Sustainable Redwood City
While the City of Redwood City has invested in various communication strategies in recent years, survey after survey indicates we simply aren’t reaching our residents.
This is why I am proposing creating a Community Engagement & Communication Council Subcommittee, comprised of residents, city staff, and councilmembers, who will be tasked with increasing transparency and maximizing opportunities to inform and meaningfully engage with our community effectively.
I am proud of the work I have done to make Redwood City a more equitable, inclusive community for all. I created the very first Spanish Language Police Department Facebook page in California and expanded the"Citizens Police Academy Program to serve our LatinX community members.
I helped create the RCPD Youth Academy, oversaw the Volunteers in Policing, and Cadet Programs. I expanded our "Adopt a School" program to include our special education classrooms and worked with local financial institutions to prevent our seniors from becoming victims of fraud. While all of these efforts have an impact, I can assure you; there is much more work to be done.
This is why I am proposing the creation of a Citizens Equity & Inclusion Commission to develop proactive, sustainable strategies to create a more equitable and inclusive community where residents of all races, ages, abilities, and income levels, can thrive.
Keeping Our Communities Safe
Fire & Paramedic Services
Our Fire Department is one of the very best in the United States. With the increased risk of wildfires and natural disasters, we must ensure our Firefighters have the tools, training, equipment, and staffing they need to keep us safe.
Over my 30-year career in Law Enforcement, I have received dozens of awards and recognition for my work within our community, service to our underserved, the innovated use of technology in policing, and the use of social media to increase community engagement.
My Comprehensive Plan includes a wide range of common-sense reforms that will not only keep our community members and officers safe, but also increase transparency, build community trust, and save taxpayer dollars. Highlights of my plan include-
The high cost of housing has forced the majority of our law enforcement officers to move out of the area. In fact, most of our officers live 2 or 3 hours away. When officers live in the communities they work in, they are invested and connected to the people they serve. Building relationships within the community is essential to building and maintaining the trust and to the overall health and success of our community, and it's members.
We must do more to bridge this gap created by the high cost of housing to connect our officers with the community members they serve. Such as hiring from within our own community, providing housing credits or incentives for residency, and encouraging officers to volunteer with a local organization a few hours a month, while on duty.
Muti-Agency Collaboration & Community Partnerships
We must address homelessness as a crisis in Redwood City. Currently, our Police Department is tasked with managing our unhoused residents. This policy only serves to exacerbate the problem and fails to work towards any long-term solutions. Homelessness in and of itself is not a crime. Our Police Department does not have the tools, skills, or ability to solve homelessness. Our City must take a leadership role when collaborating with Local, Regional, State, and Federal Agencies to address this growing epidemic.
While the City of Redwood City, Redwood City School District, Belmont-Redwood Shores School District, Sequoia Union High School District, and the County of San Mateo are all separate agencies, with their own elected representatives, budgets, and mandates, there are several essential areas we must collaborate on, in order to meet the collective needs of our community and it’s members.
Our Police Department must collaborate with our School Districts to reduce the number of "Calls for Service" to our schools. Currently, if two students get into a minor altercation at school, the Police are called to respond. This can result in a case being filed against the students, thus entering them into our Juvenile Justice System. Unfortunately, a series of budget cuts over the last two decades has eliminated many of the staff positions within our schools that traditionally dealt with these issues. We must work with our School Districts to ensure their staff is equipped to handle these types of situations, in order to avoid Police Intervention, whenever possible.
Mental Health Services
As a San Mateo County Mental Health & Substance Abuse Recovery Commissioner, and the current Chair of the Children & Youth Committee, I am working to implement Youth Crisis Services throughout San Mateo County. Far too often, students who have mental illness are falling through the cracks. Children need access to Mental Health services, and their families require support services to help their children learn how to manage their illness as they enter into adulthood, which dramatically increases their ability to live healthy, independent, and productive lives.
Development, Displacement & Workforce Housing
The lack of affordable housing has significantly impacted our schools. Over the past 15 years, thousands of Redwood City families have been priced out of the area. With school enrollment steadily in decline, the District was forced to consolidate several neighborhood schools.
The cost of housing impacts the ability to retain qualified educators and staff. The individual decisions made by the city and school districts make a significant impact on our community as a whole. While we can't go back in time and recapture missed opportunities, we can commit to ensuring we don't repeat the mistakes of the past. The city and school districts must commit to offering one another a seat at the table whenever policies and decisions that significantly impact our children and families are made.
Climate change is one of the most challenging issues we face.
What we do or fail to do in the next decade will be critical. We have all witnessed the impacts recent wildfires have had on our daily lives. Unhealthy air, PG&E blackouts, and most shockingly, a day when so much smoke blocked the sun, our streetlights went on at 1:30 in the afternoon.
We need to prioritize our commitment to addressing Climate Change, which is why I am proposing creating a Citizens Commission on Conservation & Sustainability to ensure we are working on this issue with the attention, urgency, and seriousness it demands.
When COVID-19 began, I took immediate action to inform, protect, and assist members of our community. The Farm Hill Neighborhood Association was the very first to hold a community meeting on COVID-19. On March 8, 2020, I met with community members at Peninsula Covenant Church to discuss the virus, the current status and capacity of our health care systems, and provide information to reduce the spread and keep our community members safe.
Eight days later, San Mateo County issued a "Shelter At Home Order." On March 18, 2020, I began issuing "COVID-19 Updates" which included the latest orders and notifications from Federal, State, and Local Agencies, School Districts, case data, testing locations, and a "COVID-19 Program & Resource Directory", which included contact information for services available in San Mateo County. I provided this information to the City of Redwood City for their use and distribution while their COVID-19 Minisite was being created.
COVID-19 has undoubtedly presented every city with unprecedented challenges. Redwood City is no exception. Any candidate who suggests they have the answers or experience to solve the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 is simply not being honest or overestimating their fortune-telling ability to predict the future. The truth is nobody knows what the actual impacts of this worldwide pandemic will ultimately be
Strengthening Community Through Service
One of the greatest strengths Redwood City has is our shared sense of community. Our residents care deeply about our community. Without fail, I have watched residents step-up, pitch in, and help out. May it be for a community clean-up event, to raise funds for those in need, or help a vulnerable neighbor get food or medicine during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
As your Councilmember, I will propose the creation of a "City Corps" Program. An organized resident volunteer network that can be called on to serve in the community when needed. May it be to deliver lunches to our seniors, volunteer at a "Cooling or Smoke Relief Center," the library, an annual event, and more. "City Corps" participants would receive training, Live-Scan screening, an item identifying them as a "City Corps Volunteer."