Agoura Horse Property - Custom & Equestrian Real Estate by Nona Green

Deborah Klein Lopez

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Tags:   city council, semi-rural, agoura hills, realtor, agoura, old agoura, Deborah Klein Lopez, horse property, rural, horse zoned, real estate, Nona Green, los angeles county, land, equestrian real estate, november 6 election, custom properties, equestrian
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MEET THE CANDIDATES: AN INTERVIEW WITH DEBORAH KLEIN LOPEZ

Neigh...borhood News:  What are your primary goals and objectives for the City?

Lopez: I grew up in Agoura Hills and benefited from the best our town has to offer: access to open space, great public schools, and a safe, caring community. My husband and I returned to raise our family here so that our children could benefit from the same opportunities I had growing up. But as we know, the qualities we love about our town require constant vigilance, and I have been working for decades to protect and improve our community.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

Growing up at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains shaped my core values which would carry over into my adult identity and activism. An avid hiker who has traversed nearly every trail in the Santa Monica Mountains including the 65-mile Backbone Trail, I became an outspoken advocate for the preservation of open space and native habitat and for making sure our footprint on this earth is as light as possible. My dedication was noticed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and I was appointed to serve as a Director on the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. My sacred time in the mountains has given me an intimate and unique understanding of their fragility if we aren’t faithful stewards.

I want to bring this vision to the City Council so that our decisions can be viewed through this environmental lens. Any development must come with an obligation to respect the community and its guidelines. For me, the presence of the Santa Monica Mountains, visible from virtually every point in the city, is the guide. We should consider only developments that preserve ridgelines and night skies, that incorporate the natural landforms vs. grading them flat, that consider traffic impacts and how to mitigate them for their projects, etc.

Environmental sustainability is also about initiatives beyond brick and mortar buildings: ensuring our wildlife can thrive in its native habitat, making sure our residents have access to clean energy, adapting to new business models that reduce commuting and our carbon footprint, etc.

GREAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS

I am a product of the Las Virgenes Unified School District. My parents moved here when I was 12 years old for the great schools, and I attended Lindero Canyon Middle School and Agoura High School. Decades later, my children have benefited from the same strong public school system, a reason that many families continue to settle here.

Strong city-school partnerships are essential for our community. They keep our neighborhoods healthy and our property values high. But the school environment has changed greatly over the past decade in terms of funding, safety, traffic and more. With children currently in school, I have an intimate understanding of contemporary issues, as I’ve contributed at the highest levels of school site leadership as Parent Faculty Club President at Yerba Buena Elementary, Lindero Canyon Middle School and Agoura High School. In addition, I served as the campaign manager of Measure E, a parcel tax measure that secured $27 million in stable funding for our schools, which would earn me the 2017 Friend of Education Award from the Las Virgenes Educators Association. I have cultivated strong relationships with our school district officials and will continue to build on our well-established city-school partnerships in every way.

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT AND TRANSPARENCY

I’ve been approached many times to run based on my long record of leadership and public service, but my tipping point came when the three Councilmen lined up behind the developer of the massive, out-of-character Cornerstone development last year. They decided on a narrow 3-2 vote to refuse to order an updated environmental impact report despite powerful arguments and impassioned testimony from the community. Many of us felt that Cornerstone was not representative the vision of Agoura Hills or of the Specific Plan, but our voices were ignored and it was only a costly citizen-funded lawsuit that curtailed the project. This cannot happen again.

I felt that Cornerstone was indicative of a larger issue: that fewer and fewer voices around the community were being heard. In my leadership roles, my top priority has always been to engage people and get them invested through one-on-one meetings, events, social media and active-listening campaigns. Our city can – and must – do the same.

We must modernize the ways we reach out to residents so that we can meet them where they are at. It’s time to employ new strategies to expand public outreach so that people feel invited and invested in their community. Regular newsletters that explain upcoming agendas, social media use and in-person events are just some ways to better include residents in the conversation about our city workings. I bring this to the table as the next generation of Agoura Hills leadership.

NN: Do you want to see the City aligned with California's more progressive values? If not, why, and if so, In what way?

Lopez: I believe the priorities I detailed above reflect our State’s goals, and this is where my experience with State Senator Henry Stern is an advantage. I was the Senator’s very first campaign staffer, stayed with him through Election Day, and worked in the District office as well. This gave me an intimate understanding of how state action impacts local policy. It is a partnership that will ensure our local voices are heard at the state level.

Who do you see as your primary opponent and how will you govern differently than you see that person governing?

I don't see this as a contest against any opponent. For me, this campaign is the beginning of a continuing conversation and exchange of ideas between me, as your elected representative, and the people of our city, moving forward together. The best decisions are made when government and the people work together, seeking public input at the beginning of the processes, not at the end when it’s too late to make a difference.

That said, there is one big difference between myself and my fellow candidates: the partnerships I’ve made and the strong endorsements that reflect that. I am the only candidate endorsed by our first mayor and former State Assemblywoman and Senator, Fran Pavley. In addition, I am supported by trusted leaders like Congressman Ted Lieu, State Senator Henry Stern, Mayor Pro Tem Linda Northrup, Councilwoman Illece Buckley Weber, many former mayors, all five school board members and hundreds more. I am endorsed by the Sierra Club, the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters and the National Women’s Political Caucus. These endorsements show recognition of partnerships and decades of hard work in the community. I would come to the dais with these relationships already in place. I’m ready to serve!

NN: Anything you'd like to add?

Lopez:

  • I moved to Agoura (pre-“Hills”) in 1980, before the city was incorporated.
  • I have hiked nearly every trail in the Santa Monica Mountains, including the 65-mile Backbone Trail. I’ve climbed to the peak of Ladyface many times.
  • I have been married for 24 years to Fabricio and we have three children. My older daughter Amanda is studying Environmental Science and Policy and University of Maryland. My younger daughter Izzy is an equestrian and rides with Katy Rishoff weekly in Old Agoura. My son Marcus is an accomplished jazz piano player. My parents still live in Agoura Hills in the house I grew up in, close to where we live.
deborah klein lopez
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