Voter’s Edge California
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June 7, 2016 — Elecciones Primarias de California

Ciudad de San JoseCandidato para Consejo Municipal, Distrito 6

Photo de Helen K. Chapman

Helen K. Chapman

Community Volunteer
4,715 votos (20.17%)Winning
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Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • Public Safety; Working together we can make San José safer for all of us.
  • Tackling our Housing Crisis. We need more affordable housing options and finding sustainable solutions for our homeless residents.
  • Promoting Small Business. Cutting red tape and increasing support for our small businesses.



Profesión:Community Advocate, Retired San José Unified School District Research Specialist and former small-business owner
Research Specialist, Educational Accountability Department, San Jose Unified School District (1999–2014)
Member, Diridon Good Neighbor Committee — Cargo designado (2009–2012)
Task Force member, Coyote Valley Task Force — Cargo elegido (2002–2008)
San Jose Parks & Recreation Commissioner, City of San Jose — Cargo elegido (2001–2007)
Member, Measure P Bond Oversite Committee — Cargo designado (2001–2007)


Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Associate of Arts (A.A.), Fashion Merchandising (1980)

Actividades comunitarias

Founding Member, San Jose Parks Foundation (2009–current)
Board Secretary, Committee for Green Foothills (2009–2016)
Board Director, Shasta/Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association (2006–2016)
Member, Burbank/Del Monte Neighborhood Action Coalition (2007–2016)
Board Member, Our City Forest (1996–2001)



For more than 25 years you and I have been working together in our community.  San Jose is a city of great neighborhoods.  It takes accomplished leadership to ensure our quality of life and to improve our community.  My career has been in both the public and private sector.  As a small-business owner for more than 16 years I faced the challenges of building my own success.  Recently I retired after nearly two decades working with our youth as a Research Specialist with San Jose Unified School District.  In this role I helped struggling students earn their diplomas and coordinated youth volunteer projects, building the foundation for community participation in the next generation.  Along with my husband Dan, we raised two sons that attended Lincoln High School.  My eldest, Nick, is a Marine Veteran, serving two tours in Iraq, and my youngest, Brandon, is currently attending SJSU working on his bachelor's degree.

Beyond my career I have been a committed community advocate.  I served on the San Jose Parks Commission for six years, three as Chair.  I am a former board member of the Shasta/Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association, San Jose Parks Foundation, Committee For Green Foothills, Diridon Good Neighbor Committee, San Jose Park Advocates, Save Our Trails, Our City Forest and others.  Together we were able to address our need for more parks within District 6, founding Hester, Buena Vista, Del Monte and Newhall parks. You and I also worked hard to see the Bascom Library & Community Center, and revitalize the business corridor along The Alameda to become 'The Alameda - The Beautiful Way'.

I am proud of the work we have done together.  Our community's needs are many, but we've been working together for more two decades to address them.  Please visit our campaign website for more information.  I've been working with and for you for over 25 years.   I'm ready to get started at City Hall on Day 1 for you.  Thank you. 

¿Quién apoya a este candidato?

Featured Endorsements

  • Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Supervisor
  • Don Rocha, San Jose Councilmember
  • Susan Ellenberg, Trustee San Jose Unified School District

Organizaciónes (5)

  • Sierra Club---Sole Endorsement
  • Santa Clara County Democratic Party
  • DAWN, Democratic Activists for Women Now
  • South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council
  • Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters

Funcionarios electos (15)

  • Mike Flaugher, Vice-Chairperson, Open Space Authority, District 2
  • Mayra Cruz, Trustee San Jose/Evergreen Community College District
  • Adrienne Grey, Trustee West Valley Mission Community College District
  • Huong Nguyen, Trustee San Jose/Evergreen Community College District
  • Rishi Kumar, Saratoga City Councilmember
  • Jim Davis, City of Sunnyvale Councilmember
  • Dave Pine, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors
  • Sequoia Hall, Board Member Open Space Authority, District 3
  • Jeffrey Lease, Trustee San Jose/Evergreen Community College District
  • Wendy Ho, Trustee San Jose/Evergreen Community College District
  • Teresa Castellanos, Board President, San Jose Unified School District
  • Kansen Chu, CA Assemblymember
  • Betty Yee, CA State Controller
  • Bob Wieckowski, CA State Senator
  • Julie Reynolds-Grabbe, Trustee Moreland School District

