Where I Stand
This is a brief overview of some of the issues I plan to work on as a County Supervisor. You’ll find a more in-depth discussion of each of these topics in the separate sections.
- A vibrant small business sector and strong middle class are the keys to a resilient economy
- We should promote mixed-use development (housing and business space) for closed retail spaces and open lots where appropriate
- Build on SMUD’s “Sustainable Communities” concept bringing together different programs and services for depressed areas
- Support and expand Property Business Improvement Districts and Chambers of Commerce in their work
- Quality affordable child care and transportation options are essential to economic vitality
The COVID-19 Pandemic sent our economy into a tailspin. Retail, restaurants, bars, hotels and motels, gyms and fitness clubs and many other local businesses have suffered. The job loss has been immense and the federal stimulus programs that augment unemployment are running out. I support extensions to those programs so people who are at risk can stay in their homes until they get back to work.
We can also act locally to help get the economy moving again. And there are some longer term steps that can help address the changes in the retail economy that were happening even pre-COVID-19.
- Explicitly allow small businesses to use outdoor space to make their businesses safer to reopen.
- Enact a tax-deferral program for struggling small businesses and property owners
- Enact a responsible Cannabis ordinance that will help restore commercial corridors, create jobs and keep more tax revenue in Sacramento County.
- Allow reduced and/or deferred payment of impact fees for housing and other development projects
- Consider using Development Opportunity Reserves and Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts to provide incentives to redevelop aging commercial corridors and malls
- Modernize zoning to allow a greater mix of uses in “mixed use” development
- I pledge to appoint people to the boards and commission that represent the diverse ethnic and racial makeup of District 3. At least half of them will be women.
- I have and I will continue to support women and people of color running for elective office and seeking to serve the public
- Quality, affordable child care and transportation options are essential to promoting equity and fairness
Black Lives Matter. But all too often, African Americans and other people of color are treated as if their lives do not matter. This must stop! All levels of government, including law enforcement should take immediate steps to change their structure and culture to address racial inequality. I believe one of the best ways to accomplish this is to ensure local government agencies, boards and commissions reflect the diversity of the people they serve. I pledge that the people I appoint to various boards and commissions will represent the diverse ethnic and racial makeup of District 3. At least half of them will be women.
- I have and I will continue to support women and people of color running for elective office and seeking to serve the public
- Quality, affordable child care and transportation options are essential to promoting equity and fairness, and a vibrant economy that works for everyone.
- I will continue to support the relatively new Sacramento County Commission on on the status of Women and Girls
- I will continue to support the Black Child Legacy Campaign, which has successfully reduced the disparate rate of infant deaths in the balck community.
- Protect and preserve the American River Parkway
- Revitalize and implement the County’s Climate Action Plan
- Collaborate with SMUD’s plans to foster more electric vehicles and all-electric homes.
- Plant more trees in parks, schools, public spaces
The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors plays a critical role in protecting our parks, open spaces, and overall environment. As a member of the SMUD Board of Directors, I have worked to improve Sacramento’s air quality and overall environment.
At SMUD, I played a key role in adopting our Integrated Resources Plan, also called the 2040 Energy Plan, which reduces GHG emissions to net zero by 2040, 5 years ahead of the state schedule! SMUD’s 2040 Energy Plan ensures that Sacramento remains at the forefront of green and renewable energy, as well as serving as a model for best practices of how local governments can reduce their carbon footprint.
At the County, we must ensure that everyone benefits from improvements produced by climate change and true environmental justice. For example, making sure our permitting and building code practices ensure that low income families have access to solar power, shared electric vehicles and shade trees all of which improve the environment and decrease costs to struggling families. Protecting the environment protects public health.
As a member of the Board of Supervisors I will:
- Protect and preserve the American River Parkway
- Work with the Sacramento County Office of Education and the American River Parkway Foundation to enhance and expand educational opportunities along the Parkway.
- Reinvigorate the County’s stalled Climate Action Plan and enact a plan within my first year in office.
- Enact building codes and land-use policies that provide incentives for infill, transit oriented, solar/all electric homes and mixed-use projects, and that make solar power and other advanced energy technologies available to everyone.
- I support incentives for people and companies to switch from gas-powered lawn equipment (leaf blowers etc.) to electric to reduce noise and air pollution especially in our residential neighborhoods. I’m a founding member of Mow Better, a group working to achieve these goals throughout Sacramento County.
- Preserve Open Space: Sacramento County’s parks and open spaces are among our area’s greatest assets. Making sure that they are preserved, maintained, restored when appropriate, and expanded when possible is incredibly important. They provide places for families to explore nature and they add to our quality of life. During the COVID-19 pandemic we have learned that getting outside in nature is a necessary part of protecting our mental and physical health. As a SMUD Director, I supported funding to keep Rancho Seco Park open. SMUD later developed the Howard Ranch Trail where teachers can bring students to learn about environmental sustainability. I also supported the Powerhouse Science Center construction to keep kids learning about nature right next to the beautiful Sacramento River.
