I’m proud to have made it a priority to engage thoughtfully with our senior community. One of the very first community events I hosted was at a senior mobile home community, where I heard from a packed room of senior citizens.
Sadly, they shared that they had never before had a visit from someone looking to represent them on City Council. A couple of them had occasionally met Councilmembers at public meetings. But others were not able to get to City Council meetings and had never had a City leader proactively reach out to engage them, even though policy issues such as housing and land use decisions affected them every day. They were worried about their community being left behind or forgotten.
When the pandemic hit, I used our volunteer network to set up a system of grocery deliveries to senior citizens in the community, using our communications infrastructure to reach those who weren’t getting help from other resources. It was, again, a reminder of how policymakers sometimes leave out those who are most affected by their decisions, and the importance of engaging everybody.
These actions are indicative of the ways in which I’ll ensure every community is engaged in the policymaking process — because we all have a stake in the decisions City Council makes. That’s why together, we’ll work toward a vision of a City that has room for all of us.
The senior residents I spoke with shared a common story — no one had engaged with them on City policymaking decisions.
That will change with the creation of a Campbell Senior Advisory Commission, which will be made up of senior residents (including those from specialized living communities). The Commission will serve as advisors to City Council on policy matters relating to their community.
Oftentimes, senior residents are unable to access key meetings where decisions are made, such as City Council meetings.
I plan to change that by designating representatives from senior living facilities to disseminate information to their respective facilities ahead of key meetings, including providing accessibility and remote access information to those who need it.
I will also host town halls and informational meetings at senior living facilities around the City. I also plan to reach out proactively to community organizations, including those representing senior communities which may lack access to information or face language barriers
At a minimum, we must ensure that no existing specialized senior living facility in Campbell is rezoned or replaced. We’re lucky to have a variety of such facilities within Campbell, representing different senior populations.
Many of these communities provide the only affordable means for seniors to remain in our City. Preserving them will ensure everyone is able to be part of our broader Campbell community.
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 our senior community is able to comment and actively participate in Council meetings, regardless of whether they are held in-person or online.
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 certain projects will focus on improving the accessibility of our local government for our seniors.