presents
Voter’s Edge California
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Presentado por
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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
KPBS Voters Guide@KPBSNews
June 5, 2018 — Elecciones Primarias de California

Asamblea Estatal de CaliforniaCandidato para Distrito 15

Photo de Buffy Wicks

Buffy Wicks

Demócrata
Organizador comunitario
37,141 votos (31.4%)Winning
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Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • Construir más viviendas asequibles orientadas al transporte para personas de bajos y medianos ingresos rápidamente, mientras se protege a los inquilinos del desplazamiento.
  • Hacer que California sea el estado más favorable para las familias con un mayor financiamiento para la educación pública, licencias pagadas, cuidado infantil asequible, preescolar universal y equidad salarial.
  • Garantizar el acceso a la atención médica asequible y de calidad a todos los californianos, al hacer que nuestro estado avance hacia un sistema de pagador único.

Experiencia

Experiencia

Profesión:Organizador comunitario
Director adjunto, Oficina de Compromiso Público y Asuntos Intergubernamentales de la Casa Blanca — Cargo designado (2009–2011)

Biografía

I am a community organizer, an advocate for kids, and a grassroots activist with experience at the local, state and federal level. I was born in a small town in rural California and grew up in a trailer, raised by working class parents who pushed me to work hard and think big.

 

I attended California public schools, then enrolled at my local community college before transferring to and graduating from a four-year university. I got my start in community organizing where I organized against the Iraq War in the Bay Area.

I’ve been an organizer ever since.

I became a grassroots organizer for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, then joined the United Food and Commercial Workers and led the campaign to fight Wal-Mart for better wages and health care for its workers.

I am proud to have been an architect of President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. I am credited with innovating Obama’s grassroots organizing model – from right here in Oakland. In addition to playing a critical role in his momentous electoral victories, I served alongside him in the White House. In my leadership role at the Office of Public Engagement, I brought stakeholders and advocates from across the country together to support and eventually pass the Affordable Care Act, which has provided more than 20 million Americans with health care, including 5 million here in California.

I live in Oakland with my husband Peter and my young daughter, Josephine, also known as JoJo.

 

 

Preguntas y Respuestas

Preguntas de League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (4)

What do you think the State should do to encourage affordable housing for all Californians?
Respuesta de Buffy Wicks:

As a member of the state assembly, I would champion three key approaches to address our housing crisis: first, build more homes for low-income and middle-income families more quickly; second, protect existing tenants from displacement, especially seniors and people with disabilities; and third, grow in a smart way by building more homes in walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods, so we can share our community while protecting our East Bay way of life.

 

We need to build on the funding made available by the state housing bills passed this year and further increase the production of subsidized housing for low-income people. We also need more homes for our teachers, nurses, non-profit workers and other middle-income folks, many of whom are forced to commute from places with more affordable housing like Stockton, Tracy and other places further east. Building more homes - for both low- and middle-income families is the only way to provide security to those who are on the brink of homelessness or moving away.

 

We must guard aggressively against the displacement of vulnerable residents. We should significantly expand the renter tax credit. Currently the renter tax credit is a drop in the bucket -- only resulting in $60 for an individual and $120 for a family - but we should explore expanding this so as to provide real relief for families paying increasingly high rent. We could look to take into account geographic cost of living to increase the credit appropriately.

 

We should reform Costa-Hawkins, the state law which limits the ability of cities to place more units under rent control. One potential reform could include a rolling date for units to become eligible for rent control protection. This would strike an appropriate balance between protecting vulnerable residents and ensuring new housing can be financed and built to support community needs.

 

To prevent unscrupulous landlords from wrongly kicking tenants out of their homes, I would also push for state funding to provide legal assistance for low-income folks facing wrongful eviction. These types of measures would have no impact on landlords who play by the rules and would level the playing field for tenants who are being unfairly pushed out of the homes.

Question 2

According to a "Civility In America” survey, 75% of Americans believe that the U.S. has a major civility problem. If you are elected what will do to address this?

