We deserve a City Council that provides honest leadership, is responsive to the residents, and supports Los Altos’ businesses. It’s time to elect a Council that works collaboratively to solve problems and conquer challenges. We need new leadership for a better Los Altos.
Taking into consideration the profound impact of COVID-19 and the expanded movement for racial justice and equity, what do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
1. ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE: Every person has a right to adequate health care. I favor a city policy requiring all vendors with whom the City does business to offer health benefits to full time employees as well as spouse/domestic partner/dependents.
2. ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE: Working families must have a place where children can be safe, supervised, socialize, play and learn. Our City offers a preschool program (“Tiny Tots”) and I favor exploring a sliding scale tuition based on income. I support partnerships with our school districts to provide safe environments and after-school care, and with nonprofits for mental health and other services.
3. A RELIABLE AND ADEQUATE SOCIAL SAFETY NET: Millions of people have lost their jobs because of COVID-19. This is especially devastating for lower income and single parent households. We have a responsibility to adequately fund welfare and social services to protect those who are most vulnerable to economic downturn.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
1. Any Vendor who does not already offer benefits to full time employees and dependents would have to begin doing so to continue doing business with the City.
2. I support having staff explore the fiscal impact of a sliding scale for the Tiny Tots program and assess demand for city-sponsored child care and programs for older children. This fiscal year Los Altos projects a budget of $43 million on revenues of $45 million. If staff’s findings supported those programs, I would look closely for prudent ways to fund.
3. Although Los Altos is unable to fund wide-scale social services, I favor the City lending its official backing to efforts at non-profits and at County, State and Federal levels.
What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?
If there is sufficient demand, I would expand the City’s Tiny Tots program for preschoolers and pre-K. If there is sufficient demand, I would favor establishing a city-sponsored child care program for older kids.
The City should collaborate with the four school districts in Los Altos to offer before- and after-school programs to the extent there is demand. I also favor hiring bilingual teachers and investing in bilingual toys / study aids. Students for whom English is a second language should not be deprived of the learning aids and resources they need to achieve success.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
I want Los Altos to partner with Magical Bridge Foundation or a similar nonprofit and our school districts to identify a location for an inclusive playground. I will personally work on an effort to raise funds from our community (corporate, charitable, and residents) for the construction of a playground to accommodate children of all needs and abilities.
The Los Altos recreation department offers a wide range of programs. I would work with the Department Director to audit the range of programs offered to make sure the City offers programs for persons of all abilities and needs. The City should consult with experts and non-profits to ensure we are meeting the community’s needs.
Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?
The City has a responsibility to partner with our school districts and for the Parks and Recreation Department to provide equal opportunities, amenities, and benefits to everyone. The first step in evaluating the City’s success in meeting these obligations is to partner with an expert or non-profit to audit the City’s performance and opine where Los Altos can improve.
Once the audit is complete, I would make it public and invite input from our residents and business community.
Based on the findings of the audit and public input staff should explore ways the City can improve taking into account the needs of the community and our budgetary constraints.