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Issues

ANDREA'S TOP 5

Fiscal Responsibility

Ensuring that spending is within our means and supports community priorities One of Andrea's first acts as mayor will be requesting an independent forensic audit of the City's budget over the past five years, so that we have a clear picture of the state of our finances. The city currently does not have a structurally balanced budget. With approximately 1/3 of City Hall positions vacant, the budget is balanced only through salary savings, and Vallejoans are denied basic city services due to chronic understaffing. We need clarity on how the City's actual spending compares to what was budgeted, or if the city can afford to fill its currently vacant positions. This setup is unacceptable and unsustainable. Until there is an accurate assessment of the city's finances, Andrea will request detailed information on all new spending requests, ending the era of automatic rubber stamp approval by City Council. She will not support any project that isn't fully funded, as these funding gaps expose the city and its taxpayers to future liability and financial stress. She will also oppose no-bid consulting contracts and request that all new contracts go through a competitive and transparent bid process. Andrea will work with city staff to ensure that a draft budget is published by March of each year, to provide time for public input and discussion of priorities prior to approval, and to ensure that our limited resources are allocated to areas that support community priorities. She will also prioritize workshopping solutions to the city's major challenges, holding study sessions to address funding for major capital improvement needs such as road repair and a new police station, as well as the city's legal and pension liabilities. She strongly opposes discretionary funds for City Councilmembers and believes that all public funding for nonprofits should go through either Participatory Budgeting or a competitive and transparent bid and selection process.

Public Safety

Tackling our public safety crisis and reforming our police department Andrea firmly believes that everyone deserves to feel safe in their community, and that our current situation is unacceptable. Residents and businesses from all parts of Vallejo agree on the need for more effective policing and prevention of crime. To accomplish this, we need more officers and nonsworn police staff, better facilities, and the best policies, training, and recruitment and assessment of police officer candidates. Andrea believes strongly that bold reform of the Vallejo Police Department is essential to improving public safety in Vallejo, and that Vallejo must first acknowledge its past and address wrongdoing in order to move forward. As evidenced by the recent DOJ lawsuit and consent decree, the City's repeated failures to address misconduct and ongoing obstruction of reform have fundamentally compromised public safety. The lack of accountability has fueled a toxic reputation of the department and exacerbated the understaffing crisis, and the situation will only worsen without strong leadership. Only through bold reform will Vallejo be able to attract and retain officers who will practice good policing, restoring both our staffing levels and community trust in the department. Andrea is prepared to bring together all relevant stakeholders to develop a detailed, targeted plan of how to achieve meaningful reform, rebuild community trust, and get to a fully staffed police department as quickly as possible. She understands the complexity of this issue and is committed to surrounding herself with experts in the field of law enforcement, and engaging our entire community in the implementation of solutions. As Chair of the Surveillance Advisory Board, Vallejo's first commission interfacing with the police department, Andrea has experience working with VPD officers and leadership to protect Vallejoans and enhance public safety. She would take this same pragmatic and collaborative approach as Mayor. She supports robust community involvement in the hiring of a new Chief of Police and supports hiring a strong reform chief who will earn the respect of both officers and the community. She supports independent police oversight in the form of a citizen commission, independent auditor, and independent investigator who can objectively evaluate instances of potential wrongdoing. The ongoing delays in implementing the police auditor contract and oversight commission are unacceptable. Andrea will build on her existing relationship with representatives from the California Department of Justice and work closely with the Attorney General's office to ensure that Vallejo fulfils its obligations of the settlement agreement as quickly as possible. She will advocate for outside support and funding where needed to support public safety in Vallejo during the transition. She supports competitive compensation, better facilities, and support for officers, and will insist on swift and transparent mechanisms for accountability for those who violate policy.

Inclusive Economic Development

Supporting projects that incorporate community benefits and create living wage jobs for Vallejoans Vallejoans are tired of hearing the "P" word: Potential. For years, economic development has supposedly been the city's highest priority, yet we have very little to show for it. With a background in economic development, Andrea is committed to changing that narrative. She will operate from a position of strength, highlighting our unique assets and diverse community. She will focus on opportunities throughout Vallejo – not just downtown, the waterfront, and Mare Island – and prioritize growth that is inclusive of our entire community. She supports a Smart Growth approach, which the EPA defines as "an overall approach of development and conservation strategies that help protect our health and natural environment and make our communities more attractive, economically stronger, socially diverse, and resilient to climate change." Vallejo has several major development projects in the pipeline, including Solano 360, highway 80 corridor, Mare Island, Blue Rock Springs, Costco Fairview, and waterfront redevelopment. It is critical that we have strong leadership to see these projects to completion and convert potential into progress. Andrea will work to ensure that Vallejo City Hall is not a barrier to progress – that we have a streamlined and transparent permitting processes for businesses. After decades of stagnation and mismanagement, it is essential that we change the culture and send a strong message that we are open for business. Andrea understands the critical value that our existing small businesses provide our city. She supports a climate in which we can attract new businesses and also retain and expand existing ones. As part of the campaign, she is conducting a listening tour of small businesses to learn about their successes and challenges, and will continue this work as Mayor. She supports a citywide vision for economic development that includes a holistic view of the waterfront from Cal Maritime to the Mare Island causeway. She will prioritize using these parcels thoughtfully and strategically to create a vibrant waterfront that fits in the needs of our community, includes housing, retail, and open space, and is resilient to the impacts of climate change. Andrea will insist that new development projects generate community benefits and create sustainable, living-wage jobs for Vallejoans. She believes that Vallejo has been plagued in the past not by bad developers, but by bad deals, and that city leaders have failed to learn from past mistakes, continuing to sell land to developers at prices well below market value with no substantive development requirements. It is essential that we break the cycle of allowing outsiders to take Vallejo's assets and extract from the community. Instead, we must take a strengths-based approach. Andrea believes that any land transaction must have benchmarks and community benefit, including provisions that developers deliver on promised construction, job creation, and tax revenue generated. When done right, we will find mutually beneficial transactions in which both developers and Vallejo win.

