In the past 16 months as a Monte Sereno Councilmember, I have proactively focused on three core objectives: 1) Preserve and enhance Monte Sereno’s unique residential character, 2) Implement sustainable and transparent financial policy, and 3) Adopt best in class governance to enable high-quality services to residents.
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?
I think simple actions are the easiest to adopt and produce results. 1) Set a good example and 2) Treat others as you would like to be treated. For example, wear a mask and respect social distance when you are around others because it shows that you care about their health. We all need to work together to reduce the spread of COVID. Offer to help your neighbors with shopping or their children’s homework. Respect that we all have equal rights and be sensitive to those that may not have enjoyed equal privilege.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
I directly contributed to strengthen a financial policy document and re-format of the budget document to ensure financial sustainability and transparency. I advocated to take a conservative approach to operating and capital spending during COVID, but I did not have majority support. I convinced the Council to pay-off ~$700,000 in unfunded pension liability accruing 6% interest. My fiscal leadership enables the City to continue to invest in family and children’s programs.
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?
Many of the families in Monte Sereno use the local Baptist Church for after school child care. There was previously a proposal to rezone the Baptist Church for high-density housing to satisfy CA quotas. I oppose the rezoning of private property for the sake of CA quotas and value the Baptist Church child care as a valuable service to the community.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
To my knowledge, our local services for children with special needs or with disabilities are robust. If there are any shortcomings, please bring them to my or the City Manager’s attention so that we can address the issues.
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?
I will continue to support City funding of local programs.