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Contact Jonathan via email: Jonathan@VoteFleming.com
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©2020, Paid for by Fleming for SJ City Council D2 2020, FPPC# 1420419

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ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS

A Plan to Make Our City Safe

As our District 2 Councilmember, I will work with our residents, businesses, and Community leaders to make San José the foremost safe, fiscally responsible, and accountable city in the country. Our residents and businesses will be proud to call San José home.

 

Below are my positions and some solutions on the most pressing issues in our City (scroll down the page or click each link to jump to a section):

Make Our City Safe - Improve Public Safety

The highest priority of the San José government is to protect life and provide for the safety of its residents.

Low police staffing is the primary reason for our City’s increasing crime rate because we are stuck in a permanent reaction mode.  As Councilmember I will work to increase our Police staffing ratios to national levels while maintaining high applicant standards.

  • Short term goal of increasing staffing to 1,450 Officers

  • Will advocate for a competitive and fair wage/benefits package, including medical, to attract and retain Officers

  • Restore confidence and trust between the this council office and our Police

  • Hire more dispatch personnel to reduce 911 and 311 response times

  • Predictive  policing  software  and  modeling  need  to  be used effectively to ensure officer safety and reduce crime levels.

As Councilmember I will advocate for specialty Police units, specifically the Gang, Traffic, and Graffiti units as I believe that focusing on these areas will reduce the workload on patrol officers and sharply reduce crime throughout our City. It is a fact that patrol officers responding to a murder, traffic accident, or some other crime consume more resources and create call backlogs as opposed to preventing the crime in the first place.

Other factors are also contributing to our increasing crime, including no care for the mentally ill, poor land use decisions, the unsolved homeless problem, and state laws which make it impossible for our law enforcement to do their job – specifically Propositions 47, 57, and AB109.

  • Proposition 47 reclassified numerous felonies as misdemeanors and released up to 358,555 convicted felons back onto the streets. (https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/for-publication_prop-47.pdf)

    • We have all seen the increases in package thefts (Amazon deliveries), mail thefts, and car break-ins.​

    • Our business owners are impacted by theft, violence, and drug use.

      • As evidenced by the hiring of armed guards at the Safeway in the Snell and Branham Plaza.

    • Our walking trails are not safe for families and our environment is suffering with trash and bio-hazard pollution.

  • Proposition 57 worsened the situation and threatened to release 20,000 sex offenders from prison, which even placed SJPD Chief Garcia “In shock.” (https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/San-José-Police-Chief-In-Shock-  473849443.html)

 

As Councilmember I will support our officers to increase morale and make District 2 safe for residents and businesses.

 
NO MORE TAXES! 
Using your tax dollars correctly and growing our City’s general fund without increasing tax rates or levying new bonds to improve our core services and give us a better quality of life

 

The residents of District 2 and San José are overtaxed and are not receiving the services they were promised. Our City budget has increased by $500 Million to a total of $4.3 Billion within a short period.

 

The City Auditor reported that the overwhelming majority of our residents, 81% to be exact, stated the city returned a poor or fair return on our taxes which were the two lowest grades possible.

 

To make things worse, the incumbent is the “Tax Man” and has yet to find a tax he doesn’t love – just look at his voting record. It is too expensive now and we need to focus on sensible solutions that work without new taxes.

 

It is time for action, not promises. This is my plan for improving our infrastructure and city services while maintaining or hopefully lowering our tax rates:

 

  1. Go on a spending diet and focus only on the responsibilities found within our City Charter.

  2. Improve the jobs to housing ratio - increase the number of jobs and businesses throughout San José by lowering the cost and time required to get approvals for new retail and commercial purposes. This will broaden the tax base without increasing rates.

  3. Encourage dense, mixed use development along major transit corridors where the average assessed values must pay for essential city services provided.

    1. Build urban villages with retail, commercial, and residential so you can live where you work.

  4. Increase the “live-work space” housing to attract startups and create jobs by reducing costs and increasing the likelihood of their success.

  5. Implement the City Auditor Cost Reduction Recommendations.

  6. Publish Annual Report of Subsidies to For Profit Organizations

  7. Implement Cost / Benefit Analysis and Zero Based Budgeting to find all the wasted money and improve productivity

  8. Further invest in automation which will dramatically reduce the number of personnel required for a particular function and move them into an area to expedite business approval.

  9. Upgrade our personnel, technology, and equipment in our most demanding departments to maximize the efficiency of our resources.

As Councilmember, I will not vote for another tax increase.  We need to see results from the high taxes we already pay.

 
Build More Housing that the Average Family Can Afford! 
So our Children and Grandchildren can Stay in San José

 

It is too expensive to live in San José right now. My wife and I have a two year old daughter and we want her to be able to afford a place of her own here when she is an adult. We want everyday people with everyday jobs to be able to afford a home in San José.