Housing Justice

Developing a humane and effective approach to homelessness Andrea believes firmly that everyone deserves to live with dignity. She would prioritize the needs and well-being of both our unhoused neighbors, as well as those of our residents in communities adjacent to existing encampments who are negatively impacted. Having done advocacy around homelessness and worked with folks at encampments throughout Vallejo, Andrea supports the decriminalization of homelessness and believes that city resources should be directed towards supportive services rather than ineffective and inhumane encampment sweeps, which do nothing to address the problem and instead exacerbate it, wasting taxpayer resources in the process. She would support an immediate halt to encampment sweeps and the establishment of safe camping and parking zones at appropriate locations throughout the city, where basic sanitation and security can be provided at low cost. She would explore all options for transitional housing and support services, looking to best practices in other cities and engaging local stakeholders in order to develop and implement the right solutions for Vallejo. Andrea believes that the best way to address the housing affordability crisis in the Bay Area is the construction of new housing, and will support responsible and inclusive development in Vallejo. She believes that everyone should be able to afford to stay in the community where they grew up, and that we need to take steps now to ensure that Vallejo's children can afford to buy homes here in the future. Andrea recognizes that new housing development must be done responsibly. We must ensure that all projects undergo thorough and transparent environmental impact reviews, that neighborhoods impacted are engaged through the process, and that we have sufficient infrastructure and resources to support any new development. This is why she strongly supports mixed-use development, with both retail and residential components, which generate sales tax revenue from increased economic activity that can boost funding for municipal services to accommodate the additional population. She supports the City of Vallejo pursuing a Prohousing Designation from the State of California, to show a commitment to housing availability and affordability and gain access to grant funding for projects. She will not support projects with funding gaps in order to protect the community from unexpected, spiraling costs such as those we have seen with the Navigation Center, Sacramento Street, and Broadway Projects.

Open Government

Promoting transparency, accountability, and inclusion Andrea believes that a culture change is needed in City Hall. The status quo of exclusion, lies, and cover-ups must end and be replaced with a culture of inclusion, transparency, and accountability. Andrea supports greater transparency around City Council meeting dates, times, and agendas, as well as greater access to public comment. As Mayor, Andrea will expand public comment times during the first Community Forum and explore ways to facilitate more public participation through town halls, workshops, and study sessions in addition to City Council meetings. She will actively manage City Council meeting agendas, ensuring that items are agendized in a timely and transparent manner and requested updates are provided on schedule. She will insist that agendas be released at least 10 days prior to each regular meeting, to provide the public and Councilmembers sufficient time to review materials. She will create clear and consistent lines of communication between the mayor's office and the community, including reviving the "Mayor's Message" newsletter and holding open office hours at City Hall. The City Council's most important responsibility is supervision of the City Manager and City Attorney. Andrea will immediately advocate for the hiring of an independent HR legal firm to assist and advise City Council with this supervisory responsibility, including conducting annual performance reviews. She will also utilize this independent firm, which will report directly to City Council, to handle whistleblower complaints and conduct independent investigations. She will insist on truly independent investigations into alleged wrongdoing, with regular updates and as much transparency as is legally permissible. She will request that the city immediately establish a strong whistleblower policy so that staff members can feel empowered to speak out about potential wrongdoing with anonymity and without fear of retribution. Andrea supports an overhaul of how the city treats its Boards and Commissions, streamlining communication and ensuring that the expertise and input of commissioners is valued and respected. She supports more outreach and inclusive recruitment to ensure that qualified and diverse individuals are representing the city on these boards. She will support commission appointments for the most qualified applicants and strongly opposes nepotism and appointments as political favors. As soon as possible, she will convene a study session that includes all current board and commission chairs, in order to examine the mission, scope and meeting frequency of each body and explore where consolidation or expansion is needed.

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