2018 Marina City Council Candidate LandWatch Questionnaire Responses

In 2018, LandWatch solicited input from candidates for Mayor and City Council in the cities of Monterey . While LandWatch does not support or oppose any particular candidate this information is helpful to our members in understanding how their votes at the ballot box have the potential to influence land use policy locally.

All candidates are in alphabetical order

Land Use Policy - Affordable Housing

Lisa Berkley
What is your position on affordable housing? Please be specific with regards to policies you support or oppose. The right to safe shelter is a human right that should be affordable for everyone.

My work as a Board member of the Housing Resource Center of Monterey County has shown me a policy based upon a regional approach and public-private partnerships (i.e. partnering with NGOs—specifically those working to educate, provide job skills, and provide mental/emotional support) will be most effective.

Policies that reflect inclusion, and do not marginalize those who are homeless is crucial. For this reason, affordable housing should be interspersed with market rate housing in new developments and residential areas of the city.
Do you support modifying city policies to make it easier and cheaper to build housing? If so, what specific policy changes do you support? One of the biggest challenges the construction industry faces on the former Fort Ord, (much of which is now in the jurisdiction of Marina), is that developers are required to pay prevailing wage. However, the benchmark for prevailing wage here is based on criteria of wealthier counties.  The resulting wage rate has increased the cost of building a home on Fort Ord by as much as 80% compared to construction costs for the same product in places like Hollister.

The intention of the prevailing wage protection was to provide local labor with fair pay. The reality is, most Fort Ord developers/builders draw from labor pools out of our area.   A cap of 6,160 housing units, the costs of blight removal on the development site, and limitations on water have resulted in Fort Ord homes being sold at prices that are not affordable to most of Monterey County’s work force.   By contract terms, Marina Council required the Dunes and Sea Haven developers to meet benchmarks for construction of work force housing and affordable homes.  For example, the Dunes constructed the 108 affordable units of Phase 1 of its project first. While this is commendable, it is not enough.

High housing costs need to be lowered. Affordability by design requires smaller homes with higher densities; in-fill of underutilized land, such as within city-owned Preston Park; and a greater focus on mixed-use properties.  Marina’s general plan, specific plans, and zoning need to be reviewed and revised to enable development of housing that is affordable.  Marina should also consider modification of impact fees and incentives for developments enabling home ownership by those with median income earnings of $57,000 per year.   
Do you support requiring developers to actually build inclusionary units instead of paying an “in lieu” fee? As “in lieu” fees stand now, I do not think this should be an option for developers; unfortunately, it too often gets used as a loop-hole which contributes to the marginalization of people living in affordable and low- and very  low income housing. 
While I respect a developer’s right to build profitably, the public’s overriding best interests must be protected.  Protection of the public interest is the responsibility of a city’s planning commission and council.  Relieving a developer of the responsibility to include below market rate housing in a development will, and has resulted in greater profitability for Marina developers. It has not eased the need for Affordable Housing or housing that is affordable. 

Marina is currently struggling with a financial burden created by its prior council’s action to shift a developer’s inclusionary housing requirement to city-owned properties. As the city grapples with how to address this financial problem, history should not be repeated.
Do you support requiring that “inclusionary housing” units be made permanently affordable, even upon resale? If not, please explain. Until our housing demands and availability are more equally aligned, yes, inclusionary housing should be permanently affordable.
Do you support requiring developers of hospitality, commercial and industrial projects that significantly increase demand for already scarce housing resources to also build workforce housing? This and other innovative strategies must be weighed and considered if we do not want to exacerbate the housing problem on our peninsula.
What other housing policies do you support or oppose? I support intervention before homelessness. This can be achieved through the development of a wholistic system--from section 8 vouchers to fair wage employment and acquiring ease of transportation--that addresses the many challenges faced by a person who is about to become, or who is, homeless.

Secondary dwelling units on new and existing properties has been largely ignored in Marina’s planning. When and where should these be allowed and encouraged?

