Have you ever been to a city that you really enjoyed being in? It probably had lots of trees and open space, places for residents to gather and socialize, vibrant commercial areas with activities for all ages open all day and well into the evening, beautifully designed buildings, and places where you could walk around.
That is the kind of City I want to live in. Unfortunately, Fremont is not that City. Fremont is in one of the most beautiful locations on earth, has some of the smartest and kindest people living here, and is in the center of a thriving innovation economy. Fremont is falling far short of its potential.
I believe that the reason for this is that our City Council has failed to provide bold effective leadership. Without a clear vision, our city has developed in a haphazard way, usually in response to developer proposals which inevitably are well-designed to make money for the developers but not to make our City a beautiful, enjoyable place to live.
On the contrary, our City is becoming increasingly congested, existing historic areas are being demolished to make room for yet more crowded townhomes and condos, and most of our retail areas are auto-oriented and full of generic chain stores.
We have many of the ingredients for a great City that we can be proud to call home, but we will never have a City like that unless we elect Council Members who are willing to lead the charge.
The first step is to conduct a meaningful community listening process. The City Council must represent the people that live here and the only way to do that is to take the time to really understand all the concerns and ideas of our residents.
Once we have created a shared vision of what we want our City to be for the coming generations, the City Council must focus like a laser on making that vision real. Any developers that ask for a variance to the rules created by the community should have a very compelling argument about why what they are proposing will actually contribute more to our quality of life than what would otherwise be allowable under the rules. Approvals of these requests should be the rare exception, not the rule as they are now.
If elected to City Council, in addition to ensuring a meaningful community planning process to guide future development, I will work to bring about the following:
- Vibrant, walkable retail shopping and entertainment areas
- Preservation and enhancement of open space
- Sustainability practices like solar energy, waste reduction, and zero emission vehicles
- A mix of housing types and affordability levels to ensure that everyone who works in Fremont or grew up in Fremont can continue to live in Fremont
- Support for locally owned small business such as assistance with permitting, matching grants for façade and tenant improvements, and other resources
- Transportation solutions that help residents and people who commute to Fremont for work get out of their cars
- Social services and transitional housing for the neediest among us
- Minimum wage