No se proporcionó respuesta.
Climate changes, and the shifting between very wet weather and drought, worry Californians. What strategies would allow that your district to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific.
Respuesta de Buffy Wicks:

The last drought in California was the state’s worst on record. Climate change will yield more intense and frequent droughts in the years to come. I will actively address increasing water scarcity through policies aimed at water recycling, water conservation, infrastructure improvements, better groundwater management, and development of a more resilient agriculture-water system.

 

To adapt to this new pattern, the legislature should spur and support investments that address both the structural and behavioral challenges that we face around water scarcity and consumption. I believe the legislature should actively support investments in the following:

 

  • Water recycling (e.g. encourage households to adopt greywater reuse systems)

  • Water conservation (e.g. landscape, plumbing, and green building ordinances)

  • Infrastructure improvements (e.g. fix pipes that leak 10% of urban water)

  • Better groundwater management (e.g. replenishing and protecting our aquifers)

  • More resilient agriculture-water system (e.g. incentives for growing less water-intensive crops)

On this last point, agriculture accounts for 80% of California’s water consumption. I believe the legislature must work toward the development of a resilient agriculture-water system that can grow and provide nutritious food and sustain itself between periods of drought. That may mean looking at ways to incentivize growers to adopt dry farming, produce less water-intensive crops, or invest in technologies that reduce water use.



What programs or strategies would you suggest to meet the educational needs of the youngest and most poverty stricken Californians?
Respuesta de Buffy Wicks:

I am a product of public schools – from kindergarten through college. It helped propel me from a single-wide trailer in a small town in northern California to working for President Barack Obama in the White House. I believe everyone has a right to quality public education and I will support legislation to reduce teacher shortages, increase funding for K-12 public schools, invest in community colleges, and ensure our public universities are accessible and affordable for California residents. We cannot let access to safe schools and a good education be determined by where you live, the color of your skin, or how much your parents make. Our legislature must be a champion for educational equity through specific funding increases for resource-starved schools and by giving teachers the tools they need to lead disadvantaged students on the path to success. We can find that funding by taking a hard look at corporate loopholes under Prop 13, among other strategies.

 

We know learning in the classroom is significantly impacted by circumstances outside of the classroom. It’s critical we look at the whole child and address their social, emotional, and behavioral growth to provide each child the opportunity to thrive. Children living in pervasive poverty and experiencing trauma need schools with more resources to address their social and emotional needs. These resources should include school psychologists, nurses, librarians and an investment in restorative justice programs where it makes sense.

 

Children who are socially and emotionally developed handle challenging difficult situations better; they create positive relationships, learn to check their emotions, and can calm themselves when upset. The ability to hone these skills enable children to learn and achieve at higher levels.

 

¿Quién proporcionó dinero a este candidato?

Contribuciones

Dinero total recaudado: $815,869

Principales contribuyentes que dieron dinero para apoyar al candidato, por organización:

1
Employees of Parker Media
$10,050
2
Employees of Clayco, Inc.
$9,000
3
Employees of Bad Robot
$8,800
3
Employees of Beneficial State Bank
$8,800
3
California Association of Realtors
$8,800
3
California Medical Association
$8,800
3
Employees of Fahr LLC
$8,800
3
Employees of Giffords
$8,800
3
Employees of LinkedIn
$8,800
3
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
$8,800
3
Employees of Pisces Inc
$8,800
3
Employees of Sutter Hill Ventures
$8,800
3
Employees of SV Angel
$8,800
3
Employees of University of Texas at El Paso
$8,800

Más información acerca de contribuciones

Por estado:

California 68.24%
District of Columbia 7.19%
New York 5.01%
Illinois 4.13%
Other 15.43%
68.24%15.43%

Por tamaño:

Contribuciones grandes (98.16%)
Contribuciones pequeñas (1.84%)
98.16%

Por tipo:

De organizaciones (8.17%)
De individuos (91.83%)
8.17%91.83%
Fuente: Análisis de datos de la Secretaría del Estado de California de MapLight.

