Housing and Homelessness

Housing affordability and homelessness are issues that impact every resident in San José. The Silicon Valley Pain Index reports that only 27% of all Silicon Valley residents can afford the cost of a median-priced home. To rent a two-bedroom apartment in San José, a minimum-wage earner would need to work 3.7 jobs. Of all major cities in the U.S., San José ranked #1 in youth homelessness. For all who were born in San José, attend our public schools, or contribute to our region’s economic prosperity, I am dedicated to ensuring there is a safe, stable place for you to rest and call home. I will lead on solutions that generate more affordable housing to ensure there is a place for every family, older adult, and essential worker who wants to continue calling San José home.

Advancing Tenants and Renters Rights
Due to the high cost of living, in San José you are more likely to be a renter than a home-owner. As a result, it is critical we strengthen tenants’ protections and rights. Building upon San José tenant protection ordinance, we can advance tenant stability through local preference policy, aiming to prioritize housing for renters at risk of displacement in their neighborhoods; we can also improve landlord accountability through landlord registries and by providing renters with the right to legal counsel. While home-ownership remains out of reach for many, ensuring an equitable and tenant-friendly housing environment in our city will require policies that promote stability, fairness, and affordability in the rental market by advancing tenants’ and renters’ rights.
Last year in California, investors purchased over a quarter of the single-family homes that were sold. Investors who can outbid other buyers are preventing first-time home buyers from entering the market. I propose that those who are fortunate enough to be purchasing a second home—which they do not intend to live in full-time—shall pay a tax to fund acquisition of permanent affordable housing. Additionally, the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority is working to place a general obligation bond on the November 2024 ballot, which I will champion as a new source of funding to continue building and preserving affordable housing in San José.
Whether you are remodeling your home or building a larger development, wait times to begin the permitting process for your project are close to a year at the City of San José building and planning department. A consequence of this excessive delay is limited housing production, which further contributes to our homelessness crisis. It’s no secret that the City of San José loses skilled employees to neighboring municipalities with more competitive pay and benefits. Providing city staff with child care, increased wages, and a stronger benefits package are strategies urgently needed for the recruitment and retention of skilled Building and Planning employees. Addressing the need to staff our Building and Planning Department cannot be overlooked as part of the solution towards meeting our community’s housing needs.

Public Safety and Accountability

Our need to feel secure in our homes, neighborhoods, and community at-large is at the heart of public safety. Meeting this goal will require forward-thinking police practices and ample investment in community services to ensure our neighborhoods are healthy environments where residents can live and play safely. It is critical we consider the safety of our community in holistic terms through a coordinated and preventative approach that includes preschool education, youth employment programs, recreation opportunities, job training and retention, access to mental health and substance abuse treatment, and creating stable housing. To reach this vision, I will advocate for a just city budget that funds safe youth spaces and holistic partnerships with public safety officers.
Thriving City Programs and Spaces
Many residents across San José and in District 2 have safety as a top priority. When prevention of crime and violence is the goal, investing in community-building programs and safe spaces for youth to develop is our path to success. As an adolescent growing up in this community, there weren’t many places to spend weekends away from home, connect with my peers, and expand my in-person social network. Youth need supportive, affirming environments to grow into healthy, whole human beings; therefore, it is imperative for our city to invest in more active and accessible community centers where our neighbors can learn, work, and recreate together in harmony.
Building relationships between our neighbors and public safety officials is a proactive approach that promotes a stronger sense of community and fosters cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. By identifying opportunities for constructive and quality engagement with youth and other neighbors, SJPD officers will develop partnerships in communities to solve and prevent problems before they occur. Effective community policing means residents and business owners know who their local police officers are and feel confident enough to call their District Captain to address their concerns when needed. Building relationships is an investment of time and resources that will pay its dividends when SJPD officers have the trusted community partnership of all our neighbors.
For several years now, SJPD has consistently failed to reach their staffing goals and has continuously focused their efforts on recruiting police officers. During required training courses, police officers should become adept at being responsive to community needs and voices, striving to achieve excellence in civically engaging the community while enforcing the law. Racial bias training, in addition to building skills that exemplify problem-solving strategies, conflict mediation techniques, and de-escalation tactics, will be critical to this process. These trainings will ensure that newly-hired police officers, as well current SJPD officers–especially those in high-ranking leadership positions–employ equitable and fair law enforcement practices, enhance community trust, and reduce incidents of discrimination. Training certification data should also be made readily available to the public to further enhance transparency and accountability for compliance.

