LIST OF ISSUES (Please Scroll)
Achievements - My Track Record
City On Demand Shuttle: Facilitated approval of $8.5 million grant from State to fund on demand shuttle service for our seniors & residents
COVID-Relief Funding: Championed and got approved approx. $5.0 million emergency rental assistance for city renters and small business assistance grants
Food during COVID: Arranged, distributed, and funded free fresh produce and food to residents who were vulnerable during COVID
Fought for residents against garbage rate hikes: Opposed the unprecedented double digit garbage rate hikes and proposed and advocated negotiating smarter contracts
El Camino Specific Area Plan: Protected neighborhoods close to El Camino Real from high rise buildings in their backyard
Affordable housing: Approved a 144 unit affordable housing development in the district which is now operational
Increased revenue for residents from stadium: Facilitated multi-million dollar increase of revenue from stadium to support resident services
Increasing general fund revenues from Big Tech companies: Supported Business License Tax measure on ballot to increase contributions from large companies to use towards resident services
Sustainability: Approved one of the strictest reach codes for sustainability and to reduce GHG
New revenue: Generating new revenue for City’s general fund from available assets
Sustainable growth: Planning sustainable growth that maintains current residents’ quality of life and protects neighborhoods
Shuttle services: Starting on-demand free/subsidized electric shuttle services in the City in 2023
Affordable housing: Prioritize more affordable housing
Preventing homelessness: Work with partners like state and county to prevent homelessness
Public safety: Maintain high level of public and fire safety
Protect neighborhoods: Approving objective design standards to protect neighborhoods from irresponsible development projects
Quality of Life of residents: Improve the quality of life of our residents.
High Density Housing Development - My Past Track Record
Residents of Santa Clara are constantly facing the issue of high density housing being proposed and developed in their backyards. Our top down approach of development is not conducive to long time residents of Santa Clara. Single family residents are facing grave privacy issues due to these developments, and in addition these developments are also causing traffic congestion in the peaceful neighborhoods. As Planning Commissioner, I have always stood on the side of neighborhood protection and single family residents by voting NO on these unjust developments again and again. Yes, high density housing may be need of growing jobs but it has to be placed at the right location. The corporate greed of building high density housing right next to single family neighborhoods has to stop. Our concentration should be mixed use developments at a right place.
My track record as Planning Commissioner reflects this:
Opposed the inappropriate high density townhomes at the corner of Newhall and Saratoga.
Opposed the density requested beyond General Plan guidelines by Irvine Company at the corner of El Camino Real and Benton, close to Old Quad single family residences. (Request was for 385 units in approx. 4 acres)
Opposed the inappropriate high density housing at 1890 El Camino – fought for single family residents of Clay Street (Request was for 58 condominium units on 1.51 acres)
Opposed the inappropriate high density development at the Moonlight Bowling site, too dense right next to existing neighborhoods. 158 units (five story high) on 2.88 acres lot is not what we need here, this will create traffic issue, privacy issues to the neighborhood.
I want Santa Clara to grow, but in an efficient and sustainable manner, and never at the expense of our current residents. Our existing neighborhoods should be protected and quality of life of our residents should be paramount when deciding about any high density housing in the city.
Affordability Housing and Fair Rent
Our workers are facing acute problem of affordable housing in our city, rents in the region have skyrocketed. An average worker of Santa Clara is struggling to make ends meet. We need public-private initiatives to tackle affordable housing issue, I will sit with our businesses like Intel, nVidia, Ericsson, etc. to contribute towards our affordable housing and fair rent fund. Santa Clara provides excellent working conditions to these businesses and in return they need to help us resolve these community issues. I will fight tirelessly for our workers through affordable housing and fair rent initiatives. Developer greed has to stop and not only our city but whole region has to come up with innovative solutions to resolve this crises.
Open, Transparent, Informative Government
I am a strong believer that government should be open, transparent, and informative to its residents. I also believe that we as a city can do a much better job in accomplishing this. We need to post agendas in a more timely manner so that residents and commissioners can review the material. The lack of time to review has cascading effects which can lead to bad decisions. Furthermore, we have to share various development projects with community at every step from project conception to approval. So many of our residents have complained that our city web site is very hard to navigate to find information. I will work hard to make sure that our website is easy to navigate. I will work tirelessly to make our city government accessible and responsive to our residents.
Smart, Balanced, Controlled Growth
I do understand that growth is a natural process for any community, but as a community leader who has discussed and talked to so many of our residents, I feel our growth should be smart, balanced, and controlled and at a right place. High density housing close to single family residences is a big concern to our residents as it impacts their privacy and creates traffic congestions. We should focus on mixed use developments at the right places and close to transit. Grassroots level discussion with residents is a must before a developer conceives a project.