- Promote Eco-Friendly Policies & Behavior: Sacramento County directly employs 11,000 people. Supervisors can play a key role in reducing the carbon footprint of the region just by changing county policies. The County can and should be a leader that cities and corporations in the Sacramento region can look to for best practices.
As Supervisor, I will fight for the following policies to make it a reality:
- As noted above, I will work to pass and implement a Climate Change Action Plan.
- I will encourage the County to purchase renewable energy for its buildings and facilities to meet the State’s recommended guidelines and ensure that at least 33 percent of its energy in 2030 will be renewable energy.
- I will ask County staff to find areas where we can site more green energy facilities on County property.
- I will work to develop a plan to convert the County’s automobile fleet to electric vehicles and ensure electric vehicle chargers are available at County facilities.
- Support and expand Public Transit service
- Maximize safe walking and biking pathways throughout the County.
- Ensure that new County buildings are constructed to the highest green building standards and aggressively implement energy efficiency measures.
- Maximize planting of native plants on County property to support native wildlife and pollinators and reduce water usage and maintenance costs.
- I will work with staff to develop a Water Efficiency Plan for County Parks to reduce the energy used to deliver water.
- I will work to reduce waste in County facilities and events by going paperless, using less plastic and encouraging the purchase of more reusable, repairable and recyclable products.
- Air quality and other environmental issues do not honor city/county boundaries which is why I will collaborate with our neighboring counties in the Region.
- I will ask staff to develop a plan to allow more County employees to work from home to reduce CO2 emissions.
- Use a significant part of the $181 million in federal stimulus funds the county received to keep people who are at risk in their homes, and to address homelessness.
- Provide temporary safe camping/safe parking zones and other shelter beds which will allow us to move people off the Parkway, sidewalks and other public places
- Provide triage and wraparound services to get to the root cause of homelessness.
- Collaborate more closely with the City of Sacramento and other Cities in the County so that tax dollars are spent wisely.
- Enact Laura’s law in Sacramento County, allowing family members to more easily require treatment for loved ones suffering from mental illness.
Homelessness and the lack of affordable housing are a pervasive problem in our community. Local Governments have to work together to address it more effectively. I pledge to work more closely with the cities in Sacramento County to address homelessness.
Here are some additional concepts I embrace:
- Treat each person who is homeless as an individual. If we want to solve this problem, we have to help them address the root cause of their homelessness, whether it’s substance abuse and mental illness treatment, job training, housing assistance etc.
- Enact Laura’s law that makes it easier for family members to commit mentally ill loved ones
- Provide the right incentives for developers to build more affordable housing in the right places. I envision a sliding scale of incentives for developers when they include affordable housing units in their projects.
- Priority permitting and inspections
- Higher density allowance
- Reduced taxes
- Reduced Impact fees
- In the short term, temporary safe camping and parking places with sanitary services and other basic necessities and triage services for people who are unsheltered.
- With those facilities in place, we can begin to move people out of the American River Parkway and other public places, and we can begin to restore those resources for their intended use. This must be done with compassion, care, and humanity but it must be done.
- Employ the Downtown Streets Team in parts of the county where homelessness is especially apparent.
Housing & Land Use
- The County must reduce barriers to building the type of housing we need
- I envision a sliding scale of benefits awarded to projects that meet one or more positive criteria:
- Infill Development
- Near transit or job centers
- Affordable housing
- All electric
- Shared electric transportation program
- The benefits could include:
- priority planning and permit approvals
- reduced taxes and impact fees
- density bonus, where appropriate
We are still in a housing crisis, and we are not building enough new units in Sacramento County to meet the demand. We should provide incentives for home builders based on the type of housing we want them to build.
- Streamline the permitting and inspection process to move projects along more quickly
- Consider new zoning that allows a broader mix in “mixed use” developments
- Consider using Development Opportunity Reserves and Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts to redevelop aging malls and unused retail and commercial strips
- Develop a list of positive attributes for housing projects and a sliding scale of potential incentives if those attributes are part of the project.
- transit oriented
- mixed use
- near job centers
- some percentage of affordable housing
- priority planning and inspections
- higher density
- reduced taxes
- reduced impact fees
- Enact a common-sense Cannabis ordinance in Sacramento County that:
- Generates revenue that can be used for public health, public safety etc.
- Allows cultivation, processing and retail dispensaries in appropriate places and away from ones that aren’t, like schools.
- Ends the disparity between the City and County on Cannabis
The City of Sacramento has had a cannabis ordinance for several years. County residents who consume legal cannabis must purchase it from a dispensary in the City and either go there to buy it or have it delivered. Either way, they are paying sales tax to the City. The County is leaving millions of dollars in tax revenue on the table and is missing out on what that funding can provide.
