Valley Housing Coalition have proven models with track records of success.
DT: What is your position on short term rentals? Would you suggest changes to the new ordinance adopted by the City?
OS: I believe homeowners should be able to rent their residences for short-term if that’s something they are comfortable doing; however, I don’t think companies should be operating “hotels” in residentially zoned areas. With that being said, I support the cap on non owner occupied short term rentals, but I would open short term rentals to owner occupied properties. For example, property must be the host’s primary residence for at least 9 months out of the year. Host can short term rent a room on their property if the host is present or a separate unit/ADU on their property and would be exempt from the cap because their property being rented short term is their primary residence.
DT: What is your position on transparency at City Hall? How can Council Members make themselves more available to their constituents?
OS: I think it’s important to regularly meet with members of the community outside of just City Hall meetings. I would consider office hours for myself or district community meetings to take questions and concerns from residents.
DT: How can City Council be proactive on confronting racism in our community?
OS: I support equal opportunities for all residents of 29 Palms. The City can be proactive in confronting racism by serving as a role model for excellence and fairness
DT: How would you better support our kids and their working parents? Do you have suggestions for expanding recreational opportunities for our kids?
OS: We are in need of a Transactional Age Youth (TAY) program in 29 Palms. TAY is defined as youth between the ages of 16 and 24. Yucca Valley has several programs for TAY. We should build partnerships with some of those organizations to get satellite offices in 29 Palms. TAY support can be anything from mentorship, to entertainment, recovery from substance abuse, job placement, housing placement etc. I also support the establishment of a Boys and Girls Club.
DT: What recommendations do you have for helping our homeless populations?
OS: I believe the city needs emergency housing for homeless and at risk of being homeless residents. I would support the renovation of a hotel that’s currently not being used to meet that need.
DT: How would you encourage better maintenance of our major roads and residential streets including dirt and paved road maintenance and litter pick up and control?
OS: I’d love to see some type of Public Works internship for our young adults (TAY). They can get real world experience while serving their community by keeping it clean and safe for residents. Filling potholes, liter removal, graffiti abatement etc.
DT: What is your position on the balance between City development and the maintenance of the desert ecosystem? Should the City play a role in monitoring development along the Park boundary?
OS: The City should play a role in monitoring any development within City limits. The National Park is an asset for our community and it would be in our best interest to strengthen our partnership with the National Park to ensure we are preserving the uniqueness of our area. Light pollution is a huge concern in our City and we have to be able to develop smartly without impacting our ecosystem.
DT: What are the other top issues you see as facing our City? What are the top issues in your district?
OS: I believe a grocery store is needed east of the “hill” and I want to explore ways to incentivize a grocery store to open on that side of town.
DT: What new initiatives would you bring to Council? What perspective will you bring to Council that you feel isn't currently represented?
OS: If elected, I’d be the youngest City Council member in 29 Palms at age 35, but at the same time I have substantial experience in the private and public sectors. I think it’s important to have a younger person on Council because it will bring more diversity of thought on Council.
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