Valley Sun: How would you improve traffic flow in the downtown area? Would you support installing one or more parking structures in the area?
Layton: The best thing we can do to improve traffic flow in the downtown area is to have an outside consultant look at the algorithms currently implemented in the traffic lights to try to find a more efficient way of syncing the lights up with the flow of traffic.
I am not sure that installing a parking structure would be the best solution to the current issues we are facing in downtown: Space is at a premium, and a large structure would not necessarily fit with the surrounding area.
You have said you are opposed to a Long Beach (710) Freeway extension. What alternatives would you offer?
The best thing that could be done would be to stay with the status quo. I do not believe any of the 710 alternatives are beneficial and support the “no build” option that was one of the five options listed by the MTA.
Home burglaries have recently spiked in La Cañada Flintridge. How would you attempt to prevent these incidents from happening? Would it help if the city had its own police department?
One way to prevent these incidents from happening is to work closely with the Sheriff's Department on citizen education. We should hold discussions and provide citizens with information on how to better protect their homes from burglaries. We also need to keep an open line of communication with the Sheriff's Department in order to give them the support they need to reduce burglaries in the area.
It would not help if the city had its own police department. The costs of creating a new police force are astronomical, and the department would not have the resources, training, experience and infrastructure that the Sheriff's Department has at its disposal. However, the feasibility of La Cañada having its own sheriff's station may be something worth exploring.
What are your thoughts on agricultural use of privately owned property in residential areas, whether it's for commercial or personal use?
If you want to have a vegetable garden in your backyard and sell the fruits of your labor at the local farmers market, then that's your decision as a private property owner, provided that your labor does not violate local nuisance laws. It is also important that the waste of any animals is properly disposed of. It is important to remember La Cañada's history as a farming area and to not legislate against agricultural use that does not have a detrimental effect on the surrounding area.
Do you think the new city website is user-friendly? Should the city add or change anything about it? How do you feel about using social media to inform residents of meetings and forums?
The new city website is a huge upgrade over the previous website; it is significantly more user-friendly. We need to remember that upgrading technology does not stop with a better city website. There are still changes that need to be made to the website. There should be a contact form that is simple to fill out with a drop-down menu of options as well as a suggestions form. I believe that using social media would be a huge step forward in communication and transparency for the city. Having a La Cañada Flintridge Twitter account where residents can go for quick updates on certain issues would be very beneficial. We can link social media directly onto the city's website so people will see it whether they go straight to the social media site or the city's website.
Tell us something about yourself that the public might not know.
I went on a 10-day informational business trip to Budapest, Hungary, where I met with local and international businesses operating in Hungary. On this trip, I met with executives from various companies and discussed the economic issues facing Hungary and Central Europe as a whole, including the high unemployment rate among college graduates.