Council District 5
1) PAC*SJ recently released its first annual “Endangered Eight” list of the most threatened historic places in San José. As a resident of the City, which of these eight places most resonates with you personally? Which of these would you use the power of your elected office to address, and how?
The San Jose Flea Market resonates with me the most not just for the historical significance of the Flea Market to our city, but because many families in San Jose and in District 5, for generations, have raised their families and many sent their children to college on the income they earned from their businesses they had built at the Flea Market. I will work to make sure the City makes the flea market vendors whole and creates a new location to integrate into the Flea Market site for the vendors.
2) Is there a historic place or preservation issue not on our “Endangered Eight” list that you would nominate to be added? If so, what solutions would you offer as an elected official to address the issue/threat?
San Jose has been home to one of most important civil rights and labor leaders in our history, however San Jose has not made it a priority to preserve all of the most significant buildings and sites from the organizing efforts of Cesar Chavez. I would like to see the CSO building on Jackson Avenue, and the current Our Lady of Guadalupe church be recognized as significant and important sites to be protected. I would also like to have the designation of the Bunny Ribbs plumbing building added to the HRI list. Bunny Ribbs was the father of Willy T. Ribbs who broke barriers by being the first African American race car driver to qualify and race in the Indianapolis 500.
3) Do you believe that SB9, which allows by-right redevelopment of up to four new units on most single-family-zoned parcels statewide, is compatible with the preservation of older and historic homes and neighborhoods? Why or why not?
SB 9 is not perfect legislation, with that said, I would like to see better efforts to create stricter local policy that would need to be met in order to subdivide lots in historic districts and on lots that have been added to the City's inventory of historic sites. I would like to see minimum street frontages and would not want to allow for flag lots to be created in historic districts or on sites with historic buildings.
4) In the past two years alone, at least five vacant historic buildings in San José have been lost to fire, and many more have suffered from chronic neglect and vandalism. How would you propose more effective code enforcement to prevent the continued loss of our historic resources to neglect? What additional measures would you propose to address these systemic problems?
Many of these historic buildings that have been destroyed by fire have had thriving ground level retail, while their second and third floors had been vacant. Most recently that comes to mind is the building that housed Chacho's, Cinebar, Los San Patricio's and the Social Lady which were lost to a fire. In addition to annual fire and code inspections for the ground level commercial sections of the buildings that are in use, I would require for buildings in historic districts to have mandatory annual inspections from the Fire Marshal and code enforcement for potential fire hazards on those above level floors that are not in use. These unused portions of buildings could make the entire buildings vulnerable to fire if they are not reviewed on a continuous basis.
5) Do you believe the city should collect compensatory mitigation fees from development projects that result in the demolition of historic resources? Why or why not? If such a policy was instituted, how would you like to see those funds directed?
Yes, compensatory mitigation fees would be similar to impact fees, I would like to see these fees used to help preserve historic resources that could be saved by moving them to alternate locations. I would use these fees as relocation fees.
6) The City has long acknowledged that our Historic Resources Inventory-- a citywide survey of historic sites intended to proactively guide development decisions-- is incomplete and out-of-date. Do you support increased City funding and staffing levels to ensure that the HRI is an up-to-date and effective planning tool?
7) What role do you believe that historic preservation should play in creating and sustaining a vibrant and culturally diverse future for San José? Is there a particular project or effort you have undertaken--either professionally or personally-- that best embodies your vision for historic preservation in San José?
It is vital for San Jose to commit to preserving our history through buildings and locations in the city where historical events have taken place in our City. When I was in the State Assembly, I worked on and got the approvals to designate McDonnel Hall a historic landmark. Cesar Chavez began his historic movement which created the United Farm Workers union at McDonnell Hall which was the original Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.