Questions I’ll Ask Developers: Developers should build in a way that does the most good for the most people. I will ask every developer proposing a project in my district these four questions:
- How many homes are you building?
- How many of them will be affordable and how affordable will they be?
- What is your community engagement process to hear community input and build community support for the project?
- What community benefits will this project provide to benefit the broader neighborhood?
Community Engagement: Developers proposing projects in my District seeking my support will be urged to implement a thoughtful, responsive, inclusive community engagement plan to not just hear community input, but incorporate it. When the community is involved and invested, new development can increase neighborhood pride and trust in decision-makers. I will take a hands-on approach by offering to facilitate meetings between a developer and the community to ensure the community’s voice is heard.
Community Benefits: As part of the community engagement process, I will push developers to ensure projects include amenities and benefits to the broader neighborhood (in addition to the residents or workers of the new building). Examples of community benefits include retail, restaurants, coffee shops, childcare, a community room, a community garden, public art, and streetscape improvements. This can bring homes closer to businesses, offices, and green spaces, which will benefit us all.
The Good Neighbor, Better Neighborhood Deal: Neighborhoods where sanctioned encampments, interim housing, or other temporary housing are located would receive extra resources from the City to beautify the neighborhood and improve its quality of life. This includes neighborhood improvements such as extra code enforcement, park maintenance, neighborhood beautification, or streetscape improvements like lighting, repaving, or street humps. I call this deal the Good Neighbor, Better Neighborhood (GNBN) program.
Avoid Builders Remedy: The City of San José needs to swiftly pass a realistic, equity-rooted Housing Element so that developers don’t build projects that are out of step with city policies, which they’re able to do because of the “builders remedy.”
Fairly Pay & Protect Workers: Development is not just about the people who will live in the housing, but also the hard workers who construct the buildings. Developers should always pay prevailing wages and endeavor to use union labor. I will always stand with workers if they are not being fairly compensated or if they are forced into unfair or unsafe working conditions. If I am made aware of such conditions, I will stand up to developers and to protect those workers. When workers are being treated and compensated fairly, it also brings us one step closer to making San Jose a city where working people can afford to live.
Google Project: Fastrack Construction and Demand Promises Be Kept: My organization Catalyze SV and I enthusiastically supported Google’s mixed-use development next to Diridon Station and pushed hard for ensuring affordable housing as a major project component. Google’s community engagement efforts were excellent. It’s $150 million community benefits package was pioneering and one we should encourage on future San Jose projects. Google has assured me and others the project is moving forward, but not as fast as first expected or I’d like. I anticipate it wont be fully completed for 15-20 years. As your Councilmember, I will:
- Stay in regular contact with Google, collaborating provide my constituents and our broader community up-to-date information on the progress on the project.
- Push Google to maintain its promises to the community.
Urge Google to begin distributing the $150-200 million dedicated to community benefits sooner.
- Participate hands-on about the design of the project as it firms up to ensure it shapes an iconic new places in San Jose.
- And if, for some reason, Google decides to reduce or pull out of this project, I will join with City staff and the Mayor’s Office and expend a great deal of time finding others willing to develop this prime piece of land that is worth its weight in gold to be the San Jose gem it can and should be.
Prioritize Transit-Oriented Development: We must emphasize multi-story buildings next to public transit centers like Diridon Station and along major San Jose streets, which in District 6 includes Bascom Ave, Meridian, West San Carlos, and The Alameda. These housing projects, especially if on public land like VTA-owned TOD sites, should ensure that the developers provide multi-year free transit passes to some or all of the occupants to encourage more people to ride public transit. This is especially important for affordable housing projects because these residents are most likely to need and use public transit.
Ensure More Sustainable Development: We must move towards greater sustainability in all parts of our city, including housing development. I recommend:
- The City of San Jose raise the requirement on all new multi-unit development from LEED Silver to LEED Gold (or the equivalent third-party certification).
New policies to further encourage energy-efficient buildings, sustainable building materials like low-carbon concrete, energy storage and smart grids, and solar panels.
- legislation reducing fees for buildings that activate their rooftops for services such as parks or other usable places.
- changing San Jose’s ordinance code to more easily allow or encourage rooftop gardens.