These are just some of the specific issues raised by District 6 residents at candidate forums and while Peter and his team have been out knocking doors. If you'd like to learn where Peter stands on an issue not included here, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I support the pension reform compromise negotiated by Mayor Liccardo and the current council with the city’s bargaining units, ending a political stalemate that effectively put our city’s economic future and viability in a holding pattern for the past four years. While we will never recover the valuable time and treasure lost in the legal battle over Measure B, this compromise is a bold step toward restoring trust between City Hall and public employees, improving San José’s position as a competitive employer in our region, and achieving meaningful savings through pension reforms negotiated in good faith and with the full support of all parties involved.
I support the council’s current efforts to explore options for improving the City’s rent stabilization ordinance in order to reduce the already overwhelming burden on our renting population. In order for San José to be a city that works for everyone, we need housing options that are affordable for people across the economic spectrum — from teachers to firefighters to bus drivers to line cooks. While significant change to rent regulation is only possible at the state level due to legal restrictions, I believe it is important for local jurisdictions — particularly the nation’s 10th largest city — to play a leadership role in moving Sacramento to act.
That being said, any changes to the rent stabilization ordinance should not be entered into lightly. From my perspective, the key impediment to consensus is the amount of allowable rent increase in any given year. Rather than advocate for a specific percentage, I would encourage the City to tie the allowable increase to inflation or other measurable economic indicators so that rent increases do not outpace the ability of our residents to afford them. I believe this would be the most equitable solution for everyone involved, and have the largest impact on preventing displacement of long-time families.
In addition to controlling costs, the other half of the affordability equation is the wage gap between the CEOs at the top of the Silicon Valley food chain and the teachers, janitors, and librarians who help form the fabric of our diverse and vibrant community. With local cities such as Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto, and now the State of California already on their way to a $15/hour minimum wage, the so-called “Capital of Silicon Valley” should take decisive action to avoid being left behind by the winds of change. The City should work with local business and labor leaders to craft a plan to go to $15/hour by 2018. Additionally, it should facilitate dialogues with local business owners to improve working conditions at all levels.
As a small business owner and manager of a small nonprofit company, I would seek to ensure that San José’s minimum wage policy takes into account the challenges and burdens faced by our small business community. This could include but not be limited to tying wage increases to the cost of living and/or other economic indicators, and providing exemptions in limited situations where employees are guaranteed augmented compensation – such as gratuities. However, because two thirds of minimum wage workers are women, and many minimum wage workers support families while working multiple jobs, it’s important to consider the unintended consequences of any potential carve outs.
Outsourcing is far more complicated, and often far less cost-effective than most claims. Loss of autonomy and control of the level of service provided to our residents is a significant concern; second only to the loss of quality, well-paid, stable City jobs for our hard working public servants. I am willing to explore any opportunity that would clearly provide higher quality service for more of our residents at a lower cost. However, I believe that the City should consider other methods for streamlining operations before laying off employees and outsourcing their jobs to the private sector.
The City is already engaged in reuse agreements with local nonprofit organizations to provide programs in dozens of its community centers. Teatro Visión, where I served as Managing Director for the past three years, was a partner in this program at Hoover Community Center, providing free public workshops, classes, and other cultural events for the District 6 community. Admittedly, this program does not provide the breadth and depth of services that a traditional community center would provide the community, and the traditional community center is preferable to the existing model. As a Councilmember I will work to ensure that plans are in place to reopen or insource programming that has been previously outsourced when City operation provides the highest and best use to the community.
San José Sales Tax (Measure B)
I support the sales tax measure on our June 7th ballot, and I urge you to vote for it. After more than a decade of cuts, the City is currently operating beyond the bandwidth it should be expected to provide. Staff and resources are stretched to their limits, and services are still nowhere near the levels our residents expect and deserve. Until long-term economic development fundamentally changes the City’s revenue picture, we must come together as a community to pay our fair share toward making San José a safe, vibrant, healthy, and equitable community.
However, it is important to recognize that while they may have a lower threshold at the ballot box, general sales tax increases hit working families the hardest. Additionally, with a general tax increase, elected officials can flout public priorities and repurpose the funds with six votes on any given Tuesday. We can and should do more to ensure greater accountability in the allocation of our tax dollars.
