El Cajon District three incumbent Steve Goble said “People ask me, after four years, do you still enjoy it? And, I say ‘Absolutely’.”
The biggest need right now in El Cajon, he said, is ensuring local businesses survive COVID-19 pandemic.
“We don’t have general fund money to give and just yesterday we pointed out we’re going to be short over four million dollars in sales tax revenue,” Goble said.
Still, the self-described problem solver said he will “do anything I can do to help reduce regulations, fees and pass along grants and other support” that might ultimately keep locals in business.
In fact, the city of El Cajon announced on Oct. 6 where CARES funding— federal dollars awarded to help the local municipality as it emerges from the pandemic— was allocated and $2.5 million was directed toward a business grant program. 135 businesses received funding from that grant and “it was a big boost to them,” Goble said.
Outside of COVID-19, he said the city’s first job is to ensure and protect public safety.
“The right to life, the right to liberty, the right to the pursuit of happiness, to own and operate a business and own your own home— those all come back to a sense of safety,” Goble said.
wHe believes focusing on housing first, then providing services really is working.
“I don’t think you can effectively treat someone while they’re living on the street. Once housed, they’re in a better position to be willing to accept services,” Goble said.
He gave an example: a homeless individual who was repeatedly seen spreading trash around the sidewalk area where he chooses to live, prompting complaints. Each time the police visited the man and offered help, he would turn them down.
Goble maintains the individual had the individual right to remain homeless, however, when it infringed on someone’s rights, in this case, the residents wanting a clean living environment, it gave them reason to have the city step in and correct the situation.
Government has to be able to keep the neighborhood clean, he said, but his philosophy is compassion and correction.
“First, we have to approach with compassion but if you turn us down multiple times and throw your cups and garbage in the street then it’s time for correction,” Goble said.
By partnering with agencies such as Crisis House and Salvation Army over the past four years, the city was able to get 95 and another 84 people off the street, respectively “reconnected with family and friends who could help get them back on track,” Goble said.
He applies the same sense of balance to his outlook on the police department. While law enforcement agencies are under pressure from activists to rethink funding and reduce police involvement, Goble praises what he calls ‘good judgement’.
“Back in May, a sergeant caught three people putting graffiti on a wall.
He didn’t arrest them; he told them their message wasn’t going to get out that way. He said ‘I’m going to come back tomorrow morning and all of us are going to clean the graffiti off the wall’. He also said he’d find a place in the city for their message to be shown’,” Goble said.
The sergeant then found a church that ultimately displayed the grafitti-style artwork, recompleted on donated wood, showing what Goble calls good judgement.
“He read through the situation and said arresting these guys isn’t going to solve the problem. He defused the situation by showing excellent judgement. I’m not going to defund good judgement,” Goble said.
He touts compromise and problem solving, and a glance at his campaign site reveals his calendar: nearly every day of a full calendar year lists at least one way he is involved in the community.
“I love solving problems. I love watching people’s expressions when the government actually does something helpful for them,” Goble said.