721 Acre Proposal:
The proposal site is primarily located in the unincorporated county north of the Gilroy city limits. The site is generally bounded by Monterey Road on the east, Santa Teresa Boulevard on the west, Fitzgerald Avenue on the north and existing city limits on the south.
I voted against the project for many reasons. The Environmental Impact Report looked at the possibility of 4,000 homes in the project area. In reality, the number of homes would be much greater. Further, the project would have a negative fiscal impact to the City at a time when we are trying to provide additional services to current residents. It would have added more traffic, more noise and more impacts to our quality of life. Lastly, it makes our jobs/housing imbalance worse and further cements Gilroy as a bedroom community to San Jose. It is my hope that Gilroy can be more than that.
Police and Fire Protection:
Keeping our children and families safe is a critical service and the flagship responsibility of our city government. A successful public safety organization only works if we provide services for today’s population while planning for future needs. I’ve placed an emphasis on prevention programs to get in front of crime activity and added more officers and patrols to lower crime and target gang violence during the last two-year budget. I have also voted to provide funding to address our dilapidated communication system and I will look toward new technology to allow officers to be effective while enhancing officer safety.
Fire protection is very expensive and the continued growth in Gilroy will add pressure on the Fire Department to achieve a 5-minute response time. We need to start planning now to be able to fully staff the proposed fire station at the Glen Loma Ranch site when it is built. In addition, I’ll make sure both the Chestnut and Las Animas stations receive the capital funding necessary for their seismic improvements.
Economic Growth and Jobs:
We need to do more to help facilitate the easing of regulations and streamlining of business permits. Many people dream of stating their own business. They invest their time, money, and sweat into making this dream a reality. Gilroy should do all we can to help them succeed without putting unnecessary barriers in front of them. I support using economic incentives for large companies to relocate to Gilroy, which will in turn create and protect high paying jobs. We are competing with other jurisdictions and so our message must be clear and compelling: Gilroy is open for business!
Our neighborhoods, whether new or well established, are one of the key qualities that makes Gilroy unique. The city should do more to strengthen our neighborhoods by creating new parks and fund recreational activities for families, notably by expanding our youth and senior programs and services. The addition of new community service officers can aid neighborhood-driven crime prevention efforts (i.e. neighborhood watch) and contribute to safer streets.
I have always been a strong advocate for the creation of an Arts Center. A vibrant arts community will be the heart and soul to our city. It can also provide a much-needed economic benefit to the downtown area. I will push to fund the modernization of the current Arts Center at 7th and Monterey with the end goal of having a phased approach to creating a larger Arts Center Campus.
I’m opposed to the selling of the Gardens or breaking up a portion of the vacant land to sell to developers for more housing.
Our downtown is the historic center of Gilroy. It’s filled with history, character, and meaning to long-term residents. In association with downtown businesses, the city should rally around the adoption of a plan with established annual goals. As part of the plan, we can build economic development capacity through incentives and development regulations. For example, I supported the expansion of allowed uses within the downtown including boutique hotels and micro-breweries. I hope that by removing some of the red tape and allowing additional uses, it will create a positive synergy for the all businesses downtown.
Congestion in our city streets is not inevitable. We can reduce congestion and increase our traffic flows by improving traffic management and increasing the capacity of our road networks. I’ll require future development to pay for new traffic infrastructure.
Housing growth must take into account our ability to provide public safety services and the impacts to our schools. In addition, housing fees paid to the city must be fully evaluated to ensure the city is receiving the full costs of future development impacts.
The City of Gilroy would benefit from strengthening our partnership with the school district. We must bring them in on the conversation about future housing growth, location of new housing developments and impacts to current school populations. Continuing to look for new opportunities to collaborate with the district on shared capital projects is an absolute must.
We need to acknowledge that our parks, trails, and open space are a key component to our identity as a city. It plays a critical role in the quality of life for our citizens. Our parks and trails provide green space and breathing room. So whether its play structures, picnic tables, basketball courts or trails to walk and run; our parks should provide something for everyone.