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Joe Lopez

Running for: 

Council District 2

Campaign Website: 

1) PAC*SJ recently released its second annual “Endangered Eight” list of the most threatened historic places in San José. Which of these places (including those from our 2022 “Endangered Eight” of which some remain endangered) most resonates with you personally? Which of these would you use the power of your elected office to address, and how? 

Flea Market. The site, while not as historic as the buildings listed in the 2022.2023 Endangered Eight List, has and continues to be a place for our residents to buy produce and clothing at affordable prices. It has served as a social and cultural setting for our diverse community and should continue to do so.

2) Is there a historic place or preservation issue not on our 2022 or 2023 “Endangered Eight” lists that you would nominate to be added? If so, what solutions would you offer as an elected official to address the issue/threat?

Neighborhoods close to the downtown area that border on development sites. These areas are populated by our lower income families and enjoy the luxury of affordable single-family housing. I would vote to preserve and protect those neighborhoods as we seek alternative locations for high density housing.

3) In the past three years alone, at least six vacant historic buildings in San José have been lost to fire, and many more have suffered from chronic neglect and vandalism. Often, these properties were left vacant after former tenants were displaced in anticipation of future development that never materialized.  How would you propose more effective code enforcement and security measures to encourage better stewardship and to prevent the continued loss of our historic resources to neglect? What additional solutions would you propose to address these systemic problems?  

Like most cities in the state our core areas are overrun by the homeless. Business and property owners fall victim to this systemic problem with loss of property to fires and vandalism. The need to for more law enforcement either with police officers or community service officers to help stem this problem that has impacted the entire city.

4) Do you believe the City should require compensatory mitigation fees and/or surety bonds from developers who request and receive entitlements to alter or demolish historic resources?  If such policies are instituted and enforced, how would you like to see those funds directed? 

We need to look at this and ask does it help or hurt development, that result in jobs and income to the city. If fees are a blocking point for developers and no development takes place, we all lose. Any monies that result from these fees should go into the general fund and used to hire more police officers to protect property and our citizens.

5) The City has long acknowledged that its 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 for communities and developers alike?

Yes. It is valuable information that we can access in our decision-making policies and should be kept up to date.

6) San José has yet to receive final approval for its State-mandated Housing Element, and is therefore currently subject to the “Builder’s Remedy” law requiring streamlined approval of otherwise non-conforming residential development projects. How would you help ensure that citizens continue to have a voice in developments that might threaten the character and livability of their neighborhoods, particularly if there are historic resources at risk? 

I believe the city recently had its housing element proposal approved. What is not clear is how this will impact the Builders Remedy. Citizen's input was a part of the San Jose Housing Element but there is room for improvement to ensure community input and addressing the preservation of our historic sites.

7) City park lands are a critical resource for the people of San José and are potential receiver sites for distinctive historic buildings that must be relocated to make way for new developments.  Would you support this as a mitigation measure for new developments with historic resources that would otherwise be demolished? How do you envision that these resources could be best utilized within the parks for the benefit of the public?

Space would be critical in determining the relocation of any buildings along with aesthetic placement. Santa Clara County currently has limited space at the fairgrounds and utilizes a segment for historic preservation buildings.


8) In 2022 California passed SB9, which allows by-right redevelopment of up to four new units on most R1 (single-family-zoned) parcels statewide, but exempted historic properties, historic districts, and R2 (duplex-zoned) neighborhoods from eligibility. In 2024, City Council will consider expanding SB9-type entitlements to include historic properties and R2 districts. Do you believe this type of development is appropriate for historic homes and older neighborhoods? Why or why not?


We need more affordable housing. If its site appropriate, we should explore all options.

9) 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 or would propose to undertake--either professionally or personally-- that best embodies your vision for historic preservation in San José?

The former IBM Facility in South San Jose is a historic technology site that helped propel this city to what we now know as the Silicon Valley. I live near it and have fond memories when it was an operational facility.

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