We invited all Sunnyvale City Council candidates to speak directly to the voters through The Silicon Valley Voice website. If you don’t know what Sunnyvale District you’re in, please check the City’s District map on their website.
We asked candidates to answer the following questions in 100 words or less:
- What do you think is Sunnyvale’s major challenge?
- What do you think is the major challenge for your district and how would you address it?
- What’s the first motion you would make as a Councilmember?
Here are the candidates’ answers, unedited. We note candidates who chose not to respond.
- The biggest issue facing Sunnyvale is the housing crisis. Too many of our residents are being forced into dangerously overcrowded conditions by high rents, or forced out of the city entirely. We need an all-of-the-above approach to solve the housing crisis. That means building subsidized affordable housing. It means prioritizing tenant protections, especially for our mobile home residents. And it means building more market-rate housing, especially missing-middle and transit-oriented housing, to relieve pressure on existing affordable housing. Let’s ensure that our children will be able to live in the city they grow up in. Let’s build a Sunnyvale for all.
- The biggest issue facing District 2 is successfully completing the downtown as we recover from COVID-19. Downtown is the heart of our city, but it’s been in limbo since the last recession. We need to be prioritizing walkable, transit-oriented, mixed-use development in our downtown. This will support our existing small businesses, bring new retail for our residents to enjoy, and bring badly needed tax revenue. That’s why I was proud to support the downtown specific plan, which my opponent opposed. We can make Sunnyvale’s downtown a regional destination. Let’s build the vibrant downtown we need. Let’s get this done.
- I will introduce a study issue to streamline and clarify the process for neighborhoods to get street safety improvements such as crosswalks. Right now it is too hard and takes too long for residents to get basic improvements. We need to invest additional resources to ensure these requests are addressed quickly, and use quick-build techniques to keep costs down. We also need a public system that makes clear where each request is in the process, the final outcome for completed or rejected requests, and why that outcome was reached. Let’s build safe streets for all.
- I believe that the biggest challenge facing Sunnyvale is over development and the negative impact that this development has on the residents of our city. The ill-conceived redevelopment of the Civic Center (City Hall) is emblematic of the mistakes the Council is making. The last thing we need in the midst of a pandemic and projected revenue short fall is a $400 million city hall when we could refurbish it at a fraction of the cost. I would address over development by rejecting large projects that lack proper infrastructure and have a negative impact on our residents.
- The major challenge facing District 2, like the City itself, is over development. Our district’s residents have seen the livability of their neighborhood degrade as neighbors are forced out through gentrification. In addition, added construction has reduced available parking and strains resources while overburdening infrastructure. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the increase of crime in District 2 and Sunnyvale overall which has increased 81% since 2010. (https://sunnyvale.ca.gov/government/safety/crime/statistics.htm) I would address this issue by taking a hard look at new projects in order to ensure we protect the affordable housing stock that exists in District 2.
- My first motion as a Councilmember would be to propose a new development fee that would cover the costs to provide Fire and Police coverage to all new projects.
- I believe housing affordability is Sunnyvale’s major challenge. As we continue with housing developments we should do more to address this housing crisis. My stance on how to supplement housing development has been to focus on lowering housing costs by strategically decreasing the local housing demand via greater implementation of the option to Work From Home (WFH) from regional companies, where/when possible. My proposal is not to completely transition to remote working nor discourage people from moving to Sunnyvale, but rather to provide the freedom to relocate more evenly throughout the region while increasing housing availability for those in the local industries that cannot work remotely. On this note, I am not in full support of MTC’s major employer “mandate” to keep 60% of workers remote by 2050.
- Apart from the housing crisis, a major challenge for District 2 is the continued development of the Downtown Specific Plan. This is a long-term commitment that may encounter challenges along the way. A lot of effort has gone into creating and executing this plan and I aim to collaborate with the rest of the city council to ensure that the plan is executed as planned, on schedule, and that all decisions made are in the best interest of Sunnyvale residents and the city’s finances.
- As neighboring cities have adopted some level of rent control, I would like to include measures that go beyond what is currently being proposed in Sunnyvale’s Housing Strategy. One of my proposals is to present local rent control or an MOU that is more stringent than the statewide mandate and that applies to not only mobile parks, but to the rest of the city. Once implemented, this is to be monitored and analyzed as to the effects on landlords and renters as we navigate through this fragile economic state over the years.