Racism against Blacks began in America in 1619 when the first African slaves were brought to Jamestown. It must end. Right now we are all horrified by the brutal killing of George Floyd. On the one hand, racism is embedded in many laws and customs. On the other hand, many laws, practices and local police policies are designed to be equitable. Our local protests show how many people care about this. We must come together to understand systemic racism and change to eliminate it.
Racism in California isn’t just against Blacks. I urge you to read Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Vargas. He describes the experience of being undocumented in Mountain View where he grew up. Everyone needs to be treated equally.
This is a public health crisis, so we need to be guided by the science and the public health experts. There is a spirit of mutual support. The community has come together to make sure people have food and the City passed an eviction moratorium. We need to continue to be flexible and generous.
It is also a financial crisis. Many people have lost their jobs and no one knows how long it will take the economy to recover and how well it will recover. There is so much uncertainty. We need to respect the science and open up our economy safely. Please support local businesses.
Fortunately, Mountain View is in a stronger financial situation than some of our neighboring communities. That allows our City to help fund assistance efforts which they have done. I’m proud of that.
How can you shelter-in-place if you don’t have shelter? COVID-19 has made the plight of our homeless population into a public health hazard.
The City website has a compilation of COVID-19 community resources as well as a special page about rent relief resources, including the eviction moratorium.
As mayor in 2016, I initiated an extensive program to address the challenges of homelessness. We have multiple goals such as getting homeless residents into permanent housing while protecting everyone’s driving safety, public health and the environment. On Council, I will continue to support funding for the safety net that the Community Services Agency and Hope’s Corner provide as well as working with the County to provide safe parking for people living in vehicles. The safe parking lots that have been opened up in response to COVID-19 are a significant step forward. Thanks to the County for stepping up to assist the City with this.
It’s important that we have programs and policies to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, almost 3 times as many people become homeless in a month than can be re-housed. We need better ways to identify people who are at risk of becoming homeless and help them keep their housing. I support the eviction moratorium and rental assistance program implemented by the City Council during this COVID-19 crisis.
Alta Housing, where I serve as a board member, has just opened an affordable apartment project to house people who were formerly homeless, particularly veterans.
Please telecommute, ride your bike or walk! Because people can’t afford to live near their jobs, they have been forced to drive long distances, which chokes our roadways. Improving public transportation has been considered a long term solution, but often hasn’t been convenient enough or gotten people where they wanted to go. The complexities of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing will change transportation decisions for many of us personally as well as on a societal basis. At this point, we do not know all of the implications. We could find ourselves facing traffic that may get even worse.
This includes both mitigation to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions and adaptation to protect from impacts like Sea Level Rise, including a less predictable water supply and rising temperatures. Mountain View has embraced both, but a tremendous amount remains to be done. I will champion building the protections our shoreline city needs against SLR. I am the Vice President of Carbon Free Mountain View which champions sustainability.
My water resources career centered on stream restoration and protection of San Francisco Bay. I serve on the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission as the State Senate appointee. BCDC is actively working to improve policies to protect San Francisco Bay from sea level rise and protect the habitat of the Bay.
Housing costs too much here. Fundamentally, the housing crisis in the Bay Area is a supply and demand problem. We need to build more housing and we need to build smart. Housing must be near jobs, transit, parks, schools and stores. We’ve zoned for much more housing in the North Bayshore and the East Whisman areas, but people don’t live in a zoning plan. It needs to be built. During my first term on Council, almost 2400 housing units were built. I’m particularly proud of the 258 units of affordable housing that were built. Now I serve on the Alta Housing Board of Directors (formerly Palo Alto Housing), an affordable housing provider.