I support the move away from fossil fuels to greater reliance on clean, renewable energy through policies that emphasize public transit, walking, bicycling, electric vehicles, electric appliances, energy-efficient buildings, sustainable building materials, energy storage and smart grids, and solar panels.
Encourage Mass Timber
Repair Neighborhoods From Freeway Disruptions
Sustainable Development: Despite a wet winter here and there, California is stuck in a cycle of recurring droughts, continuing fire seasons, and hotter days. To preserve our natural resources, I will push for policies that electrify our homes and businesses quicker to rely more on renewable energy, conserving our water, and more efficient heating and cooling systems. I propose:
- Raising the City of San Jose requirement on all new multi-unit development from LEED Silver → LEED Gold. Or, as they do in Miami Beach with all new buildings above 7,000 sq ft, developers can pay a fee to have a lower environmental certification and the revenue can be dedicated to environmental initiatives.
- Incentives to encourage energy-efficient buildings, solar panels, sustainable building materials like low-carbon concrete, and energy storage and smart grids
- Drought-tolerant, native landscaping and trees that use less water compared to green grass lawns. We should require 50% drought-tolerant landscaping in new developments.
- Increased use of purple pipes, including the gradual conversion of recycled water into more regular, extensive usage. In the future, we might need to use this as drinking water and I believe it is now safe thanks to our recycled water plant. City facilities should increasingly rely on recycled water.
- Greater water efficiency through rainwater runoff systems that return water to the ground
- The city's sale or reuse of at least one of its golf courses to reduce water usage authorized by the city and provide a use that benefits more community members
- Development that is outside of, or at least accounts for, areas prone to fires or flooding
- Integrate the City’s Climate Smart Plan into our next General Plan
Encourage Mass Timber: Part of what makes taller buildings above seven stories expensive is they traditionally require steel, which is more expensive than wood. An emergent construction material called mass timber is improving the odds of construction commencing and getting completed quicker. Mass timber has direct environmental impacts. It can be made from a variety of trees which can lead to more sustainable forestry, and can limit large forest fires, and store carbon more effectively than traditional materials. At the same time, this building method also creates a benefit to reduce damage from earthquakes. This kind of innovation and efficiency is what we need in San Jose. Yet San José doesn’t have a single mass timber project. That’s why I promise an incentive program for any developer that commits to mass timber construction in projects between 9 and 30 stories by January 1, 2027.
Repair Neighborhoods From Freeway Disruptions: District 6 community leaders have brainstormed this idea I believe is worth exploring. To repair neighborhoods torn apart and hurt by the noise and pollution of freeways, San Jose should follow the lead of cities like San Diego by exploring a cap/top (also known as a freeway lid) over Highway 280 in District 6. I propose studying one between Race St & MacArthur Ave. The City should join other government agencies in sharing the costs of a feasibility study that looks at how the land above the highway could be used for parks and/or homes on it.
Urban Agriculture: I take pride in this County as the Valley of the Heart’s Delight! One of the best measures we can take to build more sustainable communities is to grow local food instead of having our food shipped in from far away using energy-draining transportation methods that cause significant pollution and cost a lot. So I propose San Jose:
- Collaborate with a nonprofit like Village Harvest to create a city urban harvesting program (here’s an example from San Francisco).
- Partner with the Open Space Authority to purchase land and put an easement on the land to reserve it for urban agriculture.
- Encourage property owners sitting on empty buildings or empty land to convert the land to urban agriculture (using the Urban Agricultural Incentive Zone I worked on at the County and City or other policies)
- Change SJ ordinance code to allow/encourage rooftop gardens as allowed by right (noteworthy examples include the Brooklyn Grange farm or Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in NYC). I would welcome incentives for D6 projects adding rooftop gardens.
Reform CEQA: Though I don’t want to reduce environmental regulations, I do want to reform CEQA because it gets in the way of development. It is used as a tool by those who oppose housing, including affordable housing, and thus is an issue of equity.