My life has been dedicated to pursuing social justice, equity, and opportunity. I'll use my professional experience to move District 5 and our city forward -- in economic development, planning, housing, poverty, fair labor practices, and education.
Provide resources to improve infrastructure in District 5, including parks, streets, and walkways. (See more at Economic Development.) Solano Avenue is suffering from a lack of small businesses.
- Lower economic and regulatory barriers to business entry.
- Continue my focus on attracting a tenant to the Oaks Theatre site.
- Consider vacancy tax for long-empty sites to finance redevelopment (e.g. lower economic barriers to business entry).
- Work to preserve the Oaks Theatre as a community space.
- Limit Big Box businesses on Solano by fostering a favorable investment environment for small businesses.
- Build consensus on City Council for sound, reasonable, and progressive policies.
- Support the award-winning Downtown Area Plan, created after hundreds of public meetings and passed overwhelmingly by voters.
- My opponent -- a principal author and co-funder of Measure R in 2014 -- tried to upend it.
- I led the effort to reject Measure R; 80% of District 5 voters agreed with me and voted "no."
- Work for a vibrant downtown with sustainable growth and a green economy.
- Support a bikeable and walkable downtown featuring great shopping and entertainment venues to foster compact and convenient residential life.
- Work for denser "green" development as smart growth in transit corridors to address our critical housing shortage and create environmental benefits by enabling new residents to reduce their carbon footprint.
A green downtown with transit corridors will create:
- A more favorable business environment for local business,
- Hundreds of affordable housing units,
- Funding for affordable housing through fees paid by developers,
- New buildings with high, yet feasible environmental standards,
- Housing close to transportation, reducing the need for driving,
- Millions of dollars for public art,
- Thousands of union jobs,
- Increased car share and bike parking,
- Street and public space improvements,
- Millions of dollars worth of economic development and assessments going toward our general fund.
Economic Development & Financial Management
Goals: Create an economically lively downtown, a reinvigorated Solano Avenue, a bustling Gourmet Ghetto, a delicious Hopkins/Monterey neighborhood.
- Support small business viability in our neighborhoods and downtown. Business sustainability is the engine of economic growth.
- Examine and fix Berkeley's commercial regulations to foster, not hinder, a viable economy. Identify unnecessary barriers that slow or increase the cost of developing commercial enterprises with the aim of eliminating them.
- Our city's significant unfunded liabilities associated with pension obligations and infrastructure costs
- Our city budget -- a majority goes toward public safety costs
- Be fiscally responsible in spending our money.
- I support the infrastructure bond -- Measure T1.
- I remain focused on economic development to increase city revenue. I fully support our Downtown revitalization because it will increase revenue. As Chair of the Planning Commission, as the person who led the ground campaign to defeat Measure R in 2014 (see Downtown) I am the only District 5 candidate who has the proven track record of supporting economic development.
Education & Youth
Berkeley public schools are among the best in the country, and I'm immensely proud to be able to send my children to them. I will work to:
- Ensure excellence in our public schools so all our children can receive a quality education.
- Support our teachers by placing a priority on finding ways to increase the number of classroom aids.
- Continue to invest in public education through BSEP (Measure E1 on this year's ballot).
- Work with our state Legislative officials to advocate funding for universal pre-schools to narrow the achievement gap, a persistent through high school.
- My work at the Alameda Family Justice Center focused on children who endured trauma. I know how important it is to provide resources for these vulnerable children.
- I've witnessed cost savings in keeping these children out of foster care, hospitals, out of a life of crime. We get great social returns.
- Support our teenagers by ensuring full funding for the city-run mental health center inside Berkeley High to support kids facing trauma from trouble at home or bullying and harassment at school.
- Continue the work I began as Vice Chair on the Commission on the Status of Women, working with Karen Weinstein, Heidi Goldstein, and students in BHS Stop Harassing.
As Associate Director of the Alameda County Family Justice Center, I work daily with disenfranchised people who are survivors of assault, abuse, and trafficking. Many are homeless. This helps me understand that the vast majority of homeless people have suffered abuse or neglect over time, creating a ripple effect not only on those individuals and families but on the community at large.
To deal compassionately with people living on our streets, I propose:
- Developing a holistic long-term regional system to address core issues causing homelessness, a system that follows a "housing-first model" that's case-management focused.
- Increasing city funding for more housing and services.
- Engaging other cities and counties to jointly create a system of regional resources, based on Berkeley's model, The Hub, a coordinated entry point for homeless to recive housing and other resrouces in one place.
- Funding more resources, including intensive case management for the most vulnerable, with more housing and beds for homeless individuals and families.
I favor the Community Sidewalk Ordinance -- my opponent opposes it -- the ordinance is compassionate and fair. It sets limits on inappropriate behavior and also provides important services, such as more public bathrooms.
- Homelessness is different than dangerous and unhealthy street behavior.
- It is reasonable to prohibit public urination or defecation and limit the amount of space a person can take up on the sidewalk.
As a member of the Berkeley Food and Housing Project's Capital Campaign, I'm working to realistically address the City's increasing homelessness problem. This topic is personal for me. I work with homeless individuals every day and recognize the different sides of the story. I'm committed finding compassionate and sustainable solutions.
Housing affordability is a challenge. People should be able to afford to live and retire here. As Chair of the Planning Commission, I've worked extensively to ease the affordable housing shortage and will continue identifying effective alternatives.
- Housing in the Downtown Plan creates more density along transit corridors so residents will have easy transit access without needing cars.
- Financing low cost and more affordable housing can be done through Berkeley's Housing Trust Fund, established from fees imposed on developers ($10.5 million slated as a Harold Way project requirement).
- We can use those funds to support development of affordable housing; the City of Berkeley shuold encourage such projects.
- Housing must also be affordable for people who don't qualify for low-cost housing including teachers and other public service professionals. I advocate for extending housing subsidies to working families.
- I support alternatives like Accessory Dwelling Units (or "granny flats"). I was instrumental in making it easier to legalize and create ADUs in Berkeley as a source of low-cost housing -- much less expensive than building a traditional infill unit.
Public Safety is a high priority in District 5. I walk down Cedar Street every day with my three young children, and I engage with police and public officers every day in my work with domestic violence and sexual assault victims.
- Right now there is only one patrol assigned to all of Districts 5 and 6, and that is not enough. I'll work to ensure District 5 has the patrols and services we need to reduce crime and keep our neighborhoods safe.
- Planning priorities must align the needs of bicyclists and drivers with street repair and road design.
- I'll improve police engagement in our community through neighborhood meetings to address fears about crime and to improve community coordination for earthquake preparation.
I am honored that both the Berkeley Police Association and the Berkeley Firefighters Association (who even walked precincts with me!) have endorsed my campaign. They put their lives on the line for us every day as first responders, and I'll make sure that public safety is a top priority in District 5. This strong trust relationship with our police and fire professionals makes me uniquely qualified to work with them to identify pragmatic solutions.
Today, Berkeley residents are grappling with realities of
- Increasing inequalities in wealth,
- Diminishing affordability, and
- Arguments about how our public spaces should look and feel
I believe that:
- Art offers an important channel to address these factors.
- Artists can help identify solutions. They can think of ways to make public spaces that are beautiful and captivating for a diverse population, and, perhaps most importantly, they can help us think about how the city's aesthetics affect our collective state of mind and sense of community.
- We must facilitate opportunities to bring artists into the conversation as often as possible.