My core platform is directly shaped by the feedback that I receive from residents like you. In 2018, I spent four months knocking on every single door in the city to learn about the issues that the Millbrae community felt needed to be solved.
If there is something not included on this website that you feel should be on here or you would like more detail about any of my priorities, please don't hesitate to reach out, it would be my pleasure to speak with you.
Economic Recovery and Downtown Revitalization
Millbrae's small businesses and merchants, especially those located in our downtown area, are struggling to make ends meet. Since the start of this pandemic, we have unfortunately not seen the type of smart leadership needed to help businesses get through this pandemic. Other cities like Burlingame, San Bruno, and San Mateo moved quickly to promote their restaurants and retail stores and set up outdoor facilities or closed down streets to support "pandemic-style" operations. I have repeatedly called for Millbrae to close down streets and support food providers who wish to move more of their business outdoors onto our sidewalks and roads. I will continue to do so until it happens.
I have already worked with so many members of the Millbrae business community on small projects to improve our downtown's visibility in the region, but I'd like to take these efforts to the city level. Millbrae politicians have talked about improving downtown for over a decade. However, no meaningful action has been taken. I have hands-on, first-hand experience owning and managing a small business in downtown Millbrae. That's why I know exactly what we need to do to bring stakeholders together and build a more cohesive, vibrant, and inviting downtown district. No other candidate can say the same.
My approach to revitalizing our downtown is multifaceted. If you want the most detailed information, please watch the town hall I hosted with Ann Schneider about this topic by clicking here. I want our downtown to be full of vibrant and exciting businesses - we have to put pressure on landlords who keep storefronts empty for many years at a time. I would like to leverage our unique location to attract tourism dollars by setting up advertising and shuttle links with the airport and local hotels to help visitors find our businesses. We have to take a serious look at attracting more diversity amongst our businesses, with the goal of creating a more stable tax revenue base that is not purely dependent on food or hospitality. I will work with city staff, business groups, and downtown business owners to finally establish a Business Improvement District, or BID, and make our downtown streets more inviting place for everyone.
Crime is sharply up and a rash of property crimes, shoplifting, and violent armed robberies have unsettled our community. The current approach to safety, which is often focused on 911 response times after a crime has occurred, is too narrow. I believe that we need to respect the multidimensional nature of safety and focus on community wellbeing. I will improve our current law enforcement services. The reactive nature of policing is not working for our residents. We can implement cost-effective ways of reducing crime in this city such as license plate readers and Neighbourhood Watch groups. We should have officers patrolling the streets, especially in high-crime areas, to catch criminals that come from out of town to prey on what they see as a vulnerable city. I will unequivocally hold police officers accountable for their actions.
I will also focus on investing in the social services that keep our communities safe. We need to have a serious conversation about mental health in this city. We have to dedicate enough resources to ensure that residents who are going through psychiatric emergencies are met with social workers, not law enforcement. I want to get more counselling resources to our students at Taylor and Mills, and make sure that students are well enough to focus on their studies. We should also address the homeless problem in Millbrae head-on. I will confront those who are only making the problem worse in Millbrae, including BART and SamTrans, and will make sure that services for the homeless are strengthened to keep them off the streets and in good care.
I will also re-examine the services currently available to residents and see if we are serving our entire community, including seniors and those without reliable access to health care. COVID-19 has revealed that there are so many vulnerable individuals in our community who need our attention, and I will dedicate public resources where necessary to address these shortcomings.
Development is happening in Millbrae and it is happening quickly. The BART station development is already under construction, and other projects include the Serra Station project and the redevelopment of El Rancho Inn.
We know that development is inevitable and required by the State of California. If we don't meet certain housing quotas set forth by law, we may lose the right as a city to review and make changes to proposed projects. Furthermore, when we develop in a responsible way, we are helping alleviate the severe housing crisis in the region and taking advantage of underdeveloped land close to mass transit systems. I will review all proposals that come before the City Council in an impartial and fair manner, and will not be influenced by any special interests or dirty money. I will make sure that developers have the community's best interest in mind and will work with the long-time residents of Millbrae to identify negative impacts and address them in a constructive way. I want to continue to strengthen our relationship with our local school districts to make sure that even as we're growing in population, our schools continue to excel and deliver the best education possible to our children.
If elected, I am committed to reforming the way we govern Millbrae.
I will pay our hardworking public employees better wages on par with other cities in the region. We need to invest in the long-term success of our civil service employees instead of getting rid of them for the convenience of consultants.
I will put forward an ordinance or referendum to protect the mayor and vice mayor rotation protocol so that it cannot be abused by elected officials. Millbrae does not have a separate mayoral election so voters expect that each elected member of the City Council will have a turn at being Vice Mayor and Mayor.
I will also advocate for campaign finance limits to protect the integrity of our elections, and reduce the effect of dirty money on our city. We should limit donations to local politicians at $250 per person. Anything more than this simply opens the door for corruption. I believe that lifetime term limits are also necessary to reduce cronyism amongst our elected officials, we should not have the same politicians in office for over a decade. If Millbrae wants to see new blood in our politics, as well as new ideas, we need to remove these barriers to entry.
I will remain accessible, even after the election. I will respond to complaints and concerns from residents with urgency and dedication, and will use the power of my office to get the right answers. Most importantly, I won't make promises that I cannot keep.