On The Issues

COVID-19

As your Mayor, I’m proud to champion a five-part Economic Recovery Plan for the City of Elk Grove:

  1. Make sure vital information is made available and accessible to the public. To meet this need, I pushed for the creation of the Coronavirus Rapid Response website and the Rapid Response Business Hotline.  This led to staff being dedicated to helping Elk Grove businesses and residents navigate numerous federal, state, and local resources.  This also gave residents a one stop shop online location for their COVID-19 concerns and gave businesses a dedicated line to seek out additional help.
  2. Quickly address the needs of our Elk Grove restaurants. They were particularly impacted due to the restrictions placed on indoor dining.  With no way to maintain their normal customer volume, many restaurants were facing the dire choice to temporarily close down.  But in order to give our local restaurants a fighting chance to survive this pandemic, I supported the local emergency order allowing restaurants to temporarily add or expand outdoor dining areas.  This allowed many restaurants to maintain a steady source of revenue while keeping employees on payroll.  We also infused more than a million dollars into our local economy by providing meal delivery for seniors to support Elk Grove’s older adults and local restaurants.  The Great Plates Delivered program has helped more than 500 seniors and high risk adults stay home and stay healthy by having local restaurants deliver three nutritious meals a day, six days a week to residents enrolled in the program.
  3. Provide financial assistance to charities & small businesses through three new funds: CARES Act charity funding, the Small Business Recovery Grant Program, and the Emergency Investment Relief Program:
    • Our CARES Act charity funding allocated $300,000 in emergency funding to support local non-profits providing food, household items, and rent and utility assistance. Organizations like the Elk Grove Food Bank, Chicks in Crisis, the Rotary Club, and Elk Grove HART have all responded to the overwhelming needs of our community in the face of layoffs, shortages, and closures.  This funding will help offset the loss of funds normally generated by fundraisers they would have hosted, and it will provide a critical lifeline so they can continue their work despite an unprecedented demand for their services.
    • The Small Business Recovery Grant Program made $750,000 in CARES Act funding available to Elk Grove small businesses in the form of grants of up to $25,000 per business.
    • The Emergency Investment Relief Program provides low interest flexible loans for Elk Grove businesses. This program allowed community banks to receive deposits from public agencies for the sole purpose of redistributing them to local businesses.

As your Mayor, I fought for these programs that now exist for the immediate and necessary aid to Elk Grove to ensure our economic growth.

  1. Launching Elk Grove’s “Why Buy Local” campaign. This campaign aims to encourage Elk Grove residents to continue investing in our local businesses not simply because it helps our economy, but also as a simple act of support for our neighbors. In order to promote our “Why Buy Local” campaign, you’ll see posters, street banners, and billboards highlighting several of our Elk Grove businesses. This is a simple, but powerful opportunity for Elk Grove residents to play a role in our city’s Economic Recovery Plan.
  2. Place a moratorium on evictions for tenants, whether renters or local businesses, while also working closely with our local utility providers to prevent shutoffs. When the eviction moratorium first came up for a vote, I was the only person on the City Council who voted for it!  But with the help and voices of community activists, I was able to schedule an emergency meeting of the City Council the next week, where every Councilmember changed their vote and passed the moratorium.  This made sure Elk Grove residents and businesses could reroute their scarce resources towards essential needs without having to worry about losing their home or electricity.

Also, since I’ve been your Mayor, Elk Grove has now built-up a $24 million Rainy Day Fund—you won’t need to worry, no cuts in services that you depend on will be needed, even though the city’s income will be going down by an estimated $7 million due to the pandemic and a bad national economy.

Good Governance & Transparency

For years, I’ve been fighting to make our City Council elected by district, so that every part of the City will have their own voice on our Council, and residents will have more power to vote politicians out if they aren’t representing that community.  We finally won that fight, and this is the first year that the voters of each Council District will be solely responsible for electing their own City Councilmember.

I was able to help stop a gerrymandering scheme by City Councilmembers who wanted to re-draw their own Council districts in ways that would prevent competitive elections.  By working with local leaders, we generated an outpouring of community opposition, and the Council was forced to abandon this un-democratic plan.

With your support, we were also able to kill a proposal that would have taken away your right to vote for your Mayor, and would have let the City Councilmembers appoint one of themselves to be the Mayor instead.  In a democracy, the City Council should trust the voters to decide who is Mayor—not circumvent the 78% of voters who approved Measure K to make the Mayor an elected position.

Whether it’s the fight to win by-district elections, to stop gerrymandering, or to stop the Council from getting rid of your right to vote for the Mayor, I was the only person on the City Council who was representing the opinions of the vast majority of Elk Grove from day one.  I’m the only candidate for Mayor who will continue to make sure that your rights as a citizen of Elk Grove are protected.

Elk Grove also now has a new online transparency tool called Story Maps that lets anyone view development projects that are in plan review, have been approved, are under construction, or were recently completed.  This gives you the power to keep tabs on these deals by going to the city’s Development Services webpage to track them.

