Safe Streets. Social Justice. We believe that everyone should be able to walk and ride a bike to their everyday destinations safely and comfortably. Traffic Violence in the City of San Jose claimed 42 lives in 2014 and 44 lives in 2013. We VOTE for candidates who will end these tragic and senseless deaths.
June 23, 2015 Special Election – San Jose City Council District 4
Deadline to Register to Vote: June 8, 2015
Both candidates, Mahn Nguyen and Tim Orozco, have qualified to be considered for our endorsement by answering our five questions. Thank You! We’ll announce our endorsement by Friday, May 29 at the latest.
1. If elected, what would you do to ensure that San Jose achieves the Vision Zero goal of ending all traffic fatalities in the city by 2025? Why?
Mahn Nguyen: Although San Jose has some of the safest streets of any major city, there is a great deal more that San Jose can and must do to reduce our traffic fatalities. If I am elected as the next member of the San Jose City Council, I will work to ensure the fulfillment of Vision Zero’s mission, building a traffic system which places the preservation of human life as its first priority. Vision Zero acknowledges that data-driven decision-making combined with infrastructure investments is the most effective way of making a difference in reducing traffic fatalities, pointing out that over 50% of San Jose’s traffic fatalities occur on just 3% of San Jose streets. These streets should be prioritized for capital improvements to minimize the risk of traffic fatalities, including enhanced bikeways, enhanced crosswalks, and brighter LED streetlights, as well as other street improvements. Additionally, “road diets” should be an option for improving the safety of some major streets. The preliminary data from Lincoln Avenue’s road diet in Willow Glen suggests that similar programs can substantially improve street safety without significantly impacting street traffic.
Tim Orozco: San Jose has created an inspiring model with the Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan to incorporate green vision strategies and pedestrian-friendly measures into the proposals for our city’s future growth. With this goal comes the expectation that San Joseans will be taking more pedestrian eco-friendly alternatives for day-to-day travel. With the Vision Zero Plan, our city joins many cities across the country and around the world in the belief that even one traffic fatality is unacceptable – we can and must do better to end traffic violence in our city. As a neighborhood activist and City Council member, I will work to ensure that the promise of the Vision Zero plan is achieved. I will support the investment of providing brighter LED lighting throughout the City, implementing innovative infrastructure like boulevards, creating economic initiatives in the form of bike-friendly business districts, installing enhanced crosswalks and bikeways on major streets with better signage and signals (not just limited to and around schools or community centers). We should also invest in public safety to make
sure our City has the capacity to make regular roadside safety checks. Additionally, I will support the “Street Smarts” program in our schools, to encourage safe traffic habits
among our students and to educate traffic dangers to families. It is also important that the Streets Smarts program reaches seniors and multi-lingual households. Overall, we must maintain and continue San Jose’s practice of being a green, bike/pedestrian friendly metropolis and develop strategies to promote the ease at which one can become a bicycle/pedestrian commuter.
2. Which transportation infrastructure investments do you believe are the highest priorities to be included in the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)’s anticipated November 2016 transportation sales tax measure? Why?
Mahn Nguyen: As a San Jose City Council member, it will be important to me to ensure that the City of San Jose receives a fair share of funding from any county-wide tax initiative. In particular, I would want to ensure that adequate funding is available to extend BART from Berryessa all the way to Downtown San Jose, which would finally complete the Bay Area transit rail loop. Additionally, it should include infrastructure investments to support Bus Rapid Transit, improved light rail efficiency, and walk/bicycle trails.
Tim Orozco: A diverse coalition of elected officials, business leaders, labor organizations, and residents are already coming together in support for the proposed transportation sales tax measure to be on the ballot on November 2016. The revenue generated from such a measure would have a direct effect on the growth of District 4 in San Jose. As BART comes to Berryessa, there is great potential to build a new economic and transportation hub to serve commuters and those in the community. We will work to ensure that BART is extended to its final destinations downtown and to Santa Clara. We will also invest in bus service expansion which will include affordable and accessible service to seniors, youth, those with disabilities and low-income families. Additionally, we should invest in more bikeways and pedestrian walkways. Improving San Jose’s transportation infrastructure is a crucial element of meeting/exceeding San Jose’s green vision goals — improving air quality, creating jobs, and providing the standard quality of life that residents deserve.
3. Do you support the modifications of Montegue Expressway as proposed by Santa Clara County’s Roads and Airports Department? Why or why not?
