While Stanislaus County is rooted in agriculture, District 4 is an urban district with problems common to Central Valley cities – crime; homelessness, addiction, and mental illness; high unemployment; a fragile housing recovery and rising rents.
We need a representative who understands these issues and will fight for us on the County Board.
My commitment to this community is long and deep. My wife and I have raised our children here, and I understand the struggles families face. As a business consultant and commercial real estate agent, my focus was working with businesses to control costs and create jobs. And as a Senator’s representative, every day I help those fighting addiction, mental health issues or poverty.
I have the energy and commitment to meet these challenges and effect real change. My priorities? Decentralizing services and stopping the flood of homeless, addicted and mentally ill into our district; ensuring we have the trained workers and infrastructure to attract new employers; and stopping the Bay Area and Southern California from taking our water.
TACKLING THE HOMELESS CRISIS
Addressing homelessness, getting people off the streets and addressing their varied needs – whether it is for shelter, job services, or to treat addiction or mental health issues – is my top priority.
– District 4 can no longer be the dumping ground for people in need from all over the county. We need more mental health and addiction services, and we need them decentralized, so people don’t all have to come into Modesto to access them.
– We need a commitment to providing permanent housing for the roughly 1,500 residents that we estimate are homeless and living on the street in Stanislaus County. This must include facilities that can accommodate families and pets.
– We need a system to interact with people on the street, build relationships, triage them and connect them with services to help save lives.
– Housing is growing more and more scarce in Modesto, and rental prices have soared. We need more affordable housing options to stop the flow of people into homelessness in the first place.
FIGHTING THE STATE WATER GRAB
The State Water Board proposal to increase water releases into the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced Rivers by 40% will be a devastating blow to the city of Modesto and Stanislaus County. I join
many other local leaders who say “hell no!” and are banding together, across party lines, to stop it. Tuolumne River water is crucial to city residents, local farmers, and current and prospective employers. If the proposed reductions are enacted, thousands of local jobs will be lost and potential employers who need water to do business will look elsewhere. Those who are already here may leave.
This proposal comes despite the near decade-long study by MID and TID that resulted in the Tuolumne River Management Plan, which uses flow and non-flow measures to increase the salmon population by 2 ½ times. The State Board proposal shows a complete disregard for this plan’s careful, doable, science-based solutions and is just one more example of our county being largely ignored by the state and federal government.
Once again, we need strong, committed leaders who are prepared to stand up for us!
GROWING OUR LOCAL ECONOMY
Having lived and worked in Modesto for 50 years, I have heard “good jobs” promised to us for decades. We need to turn promises into action. That starts with leadership.
– Located just 90 miles from Silicon Valley, and sitting atop one of the top ag-producing regions in the country, I want to make us the ag technology capitol of the world. Many local companies are already involved in ag tech, and I want to work with them to help them expand and attract others.
– We need to take steps to make sure our infrastructure meets the needs of employers – that includes roads, a reliable water supply, and low cost electricity.
– We need to look at the incentives other areas offer to attract employers and implement those that can keep us competitive.
– Employers need a trained workforce. I will partner with MJC, Stanislaus County Office of Education and Modesto City Schools to encourage counselors and others to reach out to kids who are falling through the cracks and try and ensure they are getting the training they need to compete in the job world. The VOLT Institute’s vocational training and Bay Valley Tech’s code academy offer exciting opportunities.
MORE RESOURCES TO TREAT MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION
An estimated 2/3 of the homeless need mental health and/or addiction treatment. Without it, they will never change their lives, and many will die on the streets. This is simply unacceptable.
– I will work with providers to make sure we have adequate facilities around the county to handle the growing problem of addiction in our community.
– We need to address the issues of disintegrating families and children growing up without parenting in order to reduce the childhood trauma that is at the core of so much addiction. This includes strengthening and expanding our services for foster children.
– Currently there is not one bed in Stanislaus County to accommodate children needing in-patient mental health treatment. Many end up at Doctors Medical Center, waiting for days or even weeks in the ER for a bed to open up around the state. This is not only cruel, but costly. We need to find a way to offer in-patient mental health services for minors in our county.