Creencias poliza

Filosofía política

I am running for State Assembly because California needs strong leaders to push a bold, progressive agenda, and District 15 deserves a representative who is ready to get to work tackling our housing crisis, ensuring all Californians have quality and affordable health care, improving our public education systems and making California the most family-friendly state in the nation.

 

My career as an organizer and activist started when I led protests against the Iraq War in the Bay Area.  I’ve organized for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, led a United Food and Commercial Workers’ campaign fighting for better wages and health care, and was one of the chief architects of the groundbreaking organizing strategy behind President Obama’s successful campaigns.

 

My passion is fighting for equity, equal opportunity, and economic security. In the East Bay, we are united behind a progressive agenda. An electorate this engaged deserves a representative who will do more than just agree with the voters -- we need someone will turn ideas into policy, someone who knows how to pass progressive legislation that will actually improve people’s lives. I have both served in the White House and organized at the most local grassroots level.  I know how to identify key players and bring advocacy groups together to find commonality and create political power to pass legislation in Sacramento.

 

We are in a scary moment in our country’s history, and I feel lucky to be raising my baby daughter in a progressive community like ours that rejects President Trump’s hateful rhetoric and harmful policies. But we can’t let what’s happening in Washington define us.

 

Here in California, we have a real opportunity not just to resist, but to put forth bold, progressive public policy that reflects our shared values and builds a more just and equitable society.  California should be the leader in showing America what progressive governance can be.

 

I want to be the Assemblywoman that leads that fight.

 

I’m ready to organize for change as I have for my entire life. I’m ready to build coalitions in our community from Oakland to Hercules. I’m ready to fight for you and with you to give families like yours and mine the best future possible.

 

Documentos sobre determinadas posturas

My Education Plan

Summary

I am a product of public schools - from kindergarten through college. I believe everyone has a right to quality public education and I will support legislation to reduce teacher shortages, increase funding for K-12 public schools, invest in community colleges, and ensure our public universities are accessible and affordable for California residents.

California once had the best public schools in the country. Families moved west in search of better opportunity and quality education for their children. Unfortunately, California now ranks 47th out of 50th in standard of living for children. One in four children go hungry every day. We rank 41st in the nation on spending per child. More troubling, access to quality schools all too often is determined by where a child lives. Thus, there are glaring racial and socioeconomic inequities.

We are failing many our children; especially children of color. It is unconscionable. We urgently need a “kids-first” agenda, one that prepares our students for the changing workforce of the future. An educated workforce is not only critical to our economic growth, but essential in our ability to combat the growing wealth inequalities that are so pervasive in California.

 

Here’s what I will fight for:

 

More Funding For Schools

 

We must invest in our children by investing in our schools. California has only recently dug out of the deep hole created by the recession, and we remain woefully behind other states when it comes to ensuring our public schools have the resources they need to prepare our children for college and careers.

 

The quality of a school depends on the teachers in the classrooms, and therefore we must ensure teaching is a profession that is desirable and viable. We should provide more professional development, coaching, mentoring, and resources for continued education. We should pay our teachers more. In areas with a high cost of living, like Assembly District 15, we need to provide housing assistance so our educators can live within the communities in which they work.

 

We have a significant teacher shortage, particularly for science and math, and have the highest teacher to student ratio in the country. We should reinstate recruitment and incentives programs to attract and retain racially and culturally diverse teachers.

 

Address the Needs of the Whole Child

 

We know learning in the classroom is significantly impacted by circumstances outside of the classroom. It’s critical we look at the whole child and address their social, emotional, and behavioral growth to provide each child the opportunity to thrive. Children living in pervasive poverty and experiencing trauma need schools with more resources to address their social and emotional needs. These resources should include school psychologists, nurses, librarians and an investment in restorative justice programs where it makes sense.

 

Children who are socially and emotionally developed handle challenging difficult situations better; they create positive relationships, learn to check their emotions, and can calm themselves when upset. The ability to hone these skills enable children to learn and achieve at higher levels.