Transportation and Mobility

The ability to move freely in your neighborhood and access local services is essential for communities that thrive. Accessible public transit is fundamental for reducing greenhouse emissions, promoting walkable neighborhoods, and uplifting socio-economic growth. When neighborhoods are car-centered, the people living in those communities are more likely to suffer negative health impacts, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and poor mental health. The City of San José has also had a concerning amount of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in recent years. It is imperative that we have outspoken leadership on this issue, and my work on the MTC Policy Advisory Council has prepared me to lead in this space.
Leading on Vision Zero
Across the city, traffic fatalities have been on the rise with a record 65 fatalities in 2022 that claimed the lives of 30 pedestrians, 7 bicyclists, 19 drivers, 6 motorcyclists, and 3 scooterists. Every day on average, San José police respond to 20 crashes, of which 10 involve an injury; roughly once per week these accidents result in loss of life. Vision Zero is San José’s action plan working towards reducing, and ultimately eliminating, traffic fatalities and severe injuries; of the 17 major streets identified as priority safety corridors, 3 are in District 2. Implementing the Vision Zero goals will require significant investments in robust data analytics, corridor-based safety projects, and effective community engagement activities. This work will require strengthening our partnerships across all levels of government, as well as building relationships with residents to raise awareness and foster community participation towards advancing our city’s Vision Zero goals.
Nationally, cars contribute approximately 20% of the nation’s greenhouse gasses with environmental impacts that result in intense heat waves, drought, and rising sea levels. In many cities across the country, public transportation has been designed to take people from suburbs into city centers during business hours, leaving neighboring communities disconnected from local services and amenities. San José is no different, and many residents in District 2 find it difficult to access local businesses, grocery stores, our parks system, higher education opportunities, health care offices, and other vital resources because of our limited transit options. In turn, our residents have become car-dependent and face the burden of vehicle operation costs such as gas, maintenance, insurance, and other expenses. Expanded bus and light rail service is needed in order to improve the economic mobility and quality of life in our community.
The American Rescues Plan Act provided a historical investment in infrastructure and is currently funneling its way through our transit agencies to fund local projects. Regionally, there is a push for a transportation funding measure in 2026 to reduce carbon emissions, air pollution, and our dependence on cars. When grants become available to fund complete streets projects, our city needs to be ready to apply and secure additional resources as needed. Community input is key to maximize the impact of our investment in complete streets projects–especially along our District 2 priority safety corridors such as Branham Lane, Blossom Hill, and Monterey Road. Collaborating with residents to re-imagine their local roads and streets will ensure the safety of our pedestrians, cyclists, and transit-riders.
Promoting transit-oriented communities for all residents is essential to ensuring that our neighborhoods thrive; the development of TOCs will result in accessible job and education opportunities, affordable housing, and walkable and bikeable communities that reduce car travel and greenhouse emissions. We are experiencing a once-in-a generation opportunity to influence transit-oriented development through the 16-mile, 6-station extension of the Bay-Area Regional Transit (BART) system into San José. Currently underway is Phase II of this project, which will construct a five-mile subway tunnel under downtown San José and through Diridon Station–which has been hailed as the future Grand Central of the West coast. San José needs strong advocates in City Hall who will champion the need for TOD to include child care facilities, and also ensure bus routes are considered in TOC planning, in addition to planning around rail lines.