 

The American Dream is not depending on the government to subsidize a place for you to live, it is about being able to afford a home that you worked hard for.  Although there will always be people who need help, such as our veterans, the elderly, and our disabled residents, subsidized housing increases the cost of all other housing.

An example of this is San José's current Affordable Housing Impact Fee (AHIF) which charges a minimum of $18.26/sqft of livable space for new developments comprised of 3 to 19 units. For a 1,500 square foot unit, this equates to almost $27,400 in fees. The proposal to increase this fee to $25/sqft would raise the fee to a whopping $37,500. The middle class cannot afford this increase.

 

Here is my plan:

  1. To address the housing crisis, we need to BUILD MORE HOUSING!

  2. San José needs to:

    1. Streamline the ability to develop and simplify the permitting process to reduce the cost of new housing units

      1. $30,000.00 - $60,000.00 reduction for high density units

    2. Explore the use of modular housing which allows for a 25% reduction in construction costs and is much quicker to meet the housing demand while reducing overall market prices

    3. Continue to incentivize and streamline the granny unit (ADU) approval process

    4. Approve housing decisions that all income levels can afford

  3. San José should eliminate unnecessary planning and land use regulations, commercial linkage fees, subsidization, parcel taxes for “affordable housing” and stand firm against implementing stricter rental policies in an effort to increase the supply of housing units.

    1. Adopting this approach will increase the supply of market rate housing for all income levels

    2. It costs $500,000.00 more to build a house in San José than the exact same house costs to build in Texas.

      1. https://yhoo.it/2scJSjO

 

We need to remove excess and tedious regulations and let the market correct itself. This will lower the cost of housing across the board and not bankrupt our City or reduce the budget for services we require like Police, Fire, Medical, and other infrastructure improvements.

 
Solve Homelessness Compassionately

 

Homelessness is a problem which affects us all and the human thing to do is to help our fellow person in their greatest time of need. Unfortunately, the policies currently in place are enabling the homeless epidemic to get worse.  And we are being misled about the causes of homelessness by some of our representatives and this has to stop.

 

I have created a plan for our homeless which focuses on rehabilitation emphasizing sobriety, treatment for mental illness, and job placement through immediate housing in prefabricated university-like campuses away from schools and neighborhoods, with a goal of self-supportiveness while saving half a billion dollars in construction costs over current practices.

Read the details here:
https://www.votefleming.com/homelessplan

The Fleming Homeless Plan is built upon compassion, fulfilling a vow to fix the system after I was victimized during my own disability.  It is the product of four years of research on homelessness, including my work on the San José Neighborhoods Commission and partnering with the academic community at San José State University.

 

Currently our government and “nonprofits” state that homelessness is growing due to a lack of “affordable housing” but that is not the entire case. The most recent homeless census produced for our City states that 42% of our homeless population suffers from mental illness and another 36% suffer from alcohol or drug addictions.

(http://www.sanJoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/85899).

 

Up to 78% of our homeless neighbors were failed by our  County, State, and Federal governments and are suffering from conditions which require major treatment immediately. San José is dealing with the consequences of our Federal, State, and County leader’s inaction and is struggling because this is not something the City is funded for nor has the experience to handle. Social services are not provided by our City government because this falls outside our Charter. State, and County governments have more money now than they ever have and they are not fulfilling their obligations. In fact, they seem to be enabling the crisis.

The state and county own the psychiatric hospitals, social workers, welfare programs and more which is what this 78% of our homeless neighbors desperately need but are not getting. The problem is our state and county governments are basically doing nothing to address the underlying causes of homelessness while masking the symptoms by spending our tax dollars on permanent supportive housing to sweep the root problems under the rug and allowing the tenants to continue to engage in the behavior that landed them in this situation in the first place, such as lack of sobriety.  This is known as "Housing First" and it is unfortunately required by our Federal government in order for homeless programs/developments to receive Federal funding.  This approach needs to change because it is enabling the problem as documented by the 42% increase in our homeless population over the past two years.

 

Our City government has begun approving multiple developments to assist the chronically homeless population. Unfortunately, the impacts of these projects on neighborhoods and emergency services have not been studied in San José and we have seen that some instances, such as the Donner Lofts, safety has decreased for the surrounding neighbors. In fact the majority of housing projects for the homeless are found within San José, unfairly impacting our neighborhoods as opposed to sharing the responsibility with other cities. To date no projects have been constructed on county land.

 

As a result of Propositions 47 and 57, over 5,500 convicted felons have been released in Santa Clara County since 2014, mostly in San José.  This has increased the number of homeless residents in our City.