Transportation & Traffic

As Mayor I pushed for a Congestion Management Plan with clear goals and a list of improvements to focus staff efforts.  Now that the City Council has adopted it, here are some of the projects that will benefit you and the places where you commute:

  • Grant Line Road will be widened from two to four lanes between Waterman and Bradshaw Roads. This project will also provide a new trail and added traffic signals at the intersections with Mosher and Bradshaw.
  • Kammerer Road will be reconstructed to widen the lanes and shoulders and add a median to separate traffic from Lent Ranch Parkway to Bruceville Road to improve safety along this increasingly busy corridor.
  • Bond Road will be resurfaced between East Stockton Boulevard and Elk Grove-Florin Road, adding green bike lanes, and improving the existing traffic signals for a smoother, safer ride in this part of the city.
  • City staff and Caltrans just completed the Planning Phase for a new highway interchange at Whitelock Parkway and Highway 99.
  • City staff will be taking your public comments to determine the future design and expansion of Grant Line Road between Bond and Calvine Roads soon.

I’ve also fought for significantly increased funding for the pavement management program, and Elk Grove’s pavement condition has steadily improved over the past 4 years.  Today, I’m proud to say that Elk Grove’s roads are now rated in the 90th percentile in the State and the best in Sacramento County.

New Amenities

From my first day as Mayor, I’ve worked to make sure that we bring two new medical centers to Elk Grove.  The centerpieces of these projects are badly needed community hospitals, proposed by California Northstate University (CNU) and Dignity Health.  Currently, we don’t have any hospitals, which is abnormal and dangerous for a city our size…particularly when the closest hospitals to our city are down freeways that are jammed-up twice per day!  Reducing response time for medical emergencies could mean the difference between life or death.

During my current, second term as your Mayor, our Public Works Department team completed construction of our new aquatics center, community center, veterans hall, animal shelter, and 25 other projects.

In a recent study of 260 cities in California, Elk Grove was ranked 35th in the state for our quality of life.

And we still have more new projects: improvements to Railroad Street and the Old Town Plaza are now underway, and construction has started on The Preserve, a 30-acre nature area at District56.

Safety

Since I’ve been representing you on the City Council, violent crime is down by 40% and property crime is down by 15%.  Focusing on prevention efforts will help us to keep these numbers low.

I supported adding a Homeless Navigator with clinical skills to our Police Department, to complement the work of its homeless outreach officer, which finally happened this March.  These two work together to connect Elk Grove’s homeless to the resources and programs they need to get back on their feet.

We’ve even started to pair other clinical professionals from organizations like WEAVE and Sacramento County with police officers, and since they started collaborating, Elk Grove Police are gaining new skills and techniques to better serve our community when it comes to homelessness, domestic violence, and mental health disorders

I promoted the creation of a Police Chief’s Advisory Board, which now provides a voice to the needs and perceptions of our residents.  Supporting a two-way dialogue between the Police Department and the community will help each group to understand each other better.

Housing

I initiated a universal rental application system to alleviate the cost of paying multiple housing application fees.  This is helping renters get housing cheaper and quicker.

Unlike other jurisdictions, I’ve ensured that developer fees that go to our affordable housing fund are collected rather than exempted, so Elk Grove is able to use this money to help house all of our people.

Those earning less than $70,000 a year struggle to find affordable housing and often spend more than half their income on a place to call home.  So the City’s General Plan is being updated to identify sites to accommodate more housing for all income levels. Our new draft housing plan will be released for final public review and comment in early 2021, but before then I need your public input online regarding the sites being considered to meet our future needs.  Go here to add your thoughts: ElkGroveCity.ABalancingAct.com/EG2021HousingElement

Diversity & Inclusion

I’ve made sure that our city government is making an effort to listen, learn, and better understand and respect the diversity in Elk Grove.  Now, City Hall has implemented an Inclusion Strategy that:

  • Expands recruitment efforts,
  • Reduces the risk of bias in hiring, and
  • Promotes equity and inclusion in our workplace and throughout the city.

I’m also continuing to work on changing the culture at City Hall with a staff team that evaluates internal programs and policies through a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We changed the mission of our Multicultural Committee to a resident-focused Diversity & Inclusion Commission that is working to hear and connect with our community.

There is still much more work to do, but the city’s progress was recognized in February by the League of California Cities with the Award for the Advancement of Diverse Communities.

Environment

I created the Mayor’s Tree Planting Program, which now has a $10,000 renewable grant to plant trees all over Elk Grove.  This will help our city reduce heat and expensive AC use in the summer, reduce noise and air pollution, and increase our land values and beauty.

We’re working to green our city’s vehicle fleet, which will save our city money on fuel and increase local air quality.

I’m also actively working with city staff to include more green technology on our new buildings and in seeking green projects to alleviate our carbon footprint, like our new 30-acre nature preserve.

Workers

Since I came to City Hall I’ve been fighting to make sure that our city’s new construction projects train and hire local residents, so that any money we spend will go right back into our community.

I’ve also worked to bring more jobs to Elk Grove.  Before the pandemic hit, we had record-low unemployment.  We added or retained more than 6,000 jobs and made a positive impact on the jobs-to-housing ratio while I’ve been on the City Council.

Seniors

Our city now has a first-in-the-nation meal delivery service to support Elk Grove’s older adults and local restaurants: The Great Plates Delivered program has helped more than 500 seniors and high risk adults to stay home and stay healthy.  Local restaurants are delivering three nutritious meals a day, six days a week to residents enrolled in the program.  Great Plates Delivered not only cares for our residents, but it has infused more than a million dollars into our local economy.

We also recently finished construction of Elk Grove’s new Senior Center to better serve our community.