As we close out the 2022–2023 Fiscal Year, I want to take the time to reflect on the progress we’re making toward a more accessible, healthy, and inclusive city that our vastly diverse community is proud to call home.
On Tuesday, June 13, we passed a budget that makes significant investments in the three key focus areas: addressing unsheltered homelessness, making our city safer, and making our city cleaner.
As a City Council, we voted to move forward in our efforts to meet the housing needs of all. The resolution we reached together ultimately supports both quick-build housing communities while we continue to fund affordable housing construction in the City of San José. As I’ve stressed before, this is not an either-or. It must be an and in our efforts to address the housing needs of all in our community.
These quick-build projects are an essential step as we work to end homelessness. However, we must continue our investments in permanent affordable housing. Affordable housing is vital for social equity, economic stability, and the health and well-being of our communities. It too is a necessary component to reduce homelessness.
Public Safety, including safety along our roadways, has remained a top priority for me since first becoming elected in 2018. In order to increase community safety, our budget allows us to hire at double the rate for our Police Department in addition to establishing an additional Firefighter and Paramedic recruitment academy to help address the national shortage that has impacted our Fire Department.
As the Chair of the Vision Zero Task Force, I’m proud to have achieved the addition of two ongoing roles in the Department of Transportation focused on grant writing and project delivery for Vision Zero priority safety corridor improvements. This not only allows us to deliver projects faster and better evaluate the efficacy but also expands our capacity.
In addition, the Mayor and City Council approved funding to improve roadway safety in four locations throughout our district. These roadway safety improvements include:
Canoas Garden Avenue: Enhanced crosswalk with flashing beacons
Blossom Hill Road @ Leigh Avenue: Pedestrian safety improvements at the intersection
New Jersey Avenue @ Josephine: Pedestrian safety improvements to the crosswalk
Meridian Avenue: New smart electronic radar speed sign
Our budget allocates funding to a rapid blight response effort including teams focused along our waterways. This in addition to a Beautify Your Block program empowers our community groups to take greater ownership of reducing blight and beautifying their corners of San José while building meaningful connections within our neighborhoods.
Utilizing funding available to my City Council office I’m proud to invest $500,000 in improvements to three of our district’s parks that will provide more opportunities and improve the quality of life for our neighbors to enjoy these public spaces. These park upgrades include:
Canoas Park: Sports court renovation & resurfacing
Houge Park: Sports court renovation & resurfacing
DeAnza Park: Sports court resurfacing and reconfiguration to enlarge two basketball courts and installation of three pickleball courts & renovation of the public restroom
In addition to the budget, the Mayor and City Council adopted San José’s Disability Pledge on Tuesday, June 13, an item that has been a work in progress since I originally proposed it in 2019. The COVID-19 Pandemic exacerbated inequities that our marginalized communities face, including those with disabilities.
Through many conversations and listening to those with lived experience and their caregivers, the framework of this pledge is the start of a path toward a more inclusive and equitable future. This pledge is the city’s commitment not only to words but to real policies and initiatives that incorporate disability inclusion practices that will make San José a national leader in accessibility for all.
Last year, one of our budget asks included waiving late fees for our seniors on library items citywide and I’m proud to say that this has been included again in this year’s budget.
I also supported the implementation of a pilot program with NextDoor Solutions to proactively explore ways of engaging the community to provide meaningful interventions that support survivors of domestic violence and traumatic events.