Community engagement- Residents first:
It hurts me to note that our residents - the biggest pillars of our democracy are often ignored in the day to day decision making process of our city. Often, our approach of top down planning and decision making leaves out the interests of our residents. One of my top most goals as council member would be to develop a comprehensive community engagement program. As council member it would be my duty to INFORM, CONSULT and INVOLVE the ordinary resident in our decision making process. I would like to create a process which enables relationship and trust between council, residents, neighborhood groups, and associations. I want to engage the community to identify or prioritize the needs of our residents and to develop consensus on proposals and plans. With six new districts in the city, (one for each councilmember), I would like each councilmember to hold a monthly meeting in the area with residents to INFORM, CONSULT, and INVOLVE citizens on various neighborhood issues. The feedback received from these six meetings should be addressed by the staff for action and should be kept in mind for any development in that area. Although we have six districts but we still have city wide issues to be addressed. To address this I would like that we should rotate councilmember meetings every six months to different districts, so that councilmembers should also listen to issues faced by other districts than their own. I will fight to get more funds and resources to involve common residents in our decision making process.
Education, Youth Leadership and Scholarships
One of the primary reasons for my personal success in life is my strong school and educational foundation. I had great schooling from a young age and was lucky to receive a university education.I am very passionate about our next generation getting all the opportunities to have the best of education. I will strive hard to build better relationships between city council and our school district not only to improve the mainstream academic education but also to increase additional extracurricular activities between various youth leadership groups such as the city’s Youth Commission and the Santa Clara Sister Cities Association Youth Commission Our city currently runs the Silicon Valley Power Scholarship for high school seniors.my goal is to create more scholarships for students in different fields. This will motivate the students to achieve their potential and will help them meet some of their financial needs. I am committed to working and collaborating with local businesses in our city to establish a scholarship fund for young Santa Clarans. Having raised two children in Santa Clara through the public school system, I know the importance of providing community support to children.
Mixed Use Developments
Of late, some of our developments are not really mixed ( business and housing at the same project) use in nature. Mixed use developments solve some of the basic issues we are facing in the city – traffic, high density, etc. I would stress that we should not dilute our standards for mixed use developments at proper place. Mixed use developments can mitigate some of the traffic issues.
Fixing our Traffic Problem: Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Penalties
Traffic related issues are at the forefront of problems faced by residents, and almost every resident is rightfully complaining about bad traffic in all of Santa Clara. On top priority we need to look at intelligent traffic lights which can syn well with other traffic lights on the roadways. (Just like Brussels in Europe). I will ask our local businesses to start free shuttle service in the city, this will be based on the same model as provided by Google in Mountain View. Transportation Demand Management (TDM) is the application of strategies and policies to reduce travel demand (specifically that of single-occupancy private vehicles), or to redistribute this demand in space or in time. In transport, as in any network, managing demand can be a cost-effective alternative to increasing capacity. Almost every plan being approved by the city has a TDM plan to manage traffic, reduce Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT),deliver better environmental outcomes, improve public health, in the hopes of building stronger communities in our city. Unfortunately, Santa Clara is the only city in the surrounding area which does not impose any penalties on developers who do not meet their TDM goals. I will work hard to make sure that we devise a penalty structure for violators and use these funds to make improvements to our traffic issues and ultimately create more livable neighborhoods for families.
Analytical Fiscal Decision Making
For the last 13 years, I have been running my business which has been profitable from its very first year., I know how to pragmatically analyze financial data. My education, a masters degree in Physics and an MBA in finance, has prepared me to make analytical and prudent financial decisions. As Councilmember, my experience and education will help me make promising fiscal decisions on behalf of our residents. I will make sure that our tax dollars are used in the most efficient ways possible to enhance the services to the residents.
Our city has shown lack of fiscal analytical skills in approving the recent Related project. I personally and our residents are really disappointed in the lack of understanding of the long term fiscal benefits to the general funds. The financial analysis which I submitted recently to the council would have saved more than 110 acres of city owned land as open space and we would still have made $17.83 Million instead of $20.01 Million of general fund money per year. Our lack of analytically studying the fiscal reports will cost us a lot for next 99 years. The solution, as proposed by me would have scaled down the development from 9.1 Million sq ft to 5.8 million sq ft, with a very nominal effect to our general fund revenues. It would have reduced traffic and mitigated other impacts to the neighborhood. Leasing out more than 75.6 acres of city land for 99 years, just for annual general fund revenue of $2.18 Million dollars (as per current projections) a year does not make sense. A "Fiscal/Economic Benefit" report should have been considered with all due diligence by the council. I won’t let bad financial decisions hurt our residents both in the short term and long term. Rest assured, I will analyze the data before I vote. I will be tough on developers and demand answers from staff for such long term decisions.