I support the proposed November 2016 ballot measure to raise sales tax revenue to fund critical transportation projects countywide, including BART Phase 2 (Berryessa to Downtown/Santa Clara), bus rapid transit, expressway improvements, and a growing backlog of road repairs. However, any such measure should include certainties and oversight to ensure that funds are equitably distributed throughout our community and directed toward areas in the most need of reliable public transportation options, particularly low-income and senior communities.
If passed, this would represent the third voter-approved tax increase in the past 16 years to fund transportation projects. As such, leaders of this initiative should also be honest with taxpayers about the real costs and challenges of creating a world-class regional transit system, and the revenue raised should be significant enough to avoid additional ballot measures in the near future.
I support the Lincoln Avenue Road Diet because it is part of a greater movement to make our city a more vibrant, equitable, and healthy place to live. But I also have serious concerns about the manner in which the project was brought forward and implemented.
As a native of Willow Glen who's lived a block away from our downtown for most of his life, I've experienced the road diet from three perspectives:
- As a resident, while I can't discount the experiences of my neighbors, I have not noticed an increase in traffic on my street beyond what I've experienced living here for the past four decades. As the City adds more community service officers, I would advocate for additional patrols in our neighborhoods to reduce side street traffic and speeding.
- As a pedestrian and dog walker, I feel safer crossing the street and strolling to John's or La Villa for lunch. I also feel more comfortable as a driver, with better sight lines at crosswalks and reduced lane shifting by cars jockeying for position. As for traffic backups, they're mostly confined to rush hour, just like they've always been.
- As a member of the Road Diet Working Group – made up of local residents, business owners, and parents – I worked with City officials to address community feedback and concerns. I led the way in managing online portals for residents to make their voices heard and cataloguing comments to pass along to the City.
Because of this experience, I know that a majority of my neighbors support the road diet, but I also know that a significant number of concerns still exist. Many of the concerns have to do with traffic, speeding, and parking. I would work with local business and property owners to hammer out concrete plans for solving these lingering issues, which Willow Glen has been grappling with for years.
My primary concern about the road diet has to do with outreach. I believe the City and the District 6 council office could and should have done a much better job of introducing the project and laying the ground rules for how it would be studied, measured, and implemented. The best decisions for a community are made as a community. The more we involve all of our residents in conversations about how our city is going to develop, we'll arrive at better policy.
I support high-speed rail because of its potential to serve as the spine of California’s public transportation network. As the largest city in the Bay Area, with an existing transit hub that will soon be adding BART to the mix, it makes dollars and sense for HSR to come through San José. That being said, the devil is in the details. As a councilmember, I would engage in extensive community outreach and collaboration at all stages of the planning process to ensure that HSR follows the best possible alignment for increasing transportation efficiency while also respecting the character and quality of our neighborhoods.
I am adamantly opposed to further development in North Coyote Valley, and I would work to see that our greenbelt is protected from the same suburban sprawl that created many of the structural and systemic challenges our city faces today. This includes the preservation of southern Almaden Valley and other open spaces outside our urban growth boundary. As San José takes on a more urban character, and our long-term planning encourages infill development at higher densities, it is even more critical that we have adequate open space to meet the needs of our diverse and growing population and maintain the viability of our local ecosystems.
Community Choice (Energy) Aggregation
I support Community Choice Aggregation for San José. CCA creates consumer choice where none currently exists by offering an alternative to monopoly utilities. Furthermore, the environmental benefits of CCA would be a tremendous step toward achieving the goals of San José’s Green Vision strategy, particularly regarding greenhouse gas emissions. With every other city in Santa Clara County and virtually every county in the Bay Area pursuing CCA, San José is already late to the game, and I believe the time is now to act.
I also believe that San José should manage their CCA program in-house, rather than outsourcing it to the private sector. The City has the resources to do this, and all of our neighbors are pursuing self-implemented solutions. Outsourcing of any public service is far more complicated, and often far less cost-effective than most claims. Loss of autonomy and control of the level of service provided to our residents is a significant concern; second only to the loss of quality, well paid stable City jobs for our hard working public servants.