 

Learning Starts on Day One

 

Since children begin to learn from the day they are born, we should think of early child care as education and as an entitlement, like elementary school, social security, unemployment benefits or Medicare.

 

To this end, we should subsidize quality child care on a sliding scale and fund universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. We should professionalize the care industry by unionizing the workforce, providing professional development and apprenticeship programs and increase their educational requirements so early caregivers can receive the same pay as elementary school teachers.

 

Early childhood educators should have access to free community college as well as housing assistance as a way to live where they work. The more affordable and quality early education our children get, the better a society we are.

 

High Expectations and Accountability for All of Our Schools

 

Every school should be great. We should expect the best from all of our public schools, both traditional public schools as well as charter public schools. Along with increased funding and support for our public schools, we should set high standards informed by multiple measures for accountability — academic achievement, dropout rates, rates of suspension, graduation rates, etc — and clear transparency in how resources are spent.

 

We should support and model the successful elements of high performing public schools so other students can benefit. For consistently low performing public schools, increased funding should be coupled with clear accountability and a focus on supporting and developing strong school leaders.

 

Charter public schools can serve a need in our community, but we need more transparency and accountability in how they are run. Charter public schools must be subject to the Brown Act, the Political Reform Act and the Public Records Act, as this would enable parents and the community at large more insight into how taxpayer dollars are being spent.

 

We need to make it easier to identify poor performing charter public schools and to take action to quickly fix or shut those schools down. We need to find ways for charter public schools to work with district schools. Collaboration requires both the district as well as the charter to both come to the table in partnership. Lastly, we need to outlaw for-profit charter schools and under no circumstance should we consider vouchers for private schools.

 

Preparing Students for Life

 

We should be preparing students with tangible skills for life. I believe we need more project-based learning opportunities, where students learn by completing inter-disciplinary projects that solve complex real-world questions. Kids learn through doing and collaborating, and hands on projects are a vehicle for gaining skills traditionally taught through lectures and worksheets.

 

Project based learning emphasizes higher-order learning skills — critical thinking, synthesis, and evaluation — over comprehension or memorization skills. For instance, we should start financial literacy at a young age, and teach our kids the basics, like how to save, how to spend within their means and how the stock market works.

 

Research has shown that students who engage in regular project-based learning demonstrate better problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and do better on standardized tests than their peers. In order to successfully implement this model, teachers need training, coaching and high-quality planning materials. Partnerships between secondary schools and higher education should be strengthened to leverage resources and provide additional opportunities for students through mentorship programs, professional development for teachers, curriculum materials, and early college preparation instruction.

 

Reinvent Higher Education

 

The California Master Plan of 1960 established significant public investments in our higher education system — laying the framework for University of California, California State University, and California Community College schools. This set California on the path to becoming the 6th largest economy in the world.

 

Over the course of time, most notably since the early 2000s, we have significantly reduced public funding to our higher education institutions. We are transferring that cost to students, many of whom now face significant student debt. I believe we need to return to the spirit of the California Master Plan and prioritize our higher education system, making higher education accessible to all.

 

Students today deserve to have the same opportunities as past generations. Specifically, we need to make college debt-free for low-to-middle income students, not only covering the cost of tuition but housing, food and books. This means generating stable, predictable revenue as well as prioritizing higher education in our state budget process.

 

Since 1980, we have built one new UC campus, while at the same time adding 22 new prisons. University of California, Berkeley currently receives only 11% of its total budget from the State, but it continues to be a major economic engine for the state and one of the top universities for upward mobility. The state investment in our colleges and universities more than pays for itself through their contributions to innovation, job creation and increased incomes for graduates. At UC, within five years of graduation, the majority of Pell grant recipient students will earn more than their family. As the state grapples with the growing income inequality, investments in education can advance social and economic mobility while supporting state workforce needs. But we must invest more public dollars.

