To Create A Sustainable And Engaged Future For Sunnyvale!
Sunnyvale is a wonderful city that I love, but it is facing some tough challenges. I want to improve the quality of life for Sunnyvale residents, visitors and employees. I have the knowledge, experience, determination and time to help Sunnyvale achieve a more sustainable, just, and enjoyable future for current and future residents.
Challenges facing Sunnyvale
Traffic is the #1 concern of Sunnyvale residents based on a recent survey. It is being driven by rapid commercial development which is exceeding the capacity of our roads and housing supply and degrading everyone's quality of life.
Many residents are unhappy with the rapid development in various parts of Sunnyvale. They bought a house in the suburbs when they purchased their home here. They feel the rapid urbanization is dramatically changing the character of Sunnyvale, bringing more downsides than upsides.
Many residents are concerned about the growing affordable housing crisis. It is forcing lower income residents to leave Sunnyvale or suffer from housing insecurity and pushing more people into living on our streets.
Noise from aircraft has been concentrated dramatically over some residents reducing their quality of life day and night.
Many residents agree that climate disruption is a threat to everyone in Sunnyvale, and that Sunnyvale should be doing more.
Reduce congestion and slow office development.
Increase affordable housing so more seniors and middle class workers can stay in Sunnyvale.
Create a more sustainable Sunnyvale.
Actively work with regional and federal agencies to tackle aircraft noise.
Increase community engagement so Sunnyvale residents have better communication with our city council.
Continue Sunnyvale's outstanding record as one of the safest cities in America.
Be fiscally conservative. Maintain our record of financial stability.
1. Reduce congestion and slow office development. My six prong plan.
Increase the traffic impact fees for new commercial developments to generate more funds for shuttles and other traffic mitigation efforts.
Support a more substantial business license or other fee on large employers to fund transit improvements. The new jobs they create are making commutes worse, and they should help to pay to reduce the congestion.
Provide more and better transportation alternatives for everyone, including more bicycle lanes, better sidewalks, and more shuttle services.
Change land-use planning to enable more housing closer to work. We need more mixed-use housing in our transit corridors so residents can walk or cycle for their errands and commute.
Require future commercial developments to incentivize more commuters to use alternative transportation to get to work.
Enable more children to be able to get to school safely without being driven by expanding the Safe-Routes-To-School program.
2.Creating more affordable housing
The most important factor affecting affordable housing is zoning more space for it and increasing the density allowed. Sunnyvale is actively re-zoning areas of the city for more housing, mostly in derelict business parks like One AMD place and Moffett Park. It is also investigating allowing denser housing in the transit corridors and other locations like the Lawrence Station Area Plan. I support these efforts to increase the quantity and affordability of housing options in Sunnyvale.
I support making it easier for homeowners to add small living units in their backyards by changing our zoning requirements. We also need to review our permitting fee structure so it is less costly to add these types of units.
We need to change our developer incentives so they build more smaller units instead of only large ones. For example, in my neighborhood, a developer recently redeveloped an R3 zoned lot. He was required by R3 zoning regulations to build between 14 and 11 housing units, and he built 14 4 bedroom townhomes. It would have been more advantageous for him to have built a greater number of smaller units. We need to change the incentives so that he would have been more willing to build more smaller units instead of only large 4 bedroom units.
Increase the 'below market rate' requirements and incentives. Communities work best when there is diversity across it. We need to increase our 'below market rate' requirements from 12.5% to 15% and give developers incentives to go even higher. We should also make it more expensive for them to pay 'in-lieu' fees instead of including below market rate units in their projects.
Sunnyvale needs to do more to help eliminate homelessness in Sunnyvale. Sunnyvale should partner with other local jurisdictions in the 'Destination Home' project to eliminate homelessness. This is both the morally responsible and cost-effective course of action.
Sunnyvale currently does not have any ordinances to protect apartments or mobile home owners from unlimited rent increases, except for those few residents who are lucky enough to be enrolled in our Below Market Rate Program (or another subsidized rental program). Sunnyvale should develop and implement a policy that helps keep current residents in their homes while still encouraging the development of more housing.
3. Create a Sustainable Sunnyvale
Transportation is the #1 contributor to GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in Sunnyvale, so we need to promote programs to reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation sector. I am on the Climate Action Committee, which will be making recommendations to City Council on how to meet the 80% GHG reduction from pre-1990 levels target by 2040 as required by SB 32.
Sunnyvale needs to ensure that new developments and our power grid have the needed infrastructure to support a transition to 100% electric transportation by 2040.
Sunnyvale is already supplied with 100% carbon free electricity via the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority (SVCEA). I will promote for Sunnyvale to work with SVCEA to adopt a 100% renewable energy goal by 2030. Sunnyvale should also require companies who buy power directly from the PG&E grid to buy power that is at least as renewable as that provided by SVCEA.
Sunnyvale imports 50% of its water from the delta. This is not sustainable or desirable long-term. I will push for Sunnyvale to reduce its dependence on imported water through more conservation, increased use of recycled water, and capturing more stormwater to recharge our aquifers.
Currently, Sunnyvale plans to adhere to statewide building standards that will require net-zero energy commercial development by 2030. The technology for net-zero buildings exists now and is in place in buildings throughout the Bay Area. The current development projects will have a long-term, lasting impact, so we should be serious about reducing Sunnyvale's carbon footprint by requiring net-zero development much sooner than 2030. The California state goal year for net-zero energy housing is 2020, and the city should be advancing energy-saving technology in new housing faster as well.
Sunnyvale needs to develop and promote programs that aid residents and businesses in eliminating the use of natural gas.
4. Actively work with regional and federal agencies to tackle aircraft noise.
This Summer, Sunnyvale joined a joint aircraft noise roundtable between the Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties to increase our effectiveness in dealing with our aircraft noise challenge. This is a step in the right direction and I support it.
I will advocate for Sunnyvale to form a citizens advisory committee to take advantage of all the work and knowledge citizens are doing in groups like Save My Sunny Skies to advise city council.
I support Sunnyvale conducting more noise studies so we have better data.
I will continue liaising with our federal representatives as they seek to get the FAA to change how it deploys the NexGen air traffic system.
5. Create better engagement between Sunnyvale and residents
Sunnyvale should adopt technology so that residents can call into and/or video conference with public meetings so that they can be heard without having to drive to city hall.
Sunnyvale needs to increase outreach and polling of residents on important issues like the civic center modernization.
Many residents want more information sooner about proposed developments around town. Sunnyvale needs to increase its outreach to residents on systems like Nextdoor that are already regularly used.
6. Continue Sunnyvale's outstanding record as one of the safest cities in America.
Continue efforts to keep Sunnyvale's public safety departments fully staffed and equipped to protect residents.
Sunnyvale has taken many steps to ensure our city's finances are well managed, earning a AAA+ rating year after year. The council recently enacted a Pension Trust Fund, where excess funds at the end of each fiscal year will be kept to help pay pension expenses. I support this practice. Sunnyvale uses its own actuary instead of relying on CALPERS to determine how much the city should contribute toward pension costs. Sunnyvale's 10-year balanced budget charter requirement and 20-year forecasting are exemplary practices. I support continuing them. These practices and others ensure that Sunnyvale manages its finances well and protect its ability to pay for city services.