Water Supplies

Lisa Berkley
What specific proposals do you support to ensure your community can meet its water demands without over-drafting groundwater aquifers or, if you live on the Monterey Peninsula, also the Carmel River? I support Phase 3 of the Pure Water Monterey Project as part of the long-term regional solution. Phase 3 is a regional and multi-stakeholder option which includes the Monterey One Water expansion of reclaimed water by 2,250 additional acre feet per year and delivery of water to the Peninsula at a cost of between $2,000 and $3,000 per acre feet. Coupled with Marina Coast Water District leasing 600 acre feet per year of water to the Peninsula for up to 10 years, CalAM will meet the state-mandated reduction in pumping from the Carmel River and deliver water to its users at a substantially lower cost than the desal project on the Cemex property.

Marina and MCWD must protect its water from the CalAM invasion through appeals to the Supreme Court and suits in the Superior Court. The 180-400 equivalent aquifer from which CalAM intends to pump is within the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin. The basin is overdrafted and sea water intrusion has been a recognized threat to the basin for more than 70 years.  Establishment of ground water protection plans are required by law and urgent to be written and enforced.  Development must be curtailed absent proof of a sustainable, long-term water supply for the project. 
Do you support expansion of Pure Water Monterey as an alternative to building a desalination plant? Yes. Please See above.

Sprawl Reduction

Lisa Berkley
Do you support the creation of “urban growth boundaries” or expansion of the existing boundary as a way to prevent urban sprawl, and to insure that future growth is compact, efficient, and protective of the environment? If not, what measures would you support to prevent urban sprawl? If yes, will you sponsor an urban growth boundary in the upcoming year, and make it one of your top three priorities In 2020, Marina’s Urban Growth Boundary will be up for renewal. As a council member I will support it being renewed in perpetuity. Infill throughout Marina’s downtown and Fort Ord properties, is a better solution than creating urban sprawl.


Lisa Berkley
New commercial developments and hotels create more trips and additional vehicle miles travelled on already overcrowded roads and highways. Both residents and visitors pay the price of delay and increased pollution. What specific traffic congestion relief solutions do you support? More efficient public transportation such as more routes, more stops, and longer hours of operation is one of the best starts.

Specific to Marina is rejection of the FORA Capital Improvement Program prioritization of on and off-site roads. Prioritization of projects should address the current bottlenecks and the current developments. Eastside Parkway is not a solution. The connection of Del Monte to Second Avenue at Imjin will take cars off Highway 1 and relieve some of the congestion at the Imjin overpass. Completion of 8th Street will enable through east-west travel from CSUMB campus housing to 2nd Avenue. 

Marina is currently partnering with TAMC for completing the widening of Imjin to four lanes with bike paths as part of the multi-modal corridor. A specific plan is being developed for Marina’s downtown and it is expected to facilitate 30,000 vehicle trips per day on Reservation Road.
Do you support roundabouts on Highway 68 and other roads? What other transportation policies or practices have you seen that local governments should incorporate? Roundabouts are very effective in maintaining smooth traffic flow and patterns. Marina has successfully incorporated the use of roundabouts in multiple locations within its boundaries. Roundabouts should be considered for Imjin Parkway. 

Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA)

Lisa Berkley
What is your position on the Fort Ord Reuse Authority? Do you believe the Authority has achieved its original goals? If so, what evidence do you cite? FORA reflects a common issue that occurs in military base revitalization. Many of its challenges are political in nature rather than technical.*  FORA needs to sunset in 2020. It’s time for political dynamics to be disengaged and local jurisdictions and agencies to take  leadership reigns.

* Hill, C. (2000). "Measuring Success in the Redevelopment of Former Military Bases: Evidence from a Case Study of the Truman Annex in Key West, Florida." Economic Development Quarterly. 14 (3). pp. 267-275.
Which do you support: 1) sunsetting the Authority in 2020 as current legislation contemplates or 2) extending the Authority beyond that date? If you support extending it, please explain why. See above.
What is your position on the Eastside Parkway/Freeway/Road? There is no need for the Eastside Parkway. It is not a mitigation for the reuse of Fort Ord.  It was and remains an expansive roadway to serve dense development in the areas of Parker Flats and Seaside. Monterey Downs was defeated by civic leaders and this residual portion of the Monterey Downs project is not a solution to current transportation needs.