 

Our community colleges should be free to all, and we should support programs that aim to help students graduate or transfer. We need to create incentives for students to attend under-utilized campuses, which would help alleviate overcrowded campuses.

 

We should also promote concurrent enrollment across campuses to create flexibility for our students as well as leverage online learning. Lastly, we should create a higher education system that promotes lifelong learning and seeks to help non-traditional students gain the educational credentials necessary to compete in the modern workforce.

 

Feeding our Children to Create Lifelong Nutritional Habits

 

We have tragic paradox — a quarter of our kids go hungry every day, and yet 33% are obese. We add to the problem by not feeding our children appetizing, nutritious food nor are we giving them enough time during lunch to eat in our crowded urban schools. No school should be serving chips, pizza, soda and candy for lunch.

 

We need to prepare our kids to make good nutritional habits starting at a young age in order to combat our obesity, heart disease and other weight-related illnesses. Studies show that nutritional school lunches raise student achievement. We should be incentivizing and bringing to scale ideas like the Edible Schoolyard Project, born right here in AD15, which interweaves student-led urban gardening with nutritional lunches to serve healthy meals to our students. We should increase public funding for Farm to School programs. As it does on many issues, California should be leading the way nationally on providing the most nutritious school lunches available.

 

So how are we going to fund these principles I believe in so strongly? One way to provide more revenue, is to close the Proposition 13 commercial property loophole. By doing so, we will add $9–11.4 billion into our state budget every year. This would mean that big corporations like Chevron, Transamerica, and Disney would be required to pay their market-rate fair share of property tax. This would infuse the critical resources our state needs to ensure our children have the quality education they deserve, and these corporations would benefit from a better educated workforce.

 

 

My Education Plan

Summary

I am a product of public schools - from kindergarten through college. I believe everyone has a right to quality public education and I will support legislation to reduce teacher shortages, increase funding for K-12 public schools, invest in community colleges, and ensure our public universities are accessible and affordable for California residents.

California once had the best public schools in the country. Families moved west in search of better opportunity and quality education for their children. Unfortunately, California now ranks 47th out of 50th in standard of living for children. One in four children go hungry every day. We rank 41st in the nation on spending per child. More troubling, access to quality schools all too often is determined by where a child lives. Thus, there are glaring racial and socioeconomic inequities.

We are failing many our children; especially children of color. It is unconscionable. We urgently need a “kids-first” agenda, one that prepares our students for the changing workforce of the future. An educated workforce is not only critical to our economic growth, but essential in our ability to combat the growing wealth inequalities that are so pervasive in California.

 

Here’s what I will fight for:

 

More Funding For Schools

 

We must invest in our children by investing in our schools. California has only recently dug out of the deep hole created by the recession, and we remain woefully behind other states when it comes to ensuring our public schools have the resources they need to prepare our children for college and careers.

 

The quality of a school depends on the teachers in the classrooms, and therefore we must ensure teaching is a profession that is desirable and viable. We should provide more professional development, coaching, mentoring, and resources for continued education. We should pay our teachers more. In areas with a high cost of living, like Assembly District 15, we need to provide housing assistance so our educators can live within the communities in which they work.

 

We have a significant teacher shortage, particularly for science and math, and have the highest teacher to student ratio in the country. We should reinstate recruitment and incentives programs to attract and retain racially and culturally diverse teachers.

 

Address the Needs of the Whole Child

 

We know learning in the classroom is significantly impacted by circumstances outside of the classroom. It’s critical we look at the whole child and address their social, emotional, and behavioral growth to provide each child the opportunity to thrive. Children living in pervasive poverty and experiencing trauma need schools with more resources to address their social and emotional needs. These resources should include school psychologists, nurses, librarians and an investment in restorative justice programs where it makes sense.

 

Children who are socially and emotionally developed handle challenging difficult situations better; they create positive relationships, learn to check their emotions, and can calm themselves when upset. The ability to hone these skills enable children to learn and achieve at higher levels.

 

Learning Starts on Day One

 

Since children begin to learn from the day they are born, we should think of early child care as education and as an entitlement, like elementary school, social security, unemployment benefits or Medicare.

