I am running for San Jose City Council District 10 to give voice to our neighborhoods — so City Hall hears from us — not just special interests with the loudest voices.
As our district’s next councilmember, I will focus on:
Safe neighborhoods are the foundation of a strong community. We’ve made progress restoring our police force—but that progress can’t stop now. City police must have the capacity to be visible and engaged in our neighborhoods.
We need a strong response to the recent growth in property crime, including package theft and car break-ins. On the council, I will work to restore our police department’s staffing numbers and expand their impact by growing the Community Service Officer Program. I will also focus on making street racing a thing of the past. The City of San Jose was once held as the “safest big city” in the United States. With the right policies, we can regain that title.
I also believe that we can support safer neighborhoods by maintaining city resources such as libraries, parks, and community centers. Investing in the next generation and properly maintaining our public spaces are some of the best ways to avoid future public safety challenges.
Finally, we cannot have public safety without disaster preparedness and reliable infrastructure. In 2018, I worked to pass Measure T, which provided San Jose with $650 million for upgrades to emergency and disaster response systems and repairs to bridges, streets and other critical infrastructure, including flood control. As councilmember, I will ensure that these resources are responsibly allocated to keep us safe.
Our region is blessed with a strong economy, but we’re forced to grapple with the downside of that growth every day: potholes, air pollution and worst of all, time lost in traffic that could be better spent. We can and we must do better. I fought for Measure T, which includes $300 million to address the backlog of street repairs in our neighborhoods dating back to the last recession. You will begin to see these improvements along major roadways in District 10 in the coming months.
As councilmember, I will fight for our future growth to be smarter and less prone to congestion. We can do this by locating new housing near transit and our Downtown core, investing in transit options, and prioritizing ongoing maintenance of our transportation infrastructure.
I will also seek opportunities to be more creative and efficient with our transportation funds. We can increase traffic flow on Highway 85, for example, if we use the median space to experiment with new approaches, from rapid (public and private) bus lanes to autonomous vehicles. In fact, the 2016 countywide Measure B set aside $350 million to fund these types of experiments. I’ll advocate to apply these funds where they will provide the most benefit to District 10 residents.
Finally, I believe that we must provide mobility options to our seniors, students and other vulnerable residents. Earlier this year, I worked with others in District 10 to stop VTA from cutting Route 63 and Route 13 bus service in our district. Working with Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), we suggested ways to not only maintain, but improve, those routes without increasing costs. We were able to turn the 13 into a more useful route that will better connect Almaden Valley (this will be the new Route 83). As councilmember, I will continue to work with the residents in our neighborhoods to ensure our traffic and transportation investments serve all of our residents in the most cost-effective ways.
I grew up in a rural area and have always felt a strong connection to nature. My wife, our daughter and I regularly take advantage of the many parks and open spaces we have in and around District 10. I want to ensure that San Jose is sustainable so that we can pass our natural resources, including clean air and water, on to our children and grandchildren.
As councilmember, I will support solutions that protect our natural infrastructure and pursue policies that encourage smart growth and curb sprawl while investing in our parks and open spaces. To me, this is not just a nice idea. This is work I currently devote my time to: I serve on the commission for San Jose Clean Energy, the city’s new alternative energy provider for clean, carbon-free electricity. As a Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) board member, I supported Measure AA in 2016 to restore San Francisco Bay wetlands that protect homes and businesses along the water from sea level rise and storms. And in 2018, I fought to pass San Jose’s Measure T to invest in flood protection in Coyote Valley.
While the big-picture environmental issues are important, I won’t lose sight of the basics, especially the many parks in our District. I will fight to stretch every dollar in our Parks budget to maximize the cleanliness and safety of our parks. In fact, earlier this year, I worked with a group of local residents to create a new volunteer organization to advocate for and help maintain Guadalupe Oak Grove Park. I want to make sure every park in our district is a fun and safe place to play, exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Our city and county governments need to do more — the current plan to address homelessness isn’t working at the speed or scale we need. We need to help our homeless neighbors transition out of our parks, creeks and streets and into housing with supportive services like drug and alcohol treatment, mental health services and job training.
Given the high cost of housing one homeless person, we also have to bring more flexibility and creativity to the challenge. This includes converting run-down motels into affordable apartments, building tiny homes in appropriate locations and exploring other forms of cost-effective shelter. We simply can’t address the problem if each new unit of housing for a homeless individual costs over $650,000 to build.
Finally, I believe that prevention is key to reducing the overall amount of homelessness in San Jose. I applaud the City’s “rapid rehousing” efforts that help at-risk residents quickly transition to a more sustainable situation before they end up on the streets. More broadly, we have to tackle our housing affordability crisis to prevent more people from slipping into poverty and homelessness.
These approaches are not only the right thing to do morally – they are also the most fiscally responsible choice in the long run.
San Jose and the entire state of California face a crisis of housing affordability. The challenge we face today is of our own making: we failed to build enough housing to meet the needs created by years of job growth. The only sustainable solution is to build more housing units to bring the supply of housing into balance with the number of new jobs our local economy is creating.
However, we must do this responsibly to ensure that more housing doesn’t mean more traffic, more air pollution, and an unlivable city. New housing will have to be located in our Downtown core and near major transit routes and stations. In these locations, we will have to build “taller and smaller,” meaning denser buildings with smaller and more affordable units that work for students, seniors and others who would gladly have less space for lower rents.
Building more housing on the edges of our city will only compound our traffic and environmental challenges. This is true for teacher housing as much as housing for anyone else in our community. As Councilmember, I will fight to ensure that our children and grandchildren can not only afford to stay here, but that they want to stay here because our City is more walkable, supported by transit that works, and connected to amenities like beautiful parks and great restaurants.
Education changed my life. In high school, I commuted over the Santa Cruz Mountains every day to San Jose for an education that opened doors that I didn’t even know existed at the time. After college, I came back to San Jose to give back to our community by teaching middle school in the Alum Rock neighborhood. I understand the value of a great education and I want to ensure each of our children has access to one.
While City Hall isn’t directly involved in the school district, I believe that we all have a responsibility to ensure that the next generation is prepared for the world they will graduate into. The City can, and should, do more to support our kids outside of the classroom, before and after school, in the summer, and in the transition from school to work.
As councilmember, I will work to expand San Jose Promise to help more of our neediest students access community college. I will also seek public-private partnerships to ensure our before and after school programs in our libraries are supplied with the tech needed to provide Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs. As a former teacher, I will be present in our schools and work closely with our teachers, administrators and parents to identify other opportunities for the City to support the critical work of educating our children.
I’ve spent the past decade building companies and new technologies in the private sector. While business and government are not the same, I firmly believe that lessons from the private sector can be applied to local government. I will fight to bring new approaches and new tools to City Hall to ensure that we are maximizing the value of our tax dollars.
As Councilmember, I will seek out and support the innovators inside and outside of City Hall who are bringing both new tools and new approaches to how the city provides services. For example, right here in Almaden, the Martin-Fontana Parks Association has led the way in making our tax dollars go further by organizing volunteers and qualified contractors to free up our highly skilled City staff to focus on higher impact projects.
I believe that government has a responsibility to deliver as much value to its residents as it can for every tax dollar. I will push the City to be radically transparent about how we spend our dollars and what value we get from that spending. I believe in being honest about what is and isn’t working in our delivery of services, and then experimenting with new ideas for improving those services. With your support, I will lead openly, honestly, and for the greatest good of the residents of District 10.