Community and Economic Development

Throughout its history, San José has experienced drastic transformations from an agriculture-rich community to a hub for technology and innovation—dubbed the ‘Capital of Silicon Valley.’ Along the way, socio-economic inequality has grown to exorbitant levels while conditions for working families have worsened. Addressing inequality will take a bold leader ready to speak out against the wealthy special interests who rig the rules. I am empowered to create a thriving and equitable environment for all of San José’s residents by championing policies that put people first and generate opportunities for shared prosperity in our region.
Enforcing Fair Labor Practices
Protecting workers’ rights, promoting fair wages, and enforcing compliance will create a level playing field for businesses and workers alike. Our city has the obligation to ensure businesses are in compliance with fair labor practices, and this can be done through various proactive measures; one such measure is hosting informative sessions that ensure compliance with wage laws, strong project labor agreements that prioritize local hire, and investing in workforce training that opens the door for people from marginalized communities to explore better job opportunities and career growth. By continuously working to improve our labor practices and standards, we can create a more just and equitable working environment that supports the livelihood of all workers and everyone can prosper.
Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic has been rough, including for employers continuing to face hurdles hiring and retaining staff. It is time we act on what residents have addressed as a major concern for returning to work. Across income levels, parents of young children lack options to local, affordable, high-quality child care for their family. Access to affordable early care and education is a resource proven to be successful in recruitment, retention and overall job satisfaction of employees. The City of San José can act as a partner for parents and caregivers by reallocating developer impact fees to preserve and fund new child care facilities as well as set-aside funds for a child care coordinator that supports our residents through the process of finding and financing local child care.
Major cities across the nation are experiencing a slump, and San José is no exception. With many empty offices and closed business storefronts, our downtown can be re-imagined as a place for people of all ages and income levels to live, work, and socialize. Making the most of our space and converting office-to-residential buildings will be an expensive and complex undertaking that requires strong collaboration among working partners and funders to bring vibrancy back to our downtown city center. Residents are eager to re-activate our local economy with downtown shopping and dining. We can achieve a thriving city center by investing in improvements that repurpose vacant office spaces with housing and support local businesses’ ability to remain in San José.
The City of San José is an excellent place to conduct business in. Throughout District 2, there are diverse small businesses that have fought valiantly to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic and continue serving our community. Together, we learned that, especially for small businesses, having government resources to apply for grant funding and technical assistance to understand changing mandates was essential to businesses that survived. This is an opportunity to grow our relationships within District 2 and ensure the Monterey Corridor Business Association reaches the Great Oaks neighborhood as well as create our own District 2 Business Association. Maintaining open communication among small business owners to foster trust, discuss concerns, and develop a sense of place will support the resiliency of a vibrant local economy for our residents to access.

Environment and Climate Resilience

Solutions that build resilient, sustainable communities are essential for addressing the threats of climate change; the data is undeniable, and the window to secure a liveable future is rapidly closing. Generations born every day after today will have the least amount of responsibility for today’s climate crisis and experience the most severe consequences if we do not take action now. If we want to create a future that ensures our most vulnerable neighbors are protected from the impacts of flooding, extreme heat, and poor air quality, we must center our climate goals on the needs of young children, seniors, and low-SES neighborhoods. I am dedicated to championing solutions that further climate resilience and will work to activate our community in environmental stewardship that uplifts all of our neighbors’ voices and needs.
Funding City of San José Parks
Green spaces are essential to our city infrastructure and worthy of investments as urgent and promptly enforced as repairs to storm drains and traffic lights. City parks play a vital role in our neighborhoods; they provide a place for people of all ages to come together, interact, and develop a sense of belonging in their community. Currently, the City of San José has neglected park maintenance and infrastructure costs to the tune of over $400 million. In D2 neighborhoods, and across the city, our parks will only worsen without sustainable and equitable funding strategies. Residents need access to green spaces to live healthy, joyful lives and I am ready to collaborate with diverse partners and funders to ensure parks maintenance is prioritized in all neighborhoods.
Various studies report that green spaces are proven to affect mental and physical well-being. In general, people who have long-term exposure to more greenery where they live can add 2.5 years to their lifetime, demonstrating the positive impact that tree-dense neighborhoods can have in alleviating air, noise, and water pollution. Additionally, communities without access to sufficient tree cover are left without protection from high and rising temperatures. The City of San José has taken leadership towards this issue by planting 2,000 trees as of June 2023 and developing a Community Forest Advisory Committee. We must continue building on this work to put San José on its path towards becoming a Tree City, dedicated to planting denser tree canopies for improving the social vibrancy of our neighborhoods while providing residents with cleaner air and cooler temperatures.
For many people and wildlife, Coyote Valley has been a place to call home. In the 2000s, Coyote Valley was recognized as a critical wildlife corridor between the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Range. During the devastating floods that San José experienced in 2017, our community met the moment with a resounding emphasis on preserving and restoring floodplains in Coyote Valley to prevent another local disaster from occurring. Generations of residents and advocate groups have fought to protect Coyote Valley. Steadfast dedication to land stewardship is needed in District 2, and beyond, to protect cherished Tribal and Indigenous lands, support regenerative biodiverse growth, prevent urban development, and center the lived experiences of underrepresented residents as we work to preserve Coyote Valley.