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Ramona Snyder

Running for: 

Council District 1

Campaign Website: 

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 Graves House is in my district that I stumbled upon while walking precincts. It reminds me a lot of the Farrington House on Dry Creek Rd. which I used to visit often as a Junior League of San Jose member. I however choose the Bayside Cannery in Alviso. Alviso has significant meaning to my family personally as my step-father is a Santos. He grew up in Alviso and has fond memories of his childhood there. He lived in the New Chicago area of Alviso which was a suburb. During the 2nd world war my grandmother worked at the Bayside Cannery building when it was being used as a warehouse for supplies. There is so much history in Alviso. At the turn of the century Alviso was more popular than San Jose because it was a shipping port. I feel much of Alviso should be preserved so that people can have the opportunity to learn more about the history of this hidden gem of our city and visit the Alviso Marina County Park as well. Alviso has already lost the H.G. Warehouse it cannot afford to lose more historic buildings especially when that building had received landmark status.

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? 

I cannot think of anything at this moment.

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?  

I have stated in public that I am against SB9 because I believe local land use and zoning policies should remain at the city level. Each city has its own general plan as to where new housing should go. I also do not feel that historic neighborhoods should have infill densification and should be preserved as is.

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? 

It is sad to see historic buildings go into a state of neglect, be vandalized or burned in fires. The Burbank Theatre is a building that I remember as a child was an X-rated movie theatre. I had always hoped it would one day be renovated and be used in some way as a cultural space again. I'd love to just peak inside to see what the theatre looks like. It has however continued to deteriorate over the last few decades, and I wonder if it can still be saved at this point. One night about a year ago the Burbank sign was lit up. I was shocked. I took a photo and sent it to Sal Pizarro. Once a building has been grants historic landmark status more should be done to protect the building from falling into a state of neglect or become a target for fires. I would like to learn more from SJPAC as to what methods have been found to be helpful to protect these buildings while they sit vacant whether in San Jose or other cities.

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?

I would need more information as to how much of a fee it would be and under what circumstances the fee would be required. If a fee was to be decided by council, then that fee would need to go into a specific fund for preservation of historic resources not the general fund.

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? 

The historic resources inventory should be prioritized as something that needs to be completed. It is important to have this inventory resource in place as a guiding resource for development projects.

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? 

I have not personally taken on any project. I have been supportive of the San Jose Signs Project in their efforts to save many of our neon signs many of which are on San Carlos. I was elated when the dancing pig sign was not only saved but I was there the day it was lit up and danced again! We have many beautiful historic buildings in our city. I was happy to see the Pallesen apartment building re-located and saved. Such a beautiful building. I thank the PACSJ for the work that you do!

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