The updated plan sets the direction for the city and provides a foundation for a comprehensive update to the city's general plan.

The Temecula City Council Tuesday approved an updated Quality of Life Master Plan (QLMP) with a 4-1 vote, despite objections by Councilmember Jessica Alexander to the addition of equity as a core value of the plan including that she did not “agree with the foundation of what it stands for.”

The core value of equity was added to the other six that were established in the first iteration of the QLMP based on direction from a resolution the council passed in August 2020, which included establishing a Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) Commission, providing diversity training for city staff and the addition of an equity core value to the QLMP.

“Equity in Temecula might mean something different than equity in a different city, but we placed the definition on how we were going to provide equity as a goal,” Councilmember Maryann Edwards said. “And everyone agreed on that statement, so I think it worked out okay.”

“Equity values help remove barriers to ensure opportunities for all to prosper through data-driven decisions personalized to residents of the city,” is how the updated QLMP defines the core value.

Alexander’s second objection was that having a core value of equity would not “change the hearts of people.”

“You can’t force people to change their hearts, the only way you can do that is by showing them how to behave and how to love one another, not by just creating a word and then we have to do it,” she said.

But as Mayor Matt Rahn pointed out, the updated QLMP is a document to help guide the city’s decision making processes.

“It’s just this constant dog whistling that goes on [with] the use of words,” he said. “You say you’re worried about the word equity. Why? What is it in this document, not how somebody else defines it, not that we’re imposing equity on people, and we’re telling all the residents of Temecula [to] be equitable, that’s not what this document says. 

“This document says, in city operations, we are going to do things a little bit differently. And that means from an equity standpoint, making sure that people who don’t have English as their first language are able to access information on our websites and our public meetings and our documents and other things. You know, that’s what equity means for us.”

Both Rahn and Edwards served on the Blue Ribbon Committee which held several meetings to discuss each of the seven core values—a safe and prepared community; transportation mobility and connectivity; healthy and livable city; economic prosperity; sustainable and resilient city; accountable and responsive city government; and equity—and shaped the rest of the document including crafting the following vision statement for the city:

“With a deep understanding of our history, the City of Temecula is a community and culture on the move. We are dedicated to family, neighborhoods, economic prosperity, education, health, and safety. Focused on doing it right the first time, we continue to pursue the highest quality of life for all – something we call…‘The Temecula Way.’”

Throughout the 60-page document, which can be downloaded and viewed here, are goals that the city wants to accomplish by 2040 relating to each of the core values. 

For the core value relating to public safety, some of those goals include ensuring that funding for public safety remains the highest priority, maintaining a ratio of one police officer per 1,000 population and supporting community oriented policing and maximizing community leadership in public safety.

The core value relating to transportation includes the following goals: promoting job growth in Temecula and nearby areas to reduce commuting, increase transportation and mobility options and establishing a connected pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian transportation system consistent with already existing master plans.

For the core value relating to health, some of the goals include supporting healthy and active lifestyles by promoting recreation programs, parks, trails and competitive facilities for athletics; being a diverse community that embraces residents’ quality of life by protecting the natural environment, maintaining the city’s fiscal stability and supporting the community’s health and equity; and valuing the growth of nonprofit organizations, churches, temples, mosques and other places of worship.

The core value relating to economic prosperity includes the goal of encouraging the broadening of higher education opportunities both public and private, while the core value relating to resiliency includes the goal of developing resiliency in infrastructure, the economy, natural resources and hazard mitigation and the core value relating to city governance includes the goal of ensuring transparency in all aspects of city government.

For the core value of equity, some of the goals include supporting the fair and equitable treatment of all human beings in a just society, fostering a healthy environment and prosperous opportunities for all residents and Temecula, and monitoring the city’s budget and resource allocation to close inequity gaps.

“I’m really excited about everything in here,” Councilmember Zak Schwank said. “I think it’s important that we keep equity in it. I think we have a responsibility to the community to keep it in there.”

The updated Quality of Life Master Plan was the result of a citywide survey conducted in the spring of 2021, extensive public outreach that included pop-up events, a dedicated project webpage, advertising both online and offline, public workshops and public commission and committee meetings. The plan sets the direction for the city over the next 20 years and provides a foundation for a comprehensive update to the city’s general plan using the core values as the organizing principles.

“This document drives everything that we’re doing,” City Manager Aaron Adams said. “It is arguably the most important document that we can vote on. It will guide the city—the priorities, the funding, the land use, the general plan—it’s going to do all of that.”

You can watch the full city council meeting here. Discussion on the QLMP starts at the two-hour mark.

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