Here are a few of the approaches I will take to address these issues as your Councilmember. Please feel free to call or email me to discuss these proposals further.
The City of Cupertino, along with neighboring Bay Area cities, is suffering from an historic affordability crisis that has priced out millions of Californians and contributed to spiraling inequality. How we rise to the challenge of addressing this crisis, will ultimately determine the wellbeing of our community.
I come from a generation of young "Cupertinians" who, having been born and raised in this great city to immigrant parents, wonder whether they can afford to live here long-term. While the economic forces that drive the crisis are complex and systemic, there are policies that we can adopt to reassert community control over our government and, ultimately, to provide people of all income levels, including teachers, public service employees, and working-class families, with opportunities to live and thrive in our city and contribute to its vibrancy.
The number of jobs in Cupertino has grown 50% since the mid-2000s, with 90% of these Cupertino workers commuting into the City. Cupertino’s job growth is expected to continue to outpace population growth. This job growth, while bringing economic success to our City, has also brought immense traffic congestion and has helped make us the least affordable city in Santa Clara County, with only one affordable housing unit available for every fourteen low-wage jobs. As your Councilwoman, I would ensure big corporations pay their fair share into our city infrastructure and schools, so residents aren’t unfairly burdened.
Traffic and Transportation
The sharp increase in traffic we've seen across Cupertino is the result of a surge in new development that lacks transit infrastructure or other mitigations. If we continue down this path, we will see increased gridlock and other negative impacts.
80% of Cupertino commuters travel in single-occupancy vehicles - this needs to change if we ever want to relieve the traffic that plagues our rush hour commute and the congestion near our schools. To help, we need to work with our neighboring communities to mitigate traffic through regional solutions and provide effective alternatives to driving alone.
Teachers and public service workers who commute to Cupertino, for instance, have seen their commute times double or triple over the past decade. We risk losing those that are essential to this community if we don’t address our traffic issues head-on.
Cupertino Union School District is the 12th lowest-funded school district in the state. Although the City Council doesn’t directly oversee our public schools, City Council decisions have a great impact on our schools and our students’ educations. While Senate Bill 50 (1998) puts limits on what school impacts fees we can levy and prevents City Councils from voting down projects because of potential impacts on schools, we can still introduce measures that will keep our schools strong and thriving, strengthening the partnership between our City and School Districts.
I will seek strict accountability from our City Manager with regard to obtaining our goals under Cupertino's Climate Action Plan and transparently disclosing to the public the City’s progress towards attaining these goals. Reducing transportation-related emissions, which account for just over a quarter of our nation's greenhouse gas emissions, will be a priority for me .
The Lehigh Permanente Quarry and Cement Plant, located in "unincorporated County" land and bordering West Cupertino, is one of the most significant sources of pollution for not only Cupertino, but the entire Bay Area. As your Councilmember, I will fight to reduce emissions and pollution from Lehigh by holding it to higher environmental standards in coordination with Bay Area Air Quality Management District and other agencies.
Open and responsive government
Oftentimes, it seems like our political system is run behind-the-scenes by inaccessible politicians, big money and special interests. Cupertino currently has no city-wide restrictions on lobbying or campaign contributions. How can voters be certain that our City Council is doing what is best for our community if they are unreachable and take money from corporate interests?
As your Councilwoman, I will fight for measures that increase transparency and trust between the public, city staff, and our elected officials. That starts with me: I firmly pledge not to take corporate money or developer money, and I'll fight to prevent moneyed interests from seeking influence at City Hall. I also pledge to be a responsive elected official. That means hosting town halls and office hours, as well as sending regular newsletters.