HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
I voted for every housing project proposed during my first two terms on Council (2009-2016). This includes all market rate projects and projects with BMR (below market rate) units. The only projects I didn't vote on were Carmel Village Apartments Merlone Geier Phase 1 due to a conflict of interest (proximity of my residence to San Antonio precise plan area). I also did not vote on Phase 2 in 2014 when Merlone Geier proposed more mixed use with housing but Council majority nixed housing and dictated the offices you see there today.
Planning processes need to be more streamlined to produce more housing and commercial developments faster and at lower cost. Precise plans like San Antonio, El Camino and North Bayshore were quite lengthy, cost millions and are overly specific. The "gatekeeper" process used to allocate planning staff needs to be more effective to satisfy development demand in other areas like Terra Bella and North Rengstorff. I look forward to working with the Council to address those area of the city that have lagged developments in the more favored precise plan areas.
Development fees for parks and newer fees for utilities plus impact fees for subsidized housing and transportation have been increased over the years. These fees should not be increased more but reduced to mitigate cost of development, especially for less capitalized property owners and housing developers.
TRANSPORTATION AND TRAFFIC
The County imposed a revenue measure in 2015 and the City in 2016 raised sales taxes to mitigate transportation congestion. How much improvement has there been? The honest truth is traffic congestion will not be alleviated until motorists choose other alternatives to cars. More taxes won't help.
Other modes of transportation need to be integrated. If an automated guideway is connected to the downtown transit center, those transportation systems need to be integrated if they already are not. I will be able to help in that regard.
I served on the Council Transportation Committee for many years focusing on neighborhood traffic management and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and safety. If appointed to that committee, I will continue the same.
I supported community choice energy to give residents and businesses the option of paying their energy bills for renewable energy resources as an alternative to PG&E. However, energy customers are using whatever energy PG&E delivers which is still 25 percent from natural gas. I look forward to whatever Council decides on the Sustainability Task Force recommendations later this year.
CITY COUNCIL EMPLOYER TAX MEASURE
The City Council has been talking about increasing a very modest $30 business license fee which hasn't been since 1954. Instead of just updating the business license fee, however, the Council is asking voters to approve a new and completely different, steeply progressive tax on businesses on employers. The tax on even smaller employers is much greater than an inflation-adjusted license fee.
Council claims the tax is to support mostly transportation. However, proposed as a general tax (only simple majority vote) instead of special tax (super majority vote), the money can be spent on any general purpose. I've studied the arguments for and against. I'm voting no.
RECREATIONAL VEHICLES PARKED ON CITY STREETS
RV's are constantly parked on a number of City streets for reasons varying from economic necessity to personal choice. Some residents strongly object because these RV's on their and other streets are an unsightly nuisance, obstruct street and sidewalk vision for pedestrians and therefore cause safety issues. There are some litter and sanitation issues also.
The City does enforce the 72-hour parking limit but the RVs move to different locations on the same or different streets. They also will address sanitation and other violations but are limited by the courts and rulings about sleeping in vehicles.
City policy is somewhat inconsistent. Signs restricting vehicles over 6 feet tall on Latham Street but not Ortega near me.
The City has been trying to develop a safe parking program for RV's years but prospects are quite limited because of issues using City lots and permits on private sites.
The City Council has spent your tax dollars for a porta-potty, free laundry showers at CSA and sanitation service program. Council should abandon these policies and not provide incentives for impromptu RV parks.
PUBLIC PARKS IN NEW DEVELOPMENTS
Years ago Council majority decided to require public land dedications for public parks in new developments. This land dedication reduces the number of units built and the amount of private open space and other amenities in these projects. In some cases, very small public parks stuck in cutouts or corners and some built a few blocks from an existing public park. Also, the City's park construction is lagging new completed housing. New housing surrounds bare ground or dirt.
This housing and parks policy should be reconsidered to increase housing supply, return to better site design and quality, and curb additional operating costs for parks maintenance.