 

To this end, we should subsidize quality child care on a sliding scale and fund universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. We should professionalize the care industry by unionizing the workforce, providing professional development and apprenticeship programs and increase their educational requirements so early caregivers can receive the same pay as elementary school teachers.

 

Early childhood educators should have access to free community college as well as housing assistance as a way to live where they work. The more affordable and quality early education our children get, the better a society we are.

 

High Expectations and Accountability for All of Our Schools

 

Every school should be great. We should expect the best from all of our public schools, both traditional public schools as well as charter public schools. Along with increased funding and support for our public schools, we should set high standards informed by multiple measures for accountability — academic achievement, dropout rates, rates of suspension, graduation rates, etc — and clear transparency in how resources are spent.

 

We should support and model the successful elements of high performing public schools so other students can benefit. For consistently low performing public schools, increased funding should be coupled with clear accountability and a focus on supporting and developing strong school leaders.

 

Charter public schools can serve a need in our community, but we need more transparency and accountability in how they are run. Charter public schools must be subject to the Brown Act, the Political Reform Act and the Public Records Act, as this would enable parents and the community at large more insight into how taxpayer dollars are being spent.

 

We need to make it easier to identify poor performing charter public schools and to take action to quickly fix or shut those schools down. We need to find ways for charter public schools to work with district schools. Collaboration requires both the district as well as the charter to both come to the table in partnership. Lastly, we need to outlaw for-profit charter schools and under no circumstance should we consider vouchers for private schools.

 

Preparing Students for Life

 

We should be preparing students with tangible skills for life. I believe we need more project-based learning opportunities, where students learn by completing inter-disciplinary projects that solve complex real-world questions. Kids learn through doing and collaborating, and hands on projects are a vehicle for gaining skills traditionally taught through lectures and worksheets.

 

Project based learning emphasizes higher-order learning skills — critical thinking, synthesis, and evaluation — over comprehension or memorization skills. For instance, we should start financial literacy at a young age, and teach our kids the basics, like how to save, how to spend within their means and how the stock market works.

 

Research has shown that students who engage in regular project-based learning demonstrate better problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and do better on standardized tests than their peers. In order to successfully implement this model, teachers need training, coaching and high-quality planning materials. Partnerships between secondary schools and higher education should be strengthened to leverage resources and provide additional opportunities for students through mentorship programs, professional development for teachers, curriculum materials, and early college preparation instruction.

 

Reinvent Higher Education

 

The California Master Plan of 1960 established significant public investments in our higher education system — laying the framework for University of California, California State University, and California Community College schools. This set California on the path to becoming the 6th largest economy in the world.

 

Over the course of time, most notably since the early 2000s, we have significantly reduced public funding to our higher education institutions. We are transferring that cost to students, many of whom now face significant student debt. I believe we need to return to the spirit of the California Master Plan and prioritize our higher education system, making higher education accessible to all.

 

Students today deserve to have the same opportunities as past generations. Specifically, we need to make college debt-free for low-to-middle income students, not only covering the cost of tuition but housing, food and books. This means generating stable, predictable revenue as well as prioritizing higher education in our state budget process.

 

Since 1980, we have built one new UC campus, while at the same time adding 22 new prisons. University of California, Berkeley currently receives only 11% of its total budget from the State, but it continues to be a major economic engine for the state and one of the top universities for upward mobility. The state investment in our colleges and universities more than pays for itself through their contributions to innovation, job creation and increased incomes for graduates. At UC, within five years of graduation, the majority of Pell grant recipient students will earn more than their family. As the state grapples with the growing income inequality, investments in education can advance social and economic mobility while supporting state workforce needs. But we must invest more public dollars.

 

Our community colleges should be free to all, and we should support programs that aim to help students graduate or transfer. We need to create incentives for students to attend under-utilized campuses, which would help alleviate overcrowded campuses.

