I believe in building community and civic engagement. We are better when we care about each other and do things together. We are better when we know how government works and participate together in building community across differences. I believe in smart, responsive government and collaboration among community, elected officials, and city staff. We are fortunate to have an ethic of public service among Livermore city employees and the will to plan for the future as a community. As your city council representative, I pledge to carry these values forward.
My family moved to Livermore because of its unique blend of cultures. It’s rare for a community to have both PhD physicists and a long-running rodeo. For many years, those cultures existed in parallel. Stockman’s Park in the heart of Livermore’s downtown developed as many of the different groups that make up Livermore—ranchers and scientists, winegrowers and performing arts representatives, teachers and business owners, and members of the interfaith community—came together with one plan that will benefit everyone. It was a remarkable collaboration among many dissimilar groups. As it takes shape, the city continues to gather residents’ views on design elements. I am excited to see this cultural core take shape and pledge to support its prompt completion.
Livermore has a housing problem: the median house price in Livermore is now $800,000. That is a price that shuts out most new home-buyers or renters, particularly those in public service: teachers, public employees, and first responders. These new buyers or renters are, for the most part, adults in their mid-20s to early 40s. We have a societal obligation to those who have gone into public service, and we can both fulfill that obligation and preserve the urban growth boundary with careful planning and infill housing where it’s been designated.
I am proposing nothing new here: we know the problem and our city planners work to balance the population’s different needs. Going forward, I will support the ongoing efforts for smart growth to ensure better quality of life for our next generation.
When I moved to Livermore, Pleasanton was a quick ten minutes away on the freeway. Now it takes three times that long because Livermore is ground zero for a problem exists from San Francisco and Silicon Valley to Modesto and Merced. That increased commute traffic affects our quality of life with poorer air quality and increased city street congestion. The spillover from folks trying to shortcut their commutes means that Tesla Road, Railroad Avenue, and Jack London Boulevard also slow down. Despite limited funding levels, we must find ways to maintain our current roads and expand capacity to meet future needs. Improving transportation capacity and reducing traffic congestion means that we must continue to develop our regional partnerships (Valley Link), pursue State and Federal funding opportunities, and avail ourselves of new technology. I pledge to be an advocate for improving Livermore’s traffic and access going forward.
Just as our homes need regular maintenance, from new paint to new pipes, so does our city. We are lucky: two years ago, Livermore took the initiative to conduct an inventory of city assets, from infrastructure to buildings and more. We hired a consultant who used a data driven, analytical approach to assess what we owned and what condition it was in. That enabled us to understand the probability of any component failure and the consequences of that failure.
It would be nice to pay for everything, but as with household management, the city has a limited budget. The diligence of the past allows us to plan responsibly for the future, ensuring that those assets that present the greatest risk are managed first. As we go forward, we must stay the course to ensure that our city’s infrastructure is maintained and managed for the good of us all.
Who are the vulnerable among us and why should we care?
Some are vulnerable because of age: the impoverished elderly. As a community, we owe them care for their past efforts.
Some are vulnerable because of lack of housing: over the last decade, Livermore’s homeless population has grown—part of a regional problem. Caring for this population is both the human thing to do and addresses the health problems created for all.
Some are vulnerable because they are part of minority groups at risk for hate speech or action. We are all part of one community and making the community safe for these minority groups makes all of us part of a more civil and secure society.
The causes and cures for these examples are very different. Yet in each case, caring for them will benefit the rest of society, not only the individual. I pledge to work toward a secure future for vulnerable populations so that we can all be safer.