ISSUES

A Safer San José

Re-establishing confidence in the safety of our great city is my priority. Our city, just as our country, is at a pivotal point in balancing safety and policing. As a San José Police Officer for 12 years, 8 years as a full time officer and 4 years as a reserve officer which I continue to serve as today, I will help San José navigate a successful path forward that creates a safer city and pursues critical reform. We must continue to rebuild our department, with a police force that reflects our city’s diversity, builds trust with the community it serves, and helps create a city where people feel safe in their homes and in our greater community.

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As a young man, my own experiences with the police were difficult. I was regularly targeted and pulled over for violations like hanging dice from my rearview mirror or a broken taillight. I didn’t end up with many citations but I was often instructed to sit on the curb while my car was searched, something I didn’t know I could refuse at the time. One SJPD officer confirmed he thought I may be up to no good, asking me why would any good kid be driving a lowrider on the East Side. On another occasion a Los Gatos police officer pulled me over as I was taking my girlfriend out to ice cream, and he unashamedly told me lowriders were not welcome in his city. When I joined the San Jose Police Department I was intent on being an officer who could combat crime while also being fair and unprejudiced.

Restore and Rebuild Our Police Force

When I served as a full time officer we had over 1,400 police officers at our peak. Following the recession and blatant disregard from city leaders we fell to just over 800 at our lowest staffing levels in decades. I’ve helped lead the efforts to restore our ranks back to over 1,150 officers today, but we still have far fewer officers per capita than any other big city in the nation. As our population grows our staffing should too, and it is a priority for me to at least return us to the 1,400 police officers we had a decade ago.

Rethink Policing

As we continue to manage with the most thinly staffed big city police department in the country we must be ambitious about re-prioritizing our police resources to ensure officers have greater ability to engage in community policing, while preventing crime and being able to quickly respond to calls for violent crimes. For too long we have relied on police officers as our safety net to address the failures of our social services. We can operate more efficiently and effectively by re-allocating certain responsibilities from police officers to other mental health professionals and homeless outreach teams.

Increase Collaboration Between Police and County Behavioral Health Services

To better address the mental health crisis we see on our streets every day, I will work to increase funding to extend and expand the Behavioral Health Services program that pairs mental health professionals with police officers to better help individuals suffering a mental health crisis. We will make the Mobile Crisis Response Team 24/7 to ensure this crisis is addressed in real time at every level.

Reform Policing

I will continue the work we have begun with our community to reimagine public safety, ensure our police officers reflect the diversity of the public they serve, and guarantee that those who don’t deserve to wear the badge are removed immediately and prevented from working in neighboring communities.

Reinvest in Our Communities

We must reinvest in our communities to provide early education, after school activities, workforce training and opportunities to help at-risk youth, and make certain those who are re-entering the workforce have the training and employment opportunities they need to get back on their feet and contribute to society.

Create a Safe Haven

San José must be a safe haven for all communities, including minorities and immigrant communities to ensure they are protected from hate crimes, feel safe in their homes and businesses, and build trust with our city’s diverse communities so they feel safe reporting crimes and reaching out for assistance.

Connected, Affordable Transportation & Safe Streets

San José’s public transit system must be safe, accessible, affordable, dependable, and reduce our impact on climate change by encouraging higher ridership. San José residents deserve to be safe on our streets – whether they are on foot, on bicycles, or in motor vehicles.

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Vision Zero

To make San José a safe and walkable city we must continue to pursue the Vision Zero strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for everyone. This means using data to understand trends and reveal dangerous intersections, manage speed to safe levels, and prioritizing equity and community engagement.

In addition, we must close more pedestrian streets to cars (as we did with SoFA, Post, and San Pedro Square), implement more ‘No Right Turns on Red’ intersections, and install permanent infrastructure on protected bike lanes.