Working with the community, staff and experts from other regions of the State, Sacramento County can have a safe, stable, revenue-producing cannabis sector.
- Ensure locations are not near schools, churches etc.
- The City of Sacramento has actually seen a significant reduction in crime near retail cannabis businesses because state and local regulations require security staffing.
- Access to safe, legal and regulated cannabis is the only way to fight the illicit market that has been associated with higher crime rates.
- Especially in this unprecedented time, patients with anxiety, epilepsy, cancer and especially veterans and others with PTSD should have easier access to legal cannabis.
- Without that, they may instead turn to the illicit market or opioids and alcohol. Let’s Make a Difference!
Public Safety Reforms
- I will reign in our out-of-control Sheriff and hold the department accountable for fairness, equity, and equal treatment under the law.
- Black Lives Matter.
- We should review the Sheriff’s Department budget line by line. Openness and transparency are needed to figure out what works, what doesn’t and why the department has repeatedly paid out tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for wrongful death, discrimination, and sexual harrassment lawsuits.
- The murder of George Floyd, and other incidents closer to home, like the shooting of Mikel McIntyre, are proof our system must change for the better.
- I will ask the tough questions and deliver real reforms.
We must use this moment to re-envision our law enforcement services to make sure they properly and fairly address the core things we rely on them to do, and then figure out how to address the other things in a new and better way.
I will exercise the responsibility of my position as a county supervisor to enact some common-sense reforms:
- Improve our current, inadequate mechanisms for oversight, transparency and accountability on the part of the Sheriff’s Department.The public and the Supervisors deserve full information on Department operations.
- Require Sheriff’s Deputies to wear body-cams, as most policy agencies now do.
- Rethink all our County law enforcement policies and training and examine every budget line item, while also urging greater support for such efforts from state and federal levels.
- Update our use-of-force policies to ensure that lethal force is the last resort and officers are trained in de-escalation techniques
- Ensure that officers do not use force, even in the form of rubber bullets or gas, on peaceful protesters. Peaceful protestors are not the same as looters and we should demand officers see them differently.
- Implement truly independent investigations on lethal use-of-force incidents where a weapon was fired, where someone was killed, and/or where there was grave bodily injury.
- For example, in some states all such investigations are performed by the state attorney general’s office rather than by the local district attorney. In other states, this is done through a required referral to the district attorney of a separate county.
- Strengthen the laws that require sheriff’s deputies to report colleagues who abuse their position of authority. (Just as we require people in the medical, legal, financial, and teaching professions to do).
- Expand the program that teams trained mental health professionals with law enforcement to de-escalate situations involving the homeless and mentally ill, allowing deputies to concentrate on protecting us from crime.
- Hire correctional officers trained to run the county jail—instead of taking new recruits and putting them in the jail for several years before they go out on patrol. They are different jobs, They require different training.
- Continue the County Crime Lab’s momentum in clearing the backlog of untested rape kits and ensure that new backlogs do not occur.
- Move the sheriff’s election from off-years to Presidential election years when more people vote. There’s an effort underway to do that.
- Establish an ongoing dialog between the Sheriff’s Department and the communities they serve—including communities of color and recent immigrants.
- Provide incentives to sheriff’s deputies to live in Sacramento County. There is value in having them live in the communities they serve.
- Reinvigorate the Community Corrections Partnership in Sacramento County, including input from the community. Ours hasn’t met in almost two years.
When the Inspector General delivered some common-sense recommendations after his review of the shooting, our Sheriff locked him out and refused to cooperate with him. Members of the Board of Supervisors have the responsibility to oversee the Sheriff’s Department. I will take that responsibility seriously. My opponent has taken tens of thousands of dollars from law enforcement organizations. I have pledged not to accept campaign contributions from them.
- Effective Public Health programs and access to health care are critical for the safety, well-being and economic vitality of our community
- These essential services must be prioritized in budgets and planning
- Everyone should have equal access to health care and public health systems. (We are seeing evidence that they do not in the disparity in the number of COVID-19 cases)
- Science and data should drive public health decisions
Public health is a cornerstone of a strong and resilient community, and a vibrant economy. The impact of the coronavirus has made that abundantly clear in recent months. However, even when the emergency conditions caused by the pandemic ease up, it is critical that the County maintains a robust public health system. The County must also adopt policies that support public health in areas such as air and water quality, land use, housing, and transportation.
I understand that public health services are not optional, and as County Supervisor, I will protect public health funding and programs. I also recognize that providing adequate funding for public health will be an ongoing challenge, so I will also expect staff to work with the community to find creative solutions for meeting our public health needs.
Here are some key elements that the County must focus on.
