Supporting attainable housing in Los Gatos
On the Town Council, I would focus on creating attainable, affordable housing while protecting and preserving existing single-family housing so a diverse range of families can call our town home. To accomplish this, we need to employ a variety of tactics. Los Gatos needs to encourage new housing in strategic locations throughout town that have adequate access to transportation and infrastructure. We need to partner with nonprofit housing developers, for-profit developers, and property owners to build affordable housing. We also need to allow for a variety of housing types, from single-family homes to fourplexes to mixed-use developments. I would be the first person in decades to serve on the Town Council as a renter. Much like many teachers, service workers, tradespeople, and others, I have personally experienced the struggle of affording to live in Los Gatos.
As someone who works professionally in affordable housing, I have an advanced understanding of the challenges we face. Whether we like it or not, Los Gatos is mandated to build 2,000 new units per State of California housing requirements. As a community, I feel we need to rise to meet the need. Otherwise, the State of California will build our housing for us, and we can be sure that that sort of housing will not fit the character of Los Gatos. It is in the interest of all residents to build new housing and plan to meet our housing requirements.
Easing traffic and congestion throughout town
Traffic in Los Gatos is bad, and it seems to be getting worse. Traffic hurts our health, our environment, and our businesses. We can make a big impact on our congestion woes by encouraging walking and biking. The more people we get out of cars, the less traffic we have. We also need to make road improvements in particular sections of town where bad street design has led to unnecessary backups. Traffic calming measures and smart roadway design will help make streets safer for everyone.
Another piece of easing congestion loops back to supporting local businesses. In the summer months, Los Gatos can feel like a “flyover town,” where people are driving through just to get to the beach. A vibrant, walkable downtown full of thriving businesses will encourage more folks driving through to actually stop and spend time in town, therefore spacing out and easing peak traffic times.
Expanding the variety of housing types in Los Gatos
A variety of housing types is key to preserve the character of Los Gatos, to create more affordability, and to meet state housing requirements. Los Gatos is a community with predominantly single family homes, and many families moved here for that reason. I have no interest in changing that. What I do want to do is younger people, older people, less affluent people, and single people in town a chance to live here too. There are many choices for what can be built in town, and most housing types already exist somewhere in Los Gatos. From mixed-used developments with housing on the top and retail on the bottom to duplexes to apartment buildings, we can create housing that works for everyone in town. Professionally, I build tiny homes. While tiny homes may not be the right fit, creative options like ADUs (accessorty dwelling units, or granny flats) can be a great way to easily build more housing units.
Making our town more connected, walkable, and bikeable
I walk and bike regularly throughout Los Gatos, both for practical reasons and for pleasure. There are parts of our town that have excellent pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and parts of our town where that infrastructure is seriously lacking. With how many students are biking to school these days, I see it as more important than ever to ensure our streets are safe to walk and bike on. We can do this through more bike lanes, protected intersections, and raised crosswalks that demonstrate to all that the street is not just for cars, but for bikes and pedestrians too. There are numerous neighborhoods that don’t have sidewalks, and I am committed to ensuring every street that needs a sidewalk, has one.
This sort of infrastructure will allow many more people to get out of their cars and instead walk and bike where they need to go. Doing this will help ease traffic, build more community, help Los Gatos reduce our emissions, and make our town a more interesting place to be. We need to design our roads with people in mind first, not cars.
Ending homelessness in Los Gatos
I have spent a decent portion of my professional life working with people experiencing homelessness, so I possess a unique and nuanced understanding of this complex issue. While it may seem like a lofty goal, I believe it is possible to end homelessness in Los Gatos during my time in office. Homelessness is not as pervasive in Los Gatos as it is in other communities, but it is nevertheless a real and tragic issue. My plan to end homelessness is to partner with other local municipalities like Campbell, Saratoga, and Cupertino to create a housing agreement. Each of the West Valley cities and towns would house the people living outside in their community, functionally ending homelessness. For Los Gatos, this is less than two dozen people. Accomplishing this lofty goal would not only help our neighbors sleeping outside, but everyone in Los Gatos.