Laura Shares Your Priorities
I believe good process makes for good policy which makes for good government - all of that starts by listening to constituents and incorporating what is heard into policy decisions. I want to focus on issues that affect the quality of life for working families - the goal is thriving communities.
Equity as a principle is so important - ascertaining with every decision who will benefit and who will be burdened by decisions we make on the council.
With these principles in mind, here are a few of my priorities.
- Solving Traffic means SolvingTransit
- Compassionate Solutions for the Unhoused
- Public Safety that Works for You
- CNWS: Put People First
- Clean and Sustainable Concord
Solving Traffic means SolvingTransit
Traffic impacts quality of life
Concord must thoughtfully address real transit issues for pedestrians, bikes, public transit, AND cars. Traffic is a problem, I want to look at innovative ways to mitigate traffic and improve transportation options throughout the city, not just the business districts.
Pedestrian and bike safety have long been a core concern of mine. As a bike commuter, I know firsthand how dangerous roads can be. Making safe places for all types of transit on the same byways will improve the quality of life for Concord residents.
I support smart growth proposals that address climate change, transportation and gridlock challenges, housing shortages, and promote a jobs/housing balance. We need to think of the type of communities where residents will be able to live AND work AND play.
Do you have a street or intersection you think is a problem? Tell me about it, I want to hear you!
Compassionate Solutions for the Unhoused
Homelessness is a challenge for everyone
The unhoused in our community are Concord residents. Multiple studies have verified that typically between 65% - 80% of homeless in any given city were formerly housed residents of that same city.
They are our neighbors, our friends, our family - and we need to work together to find solutions that benefit everyone.
Homelessness affects everyone in the city in different ways, but it is not healthy for anyone to ignore it, hope they just go away, or treat their challenges like crimes.
City departments must work more constructively with county, regional, and state resources to ensure that services for our unhoused neighbors actually resolve problems, with the explicit goal of reducing the number of Concord residents who are unhoused.
And there is a vitally important active role for housed residents as well: this is not simply a city government responsibility. It takes everyone to solve homelessness.
Affordable housing is an essential need to our total housing picture in Concord. We need to work to increase affordable housing stock and options in our community for current residents, future generations, and new neighbors!
Are you or someone you know unhoused? Let me know, I care about you!
Public Safety that Works for You
Building a better partnership
We are fortunate that Concord is generally a safe city, in comparison to some of our Bay Area neighbors certainly. But that does not mean we can close our eyes to the need for meaningful policing improvements that could work well right here in Concord.
As we adopt emerging public safety technologies and practices, I think it’s in the public’s interest that we fully understand the scope of the usage. This should entail increased transparency and reporting of data and making right-fit adjustments to policies that best reflect our city.
When I think about my community, I feel it is important to have a constructive partnership between the police department and those they are tasked to protect.
Relationships (or partnerships) are built on certain characteristics: transparency, two-way respect, direct collaboration, and recognition that the community should have an active voice in policing policies, oversight, and budgetary and operational effectiveness.
Do you have public and/or personal safety concerns? Share them with me, I want to see you!
CNWS: Put People First
Let's Listen to each other and get this right
As a community, Concord deeply needs what developing the naval weapons station has to offer, most especially affordable housing. Sustainable design and livability are also crucial, which means important new thinking should be incorporated into any development that occurs.
But first and foremost, no development should occur without incorporating these key principles
- The needs of current and future residents should come first.
- The vast majority of new housing should be affordable.
- Policymakers should listen to current residents.
- The benefits of development should accrue primarily to Concord and the community.
A few examples:
First, traffic mitigation and transit improvements need to be measured, documented, and addressed before thousands of new homes are built. Sustainability and livability need to be baked in by design. The development should work for all Concord residents, not the other way around.
Second, the labor which builds the project should be able to afford to live there. That means a good Project Labor Agreement upfront and a majority of housing units that are affordable. Developers should be chosen who can support this approach, rather than place their profits ahead of people and ahead of permanent jobs paying living wages.
Third, an all-too-frequent hallmark of this long process has been a lack of respect - of listening - to Concord residents. Countless hours have been spent defining a balanced set of needs and desires. And informed residents have publicly opined on everything from how to comfortably integrate new housing, to the clear unsuitability of some developer candidates. To no avail. The failure to listen is a failure of leadership, not a failure of the community. We can, and should, do better.
Finally, given the community benefits that a thoughtful development can provide, it is clear that the development process has taken too long. Schools, workforce housing, transportation, homelessness solutions, and healthy living space are all dividends this project can pay to Concord and the region. Once again, the choices made by leadership have delayed these benefits rather than make them real.
Mistakes have been made. Primarily in the choice of potential development partners where political influence seems to take precedence over the long-term interests of Concord and its residents, but also in terms of transparency and accountability. But “too long” is not a reason to do this wrong.
Let’s listen to each other, carefully use our time, and do it right.
Clean and Sustainable Concord
Sustainability improves Livability
Making sure our streets, parks, and neighborhoods stay clean is important to our quality of life. It is a simple thing, but sponsoring more community clean-up efforts and dumpster days is a good goal - these collective efforts build community!
But a sustainable Concord requires much more than that: we need to work aggressively to take critical next steps in green technology. For example, houses built in all future developments will require solar paneling, so they should also be all-electric. All major thermal appliances should use heat pump technology: water heaters and heating/airconditioning.
And we need to begin work immediately to plan electric car charging stations in support of California's electric car mandate, which begins to take effect in 2035.
Finally, Concord residents should collaborate actively with our garbage collection utility to ensure that best practices are implemented across the board. All these require "green" leadership.
I will work to help the city, Concord residents and businesses focus on increasing sustainability measures so that we all can care for our common home.
Do you have sustainability ideas for your neighborhood? Reach out to me, and let's talk.