FORA’s artificially supported prioritization of this road in its Capital Improvement Program is one of the many failings of this regional board.  


Lisa Berkley
If you are elected, what will be your top three priorities? • Increasing revenue for Marina by enhancing use of city assets (i.e. Marina Airport, Preston and Abrams parks);

• Responsive and Accessible Government: Responsive leadership with accountability and transparency that supports participation of every member of our diverse community;

• and, Smart Development which includes housing that is affordable and protecting our water. This includes infill development and housing that is affordable by design, (not urban sprawl) while developing within our land and water constraints and protecting our groundwater.
What land use policies are you willing to champion for the community? Preventing the Eastside Parkway,
Extension of the Urban Growth Boundary
What accomplishments in your career or public service are you most proud of? There are two things that come to mind. The first, is within the Israeli-Palestinian context. I co-founded and directed an NGO that pioneered peace-building education and training programs for the development of self-awareness and personal empowerment in the midst of conflict.  Our groundbreaking education programs were written about in many Israeli/Palestinian, U.K. and U.S. publications with worldwide distribution. Through this work, we were the first not-for-profit to bring alternative medicine into the Israeli hospital system; and, 10 years after the closing of the organization (and many conflicts later) close to 85% of program participants were still living from, and incorporating, the skills they learned from going through our trainings. This same work also opened the doorway for academic scholarship in the field of Women, Peace, and Security. In 2015, I co-authored the book chapter “Female Leadership for Peace and Human Security: A Case Study of Israel/Palestine," which can be found in Women and Leadership Around the World, Vol. III (Information Age Publishing, 2015).

Secondly and  more directly relevant to Marina, I have been a strong advocate for the best interests of the City of Marina and its residents during public forums. This includes speaking at city council and FORA meetings and  advocating for Marina’s groundwater rights at the CPUC Evidentiary Hearings and the California Coastal Commission. 

As Vice-Chair of the Marina Planning Commission, one of the things I am most proud of is our proposed ordinance regarding Short Term Rentals. Our recommendation was designed to support local Marina residents while preventing non-Marina residents from exploiting the market and potentially changing the fabric of our community.


Lisa Berkley
Occupation Consultant
Years Lived in Area 7
Education • B.A., Environmental Science & Economics (New York University)

• M.A., International Policy Studies, specializing in Counter-terrorism & Transitional Justice (Monterey Institute of International Studies )

• M.A. , Leadership and Change (Antioch University)

• Ph.D. Candidate, Leadership and Change (Antioch University)

• Degree and certifications in mediation, holistic medicine, massage therapy, and stress management

• Executive Certificates in Counter-Terrorism and Arab Culture

• Certificates in various aspects of post-conflict reconstruction and strengthening cross-community ties between civilian governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and inter- governmental organizations and the armed forces
Experience Currently work as an international consultant and am completing my PhD.

Current Vice-Chair of the Marina Planning Commission; Serve on Marina City Council's Committee for Downtown Vitalization

Community Engagement:
I serve on a number of boards and organizations including:
 Women In International Security’s U.S. West Coast Chapter (WIISWest);
Citizens for Just Water;
Democratic Women of Monterey County Club;
Housing Resource Center of Monterey County.

I am a member of the Marina Rotary Club and the Marina Chamber of Commerce.

Adam Urrutia did not respond.

LandWatch Monterey County compiled and distributed this questionnaire to 71 mayoral and city council candidates on the November 2018 ballot. LandWatch is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational organization that does not endorse, support or oppose individual candidates or political parties. Replies from candidates are printed as received. LandWatch is not responsible for the content. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order. No part of this questionnaire may be reproduced without permission of LandWatch, or used in any way that may be construed to be an endorsement of an individual's candidacy or views by LandWatch.

LandWatch Monterey County

LandWatch is dedicated to preserving our community's economic vitality, high agricultural productivity, and the health of our environment by encouraging greater public participation in planning.


306 Capitol Street #101
Salinas, CA 

PO Box 1876
Salinas, CA 

Phone (831) 759-2824

Fax (831) 759-2825

About LandWatch
Issues & Actions

YouTube Channel