Individuos (7)

  • Brian Schmidt, Fmr. Director, Santa Clara Valley Water District
  • Charlotte Powers, Fmr. San José City Councilmember
  • Trixie Johnson, Fmr. San José City Councilmember
  • Forrest Williams, Fmr. San José City Councilmember
  • Buu Thai, Fmr. Trustee, Franklin McKinley School District
  • Judy Stabile, Fmr. San José City Councilmember
  • Nancy Ianni, Former San Jose Councilmember

Preguntas y Respuestas

Preguntas de League of Women Voters (4)

What experience related to city government would you bring to the City Council?
Respuesta de Helen K. Chapman:


I have been working with San José city government for more than 25 years.  Starting with getting street lights on my street so that ambulances could see the house numbers in emergency situations. From there, I worked with neighbors, San José Unified School District, developers and the City to create a public private partnership that built Hester Park behind the Rosegarden Library. As a Park Commission member for six years, with three years as Chair, I led the battle to change the Park Dedication Ordinance from fees collected from 70% of land values to 100% land values, bringing in millions of dollars to San José to build parks & trails throughout San José. Whether as a good neighbor and friend helping local businesses, like Tee Nee Thai reopen their restaurant, or sitting on community boards like the Committee for Green Foothills or the Diridon Good Neighbor Committee I have been actively involved with the city to see that our voices are heard. I’ve been working with our city government on all levels for over two decades.   My proven experience is ready to start working with and for you on Day 1 at City Hall.

San Jose budget difficulties have resulted in unprecedented cuts to staff and services. How will you deal with coming shortfalls? Restoring some of the City services? And, if you think the City needs additional resources, what are your ideas for increasing revenues?
Respuesta de Helen K. Chapman:

Considering the size of San José’s budget funds, over $3 billion, it’s hard to imagine that we do not have the resources needed to provide good quality services. As a city of more than one million residents, the goal must be financial and economic sustainability. The city auditor has made many suggestions that have not been implemented, that show we are not being efficient in our spending or determining revenue gaps.   


I support the 2016 Measure B ballot measure that will assist in bringing more revenue to support the priorities of public safety along with streets and highway repair. As a Councilmember, I will fight to make sure that revenue is spent on those priorities.  We must improve public safety. Restoring our staffing levels and units for our police and fire is essential for a safe community. In addition, working for well maintained parks, better transit and affordable housing is critical.


Every sector of the city needs to participate in financial sustainability. We demand the residents pay their fair share; so we must do the same across the board with big businesses.  Additionally I will work with our small-businesses to find ways to streamline the cost of doing business, work on revitalizing neighborhoods, and increasing transit access. We have found ways to help certain sections of San José thrive.  I will work to bring that same vibrance and vitality across San José.

What concerns are of particular importance to the city and how would you address them?
Respuesta de Helen K. Chapman:

Our campaign has been knocking on doors since November 2015.  I have been listening to the concerns of residents and their top issues are safety, housing and our quality of life.  Residents are sick of the games and want to end the fight over 2012’s Measure B.   We will struggle to successfully address any of our needs if we cannot provide a safe community. Similarly with housing, our city has dragged their feet for far too long to address our housing crisis.  We must work harder to find shelter for homeless families and veterans. These are critical issues that need to be addressed now.  We need to build units as a part of the Housing First model to end homelessness.

San José is a city of great neighborhoods, but we are also a city of neglected communities.  I worked hard to expand our parks. Each neighborhood should have park and recreation access within a ⅓ of a mile from their home.  I will continue to fight to expand these spaces.  We also need better transit solutions so that we are not as dependent on the automobile.  Expansion of VTA services, bicycle and pedestrian pathways will help us deliver alternatives for commuting so we no longer sit in clogged highways every day.  Lastly we need more jobs.  We must move San José away from being a bedroom community to a community where all can live, work, play and thrive.

