It's time for:
1. Responsible growth based on local control and sustainability
2. Independent, fair, transparent leadership
3. Policies that address wildfires, drought, and crime
RESPONSIBLE GROWTH BASED ON LOCAL CONTROL AND SUSTAINABILITY
State laws are increasingly reducing our local control of city planning, but city hall is playing favorites with certain preferred projects, sometimes ignoring existing parks and trails, safety concerns from the neighbors, and the changing needs of our community.
Quito Market, Mountain Winery Annexation, Palm Villas (vs. "Save Saratoga Creek"), and the Saratoga Retirement Community Augmentation are a few key examples of what can happen without responsible growth. Development should only be permitted where it is appropriate for the neighborhood and community in general. There should be no favoritism or special treatment of any kind based on insider politics.
Our low housing density and idyllic environment have always been two of our city's greatest strengths, and I will fiercely oppose any large-scale development unless it is proven to benefit most Saratogans, not just the developer and their associates. On the city council, I will only support development that does not overburden our neighborhoods or compromise our character as a small city. Affordable housing, particularly for older adults on very low income, could serve our community, but only if the location, size, and density is appropriate.
Certain minor improvements to our city should be prioritized. I want to restore our Village so we maintain a variety of retail goods and services, but we need a small anchor store. I will explore options to create a competitive bidding process that would allow this. And being here in Silicon Valley, we should be able to attract and retain highly skilled jobs in our city, but first we would have to be willing to adapt to changing conditions.
More highly skilled jobs in Saratoga could prevent the high density housing developments that we are now facing, such as at Quito Market. If our city had focused on properly accommodating innovative companies like Roku, whose early years were spent in that very shopping center, it may have prevented the high density development now planned there. I will focus on job growth as well.
INDEPENDENT, FAIR, AND TRANSPARENT LEADERSHIP
City Council and Planning Commission decisions should not depend on who the developer knows or whether city hall likes them. Instead, the most important question should be how the proposal serves our General Plan and, more importantly, the people of Saratoga. Our leadership should be transparent, fair, and independent of outside interests.
Almost all of my fellow candidates are current commissioners. While I like and respect these individuals, their experience with law and public policy has been mostly limited to volunteer positions. In contrast, I have already made a successful career fighting for the best interest of the public as an attorney, and I will do the same for Saratoga.
This election is more than a mere popularity contest, because the future of our city is at stake. We don't need more insider politics. I am independent of any political party and I will not be guided by donors, developers, lobbyists, or special interests. Instead, I will balance the potential positive and negative effects of any decision with input from all stakeholders, including residents, business owners, and neighbors, along with an analysis of evidence-based data.
With our state legislature removing some of the local control that could slow or stop projects at a local level, the skills of a planning commissioner are increasingly less useful for the city council. Now more than ever, our city needs a leader with the legal training, skills, and experience to stand up for the people of Saratoga against those who would drastically change our city.
POLICIES THAT ADDRESS WILDFIRES, DROUGHT, AND CRIME
Our city must do more to address the increased danger of wildfires, the devastating effects of drought, and to prevent us from becoming a target of thieves. I have proven experience protecting the best interest of the public as an attorney, and I will do the same for Saratoga.
I support a battery-powered radio-transmitted backup wildfire alert system for our city's Wildland Urban Interface ("WUI"), the area of our city in the highest fire danger, because losses of power and cellular service are frequent in severe emergencies. Certain parts of the WUI and surrounding area are overdue for updated mapping of fire roads, because fire travels quickly. Our lives and those of our neighbors may depend on firefighters knowing exactly how to get where they need to go.
Communities are safer and law enforcement is more effective with greater awareness of mental health, de-escalation, and nonviolent crisis resolution. But we also need an immediate response to rising vehicle break-ins and package theft, particularly in certain neighborhoods. On the city council, I will ask our Sheriff to increase patrols in any affected area and to add automatic license plate readers (ALPR) to all patrol vehicles, so Saratoga does not become a target of criminals.
Our city has done little to adapt to the heavier traffic normally traveling through Saratoga, especially from the highway and freeway. I will make sure CalTrans has sufficient sound dampening measures in place to reduce the noise from 85. I also want to prioritize connecting our sidewalks, adding more energy-efficient lighting, and other basic safety precautions for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially on our busiest roads.
Excessive water rates, pandemic, or other hardship is likely contributing to the neglect of some yards in our city. Whatever the underlying cause, these eyesores can and should be improved with low maintenance drought-tolerant landscaping. Whether it is done with the help of the neighbors or at the urging of the city, we must uphold our community standards.
These long overdue updates will improve our quality of life and make our Historic Village and other attractions more inviting for a walk or bike ride in the day and evening. No lights or sidewalks was fine in the 1950s, when this area was still dotted with orchards, but the region has changed, and we could fall behind if we fail to update our city to accommodate the needs of today.
Vote for John Fitzpatrick to help Saratoga adapt to a rapidly changing world without losing touch with our roots. It's time for responsible growth based on local control and sustainability, independent, fair, and transparent leadership, and policies to address wildfires, drought, and crime.