Affordable and Seamless Transportation

We must pursue the Seamless Transit Principles to ensure San Jose transportation is part of the Bay Area’s single, easy-to-use system; put riders first; make public transit equitable and accessible to all; align transit prices to be simple, fair, and affordable; connect effortlessly with other sustainable transportation options; plan communities and transportation together; and prioritize reforms to create a seamless network.

Expand Viva Calle

Viva CalleSJ is a free program that temporarily closes miles of San José streets to bring communities together to walk, bike, skate, play, and explore the city like never before. By expanding this program, we can create temporary open space and recreational opportunities in neighborhoods that need it the most, encourage physical activity, and foster community-building. When streets are closed to cars and open to the community, we can inspire people to think about their streets as public spaces first.

Free Public Transportation

Making public transit fare-free will have tremendous public benefits for everyone, as residents and commuters are incentivized to choose public transit over private cars. Fare- fee transit services help low income residents, create economic benefits for local businesses, and are crucial to combating climate change by encouraging residents to get out of their cars and onto public transit.

Reversing The Trend On Homelessness

As Mayor, I will reverse the trend of homelessness that has increased year after year. I have been a leader on creating permanent housing and shelter solutions within my council district and I will translate that city wide. Allowing people to live in tents on our sidewalks, in our parks, near our freeways isn’t humane or safe for anyone. I will prioritize and focus our efforts on this crisis, beginning with convening our first comprehensive task force to bring together all stakeholders ensuring we work more efficiently and effectively while holding each other accountable.

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There is no single solution to our homeless crisis and the high cost of housing that compounds the problem, but there are critical short and long term actions we must take to address these challenges, help people into safe, clean and humane living conditions, and create a city we can all afford to call home.

Reversing the Trend on  Homelessness

Because there are a multitude of reasons people become homeless, we need to address the challenge with a multitude of solutions. We know that clearing an encampment is not a sustainable solution, as people simply move to another area, creating a new issue for surrounding residents and businesses. We must pursue all of these strategies in order to make a significant difference for the people of San José.

  • Quick Build Projects for Temporary Housing
  • Affordable supportive housing
  • Tiny homes
  • Converted hotels/motels
  • Project Room Key
  • Women’s shelters to ensure safety and provide relevant and targeted social services

Making Housing Affordable
For All

San José has a housing and inequality crisis that has put home ownership out of reach for most people, and rising rents have created an unstable housing situation in which many live one paycheck away from homelessness. The high cost of housing and the homeless crisis are inextricably linked. On the City council I have fought to build more housing at all levels to address this crisis. As Mayor, I’ll fight to build more homes for San Jose families to ensure this generation and their children and grandchildren can continue to call San José home.

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Growing up in West San José, my family lived in a rent controlled apartment, struggling to make the rent each month. Many family and friends have had to leave the city because of the rising cost of housing. Just a few years ago my wife and I, along with our six month old son, faced the abrupt challenge of being displaced for our longtime rental home, struggling to find affordable housing options. As a dual income working family we were recently able to buy our own home, becoming the first in our immediate families to do so.

Build More Housing

San José needs all types of housing in order to bring home ownership and rental costs down, keep families and the middle class in our city, and help keep those at risk of becoming homeless securely in their home.

Every city, not just San José, must do their part to build housing that meets the needs of their communities as required by the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).

Protect Tenants and Expand Rent Control

We must extend the eviction moratorium in San José, even after the state moratorium ends. No renter should be evicted due to nonpayment of rent caused by COVID.

San José must offer a Tenant Right to Counsel program for all low income residents and residents experiencing financial hardships facing eviction due to, but not limited to, failure to pay rent because of COVID-19.

We must update and expand the city’s Apartment Rent Ordinance (ARO) to include rented single-family homes, in-law units, ADUs, duplexes, condominiums, townhomes, hotels, boarding houses rented to transient guests for periods of less than 30 days, nonprofit homes for the aged, school dormitories, rental units owned and operated by any government agency, and properties in unincorporated areas of San José.