Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles on candidates in advance of the Nov. 8 general election.
Elizabeth Orona is running for Solvang City Council District 4 against incumbent Robert Clarke.
Ms. Orona holds a bachelor of science in mathematics/applied science, with economics as the secondary application of mathematics from UCLA.
“I am running for city council for Solvang District 4 to drive more resident representation into city council decision making and focus,” Ms. Orona told the News-Press in an email. “And this election, being the first of our new district segmentation, offers an opportunity for residents to identify who their council person is, know who to call when their voices need attention, and bring more balanced perspectives to the business of the city and the services provided to businesses and residents.
“I am ready to do that work and would like to bring advocacy for the people who live and work in this community and continue to make Solvang a great place to live,” Ms. Orona said.
The News-Press asked Ms. Orona how her career has prepared her for the city council.
“I have spent 35 years as an IT professional deeply embedded in business decisions for some of the most influential companies in the country and in the world,” she said. “I have experience finding ways to make complex problems and challenges into winning solutions for multiple stakeholders. And bringing the ability to understand financial models and negotiating contracts, I can help the city drive the next generation of important decisions for the long term.”
“If elected, I will work to bring a balanced perspective from the residents to the city council and specifically work to make Solvang water more sustainable, more affordable and make the most effective use of this critical resource by driving solutions for reuse, recycling, better sourcing beyond dependency on state water, and with more vision by investigating desalination and stormwater reuse alternatives,” Ms. Orona said.
“The future of our water sources and costs in California is a real and complex issue,” she added. “I will work extremely hard to bring innovation and thought leadership to our options.
“In addition, I will work extremely hard to ensure the city development is aligned with the deep Danish history and branded success, and is first benefiting the residents and businesses that are already deeply invested before we add more multi-unit or multi-use dwellings. These kinds of projects impact traffic, parking, water consumption, waste/sewer burden and other services that must be firmly governed to ensure growth is optimized for the long term.”
The News-Press asked Ms. Orona why she felt she would be better for this position than her opponent.
“As a resident of Solvang since 2014, and a resident who has no ties to a local business or a special interest group, my agenda is transparent and without conflict of interest to dedicate decision making for the residents interests,” she said. “As a business-minded person, I do understand the importance of businesses that help a community and a city thrive, but I can bring balanced decision making for the people who live in Solvang and the success of local businesses to make Solvang the most desired city to live and raise a family and build a business.”