Martin F. Hernandezmartin-f-hernandez-headshot-blk-wht

55, 22-year resident of Santa Paula, currently serves as mayor on the Santa Paula City Council

What are the major city issues of concern to you in the future?

Public safety.

Condition of our infrastructure, i.e. roads, etc.

City-sponsored activities for our youth.

Revitalizing our downtown and increase our business sector in town and with that new jobs.

What issues in the past do you feel are not being addressed?

Adequate tools necessary to capture all the revenues due our administration to put into the areas of concern for our city.

A long-term capital improvement plan which includes a set-aside fund for future capital improvements necessary to serve our residents.

Advocating enough to bring in other social service programs from the county in order to serve our city; there has been a disparity in the services provided to our city for far too long; now is the time to do something about it.

What are your thoughts on the state of local businesses in the city?

Minimal at best, although it has improved over the last three years, and existing industry expanding, however, we as a city need to do more to make it more business-friendly to attract more business and jobs to Santa Paula.

What are your thoughts on current public safety issues?

I believe that because we have remained stagnant in our ability to raise revenues for our general fund, which supports out police and fire departments, they remain one of the lowest paid.  We cannot increase the officers needed, nor keep our fire department fully staffed as full-time firefighters, let alone provide training budgets and equipment as needed.  Having been a first responder in the United States Air Force, I know firsthand how critical these are in order to do the best job possible.  We have a 1 cent sales tax on the November ballot that I introduced to our Council, which received unanimous support, and our polling data shows support from community, since revenues will be used for public safety, repairing our streets and creating programs for our youth.

What are your housing concerns for the city?  How will you address them in the future?

My concern is that we don’t have a good mix. We must find a balance of housing stock, not only affordable housing, but long-term supportive housing for our homeless as well as market-priced housing and some higher-end housing to create a mixture of choices and create a tax base which will help sustain our city in the future.

How important are the city’s natural resources to you and what are you doing about it?

I currently sit on the Santa Paula Basin Pumpers Association (SPBPA) on behalf of the city. The SPBPA is responsible for managing our water allocations and pumping of our water basin known as the Santa Paula Underground Water Basin.  I also participate in the Santa Clara River Watershed Committee, a collaboration of stakeholders along the Santa Cara River dedicated to preserving and enhancing the quality of resources in and along the river.  This committee also seeks out state grants intended to enhance the water quality and quantity for all beneficial users along the river.

Discuss other concerns you have with your city and what you will do to address them. This may include water issues, the state of your city’s school districts, the city’s financial stability, unemployment, etc. 

I have been advocating for a full cost recovery policy which will help our city capture revenue to cover the cost of providing a service, for permit reviews, inspection, etc.  Our cost are sorely deficient and we are losing revenue due to the city, which can be used to help compensate our hard-working staff, and pay for other vital community services we as a city provide.

I also have been working with the council and staff to upgrade our accounting software, which, combined with our outdated fee structure, is costing the city badly needed revenue.

Lastly we are about to put out a request to help our wastewater treatment plant make use of our recycled water, which could bring in added revenue, at minimum lower the demand for pumping water out of basin and begin to rely on recycled water for landscaping etc.