As an elected Councilmember, my priorities will be:
Affordable housing is the most challenging issue facing our City, which is now facing a massive housing shortage. The corollary to the lack of affordable units is the increase in the number of people living on our streets and decrease in diversity of our population. This is unacceptable.
A major reason cited why we have such shortage of housing in Berkeley is that for the past 40 years there has been a constant block against sustainable development in the City. The demand for housing outstrips our available supply, making available housing very expensive, thus making living in Berkeley less and less affordable. We need to build more affordable housing units to respond to this crisis.
- Supporting Measure O to raise $135M for affordable housing is a good start. While this is not the only panacea, we can follow up on this initial effort to resolve the housing problem.
- I will create partnerships with the private sector and the University of California to continue the path towards building more housing units for the students.
- I will work with the More Student Housing Now campus group to make sure their voices are heard within the halls of the Chancellor's office.
- And I will work closely with the community in order to implement solutions to its housing needs.
Public Safety & Social Justice
- I will work to reduce property theft by increasing foot and bike patrols in District 7 and all of Berkeley.
- I will secure funding for law enforcement agencies in Berkeley to receive sensitivity training when responding to victims and survivors of sexual violence inside and outside of campus.
- My office will be open to sexual assault victims who need a safe place to be heard and helped.
- I will open a dialogue and honest conversations with both Berkeley Police Department (BPD) and UC Police Department (UCPD) members about racial disparities and treatment of students.
- I will address public safety concerns of seniors and people with disabilities.
- I will continue my support for both firefighter and police unions.
- I will use my extensive community organizing skills to foster dialogue and collaboration with all law enforcement agencies: BART, UCPD, and BPD and define clearer lines of communication between the BPD and the Police Review Commission
Many infrastructure needs face the City: facilities, sidewalks, information technology, streets, sanitary sewers, storm drains, and more. Of immediate concern to most residents is the condition of our roads and sidewalks. Drivers and bicycle riders alike complain of the unsafe conditions of our streets. Seniors and people with disabilities (on wheelchairs or walking with canes) are constantly at risk of falls because of broken and uneven sidewalks.
- The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) report, as presented by the City’s Budget and Fiscal Management Division, mentions competing priorities when trying to respond to the City’s infrastructure needs. However, the CIP does identify funding sources that have been earmarked for some of these projects. If elected, I will make sure that the City implements these projects as soon as possible.
My co-housing community is an example of a creative housing ownership model. Eighteen years ago my wife and I, together with our friends, co-created a co-housing community in District 7. This model allowed for us to be homeowners in Berkeley. My goal is for all Berkeley residents to remain in their homes without fear of displacement. With the recent passing of SB-1227 – the density bonus bill - I am confident that I can advocate for the construction of more affordable housing for students, individuals and families through the following ways:
- Review and fix Berkeley's commercial regulations to make doing business in Berkeley less complicated.
- Identify barriers that slow the process of developing commercial enterprises.
- Focus on economic development to increase City revenue and thus reduce the burden on homeowners, tenants and students in providing quality of life services to the homeless.
- Support Berkeley’s downtown renovation.
- Create a range of affordable housing opportunities and choices.
- Create walkable neighborhoods with a strong sense of place and community.
In my capacity as an activist I have supported, marched, and signed petitions to support environmental organizations to protect issues vital to our planet’s existence. One of the most memorable one I remember was the effort I joined to stop Westinghouse from building a nuclear reactor in Bataan, Philippines. I was already living in Vancouver, Canada at the time but that did not stop me from joining environmental activists in Vancouver in this campaign. We succeeded!
As a Berkeley council member I will preserve the legacy of the City of Berkeley as a champion for environmental issues. I hope to continue the established legacy by introducing and supporting legislation that honors the work that was done before me while driving Berkeley towards a green city.
- Berkeley Climate Action Plan, the 50/50 CAP
- The East Bay Community Energy program
- A green downtown, Net Zero buildings, low carbon construction.
- Affordable housing units and transit funding.
- Housing close to BART and rapid bus lines, reducing the need for driving.
- Repair Berkeley’s bicycle lanes, repair bike corridors, repaint bike paths, and increase safe bike parking.
I will keep the issue of health equity and access front and center in the City’s consciousness. I wholeheartedly support single payer and any proposals that would make healthcare affordable and accessible for all. Alta Bates Medical Center is Berkeley’s only acute care hospital and its closure by 2030 puts emergency care less accessible in Berkeley and even for those on the I-80 corridor. Its owner, Sutter Health, is adamant to move the services it offers to Summit in Oakland.
- My solution to this serious problem is to get our City’s Department of Health to step in and take over the hospital. The City funds our Health Department already and we can get more funding from Alameda County. I will also seek additional funding sources from the State Legislators.
Wifi for Everybody
- I will explore the feasibility of providing free wifi throughout Berkeley. Access to the Internet and other technological advances should not be limited to only those who can afford it.
Please feel free to send me your ideas and I will be open to exploring them. Thank you.