My approach as an elected official will be to create policies and programs that meet the needs of working people, middle-class families, and small businesses. I support policies that promote economic development and job creation to provide opportunities for a more equitable and prosperous San José for all its residents.
A Living Wage
Labor Conditions & Unions
Encourage & Support Small Businesses
Berryessa Flea Market
A Living Wage: It’s especially hard to survive in San Jose earning minimum wage. And yet, these workers are essential to our daily lives and businesses; they keep our economy functioning. Fair wages are valuable to everyone because:
- Businesses can attract and retain better workers that feel respected
- Recruiting and training new workers can be a greater hardship than keeping existing ones
- Ensuring employees can stay in our community working means businesses can too
San Jose can address this hardship by increasing our city’s minimum wage. I propose implementing this increase to $25 per hour incrementally by January 2027. I propose we:
- Work with other cities in the Bay Area to implement a similar wage and timeline so it is standard across the region and doesn’t disadvantage San José businesses, similar to the way Mayor Liccardo worked to implement rises
- Continue to index the minimum wage so it can rise as inflation rises
- Stay open to certain exceptions to the wage (like high school-age workers who aren’t financially independent)
While this will be a step in the right direction, it is necessary to keep in mind that $25 per hour is only $52,000 per year (before taxes). That’s still not very much to live in a place as expensive as San José.
Labor Conditions & Unions: Workers deserve fair wages, safe working conditions, stabilizing benefits, and a voice in their workplace. Unionizing is a critical tool to achieve these rights. Unions not only improve work conditions for their members, but they help to set the standards by which other employers also abide and protect workers from mistreatment. I aim to support labor by:
- Always standing with workers if they are not being fairly compensated or if they are forced into unfair or unsafe working conditions
- Never crossing picket lines.
- Advocating for and support policies that strengthen workers' rights and promote sectoral bargaining
- Using my platform to publicly call out and challenge any business that engages in anti-worker practices.
City Staff: San Jose deserves the best workforce around. That means we must attract and keep top talent by creating a well-paid workforce that feels respected by their leaders. One reason we have so many vacant positions at City Hall in multiple departments right now is that our employees can make more money (often for less work) in smaller cities next door to San Jose. To attract and retain the quality and number of employees we need to provide city services, we’re going to need to pay some of our city staff more.
Business Tax: Silicon Valley is the greatest concentration of wealth in human history. Big businesses are thriving here. We need them to pay their fair share (especially if they are avoiding other taxes through loopholes). Eight years ago, San Jose voters approved a revised business tax. As other Silicon Valley cities did in 2022, I support increasing San Jose’s business tax in 2026, in collaboration with the business-focused organizations like the San Jose Chamber of Commerce and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Encourage & Support Small Businesses: Small, local businesses should be at the core of San Jose’s economy. They deserve top-notch customer service from city staff and their elected representatives. I’ll support the City going to great lengths to help small businesses grow as they revitalize our neighborhoods. I will always talk to small business owners dealing with city processes to collaborate on how we can make them work efficiently. More of my small business plans can be found in Priority 4: Growing & Celebrating. Some highlights include:
- Push the City and developers to include active uses on the ground floor of new developments to benefit the broader neighborhood. These community amenities could include spaces for small businesses like retail, restaurants, coffee shops, and childcare.
- Make it easier for individuals to make a living running businesses out of their homes, building off of lessons we learned from the pandemic.
- Reduce taxes for a set period for property owners that give lease agreements to locally-owned businesses and/or bring back businesses at risk of being displaced.
- Hire a Small Business Specialist in my office to collaborate closely with small business owners.
Berryessa Flea Market: I will continue my role in a coalition of organizations and individuals seeking to protect and prevent the displacement of hundreds of largely Latino and Asian Berryessa Flea Market vendors, who successfully secured a better deal for these businesses as this redevelopment unfolds. Through this work, I have been regularly speaking out against the displacement of communities of color. As this work continues, I support:
- Finding a new site on city-owned land for the market to operate
- San Jose giving that land to the operator of the market
- Encouraging Flea Market Vendors themselves to become the collective operator
- Increasing housing density next to VTA’s Berryessa Transit Center and a BART Station
Childcare: One estimate says childcare in our region costs $43,000 per child per year. Even Silicon Valley business associations agree these out-of-control costs aren’t sustainable. We need to move towards universal childcare. Working with the federal and state governments, I’ll propose increased access to affordable childcare in San Jose. My ideas include:
- Subsidized or free childcare for all city employees, ideally located near City Hall
- Free childcare for residents working at least 10 hours a week making less than 30% of Area Median Income (AMI)
- A pilot program for free childcare in city community centers in the three to ten San Jose zip codes with the fewest resources
- Scholarships for local camps & after-school care for those making below 50% AMI
- Advocate for childcare on the first floor of new developments, particularly in areas that are childcare deserts
- Policies that provide a better work-life balance for families, such as flexible work arrangements and parental leave.