Problem: We do not have adequate police staffing. We have half of what is recommended for a city of one million residents. We have an increased amount of petty theft crimes in our neighborhoods. In 2019 San Jose had 4,561 major violent crimes and 25,164 property crimes.
Solution: Continue to actively recruit and hire more police officers and community service officers. Having more sworn officers will help the department hit their target response times and having more community service officers enables response to non-suspect and property crimes. Explore additional funding options to install more license plate readers beyond the anticipated 60-100 that SJ Police is expected to receive in the coming months.
Cultivate more interactions between neighborhoods and the police officers assigned to the neighborhoods to help build relationships.
Problem: The County of Santa Clara’s overall homeless census count in 2019 was 9,706, In San José, the overall homeless count was 6,172. The end cost of homelessness is $520 million annually as of 2015. The 2020 census will show the new staggering amount when it is released.
Solution: Homelessness is a complicated problem with approximately 75% of our unhoused needing mental health and or addiction help. The county opted into Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) this year which has shown to be working, but we need mental health facilities as well. The county could convert sections of existing county hospitals until new facilities can be built.
San Jose City council voted to apply for Project Home Key funding and to put prefabricated housing next to the police station. The first will help convert hotels and place 615 individuals into permanent and interim housing while the other will house 76 individuals temporarily.
Individuals need wrap around services until they are stabilized, and I think Governor Newsom’s Care Court is a step in the right direction. Care Court offers court ordered individualized interventions and services, stabilization medication, advanced mental health directives and housing assistance. Plans are up to 24 months and include a public defender and supporter to help individuals make self-directed decisions.
Finding different ways to tackle the issue is key in getting people housed. No one should be living on the side of the road or in an encampment.
Problem: San Jose has been built out over decades and we have limited land to build new housing. The existing housing supply has gone up in value and it makes finding affordable housing to rent or owning a home a challenge.
Solution: San Jose has provided more housing than most nearby cities. We have almost reached our market rate housing goal of 10,000 units by 2023 but we are behind on our affordable housing goal of 10,000 with only 3,000 units built to date. Using Measure A funds as well as state and federal funds to purchase existing apartment complexes could help us create low-income housing faster. We also need to stream-line permit processes so builders and home owners can begin construction sooner.
I support the Envision 2040’s plan which identifies available land that is designated and zoned for 120,000 new housing units consistent with state law. The designated land is identified in growth areas to avoid urban sprawl. Sixty plus urban villages are part of the plan however only 13 have been approved. These villages need to be made a priority as they create new high-density housing in clearly defined areas near transit corridors that help reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) while protecting single family neighborhoods.
I support land use plans and policies that turn San Jose into a regional job growth center and therefore I feel all policies should be decided at the local and not state level.
Problem: We need to be more fiscally conservative and transparent with taxpayer dollars as we navigate out of the pandemic.
Solution: Focus on core city services and not spend money on things that are not of highest priority. Defer allocating funds to programs that cannot be sustained long term. Find ways to save money by looking for duplicative or unnecessary services within the city and use automation where possible.
Problem: Our streets and parks have litter
Solution: Assist neighborhood associations in applying for SJ Beautify grants if they have not done so in the past. Encourage neighborhood associations, property associations and community partners to adopt a park. Inform neighborhoods about the City of San Jose anti-litter program and how to get litter pick up kits for neighborhood cleanup events. Encourage residents to use the 311 app to report illegal dumping or graffiti. Explore implementing a Property and Business Improvement District in D1. A PBID would employ individuals while keeping transit corridor areas of D1 clean.