In 2007, my family owned our own business, a local restaurant. It was supposed to provide the funds to fulfill my family’s dream of being the first to graduate college.
Instead, in the wake of the ensuing recession and financial crisis, it became our ruin. As business dried up, we struggled to hang on and eventually lost the restaurant. As we took out a second mortgage to get the start-up cash necessary to open up the restaurant, we lost both our business and our home.
Today, my heart breaks as I see history repeating itself, with downtown corridors and Main Streets across the South Bay at risk of going dark as local businesses shutter. No family should have to go through what we went through, and the COVID-19 health crisis threatens both our entire local business community as well as the workers they employ.
I’m proud to have been using my public platform to support our small business community, including partnering with local Chambers of Commerce to host a COVID-19 Small Business Town Hall with State Treasurer Fiona Ma, and highlighting local businesses on the campaign trail. As a proud member of the Campbell Chamber of Commerce and small business owner myself, no one will work harder to assist our local businesses.
Small businesses comprise the vast majority of new jobs, driving the engine of our economy. In some small South Bay cities, such as Campbell, they supply not only our new jobs but the majority of local employment. That’s why we have to join together to support small businesses, the lifeblood of our community.
I remain hopeful that this time will be different than the last Great Recession. Unlike the previous downturn, pent-up consumer demand may be greater since there are less options for shopping during the current public health crisis. This keeps sales artificially low. However, more immediate relief will be needed for the businesses in danger of closing for good, and the workers who would lose their jobs if those businesses were to collapse.
All small businesses take a risk by opening their doors. That entrepreneurial spirit is what helps give the South Bay its vibrancy. But when circumstances outside of any one entrepreneur’s control impose themselves, it’s incumbent for our leaders to step up to the challenge to support them. Those circumstances don’t reflect a moral or personal failing on the part of our local business owners.
No business should be forced to close its doors for being responsible and putting the health of the community first. All of us must do our part to support them.
I will create an official Small Business Advisory Council to advise the City on issues relating to the business community.
Used by other cities, such as San Diego, these boards are an important way to seek business input on public policy issues and can be a way to delegate policy research to subject matter experts. The Council would also ensure impacts of proposed fees and regulations on small businesses are considered, and would find and suggest areas for improving efficiency.
Campbell’s current programs to assist small businesses are underutilized. For example, there is a Vacant Storefront Window Treatment Program in which the City partners with local artists to beautify a vacant property, stopping blight in the area and promoting the building to potential new businesses. I will proactively reach out to owners of vacant lots to help promote this program.
Despite the hard work of City Staff, there is oftentimes a backlog when it comes to updates on paperwork, with many residents finding difficulty in navigating the system.
We can draw upon best practices from local government to streamline our system, bringing in increased revenue and better serving our community and residents. For more details, please see my platform on Planning, Permitting, & Development.
I will ask the City to use its social media platforms to highlight a small business of the month, who will also receive recognition at City events.
The focus will be on new businesses from around town to be shared with the public, as these businesses often have a critical period after they open when they rely on word of mouth to establish a successful business.
Studies have shown that high-quality, well-planned mixed use developments — combining retail with housing — bring important community benefits: lower infrastructure costs, higher tax revenue, improved public health, lower traffic and sprawl, and, in the long-term, reduced costs going forward for police, fire, and trash services.
Moreover, they improve the walkability and small town feel that is so important for the character of our community, and are a smart way to couple housing goals with economic development and promotion of transit and biking.
I’ve been proud to host events in conjunction with the small business community, such as a COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall with State Treasurer Fiona Ma and local Chambers of Commerce to share resources with small business owners. I will continue to host informational events to benefit our small business community.
"No business should be forced to close its doors for being responsible and putting the health of the community first. That means that all of us must do our part to support them."