Los Gatos is facing unique opportunities and unprecedented challenges. I believe that by addressing these key issues we can strengthen and enhance the charm and character of Los Gatos.
Wildfire is the single greatest economic threat to the Town of Los Gatos. We must do more and accelerate our efforts to protect the Town from the threat of wildfire. Our actions to save lives and property must include:
Enhancing communication capabilities through installation of an emergency loudspeaker system across the hillsides of Los Gatos.
Improving roadways and traffic flow out of the very high fire hazard zones
Ensuring that homeowners comply with defensible space requirements.
Fully implement the Wildland Fire Specialist program in partnership with Santa Clara County Fire Department.
Traffic congestion is a major public safety concern. We must take a fresh look and develop a plan that will reduce traffic congestion especially beach traffic, which has become constant throughout the wildfire season. Our actions to reduce traffic congestion must begin by:
Establishing a regional and interagency task force to develop strategies and tactics that can be implemented and tested to reduce traffic congestion along the Highway 17 corridor and critical surface streets in Los Gatos.
Recognizing that increased congestion adds to greenhouse gas emissions, making it impossible for Los Gatos to meet future climate goals.
Overdevelopment and the Land Use General Plan Referendum
Let me make this clear: I am the only candidate to consistently stand AGAINST overdevelopment.
The future of Los Gatos will depend on how we manage development and land use in our Town. In June the Town Council, in a contentious 3-2 vote (and supported by all of my Town Council opponents except Mary Badame), passed the Land Use element of the General Plan, allowing for the permanent upzoning of enough land to build more than 12,000 new housing units in Los Gatos. In addition, the Town Council members who voted to pass the element also specifically removed the words "Small Town" from the General Plan goals.
I will fight this development overreach by the Town Council, and I don't believe such a significant shift to our Town's character should be passed with anything short of a unanimous vote in the Town Council and overwhelming public support. That's why I was an early signer and vigorous advocate of the current General Plan referendum, giving us - the voters of Los Gatos - the ability to control our own destiny and vote if we want to create permanent upzoned density areas, leading to more areas like the North 40, or if we want to restrict the housing increase to the state-mandated number.
There are significant financial challenges on the horizon for the Town including forecast deficits and long-term capital needs but no long-term plan. Town revenues are not keeping pace with Town expenses. We must have a plan to address projected deficits and a long-range financial plan to avert the fiscal challenges that Town Staff is projecting.
Our actions to address looming financial challenges must include:
Developing a 20-year financial forecast that aligns expenses with revenues.
Creating a 5-year budget to increase focus on the short-term.
Considering adoption of a bi-annual budget to encourage thinking/planning beyond one year.
Planning For Responsible Growth
All municipalities in California are required by the State to achieve approved housing unit numbers, including affordable housing, over an eight-year period, 2023-2031. My focus is on planning responsibly for this future growth. Preserving our open space and protecting air and water quality are key elements of a successful growth management plan that must include small parks, hillside protection and more pedestrian access.
We need to implement good planning practices to ensure a successful outcome. Planning for growth is a business problem. Our actions to solve these problems must include:
A land use plan with the best odds for delivering affordable housing.
A reasonable number of proposed housing units.
Los Gatos Economy
Los Gatos has been able to maintain its sense of community in large part due to our Los Gatos businesses. We are able to secure almost all needed goods and services without leaving Town. Our business community throughout the Town deserves our support. We need to take tangible actions to assist our business community as they continue to recover from the serious economic impacts due to COVID.
Our actions to support Los Gatos Businesses must include:
Ensuring Town services that are important to the business community are efficient and cost-effective e.g., timely development/project approvals from the Planning and Building Divisions.
Increase the vitality of the Los Gatos business community by filling vacant storefronts throughout Los Gatos. Bring building owners, the Chamber and Town of Los Gatos Economic Vitality together with a focus on increasing the vibrancy of the business community.
Our seniors need our support. They need, timely and complete information about available services, productive activities that enhance quality of life, and a place of their own to gather.
Our actions in support of our seniors should include:
Developing a Los Gatos Seniors Information Hub App that provides timely and complete information about available services.
Programming of activities and social events that will engage Seniors in social events, volunteer opportunities and offer classes on a variety of life skills topics.
Investigating options for a new Community Center that addresses the need for a meeting place for Seniors and offers a space for intergenerational community events and a variety of activities.
Community Partnerships with Local Law Enforcement
Quality policing, including crime prevention, has always been important to the residents of Los Gatos. We have a new Chief, Jamie Fields, whom I intend to encourage and strongly support as she builds the safety services our Town needs over the next 10 years. Our actions to increase crime prevention and maintain quality policing begins with Community involvement. At the Council level, I will ensure that our Police Department has the resources, Officers and Technology, needed to prevent crime.