Whenever I’m at a City Council meeting, I always look around the Council Chambers and think to myself, “Who is excluded from this space before we even walk through the door? Whose voices aren’t we hearing tonight?”
Like most Campbell residents, I wasn’t born into a life in public service. Growing up, I never imagined someone like me could serve in public office. I came from an immigrant family, and we slowly worked to carve out our piece of the American dream. But when the Great Recession hit over ten years ago, we lost our family business and our home.
At the time, I didn’t understand what was happening. But I did what I’d always done, read and learned more about the world around me. I saw how our political system included some voices and left out others, and how political decisions have important consequences for all of us.
That experience taught me two things that have guided me ever since: one, I needed to learn how to make my voice heard, and two, I had to work to bring others along with me. That’s why this fight is personal for me.
A Councilmember must represent and be accountable to the whole community, and our City Government should be open and accessible to all. Unfortunately, that latter is all too often not the case. Most Campbell residents have important commitments that keep them from following City business. A stay-at-home mother may be unable to find childcare for her infant; a father may be working the night shift to provide for his family; a student may be studying hard for the next day’s exam.
Yet, the decisions of Campbell City Council affect them all the same, regardless of whether or not they are able to have a voice. Campbell ought to lead the way in making our government the very model of accessibility in the South Bay.
I will draw on my work with the best and the brightest from academia and the private sector to design and implement an annual Digital Innovation Fellowship.
Funding for the program will come from outside sources such as nonprofit partners. Fellows will work each year to make Campbell the most innovative City in America, and projects can focus on improving the accessibility of our local government.
I will direct City staff to develop a proposal for community budgeting. Successfully implemented in nearby San Jose as well as in cities across the nation, community budgeting allows local residents to guide the budgeting process for their own neighborhood or region.
Since neighbors have expertise about the best way to distribute funds, by allowing a portion of city funds to be spent in the way most needed by that neighborhood improves the efficiency of the city budgeting process.
I will organize quality volunteer childcare for all City Council meetings and large public events, so parents don’t have to choose between caring for their child and having a voice in our community’s public affairs.
I will work with leading, trusted organizations to conduct an audit of City spending at no cost to the City.
The report will be publicly released to ensure full government transparency. The audit will go one step further than typical assessments of current spending, as it will also be used to identify cost-saving opportunities without cutting City services.
I will draw upon my private sector experience to help design and implement key performance indicators (KPIs) and project benchmarks to measure success and ensure projects come in on time and within budget. The City will then be able to release performance to ensure accountability.
In a post-pandemic world, I will ensure the City has access to secure and accessible digital systems to allow for City business and public accountability, as well as avenues for community engagement.
It is critical that the public is able to comment and actively participate in Council meetings, regardless of whether they are held in-person or online.