Every neighbor and business owner should feel safe in District 3. Unfortunately, we have reached a critical moment where our residents do not feel at peace in their neighborhoods or businesses. This is unacceptable, and we must take back our communities.
I got my start in neighborhood activism after a horrific fatal gang-related drive-by shooting in front of my elementary school in the Guadalupe-Washington neighborhood of District 3. I had to walk past drug deals, prostitution, homeless encampments, and other unlawful activities. We could not stay out too late living in my community. It was life or death for many of us.
Creating community and public sector collaborations and solutions to combat crime is near and dear to my heart and has been the focus of my work since I was 14 years old. After that fatal drive-by shooting, our neighborhood had had enough. We organized and immediately began partnering with various city departments, but most importantly, we built a solid and trusting relationship with our San José Police Department.
This is how we move forward:
The police department is dangerously understaffed. We need to hire more police officers, with a focus on police officers who are from San José, so they can be more present in the community and respond more quickly to prevent crime. More officers will also decrease the need for enormous overtime costs.
I will work with our police department and our police officer’s association to get our police officers out of their cars and provide more foot patrol at all hours of the day, especially in Downtown San José.
I will bring back (and fully fund) the VCET (Violent Crime Enforcement Team), which was defunded by the Reed Administration, but is proven to reduce violent crime.
I will fund the mobile crisis assessment team (MCAT), so we can deal with our unhoused residents suffering mental health issues and domestic violence/sexual assault victims more humanely.
I will also hire more community service officers (CSOs) to help assist the police with non-life-threatening emergencies or crimes. We will ensure they are proactive by walking along our busy business corridors.
We will hire more park rangers to help us make sure our residents can utilize and feel safe using our local parks. They can then work with other partners to help keep our parks safe!
Our fire department is also severely understaffed; we need to hire over 100 firefighters to ensure the department responds rapidly to a fire or medical emergency. It is not right that they are overwhelmed and overworked.
We must remain competitive with other local departments by increasing salaries, benefits, and pensions to ensure our public safety servants can support their families and afford to stay in the City of San José.
We have to be proactive when it comes to crime prevention; we know that investing in child, adolescent, and youth programming is crime prevention, it leads to a healthier and more productive life, BUT it also deters them from a life of crime and poverty!
We must ensure we have fully funded and functioning youth/community centers.
Libraries must be kept open six days a week and rotate a seven-day calendar depending on the neighborhood's needs. Some of our branch libraries in our most challenging areas should not sit empty on Sundays.
We need to secure more funding for San José LEARNS - extended learning programs - to keep youth engaged and motivated.
We need to continue to find public-private funders for San José Works, a job training program for our at-risk youth, we need to prepare our youth for the massive Google development.
I’ll fight for the resources we need to improve violence prevention and other youth programs and pay attention to the “little things,” like illegal dumping, graffiti, and blight that stain our neighborhoods.
I have participated in, coordinated, or organized hundreds of Dumpster Days, Litter Pick Ups, Tree plantings, and other Beautification Days in our parks and creeks. This will continue once I am Councilmember.
From my time as a neighborhood association president (Guadalupe-Washington), Strong Neighborhoods Initiative Coordinator, Executive Director for the Santa Maria Urban Ministry Resource Center, Community Relations Director for a local San Jose Councilmember, and Business Manager for San Jose Downtown Association, I have always made an effort to create solutions to keep our neighborhoods and business districts safe and clean.
I won’t stop when I get to City Hall - having a safe and secure place to live and work increases productivity and quality of life and instills pride in our neighborhoods.
Whether you live or own a business in Vendome, Naglee Park, Japantown, Spartan-Keyes, or Washington, you all deserve to live in clean, peaceful, and safe neighborhoods.
We can improve public safety, but we must do the work and implement realistic solutions!