In answering questions, please try to keep your answers relevant to and within the scope of the office you seek election to. Try and list specific policy ideas you think would be helpful in addressing issues. Responses will be published on TempeYIMBY.org.
How would you increase overall housing production?
I support updating our zoning and development laws to legalize and encourage more development of naturally-affordable “missing middle” housing. For too long, the housing market has only been allowed to provide either single family homes or large-scale rental properties. While these choices should remain in our housing mix, I also want to see much more development of smaller multifamily housing like duplexes/triplexes, bungalow courts, and rowhomes in amenity-rich areas.
In addition to costing less than other types of housing without subsidy, these diverse housing types are more accessible by design for elderly or disabled people or families with children. Tempe should strive to encourage a multitude of different housing types to support the different needs of communities in our city.
It is especially important to allow more homes near transit connections and walkable amenities like grocery stores and the library, making it more possible to choose alternatives to driving.
How would you strengthen tenant protections?
I would lobby our state government to end preemption on localities seeking to enact rent control or other tenant protections. Especially as Tempe grows, the city needs to have all available policy tools to stabilize rents and protect tenants from displacement. The legislature has placed substantial limits on our ability to protect tenants and otherwise advance local policy, so I hope to help educate city staff on preemption issues so they are better able to communicate internally and with the public about the limits on local power.
I support increasing dedicated displacement funding to help lower-income renters transition homes when properties are bought out and want to explore policy to ensure tear-down developments include permanently affordable units priced at a similar level as the homes they are replacing.
I support Tempe’s Affordable Housing Impact Statement (AHIS) program that tracks any losses of affordable units and will pay close attention to potential displacements when considering new projects. Incentives like fee waivers for inclusion of workforce housing are also a proven solution that could be strengthened through a process for guaranteeing permanent affordability through covenants or other enforcement mechanisms. Finally, I applaud Tempe’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, but recognize the need to dedicate funding that does not deprive other housing programs of resources.
How would you go about ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing in the city?
As described above, I am especially interested in promoting more naturally affordable “missing middle” housing that makes use of smaller lots and benefits from simpler design and permitting timelines. ADUs, bungalow courts, townhouses, and economy apartments all provide more housing choice and lower-cost options.
I want to explore expanding Tempe’s use of Community Land Trusts to build permanently affordable housing, including small commercial spaces that could provide additional revenue for public enterprise while fostering local business and promoting food access for residents.
What policies would you hope to enact regarding the issues of homelessness in Tempe?
I want City Council to emphasize a compassionate, housing-first approach to ending homelessness in Tempe. The city aims to reduce the frequency, duration, and recurrence of homelessness experiences (making it rare, brief, and one-time), which I believe can best be achieved through dedicated support for temporary housing. Tempe currently only has 3 emergency housing units, in addition to 133 housing vouchers available for preventing homelessness. Both of these programs should receive increased funding, especially the city’s ability to house people directly. I envision homelessness support integrated with our Community Land Trust developments to help build the community and support networks that help residents avoid homelessness.
I support hiring additional Human Services staff for rehousing efforts and the HOPE homelessness outreach program to increase hours and services. Police training and oversight should instil a culture of respect and nonviolence toward our city’s most vulnerable, especially unhoused people.
With the ongoing climate crisis, what city policies would you enact to take on climate change and its effects?
I support a Green New Deal that pairs clean energy transition and climate change mitigation with a program to create “green-collar” work and training for anyone who wants it. Between renewable energy, clean transit, green building remodels or energy-smart construction, ecosystem restoration, and urban forestry (to name a few), there are countless opportunities to create jobs that pay a living wage while improving our local and global environment. A more sustainable economy must also be a more just economy that empowers our most vulnerable communities.
Tempe can lead the Valley in welcoming renewable energy and working with businesses to reap the benefits of energy efficiency. I will work to promote clean energy projects in our city and ensure we have modern building and development standards that encourage smart energy use and reduce barriers to clean energy projects, especially rooftop solar and energy storage.
I will strongly support investments in public transit and a protected network of space to walk and bike around Tempe. A fully multi-modal transportation system gives people more choice on how to get to work, school, or errands, which benefits residents’ convenience, safety, and health, supports local business and safe streets, and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels. This includes partnering with ValleyMetro to support transit electrification and improved frequency of service.
Trees sequester carbon and filter air pollution while shading pedestrians and cooling the local environment. I plan to increase dedicated funds for street trees, especially near transit stops and areas with high pedestrian traffic. As temperatures rise, we all know how important shade can be for enjoying the outdoors in Arizona. The city must pursue a comprehensive plan for outdoor shade and cooling facilities so that all residents can comfortably adapt to rising temperatures, especially children, elderly, and disabled people who are most at risk of climate–related harm.
Do you support legalizing new and diverse housing options in parts of the city where it is currently illegal to build them?
Yes– both for affordability and climate reasons, it is essential to allow diverse housing development in expensive, in-demand areas of the city that currently only allow one unit per lot or very low density.
How would you support multimodal transit options in the city? Would you support protected bike lanes and expanding bike infrastructure?
Dedicated, protected mobility lanes improve safety for all road users, which supports transit and active transportation by making it more comfortable and safer to walk, bike, or roll. I support policies like those in Seattle, Cambridge, and Berkeley to automatically include bike infrastructure on all major repaving projects. It is a basic issue of equity and sustainability to prioritize lower-emission, higher-capacity transportation like transit, walking, and biking, in line with Tempe’s goal of becoming a 20 minute city.
When it comes to public transit, what direction would you like to see Tempe take? What improvements would you make to existing systems? Are there any new modes of public transit you would like to see?
One of Tempe’s greatest transportation assets is the fare-free Orbit system, which could be further improved with increased frequency, dedicated lanes in high-congestion areas, and additional lines where there is less coverage. I would want to explore the possibility of city subsidy for Valley Metro passes and the possibility of funding free passes for residents who are eligible for the reduced fare (under 18, over 65, disabled).
I support the Tempe streetcar project and know it will enable further development of affordable housing with transit access. Allowing more people to live near transit makes it more useful and supports ridership. I would support expansions of rail or dedicated-lane bus service.
In regards to parking in the city, are there changes you would make to current policy? Changing parking minimums, changing the cost of public parking, etc.
Ideally, I would like to eliminate parking minimums, except for accessible spaces. Reducing the total amount of parking should not reduce the accessible requirements, which provide crucial access to many communities, but reducing the total parking required makes it easier to provide ample accessible spaces. In some areas near transit, it might make sense to follow the example of other cities and set the old minimums as maximums, since multimodal choices reduce the need for households to own multiple cars.
I support parking benefit districts where higher-priced parking generates revenue that is directly reinvested in street improvements, enabling a virtuous cycle of building streets that draw more activity, business, and revenue.