Alvernaz Bases Campaign Platform on Controlled Growth

As a young man growing up in El Cajon in east San Diego County, Matthew Alvernaz witnessed what he describes as a decline in the appeal an...

As a young man growing up in El Cajon in east San Diego County, Matthew Alvernaz witnessed what he describes as a decline in the appeal and home values to residents of that city.

"I watched a lot of changes there," Alvernaz said. "There was a sudden growth because of the affordability of housing. The growth increased at an unhealthy rate. Crime rates went up and property values went down. A lot of the locals who had lived there for years moved on. Downtown just because apartment buildings everywhere."

Alvernaz sees some similarities in Murrieta's rapid growth, and he would like to make sure proper limits are put in place. This is the focus of his bid for a City Council seat in the November election.

A police officer in another city, Alvernaz has lived in Murrieta for five years. He and his wife Clarissa are raising three children in this community. Maintaining a high quality of life without extremely high density of housing is very important to him, he said.

Although he has never before run for public office, Alvernaz believes his background in law enforcement helps him identify with the needs of the community.

"I've seen some of the trends in this city," Alvernaz said of Murrieta, which recently topped the 100,000 mark in population. "I plan to raise my kids here. I want to see controlled growth.

"I know the city is limited it what it can do because of what the state requires," he added, referring to requirements of the state's housing element. "I just think we should be vetting developers and monitor who owns these apartments. El Cajon didn't stick to the minimum for housing. The landlords didn't care who lived there. We need to make sure there are no slum lords here."

Alvernaz said he does not have a problem with high density housing as a whole, as long as it's controlled. He said he has seen the impact of Menifee's rapid growth on traffic bordering his city, particularly on the 215 Freeway at Scott Road.

"We're already seeing traffic congestion like that on Murrieta Hot Springs Road," he said. "We need to spread the development out."

Alvernaz would also like to see the development of more jobs locally to reduce the high number of commuters in and out of the city.

"People spend so much money on gas and spend so much time away from their families," he said. Small business is the lifeblood of the economy. We need more of those here."

Albernaz is running for one of three available council seats in the Nov. 4 election.

Murrieta 24/7 will continue to profile candidates for city government on a regular basis as individuals prepare for the November election.

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