Mahn Nguyen: I support the proposed modifications as a good first step, but some concerns have been raised and should be addressed before the project proceeds. I have always encouraged the use of alternative transportation, so I am glad that the proposed modifications to Montague Expressway include bicycle-friendly improvements such as shoulder widening and pedestrian-friendly improvements such as continuous sidewalks and crossing enhancements. I am open to community input as to what other specific changes can be made to ensure that Montague Expressway is friendly to alternative transportation. There is a legitimate concern that road modifications designed to increase auto capacity, such as the addition of new lanes, will encourage the use of motor vehicles over alternative transportation options. Although I believe that it is important in the long-term for Silicon Valley to move away from a car-oriented culture, it is also important to ease traffic congestion in the short term because of the serious economic and environmental impacts it causes. For those reasons, I believe that a compromise must be found.
Tim Orozco: I do support the proposed modifications to Montague Expressway. Montague is a major thoroughfare for commuters in Northern Santa Clara County, and as such, requires the adjustments and improvements to alleviate traffic and provide safety for those on the go. However, we must remember that commuters on Montague are not just car drivers, they are bikers and walkers as well. According to the League of American Bicyclists, San Jose saw a more than 30% gain in bike commuting between 2000 and 2012. The proposal to extend sidewalks for the entire length of the expressway and to widen shoulders and re-stripe bicycle travel areas is commendable. We must also ensure there is the proper signage and lighting to alert drivers to be cautious of pedestrians and bikers and to stay within the appropriate speed limits. The County and cities can also make a greater effort to encourage taking public transportation alternatives.
4. If elected, what would you do to reduce motor vehicle traffic resulting from events at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara?
Mahn Nguyen: As an elected official, I would work closely with the City of Santa Clara to ensure that patrons of Levi’s Stadium are encouraged to utilize alternative and public transportation options. We live in a car-oriented culture, but by making public transportation accessible, inexpensive, and convenient, we can encourage sustainable modes of transportation. Specifically, I would like to see full access to the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail restored so that patrons can bike to the stadium, and the continuation of increased VTA light rail service on game days to reduce delays.
Tim Orozco: Event traffic, parking and public safety are serious issues for communities surrounding Levi’s stadium. On the City Council, I would like to work closely with the City of Santa Clara and local businesses to create a better regional effort to reduce motor vehicle traffic and provide the parking accommodations to serve event-goers (parking structures/lots, shuttles, etc.) However, the greater goal should be among the cities, VTA, the County and others to increase light-rail ridership and lead campaigns to encourage routine biking and walking to and from the stadium.
5. Do you support raising San Jose’s minimum wage to $15/hour by 2020 and to $20/hour by 2025? Why or why not?
Mahn Nguyen: San Jose and Silicon Valley are among the most expensive regions in the world in which to live. Recent studies have shown that our high cost of living makes San Jose’s current minimum wage of $10.30 only worth about $5.91 in actual dollars. With an average apartment renting for more than $2,000/month and the average cost of owning a home exceeding $1 million, it is virtually impossible for anyone making minimum wage in San Jose to actually live in San Jose. Other major cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles have already committed to raising their minimum wages to $15 or more, and the state of California is phasing in a higher rate as well. This means San Jose could raise its minimum wage without creating a competitive disadvantage for local businesses. For these reasons, I would be supportive of raising San Jose’s minimum wage — provided that this increase is phased in over time and takes into account the challenges of small business owners, restaurants, and nonprofit organizations, all of which operate on very thin budgets and could be forced to pass along the additional cost to their customers.
Tim Orozco: I wholeheartedly support an increase to San Jose’s minimum wage because I believe fundamentally that anyone who works full-time should not live in poverty. 53% of all minimum wage workers are full-time workers, and 55% of those who would benefit from an increase are women. This is an issue that affects every demographic population in our city. San Jose and the Bay Area remains one of the most expensive places in the country to live and raise a family. Considering that 30 million workers are making less today then workers made in 1968, raising the minimum wage is a step in the right direction to help our local economy and provide families and working individuals the much-needed boost to live a quality life in San Jose. Los Angeles recently made the bold decision to raise their minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2020. Let’s raise the wage here in the Capital of Silicon Valley and improve the lives of those with the lowest incomes in our City.
Dear Voter, what do YOU think? Nguyen or Orozco?
.DISTRICT 4 MAP – IF YOU LIVE IN THIS AREA MAYBE YOU CAN VOTE ON JUNE 23
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