Although the office of the City Councilmember cannot implement social service policies regarding homelessness, the City can advocate for and work with our county, state and federal representatives to implement solutions that improve our City.  We need to think outside the current mindset where and look at solutions that work:

  1. Austin, Texas - building a Community for our homeless neighbors where they can thrive!  San José does not have the land to make this happen, however we can look outside our city boundaries and find amazing locations to build Communities like this! 

    1. https://mlf.org/community-first/

  2. San Diego, CA - Solutions for change does not receive federal funding because they believe Housing First does not work and their results prove that.  Their mission is to house residents in sober environments and to build Communities of support by giving a hand up instead of a hand out.

    1. http://solutionsforchange.org/​

  3. Rhode Island - To fight drug addiction and keep people off the streets, state officials have implemented a mandatory Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).  Unlike California which decriminalized dangerous drugs, Rhode Island attacks the root cause of the problem and helps people regain their lives! 

    1. https://wjla.com/features/opioids-a-tiny-states-answer-to-a-huge-problem

    2. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/25/rhode-island-opioids-inmates-219594

    3. https://n.pr/2Fvj07F

Fight High Rent and Displacement
Improve the Quality of Our Lives

San José first implemented rent control in 1979.  In 2016, amidst the housing shortage, the City of San José lowered the rent cap from 8% to 5% and implemented a Tenant Protection Ordinance.

 

I take a firm stand in ensuring rent control does not fall below San José’s current rate.  I want to prevent the unintended consequences of stricter policies that cities like San Francisco are suffering from.  Those policies have led to poorly maintained properties, less upgrades performed, tightened criteria for prospective tenants, vacant properties, and less incentive to build. 

 

The fact is that more rent control will increase the costs of housing and living because the risks associated with development are greater and therefore it is more difficult to obtain funding to build housing in any city with increased rent control. The result is either an increase in construction costs for new developments which are eventually paid by the tenants through increased rents once housing units become available or a reduction in overall units developed because it is not financially sound to build.

 

“While rent control appears to help current tenants in the short run, in the long run it decreases affordability, fuels gentrification, and creates negative spillovers on the surrounding neighborhood.”

- https://www.brookings.edu/research/what-does-economic-evidence-tell-us-about-the-effects-of-rent-control/

 

Instead of more regulation and red tape, we need to increase our housing supply, such as: continuing to incentivize and streamline the development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s). This will have minimal impact to our neighborhoods and will increase the supply using current resources, while providing income for our home owners.

San Jose’s Tenant Protection Ordinance was implemented in May 2017. One of the 13 protections is deigned to keep tenants safe from neighbors who are committing extremely serious/violent felonies.  However, the District 2 incumbent stated on April 20, 2018, in a Council memo that “Classifying felony convictions as a separate just cause basis for eviction, is unnecessary and excessive....”  We need new leadership that is focused on the Community’s safety.

 
Create Trust in Our Council Office and City Government

 

The latest City Auditors report shows that trust in our City government is near an all-time low with only 25% of respondents having confidence in the City government and only 30% stating they agreed with the direction the City is taking.

 

The overwhelming theme in District 2 is that the problems we have are not being addressed. Our taxes are increased to “solve” our problems. However, we do not see the results and in many cases the issues are getting worse as more money is thrown at them. Crime and homelessness are worse now than before the incumbent was elected. The people of District 2 want results and fiscally responsible solutions.

 

The best way to do this is to elect new leadership. Change happens at the voting booth and I ask you to Vote Fleming in the 2020 election!

 
Improve Infrastructure, Transportation, and Cleanliness

 

We need an infrastructure that works for us for decades to come and we need it now. The problem is that partnering with the VTA, Caltrain, and BART will not alleviate traffic concerns for south San José for decades to come since the right infrastructure is not being implemented. Most of the jobs in our City and region are to our north while the majority of the housing is south of those jobs. Since we are at the southernmost point of our City, we will be impacted the most. We are already the third most congested traffic area in the country and the general plan calls for narrowing our roads and reducing our abilities to take alternate routes.

 

Another concern with connecting South San José to these transit services is increased crime from other parts of the region entering our neighborhoods. Our crime rate is already growing and our residents are already not receiving help when they call 911. It is imperative to double our Police resources and follow my safety plan above to keep criminals out of District 2.

Fire service and response is another key area of concern our District wants future-proofed.  With the massive expansion of housing comes the increased need for more services, yet city planners have seemed to forget this.  Lets make sure District 2 has all the safety tools in place via the correct infrastructure to be able to handle our future growth and keep us safe.

The trash and blight along the Union Pacific lines, especially along Monterey Highway are at an all-time high.  The efforts of the incumbent have produced zero results other than a press conference.  District 2 is not a dumping ground!  As our City Councilmember, I will work diligently with our Mayor and Union Pacific to make our District clean.