Leading up to the November elections, SWRNN.com will run a series of candidate profiles describing each potential contender for this year’s open City Council seats. Stay tuned for continued Election 2012 coverage.
Murrieta residents will vote to fill two open city council seats, each with a four-year term.
Candidate Joel Phillips, 52, first came to Murrieta 23 years ago from the San Diego area in search of affordable housing. Phillips and his wife, now parents to two teenagers, visited and fell in love with the area.
“While making our decision where to move, it was important that we find a good place to raise our children, a place where we felt safe, but one that was close enough to commute,” Phillips said. “Given the proximity to San Diego, Los Angeles and the coast, this was the perfect area for us.”
Phillips is a small business owner and real estate broker, which gives him insight into the challenges businesses face.
“I know what it will take to attract new companies and new jobs to the area,” Phillips said. “We have to be a ‘business friendly’ government and we have to facilitate the private sector so they can do what they do best: commerce.”
As a real estate broker, Phillips feels he knows the local housing market well.
“We have to fight to preserve our home values by dealing with distressed and abandoned properties, by attracting more jobs to the area to keep commuters local and by continuing our efforts with infrastructure that make this a more desirable place to live,” he said.
Phillips has an MBA in technology management and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He received his masters from the University of Phoenix.
According to Phillips, some of the city’s biggest struggles today include public safety, economic development and home values.
Violent crime numbers this year have increased compared with last year’s numbers.
“The reason for the increase is multifold” Phillips said. “First, distressed and abandoned houses play a major role in theft, vandalism, squatting and vagrancy, which opens the door to more serious offenses.
“On a larger scale, legislation passed by the current governor to offload state budgeted prisoners back to offending county facilities, which further taxes our criminal system and returns violent offenders to our own backyard. We need to address these serious issues immediately and can put in place additional task force efforts, while minimally impacting our budget.”
If elected to office, Phillips would also really like to give the city of Murrieta a culture. When asking, “What is Murrieta known for?” Phillips typically gets the answer, “Nothing.” He hopes to create a name or culture for the city in order to attract new business and create a stronger culture of success.
“We are more than just a bedroom community with a population of nearly 105,000 people,” he said. “We have a choice to define who we are and where we want to go. Development and attracting new business to the area will happen if we set the private sector up for success … the culture of the city though, that is where we can leave a lasting impression for our children, grandchildren and future generations to come.”
Jennifer Dean is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.