The City of San Gabriel has come so far, but there is still a lot to do. Anagh has the necessary experience and knowledge to lead San Gabriel towards a brighter future.
Anagh’s top platform ideas include:
Increase Street Improvement
Measure W passed November 2018 to improve the stormwater collection system. Many stormwater pipes run under city streets. As a Councilmember, I would leverage city funds to expand the scope of work to include street work at the same time. This would help reduce the cost of projects by having work done in the same area at one time rather than twice in the same area.
As a Councilmember, I would work with the water districts to see if we can secure projects to help recharge the underground water supply. This way we are developing a future water source and reducing our dependence on the Colorado River and Sacramento delta.
The State of California expects each City to provide new housing. To date, San Gabriel is nowhere near meeting the State’s housing goals.
San Gabriel has an opportunity to incentivize affordable housing in new developments by offering developers a streamlined permitting process in exchange for affordable units. Affordable housing can give people an opportunity to buy their first place and make the City of San Gabriel their home. As these new homeowners enter our city and settle in, they will help bolster school enrollment and increase the school district’s tax base.
New housing developments should have a fair share of disability-friendly units. Your house shouldn’t be an obstacle course if you are disabled. The rationale is no different than that of a disabled parking spot.
In addition, affordable housing does not just mean low-income individuals but also middle-income residents like our teachers and first responders. Many people don’t realize that quite a few of our neighbors would qualify for affordable housing. Let us invest in the future of our most vulnerable residents so they can live a healthy, safe and dignified life.
Mission District Revitalization
As a Planning Commissioner, I drive around our beautiful city and visit construction sites and areas getting a new project. I have seen our Valley Boulevard transformed into a great economic generator for the city. However, despite the historical significance, our Mission District is very much underutilized as a destination.
I would work with partners who want to work with the City’s economic development team by implementing smart and respectful development. My first goal is to improve parking in the Mission District to help attract new businesses. I believe that more parking will attract mixed-use development that is beneficial to the local economy. In order to do this properly, we need to look at the traffic circulation in the area. Transportation Engineers can model the area to better determine how vehicles move. This will give the City a better understanding of how projects in the Mission District would impact the area. Keeping the Mission District respectful, I would look to work with a historical architect to help maintain the look and feel of the Mission District so that the San Gabriel Mission and Playhouse remain the areas cornerstones.
I believe that mixed-use development will bring businesses to the area and provide locals an opportunity for employment in our City, which will revitalize our local economy. To this end, housing should be provided in the area as well. This would help boost our housing numbers, which have been set by the State, and provide our diverse population with greater housing options.
I don’t’ want to forget our Mission Playhouse as we develop the Mission District. What keeps reminding me of the need to protect our Mission Playhouse are the two earthquakes that occurred around July 4th, 2019. Luckily, our beloved Playhouse survived. As a Councilmember, I would authorize staff to investigate ways to update our Playhouse without effecting the historical and cultural significance of this regional landmark. I know this can be done. As a Civil Engineer with the City of Los Angeles, I have seen these types of projects undertaken and completed. Now, I want to bring what I have learned as a Civil Engineer and San Gabriel Planning Commissioner to the San Gabriel City Council.
Per the most recent State Audit, City of San Gabriel is one of the 18 most fiscally challenged Cities in California. (website: https://www.auditor.ca.gov/bsa/cities_risk_index ) This means our City is tittering on financial crisis. One miscalculation by the City Council and we will see the State take control of our City facilities and services.
How can we solve this problem? Passing a Sales Tax on the March 2020 ballot before the County does will be a good first step. But if we stop there then all we are doing is prolonging our current situation since a sales tax does not address the need for serious changes to City policy and our City’s budget. As a Councilmember, I would actively engage with our partners at the County, State, and Federal levels to consistently seek grants and incentive programs to help with our capital improvement projects. This will help us better balance our budget while continuing to improve City infrastructure.
In addition, I would review our City’s contracts and services to determine if these contracts need to be reevaluated or rebid to acquire a better market rate for our residents. For future contracts, I would authorize staff to regularly outreach to the businesses that wish to bid on City contracts. This way we can obtain better prices for our City services.
As one of your Councilmembers, I would look for ways to save in the long-term by investing in equipment and hardware that is effective, efficient and environmentally sound. An example would be providing vehicle charging stations for street parking and in new developments.
Traffic and Transportation
Our City has a high volume of traffic that passes through our major roads. But if you live near Las Tunas and want to travel down to Valley any time during rush hour, you will be in for an unpleasant surprise. As a Councilmember, I would work with Metro and other Regional Transportation agencies to find ways to add bus lines or sponsor a City-only bus line.
Partnering with Metro and other regional stakeholders to boost reliable bus lines that take people to their destination or to major transportation hubs is the most urgent transportation need. One option is to build a light rail, but while we explore this, we need to find a way to get people to El Monte Station, Union Station and the Gold Line Station. There should be an exploratory committee to see if San Gabriel can have a City-owned bus line.
A City-only bus line shouldn’t just travel up and down the main San Gabriel streets but also drop off passengers at important locations. I would encourage bus stops at Jefferson Middle School, Gabrielino High School, San Gabriel High School, Smith Pool Park, Vincent Lugo, and the San Gabriel Civic Center. A new set of bus lines will also help reduce the number of vehicles on the road and help improve our air quality. A city-owned bus line would put us on par with other bus-friendly cities like Pasadena, Monterey Park, and Alhambra.
As a Councilmember, I would work with Metro to express what is being seen at the local level but in return, I’d want Metro and the regional partners to notify the city on trends that are being observed. Metro’s short and long term plans are a good way to be informed of the regions needs and direction.
Active San Gabriel
A big goal of mine is to make the City of San Gabriel a walkable city. Making smart decisions when contracting new developments and bringing new businesses will turn San Gabriel into a walkable city. Working with our neighboring cities to find out their transportation needs, services and attractions, repair plans, development plans and alternative modes of transportation like bikes and scooters means that the City of San Gabriel’s transportation plans are not just local but integrated into a regional plan.
As someone who was hit by a car while riding a bicycle, I know first hand that road safety is very important. Collaborating with Pubic Works to identify road hazards is the first step. Speaking with law enforcement and learning about areas that may have number of incident reports is another. One small but effective step would be to add clear informational, directional, or signal signage. This not only would help guide drivers but be a low cost first stride to a major problem.
Creating an Active San Gabriel is a step that the city can make to reduce air emissions. Locally, when the day is too hot, and the air quality is bad, we provide cooling centers for residents that don’t have air conditioners. Cooling centers allow a greater amount of people to stay cool and healthy. As a Councilmember, I plan to advocate to the county and state level to find even more solutions to reduce air emissions.