 

We should also promote concurrent enrollment across campuses to create flexibility for our students as well as leverage online learning. Lastly, we should create a higher education system that promotes lifelong learning and seeks to help non-traditional students gain the educational credentials necessary to compete in the modern workforce.

 

Feeding our Children to Create Lifelong Nutritional Habits

 

We have tragic paradox — a quarter of our kids go hungry every day, and yet 33% are obese. We add to the problem by not feeding our children appetizing, nutritious food nor are we giving them enough time during lunch to eat in our crowded urban schools. No school should be serving chips, pizza, soda and candy for lunch.

 

We need to prepare our kids to make good nutritional habits starting at a young age in order to combat our obesity, heart disease and other weight-related illnesses. Studies show that nutritional school lunches raise student achievement. We should be incentivizing and bringing to scale ideas like the Edible Schoolyard Project, born right here in AD15, which interweaves student-led urban gardening with nutritional lunches to serve healthy meals to our students. We should increase public funding for Farm to School programs. As it does on many issues, California should be leading the way nationally on providing the most nutritious school lunches available.

 

So how are we going to fund these principles I believe in so strongly? One way to provide more revenue, is to close the Proposition 13 commercial property loophole. By doing so, we will add $9–11.4 billion into our state budget every year. This would mean that big corporations like Chevron, Transamerica, and Disney would be required to pay their market-rate fair share of property tax. This would infuse the critical resources our state needs to ensure our children have the quality education they deserve, and these corporations would benefit from a better educated workforce.

 

 

My Housing Plan

Summary

The Bay Area’s housing crisis saps our incomes, shuts out members of our community, and reduces diversity. Here are some ideas for how to address it.

The greatest threat to our prosperity, diversity and equity in the Bay Area is the skyrocketing cost of housing. Neighborhoods with access to good schools and public transportation are now out of reach even for middle-income families. Our housing crisis is part and parcel of our broader struggle with growing wealth inequality — California has the highest concentration of billionaires and millionaires, while at the same time 40% of population is living at or near the poverty line. Housing is a fundamental human need and our current status quo is simply not meeting that need.

 

Forcing people from all walks of life to move further and further away from their jobs and spend hours on the road commuting is not a Bay Area or progressive value. Our severe housing shortage is pushing away the very people that give our communities their strength, vitality, and character. Teachers, first responders, restaurant workers, seniors, artists, and activists find themselves increasingly excluded from the Bay Area’s thriving urban centers, disproportionately impacting communities of color.

 

Bay Area cities that refuse to build enough housing for the people who work there do real harm to individual and public health, to our environment, and most of all, to the people who are left homeless by the housing shortage. As I work to address California’s housing crisis, I will never forget there are people for whom our decisions can mean the difference between being housed and being on street.

 

As the next Assemblymember for District 15, I would fight for progressive and practical solutions that focus on creating homes for everyone who wants to be a part of our community. I firmly believe that we can achieve sensible policies that create housing, strengthen our neighborhoods, and help the Bay Area live up to its values of welcoming newcomers and sharing prosperity.

 

The California legislature — with leadership by the Bay Area’s very own Senators Skinner and Weiner, and Assembly Members Thurmond, Bonta, and Chiu — took a significant step in the right direction last fall by passing a set of bills called the “Housing Package.” The Housing Package provides funding to house the homeless, helps communities better plan for new residents, and speeds up homebuilding in places that aren’t building their fair share of homes. But we have to do more.

 

Here’s what I will fight for as your next Assemblymember:

 

Build more homes for folks at all income levels — and build them quickly.

 

We need more housing across the board. We need affordable housing for families and folks threatened by homelessness. Our homelessness crisis is squarely a result of our housing shortage. To fix this, we need to expand upon the affordable housing funding measures passed in the legislature last year to increase the production of subsidized housing for low income people. This means we need to pass the $4 billion dollar statewide housing bond. In addition, we should consider creating the California Public Infrastructure Bank, devoted to financing more affordable housing. We also need more homes for our teachers, nurses, non-profit workers and other middle-income folks. To this end, we should create workforce housing and reclaim public lands like parking lots for housing. We should also support alternative ways to promote more housing like incentivizing limited equity housing cooperatives and accessory dwelling units. Building more homes at all income levels — low income and market rate — will ease the pressure cooker nature of our market and get Bay Area people into the homes they need.

