Page 4 - Community Newsletter :: Spring 2021
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• Member of IV Unity Against Human Trafficking which was a grant received by Catholic Charities to provide education, prevention and community awareness about human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.
“I have been a proud resident of the City of El Centro most of my life. I have witnessed its history with all its successes. City government needs to continue to be transparent and inclusive. I’m recognized throughout the community for my passionate activism and investment in our youth. As the Assistant Director for the University of California San Diego- California Student Opportunities and Access program, I have had the opportunity to encourage many students to access a higher education and/or a career technical pathway. While working as a community advocate, I have nurtured a deep commitment to social, environmental and economic justice,” states Cardenas-Singh.
Like her approach to education, family and service to the community, her mission as an elected official is also precise and focused. One of her biggest concerns is to address the public health and economic health of the City of El Centro. “We need to continue to seek State and Federal funding to leverage support for residents to have access to health and medical resources and economic stimulus,” she states.
Martha Cardenas-Singh believes the city understands and has prioritized the public health concerns and the need to have a strategic plan. This was tested during the COVID-19 outbreaks in the region and how well the City of El Centro responded to the need of the community to know what was happening. “Equally important, is the priority to re-open business by leveraging State and Federal monies and resources to assist businesses owners and families with compounded financial stressors due to the closing of businesses. As a city council member my commitment is to plan, support, recover and rebuild,” discusses Cardenas- Singh.
Her three priorities are:
• Economic Recovery
• Engagement of State and Federal resources to address the injustice related to affordable housing
• Adequate healthcare and quality of life amenities
Downtown El Centro is also on her radar. She sees the area as symbolic and an important asset to the community that is able to help to define the community’s identity and contributes to a sense of place and a neighborhood identity. “I am a supporter of a multi-pronged approach to address the need to revitalize the downtown area of El Centro. Our downtown continues to struggle with boarded-
up buildings, deteriorating infrastructure and high vacancy rates” she says. She strongly feels that there are effective and essential strategies that can be implemented that include:
• Forming public and private partnerships
• How City staff can play a vital role in revitalizing downtown
• Committing to a long-term plan that may require modifications as needs arise or change
• Developing an environment that will attract business investments, people and talent to the heart of the City of El Centro.
Martha draws on key elements to revitalizing the downtown area by engaging residents, business owners and stakeholders to help in the development of the future of the downtown area. She states “We want to ensure the plans include the community’s needs, goals and support. As we work towards economic development in the downtown area, we must also consider smart growth development that will encourage job creation and maximize economic advantages. I understand this process will involve a considerable effort, changes will not be overnight, and long- term planning will guide the work over the years.”
There is much to do and as our community begins recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, more things will come into focus and priorities will shift, like they should to meet the needs of the community that is El Centro.
“The City of El Centro has so much to offer and I look forward to our future. My heart is with the progress of getting past COVID-19 and to see our community come together again and celebrate being together, having our street fairs, ice cream socials and wonderful parades! We are like a big family and our biggest strength is in being together,” -Martha Cardenas-Singh.
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