A Progressive Future for Monterey
Let’s Build Together
Science-based Decision-making: From environmental stewardship and economic policy to COVID-19 response
While earning my degree in political science (International Relations, NYU ’14) I simultaneously studied physical sciences and completed research internships in marine science which led to a career in the field. I have worked extensively aboard oceanographic research vessels as a research assistant, an instructor, and a translator for MBARI, the Sea Education Association, and Geomar (a German research institute).
I have a keen understanding of how global trends affect our local waters–From rising surface temperatures, to increasing acidity, to disappearing biodiversity– and the impacts these changes have on our way of life and our economy. I know that some decisions that are profitable in the short-term, like cruise ship tourism and over-fishing–will destroy the most valuable resources we have in the long term.
I am a founding member and treasurer of the Friends of the Monarchs (friendsofthemonarchs.org) a volunteer organization of citizen scientists that installed the first ever weather station in the Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove and have been working to rehabilitate the diminished habitat using science-based stewardship.Gabriela Chavez (center) moving Monterey Cypress trees into the Monarch Grove Sanctuary.
In the same vein, local governments including our own have paid a long-term price (the health of our communities) for short-term profits by waiting to impose safety measures, re-opening the economy too quickly, and allowing for unsafe crowding of our beaches, restaurants, and wharves– instead of following a rational plan based in epidemiology like the governments of New Zealand, Germany, and Taiwan who have since been able to re-open their economies entirely.
Social Justice for All
Monterey is a city born of rich cultural heritage where peoples from all corners of the earth have made their home. We must honor the original inhabitants of this land–the Ohlone-Costanoan-Esselen Nation– and accurately portray their history of colonization. OCEN is still fighting for federal and state recognition, and have never been granted a tract of land like many other tribes of native across this nation. OCEN also asks that monitors from their tribe be invited to all building sites to oversee discoveries of remains that may be unearthed. Furthermore, they deserve a space to rebury remains within city limits. We also owe to our Native siblings to remove statues of those who inflicted violence upon their ancestors from public spaces. These artifacts may be preserved in museums that accurately recount the events of the past.
Monterey also has a duty to further evaluate its policing systems and improve upon them to ensure the safety of all of our residents. Although the city has “8 Can’t Wait” in effect, this reflects a bare minimum in standards and not the robust changes that the people of color in our city are asking for from their government.
As a Spanish-speaking child of immigrants and a queer woman who has worked extensively with Black and Brown partners around the Peninsula to improve communities at the grassroots level, I represent parts of this city that have not had a voice in local government in living history.
Compassionate City Governance: where all are housed, given meaningful work, and cared for
Affordable Housing- In order to accommodate mid-, low-, and very low income residents we need a comprehensive vision that creates integrated and beautiful housing for all–from studio apartments to single-families homes to “granny units.”
In addition to new construction projects, we also have to be creative about modifying existing structures that already have water meters–such as hotels. Housing is an issue that requires political will and an ability to work with partners across the county and state to secure funding and environmentally responsible sources of water such as Pure Water Monterey.
A Diversified Economy- 2020 has shown that a single-industry economy of tourism is not sustainable.
We have the opportunity to bring in an equitable cannabis industry, sustainable aquaculture, and even encourage a new tech capital outside given the plethora of qualified STEM graduates of CSUMB, MIIS, and NPS. By creating high-paying jobs for residents that will re-invest their dollars right here at home, we will decrease our reliance on T.O.T. in the short and long term.
True Public Safety- A community that has its needs met (housing, clean food and water, living wages, and human connection) is a safe community. When cities invest in mental health and addiction advocates, early childhood education, youth programs, and the Arts rather than reactionary law enforcement that props up the Prison Industrial Complex, communities see a meaningful reduction in crime and incarceration rates.
Get In Touch /
- (831) 402-7834
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- Instagram: @chavez4monterey