 

Protect existing tenants from displacement, especially seniors and people with disabilities.

 

We have to guard aggressively against displacement and create a safety net for low income families, who are our most vulnerable residents on the brink of instability. Two out of five Californians live in or around the poverty line. Three out of four Californians can’t weather an emergency expense of $700 or more. Nearly half of renters spend 35% of of their income on rent. We can create policy and provide relief in a few potential ways.

 

One, we should fix Costa-Hawkins, the state law which outlaws rent stabilization for any unit built after 1995. One potential fix could include a rolling date for buildings to come under local rent stabilization laws, as opposed to the 1995 fixed date. This would ensure new housing can be financed and built to support community needs while still empowering local municipalities to implement appropriate rent stabilization measures.

 

Secondly, we should significantly increase and expand the Renters Tax Credit (RTC) and set rates based on metro area. The RTC is currently only $60 per person or $120 for a family. Homeowners get the financial benefit of deducting their mortgage interest. Renters need relief too. Putting real money into the pockets of our renters can go along way to helping those out who are $700 away from falling over a precipice and spiraling into poverty.

 

Lastly, to prevent unscrupulous landlords from wrongly kicking tenants out of their homes, I would also push for legal services for folks facing unfair eviction. We know this works. We’ve seen success in the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act pilot program designed to help low-income Californians facing high-stakes civil cases. The results were a drastic increase in the likelihood of settlement, the majority of which reduced back-owed rent or helped protect tenants’ credit by keeping eviction notices off the public record. Among Shriver program clients, 67% of cases settled, as compared to 34% of people who represented themselves. While all Shriver clients received eviction notices, only 6% were ultimately evicted from their homes. Let’s bring this to scale and really help those that need it.

 

Grow in a sustainable way by building more homes in walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods.

 

As progressives, we know that welcoming new people to our country and our communities does not mean sacrificing our quality of life. Our cities are far too dependent on cars, roadways, and interstates. As we build new housing, we need to do so in forward thinking ways that makes walking possible and incentivizes use of public transportation and bike commuting. Consequently, we should be linking our housing goals with transportation funding so we can create incentives for cities to build. Creating walkable neighborhoods along transit corridors is critical to meet our climate action goals and support safe and healthy communities.

 

Tackle Our Homelessness Crisis Head On

 

We can’t talk about housing without addressing our growing homelessness crisis. We see it everyday and it’s time to act. We need to do three things: one, we should provide a safety net to prevent homelessness before it starts. Those most vulnerable are folks who are exiting from criminal justice, health care, child welfare system and military institutions. They should be discharged into stable housing, rather than onto the street. We should provide mental health services, substance abuse counseling, education and employment assistance. Secondly, we need to prevent chronic homelessness by responding quickly to those newly on the streets. Folks need access to shelters with low barriers of entry and rapid rehousing with short term rental assistance. Lastly, we need to invest significant resources for the chronically homeless and those with severe disabilities. This means permanent supportive housing without any preconditions, which is a necessary foundation to begin treating health issues. This should be housing with no time limit and wraparound supportive services that promote residents’ recovery and maximize their independence.

 

I believe in — and am committed to fighting for — an East Bay that is sustainable and accessible to all. This is why Assemblymember David Chiu, chair of the Housing Committee, and State Senator Scott Wiener, a member of the Housing and Transportation Committee, have endorsed my candidacy. We need practical, pragmatic policies to get us there. I know from talking to you and your family, friends, and neighbors that you expect a representative who not only cares about your issues, but who is dedicated to achieving workable solutions that can win statewide support. I believe that I am the candidate who can meet those expectations, and I hope you’ll join with me as I work to bring California home.



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