Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

City of Palo Alto

Carolyn (Cari) Templeton

Palo Alto must work for all—including children & working families. With experience as Chair of the Planning and Transportation Commission, I will prioritize a swift & collaborative COVID response, prioritize climate action by seeking to end urban sprawl & promote alternative transportation, & modernize City government through equity & inclusion.

  1. 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?

    Community Wellness
    • Prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • Emerge from this pandemic safely and quickly
    • Ensure economic wellness and support for small businesses and their employees
    • Provide for the community’s well-being during the pandemic
    Take Action on Climate, Housing, and Well-Being with a Local Green New Deal
    • Improve our green transportation ecosystem
    • Incentivize homeowners to make green upgrades
    • End sprawl with targeted growth near transit
    Modernize City Government Through Structural Change
    • Commit to Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    • Modernize Public Safety and Rethink Policing
    • Modernize Utilities and Infrastructure
    • Modernize public meetings: continue video conferencing services even after the pandemic to ensure our City is inclusive of and accessible to those whose schedules don’t permit them to be physically present at meetings.
    • Be the best city to work for in the Bay Area

    See details on each of these at

  2. How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?

    Our budget cuts must not come at the expense of community wellness and safety. I appreciate and will continue current efforts to retain budget for youth services, Baylands staffing, libraries, and the arts, despite the city-wide budget reductions.

    We can expand funding for mental health, housing, and transportation by reassessing budget priorities. To promote community safety and wellness for all, we must ensure that a portion of our public safety budget provides our city the variety of resources we need, including de-escalation training programs, mental health and wellness programs, and social services.

  3. 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?

    As a mom of two public school children, I’m acutely aware of the unexpected burden of labor working parents are experiencing. Lack of child care for working parents is a looming crisis as we enter another virtual school year. Women are the hardest hit, due to the added burden of childcare and existing gender inequalities.
    • Advocate for Santa Clara County to emulate San Mateo County’s program that funded childcare relief, especially in low-income areas, to keep childcare providers in business.
    • Promote services for low-income communities in ways preferred by these communities, such as if they may prefer calls or texts over social media, or in their preferred language.

  4. What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?

    Some programs, such as sidewalk widening and intersection safety ramps, benefit children with special needs or disabilities and adults too. We are fortunate to be home to the first Magical Bridge park, and want to see more spaces designed for special needs kids to intermingle and create community with children of all backgrounds and abilities. We can do this at many parks and playgrounds, as well as at art centers, sports centers, and libraries. Whenever we make facilities improvements, we should do so with children, adults, and seniors of all needs and abilities in mind, to make sure the whole family and indeed the whole community can participate together.

  5. 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?

    Working class families and low-income children are dealing with the added burden of lack of access to reliable technology, and with food and housing insecurity. I will collaborate with the school district to see that appropriate communications infrastructure and social support are a priority. Moreover, as we seek to balance the budgets, services targeted for low-income families, especially childcare, shelter, and food programs should not be cut. The city should do as much as possible to communicate about available services to ensure they are available to those who need them.