Q + A with Norman W. Kyriss III

Norman seems to be well informed about the issues and what can be done to alleviate the city’s problems. He is direct, to the point and very self-assured.

Q. Why are you running for city council?

A. “Because the city is on the wrong course and I feel that I have something to offer to set us in the right direction. I am deeply rooted in this valley, been involved with numerous organizations here and have been living and working here since 1981. I am a realtor, representing buyers and sellers here for 28 years. Additionally, my wife is an elementary school teacher in the Hemet Unified School District, which provides me with a fair knowledge of families and their needs.”

Q. How do you feel about the lack of homeownership here?

A. “Being a realtor, I am aware of that and affordable housing is definitely at the top of my list. I have already worked with Habitat for Humanity in the construction of low-income income housing. In the real estate business, we probably see how difficult it is for low-income folks to pay rent or buy a home more than anyone else. We are confronted with it every day.”

Q. How would you address the ever-increasing homeless situation here?

A. “Hemet has a very large homeless population. That is a very good question. Even when I was younger I began to notice the homeless congregating at playgrounds and parks. Now they gather outside markets and on business parking lots. Valley Restart does an outstanding job trying to provide temporary housing for homeless families but they are limited in their resources. They can’t do it alone. It is more than just finding housing; it is also a lack of resources. Most of the homeless you see on the streets need to be reached on a personal level to create trust when you offer them assistance, whether it be a shower, clean clothing or shelter.”

Q. How does a lack of jobs complicate the situation?

A. “Manufacturing is lacking in our community. If we had more of those kinds of jobs, it would give people a sense of ownership in the community instead of having to commute outside of the valley to work. We certainly have plenty of room for growth in manufacturing and other industries. We are a unique community. If you take a look at the demographics, you will see that our population base is younger, whereas this used to be a retirement community; we now have more working families with young children. So we should explain to potential employers that their businesses will grow and prosper here.”

Q. Do you have a plan or program to tackle these issues?

A. “We are looking into a program and will provide it to the media as soon as possible. We are just beginning our campaign. It is a program designed specifically to show how attractive our valley is to new business.”

Q. How do you feel about the current city council.

A. “There are some good people in the city council and I know their hearts are into the best interests of the city. To me, it is a matter of striving for the needs of our citizens and I feel like I can provide the leadership to accomplish those needs. For instance, there is the new median on Florida Avenue, which has been placed on our citizens by the state, creating business and traffic problems that might work out eventually, but our needs are now. People want change, which has to come if we are to make progress. The state could have used a different approach. We have streets that could have been widened to accommodate the increased traffic. Perhaps a more strategic approach.”

Q. Do you have any thoughts about the city failing to take over highway 74 from the state?

A. “That is something that definitely needs to be reconsidered.”

Q. Many businesses along Florida Avenue are unhappy with it.

A. “I’m aware of that. It diverts traffic and most businesses along Florida Avenue are going to be affected.”

Q. Do you feel that Karlee Meyer is doing a good job on the council?

A. “Karlee can speak on her accomplishments and things she’s working on better than I.”

Q. But you’re running against her and obviously, you believe you are the better candidate.

A. “I do think I am the better candidate and knowing the people’s needs. I think I can better represent them than Karlee can.”

Norman should be a formidable candidate. We shall see.

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