How would you balance the needs of the City as a whole while also addressing needs of your district as well as those of special groups?
Respuesta de Helen K. Chapman:

A lot of the issues that impact our city impact District 6 - safety, housing, transportation, jobs and quality of life are issues felt throughout the entire city.  My approach to representing San José will be based on the input and feedback of the residents of District 6.  I have to ensure they are included first in any decision that will impact our community.  For example, Coyote Valley is within another district, but many of the residents of District 6 enjoy the beauty and recreation of the area, so the future of Coyote Valley has an impact for my neighbors.  I am committed to holding regular community outreach meetings and my door will always be open to connect with and listen to the concerns of the residents.

Preguntas de League of Women Voters (1)

How much money do you expect to raise/spend on your race, and how will you assure voters that financial contributions will not affect your decisions/positions should you be elected?
Respuesta de Helen K. Chapman:

To run a successful campaign we hope to raise between $80k - $100k.  District 6 has a very engaged electorate and in order to do full outreach of my record and message through our grassroots efforts, we hope to raise the funds needed.  Voters can trust that I will put their voice first over that of my contributors because we have been working together for over two decades.  Their voice has always been my motivation and driver.  I am thankful for the contributions I have received. Many of my donors are from within the district.  I will not put the special interests ahead of the voice of the people and community.

Creencias poliza

Filosofía política

Since my youth I was impressed with the values of giving back and community.  Upon moving to San Jose to raise my family, it was vitality important for me to ensure that my children, and all families had a safe neighborhood with options to work and play.  As a lifelong Democrat I have always seen the priority for investing in people and our community.  We do best to tend to each other when we provide good quality services and access for everyone.  As your councilmember,  I am committed to advancing policies that put you first.  We have done a lot to improve San Jose, but many sections of our community are still struggling.  Progress takes a lot of hard work.  When my son was serving in Iraq I received a call that forever changed my life when I heard his vehicle was hit by an IED.  Thankfully he was alright.  Facing the fear of losing my child in war is incredibly hard, but thanks to the support of my family and friends we overcame it.  That moment made me realize there is no challenge or issue that I cannot take on.  I'm ready to work for you.

Documentos sobre determinadas posturas

Making San José Safer — A Working Plan of Action


Our 4 point plan for addressing our Public Safety crisis.

Making San José Safer — A Working Plan of Action

San José has a critical public safety problem.  With fewer than 850 street-ready officers, we cannot meet the safety needs of America’s 10th largest city.  We have the lowest rate per capita than any other top ten city, but in some cases, less than half the officers per capita.  This is not only unacceptable, but also dangerous.

Everyone knows that our neighborhoods have seen burglaries, car break-ins, mail thefts, home invasions, and violent crimes becoming increasingly common occurrences. Our limited number of traffic enforcement officers inhibits our ability to provide safe transit for pedestrians and bicyclists, and speeding vehicles continue to whip around our neighborhood unchecked.


Here is my 4 Points of Action Plan:

1  Finalizing Pension Reform

First, we have a major recruitment issue.  Due to years of conflict within the City, and some still trying to maintain the fight, San José is not attracting recruits to work here. Our current leadership is working to settle the pension reform crisis, but the clouds still hang on our community, and with our current problems, potential officers are looking to other cities to get hired.  New officers and current ones need assurance that they will receive not just competitive wages and compensation, but that City leaders want to work with them to solve our safety crisis.  It’s time to get Measure B and pension reform behind us.


2  Adding more Community Service Officers and Park Rangers

We have opportunities and funding to start making a difference now.  Let’s hire more parks rangers and Community Service Officers (CSO).  While we can’t replace our police, we can help provide assets to other areas of services so that police presence can be directed to major crimes rather than less pressing incidents, like noise disturbances at a park. If a property theft occurs, the first response could be from a CSO, so you and criminals know that a presence is available in our neighborhoods to monitor and respond to these crimes.  More park rangers & CSO’s will help our police provide more coverage for safety while helping to streamline incidents. There is a budget availability to hire 200 more police officers.  This can also help bring returning veterans and retired officers back to help our community.


3  Streamlining Services

We can address both ends of our safety / communication services, by delivering better service. Across San José and Santa Clara County are non-profits, community groups and organizations that can assist with providing safety to your neighborhoods. Too often, however, many residents don’t know about these services or how to contact them.  Rather than our 911 dispatchers having to respond to calls about vagrancy or homeless residents, we need to step up our outreach so we all know who to contact for health or housing services.  This way service can be directly provided, helping you feel safer while also helping the person in need to get the proper assistance.  Conversely, more training and resources for our 911 dispatchers is needed, so they may redirect calls to the proper agencies so life-threatening emergencies are more successfully addressed.  We need to work with the county and regionally to make this happen, but I understand that everyone is interested in seeing our safety improve.