- Right now, we need to ensure a comprehensive and ongoing effort to
control the spread of Corona Virus in our community. The County’s public health system must achieve the following:
- Widespread and readily accessible testing
- Robust capacity for contact tracing
- High levels of public adoption of personal actions to reduce virus transmission, such as social distancing, masks, and hand washing.
- Strong requirements, guidance, and support for businesses to reduce transmission while allowing a reopening of the economy, as supported by reliable data.
- The County, as a major employer, must have an exemplary program for avoiding transmission in the workplace, including support of teleworking whenever that is a viable option.
- Identify and address disparities of Covid 19 control measures and impacts among disadvantaged communities.
- The County must proactively maintain the capability to recognize
and rapidly respond to new infectious disease threats, including the following measures:
- Maintain and build on its existing capacity for disease surveillance and response for outbreaks of communicable diseases, including those that were threats before Covid19, such as tuberculosis and measles.
- Ensure that we have plans and procedures in place for rapid increases in disease response as new threats arrive.
- The County must be widely accepted by the public as a trustworthy source of accurate information on public health issues.
- Actively oppose misguided efforts to undermine proven public health measures, such as vaccinations.
- Covid19 underscores the importance of underlying health conditions, such as heart and lung disease, obesity, and diabetes. Even without Covid19, we know that these conditions are widespread in our community and have major impacts on mortality, quality of life, and our economy. It’s also well established that poor diet, lack of exercise, and pollution all contribute to the prevalence of these conditions.
- The County has a major role in addressing these conditions, through programs of its Public Health Department, and in adoption of policies in
other areas that support the health of our residents. Here’s what we must do:
- Protect funding to support access to health services, and provide residents with knowledge and tools to make healthy life style choices.
- Adopt policies and work with the community to establish universal access to healthy food and active recreation activities.
- Establish ordinances and programs to ensure that all housing meets high standards to reduce health threats such as mold, vermin, indoor air pollution, and lead.
- Support land use, air quality, and transportation policies that support walkable communities, extensive use of active transportation modes (cycling and walking), and rapid reduction of greenhouse gas and other pollutant emitted from fossil fuels.
- The County must also adapt to increasing frequency and severity of conditions associated with climate change that can be life threatening, such as extreme heat waves and smoke from wildfires.
- Ensure that we have programs, facilities, and supplies in place to assist vulnerable populations as emergency conditions arise.
- Develop programs to ensure that housing units provide adequate protection from extreme events, including features such as adequate insulation and climate control.
- Establish policies that greatly reduce the urban heat island effect.
- Ensure District 3, as the least-incorporated district, gets its fair share of transportation funding
- Fix existing infrastructure first, and then expand to meet the needs of the County as a whole, and District 3 in particular
- Leverage federal and state funding to ensure that Sacramento County residents get the transit and transportation system they deserve
- Set aside the necessary funds to receive matching grants for long-term projects. With transportation it’s always, “pay some now or pay more later”.
Sacramento County needs a safe, efficient transportation system so people, goods and services can easily get from one place to another with the minimum impact on the environment.
That means safe roads for private vehicles, affordable public transit, integrated bike routes, ride-sharing and safe pedestrian access must all be in the mix. By encouraging multiple modes of transportation we can have well-paved roads, safe routes to school and safe, reliable alternatives to driving that will help create a vibrant economy, safer, better neighborhoods and cleaner air..
In short, I support a balanced, all-of-the above approach such as the new County of Sacramento Transportation Plan, which I hope will be on the ballot with me in November. Here’s a link to it for more information.
Yes, we all know that the economic impacts of COVID-19 will strain the County budget, reduce transit ridership, and slow our local economy in the near term. I believe that we will find a vaccine for COVID-19 and in the meantime, we must continue to plan for the transportation system of the future. Having a balanced plan keeps us moving forward.
This is how I’d start:
- Fix the Roads! Priority funding should go to projects that will repair the worst roads in the County. We must invest in paving the roads so our streets will be safer for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. It will also save commuters money on vehicle repairs and improve gas mileage.
- Promote economic vitality. The County should improve transit to major employment centers, higher education and potentially provide service where school buses are no longer an option. Workers need to get to their jobs and students need to get to school.
- Safety for Kids. Priority funding should go to projects and programs that address safety concerns. In particular, we need to make sure kids have safe and complete routes to all schools in the County.
- Collaboration gets us more Dollars. The County should fund projects with the greatest likelihood of leveraging regional, state and federal transportation dollars. This creates well-paying local jobs by having infrastructure projects ready to fund when stimulus dollars come from the state and federal government.
- Protect the Environment. The County should fund projects that help reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve air quality.
- Modernize the County Vehicle Fleet. The County should work with the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to electrify the County’s transportation system as rapidly as possible, including shifting transit operator and school bus fleets to all-electric and expanding publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure.