Issues

Carol talking on the street

There are hundreds of top priorities for Livermore residents. This short list is not intended as anyone’s hottest issues, but gives an idea of how I think about our City and potential solutions. It is intended to start conversations. Let's talk.

  • I have believed for years that Livermore would benefit from a central public park where families could meet, play and mingle.
  • After a flawed proposal process, the City chose Lennar based on their proposed downtown plan with no park and no public amenities. That proved highly unpopular, though supported by Council and their supporters, such as my opponent.
  • After an election, the City started again, spending $500K on outreach to learn the public’s priorities for the space. Unsurprisingly, they included adequate parking, open space and a character that fit Livermore. Housing was last on the list.
  • Meanwhile, Council privately negotiated an audience seating lawn called Stockmen’s park, for possible future outdoor performances.
  • The City ignored citizen input and proposed their “approved plan” which included Eden moderately low-income housing with inadequate parking, a featureless Stockmen’s park and large housing units.
  • After publishing their “approved plan”, they ignored their own approved plan and presented a plan from Eden housing for a larger set of buildings for very-low income and the homeless, not enough parking and less open space. Again, it is broadly unpopular.
  • We need City Council to be honest and transparent so residents are not fed another bait and switch.

 

  • Whatever happens with the Eden plan, I want to work with the city to fix the parking shortage created by Eden’s single parking spot per housing unit
  • I also want to make sure that what open space remains is comfortable and coordinates with the rest of the public space, not walled off for residents only
  • I want to prioritize Livermore residents getting into Livermore's low-income housing

There are lots of conditions that cause and contribute to homelessness. We have to address those conditions independently, we can't address homelessness as a single issue. The problem is not that there are unsightly or unhealthy homeless encampments, the problem is that individuals can end up unsheltered for a whole mix of reasons that we can help to address.

The City does support efforts addressing some conditions of homelessness, but there is more that can be done, some of it for very little money. Many non-profit organizations in the City are stepping up and carrying much of the burden by supplying housing, food and services, but more support from the City could improve coordination, outreach and effectiveness.

We can meet people where they are. For those who are living in vehicles, the City should use City property to provide safe parking areas with rules that address safety as well as the realities of people living at the edge of homelessness. Such spaces can include sanitary facilities, trash receptacles, fresh water and service contacts. These should be spaces of support, not blight.

Encampments can be made safer and more sanitary until residents can be offered better options. Clearing out a homeless encampment and saying that services “are available” does not address the issues that put those individuals in the encampment. We may have to imagine some level of longer support for some limited encampments. We already have them, let's have some level of control and cleanliness. Policing of encampments and other transient living situations needs to be compassionate and humanitarian. There is no benefit to impounding a car when it is someone's shelter of last resort.

As part of meeting people where they are, the City could provide consolidated services information in a way that is easy to find on a mobile phone. On the City's website it is currently easier to find how to report undesirable homeless behavior than to find services. The 2-1-1 phone service for community support response is becoming a great resource for those in imminent need, but the public should be able to learn current services and opportunities from the City's website.

The City does a homelessness survey, but going deeper and tracking homelessness “by name” would allow a more focused and more efficient understanding of needs and solutions.

Helping people who are at risk of becoming unhoused is also critical. How do we support those who are on the edge and have just lost a job or are escaping an unsafe living situation?

Overall, an effective safety net for those in difficult situations saves money and improves quality of life for all of Livermore.

Public safety can always be improved, but we do need to be aware that broad, instant communication makes us aware of every crime in our town in a way that never happened in the past. Crime is actually lower now than it was in many of the years that people recall from their cherished past. Still, there are things we can do to make Livermore safer.

  • Improve police relationship and interaction with the public.
  • Expand neighborhood watch and community contact.
  • More bicycle patrol for police and volunteer watch. The police should be seen as normal in our neighborhood, not only as indications of trouble.
  • Note that showcase events (Cop on Top, Stuff a Cruiser) are nice, but reach very few people and are mostly for publicity.
  • I support Livermore's fine Police and Fire teams. Let's make sure they are an integrated part of our community.

In short, we need to consider how we make our energy and environmental footprint smaller, from lower energy consumed to using less water. We can all do our part, individually and as a City. 

The City can consider tuned incentives to make sure that all residents have an opportunity to benefit from efforts to improve our environment. Increasing rooftop solar, home electric conversion, insulation improvements, efficient appliances, mass transit, turf reduction, etc. I do not have all the answers, but we should invite and listen to people working on this complex problem.

My area, District 1, in particular has a shortage of street trees and instead any rain runs down hard sidewalks to gutters and away. Better rain capture and more street trees would improve our district and our environment.

It may not be not cost effective to run reclaimed water to individual homes, but by using reclaimed water in our neighborhood parks we create public gathering spaces while reducing the incentive for each person to cultivate a private lush lawn.