4  Thinking beyond badges and stations

Safety for our children isn’t just keeping them safe from violence, but safe all day long.  Our crossing guards are a part of that.  Street lighting, covered bus stops, emergency boxes, more park and recreations areas, sidewalks and crosswalks, and other aspects of our day-to-day life help keep us safe.  We need to make a full investment to our neighborhoods and each other.  I will help to promote better unity and communication with and between neighborhood associations.  When we befriend our neighbors, we have more partners to help us keep our homes and loved ones safe.  Seeing safety across our community as far more than just lights and sirens helps us be conscious of the impact of a strong community.  It serves to improve our quality of life and safety.

This is just a start, but crime prevention takes the participation of all.  Accountability matters, and so does justice.  We have many departments working very hard to keep us safe, and they are embracing the new tools and resources to protect and serve our community.

This is just a start.  Let’s continue with a productive conversation together.  I welcome, as always, your suggestions.


Together, we can make San José safer.

Lincoln Avenue Road Diet


My response to the issues on the Lincoln Avenue Road Diet.

This question has been asked frequently as I walk in the Willow Glen area.  As with many issues, sometimes a simple pro or con doesn’t answer the question and really adds to community division.

I am generally supportive of San José’s Road Diet programs, but Lincoln Avenue has become far too divisive of an issue within our community. The changes were made with the intent to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety and slow down traffic on a very busy street. However, the review and implementation were not properly handled, with negative impacts on businesses resulting. Further, additional traffic is now redirected on side streets, creating congestion and more safety concerns.

Problems often arise when community voices go unheard throughout the city planning review process and those concerns are not properly addressed.

Before we decide on the permanency of this change, we need a full review of the environmental and economic impact on Lincoln Avenue. We need suggestions on ways to avoid the unintended consequences. There must be a community forum created for everyone to talk about this issue, to understand the benefits, and to validate the burdens of all involved.

Listening, validating, and facilitating common goals are the benchmarks of reaching community consensus.

My experience is that when we were looking at improvement on The Alameda, the neighborhood organizations, the businesses, committed individuals, state representatives, and the Department of Transportation all worked together to find solutions that resulted in involving and assisting the greatest number of people. We engaged everyone. We tried to address every problem caused and every concern raised.

Today The Alameda has been transformed into ‘The Beautiful Way’ where economic opportunities and a friendly ambiance are growing into something everyone is able to enjoy.

My plan is to take my proven experience and leadership to facilitate divergent viewpoints and bring everyone together to elicit solutions that meet as many of the goals as possible. The common focus for all concerned is to make Lincoln Avenue safer as well as small-business friendly. It will take hard work, but I know we’ll get it done.

Participatory Budgeting


Bringing the community voice to City Hall 

Participatory Budgeting:  By and For the Community

Last fall, Mayor Liccardo and Councilmember Peralez launched San José’s first pilot program for participatory budgeting. Based on similar successful programs around the country, this process allows District 3 residents to decide how the City will spend $100,000 of public funds in their district.  While I support this step towards a more inclusive process, I believe residents deserve a greater voice in decision-making for our City.

There are a number of investment choices for each district, but $100,000 only goes so far.  Residents deserve to have input on more than just this small portion of budget spending.  We need ongoing public meetings throughout the year and active dialogue between the community and City Hall.  Each councilmember has access to ‘discretionary’ budget-funds to be spent however they choose.  Too often these funds are used on political debts or favors rather than invested back into our community.  I will not invest your tax-dollars in such ways; my discretionary spending will be included in the participatory budget process.  Residents should prioritize how their money is used.

I applaud our Mayor and Councilmember Peralez for breaking ground on a more inclusive approach to fiscal responsibility for San José.  I will strengthen this approach and ensure residents have a voice in the investments made in our neighborhoods.

Videos (1)

Helen visits Coyote Valley — May 2, 2016 I Love Coyote Valley

I love Coyote Valley.  Check out my brief video discussing the importance of our open spaces and park areas.

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