Two Years and Counting

Two years ago this month, with your help, I was sworn in as a Redwood City Councilmember. It continues to be my great honor to serve the residents of Redwood City and San Mateo County in this capacity.

Since my election in 2015, there have been many events and emerging issues that I couldn’t have predicted including the Presidential Election and what that means for our community. There are also a range of issues that continue to challenge our communities such as the cost of housing, inadequate transportation to meet our growing needs, improving city services to serve our growing community with a budget that increases far more slowly than the demands on those services. Having served as a member of the Redwood City School Board for 10 years and nonprofit executive and parent, however, I have been able to bring my experience to help solve problems with limited resources and develop creative solutions driven by community engagement and supported through collaborative efforts with public and private partners.

I ran on four things:
• Building community engagement to find solutions
• Managing growth responsibly and planning for the future
• Addressing infrastructure needs to ease traffic and make our community safer
• Keeping Redwood City a great place for kids and families

Together, with my colleagues, I’ve been working towards these goals.

My first committee appointment was to the communications committee. Through that committee we’ve conducted numerous surveys on topics including transportation, housing, and minimum wage. With my colleague, Janet Borgens, I’ve held “Coffee with a Councilmembers” to hear what’s on your mind. And we continue to seek your feedback and input in a variety of ways.

Redwood City has continued to grow since 2015 – particularly in the area of housing which is an integral part of our necessary infrastructure – especially affordable housing. To address that need, we’ve amended the Downtown Precise Plan to require 15% of the new housing in our bustling downtown be affordable. We’ve taken more time with projects and worked to address our need for retail in the downtown.

As a city, we initiated the first ever comprehensive transportation plan at the urging of myself and other council members. Council will discuss this plan in January but is available now for your viewing at rwcmoves.com. This plan is not just about traffic, but also includes a pedestrian and bike mobility as well as public transportation. In addition, we developed the El Camino Plan created through a diverse community task force that enacts a vision for our major roadway. And we’ve continued to address parking and parks including initiating a Downtown Park Study.

In my view, keeping Redwood City a great place for all includes working to ensure its diversity. That’s why I’ve led efforts to raise the minimum wage, which all council members have expressed strong support for, and which is planned for a vote in March 2018. I co-chaired a childcare solutions convening to address our childcare facilities shortage. And we continue to focus on housing - particularly affordable housing. These three efforts are about keeping Redwood City the diverse community that we love.

After many state, regional and local committee and task force meetings; one-on-one and community meetings; workshops and conferences; as well as the at times difficult but also joyful council meetings, I am immensely grateful for this opportunity to serve our city. I thank you for supporting me both before and after the election and for placing your trust in me.

I’ll be sending more regular emails in the New Year with updates on the city and other relevant information so be on the lookout. Please feel free to call or email with your thoughts any time. Have a wonderful holiday season and here’s to a happy new year.

Gratefully,

Shelly