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Jose Torres Joins the LandWatch Team

Dear <<First Name>>;

Jose TorresI am delighted to introduce Jose Manuel Torres, LandWatch’s new Housing Advocate. Jose replaces Gabriel Sanders who left LandWatch to lead the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership’s (MBEP) housing and community development programs.  

Jose joins LandWatch as a Geographer and Community Planner with over two-decades dedicated to cultivating healthy communities. In his words: 
I grew up and survived the hazy smog filled 1980’s in Glendale, CA, and have but a handful of childhood memories visiting the beach at Santa Monica, a 25-mile drive down the I-10. I came to understand the importance and appreciate the beauty of Nature, when as an adult in my mid-30’s, I had the chance to live in Alabama for over a decade. Being surrounded by more trees than people, more rivers than roads, was deeply transformative and it began my interest in analyzing built and unbuilt environments, and seeking harmonious solutions. I am also a proud Fellow and Executive Board Member of the William A. Anderson Fund, a non-profit with a mission to expand the number of historically underrepresented professionals in the fields of disaster and hazard research and practice.

As a member of the LandWatch team, Jose will be responsible for implementing housing-related advocacy campaigns, testifying before decision makers, interacting with elected officials, community leaders, and the general public, and forging strategic partnerships with grassroots community groups, other non-profits, and government agencies. Again, in Jose’s words:
My approach will rely on my experience in public health, geography, and community planning. I truly believe that good planning involves making small, strategic interventions. I love the book Urban Acupuncture which explores this concept. I’m a big advocate of #EmbeddedPlanning - a community-focused approach to urban planning that emphasizes collaboration, engagement, and meeting people where they are in order to achieve positive outcomes. I will work with LandWatch's partners and stakeholders to create policies that support these objectives.

Working with LandWatch and our partners, I look forward to making a positive impact on our community. I encourage you to continue supporting our mission. Let's explore the many ways to get involved and make a difference. Thank you for your support and dedication to sound land use policy. Together, we can develop more sustainable, equitable, and resilient communities.

We’re excited to have Jose on our team! If you’d like to learn more about LandWatch’s housing goals and principles, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Michael D. DeLapa
Executive Director

Base Planning on Climate Risks

Monterey County's Pajaro area was flooded when the Pajaro River levees broke in the middle of the night. Even though officials knew the risk that low-lying areas of Pajaro, because the property values weren't high enough, investments weren't made to shore up the levee. But, a bigger question exists... why are we building in flood plains to begin with? Climate risks and planning communities should be done collaboratively to ensure low income communities don't get left behind. Read the Monterey County Weekly article.

Price Determined in Cal Am Buy Out

LandWatch has been supporting the buy out of the California American Water Company by the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. The appraised value was just publicly revealed to be $449 million. You'll remember that voters approved by 56% the ballot measuring asking if the District should proceed with the buy out. It may turn into a case of eminent domain as Cal Am states the company isn't for sale. Even with the buy out, it is expected rate payers will benefit from decreased rates. Read the Monterey County Weekly article.

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