Q: Why are you running for city council?

A: I am running because I can do better. I watched as we lost our problem-oriented police force, our motor patrol disappeared, drug use became highly visible, hypodermic debris and litter accumulated, homelessness climbed, and both community pages and neighborhood meetings were riddled with unheard voices. Voting to pass the budget early without full funding to the police department jeopardized community safety. The quality of our roads is so bad that we are now several million in deficit for repairs. I believe in democracy and when I saw my opponent was running unopposed I stood up to give District 5 a new choice on the ballot. We deserve someone with empathy and transparency. We need someone who will uphold accountability and amplify the voices of our community. I am hardworking, smart, and prioritize public safety.

Q: Why are you the best candidate to face the current and future challenges in your jurisdiction? Specifically, please also address the economic challenges facing our region and how you might address them if elected.

A: I am the best candidate to face the current and future challenges in my jurisdiction because I know the value of fresh eyes, active engagement, and responsiveness. Because I am not committed to old solutions and do not fear strategizing creative new solutions, I will put in more research, work, and abstract thought toward successfully navigating the economic challenges facing our region. I believe in reallocating current funds and developing policies to support current economic interests, ease of business, and community engagement while creatively tackling development and infrastructure concerns. I know firsthand the detriment poor policy inflicts on business owners and the catastrophic expenses incurred when city and county agencies lack accountability and do not support the interests of business owners.

As restrictions and legislation have decreased profitability and economic stability, the failures of our larger government systems have made operating business in our region extremely difficult. I will prioritize giving safe, clean, active business communities by tackling the complex growth in homelessness through the empowerment and accountability of law enforcement and resource teams. I will encourage collaborative efforts to improve business support through social media campaigns, community engagement events/marketing, community service organizations, and improvement grants while supporting legislation for the ease and betterment of business operations and business owner rights. I will maintain fiscal prudence while supporting new housing and economic diversity to improve the draw to my region and increase fiscal revenue.

Q: How important is business to you? Why? What is your personal experience owning or operating a business?

A: Business will always be of the utmost importance to me because I own a small business, Taste of Tuscany Ristorante, and understand the value of a business in an interconnected system. Business is the most important resource in our community because it provides economic growth, budget sustainability, and improved quality of life for residents. Without business, tax revenue is greatly diminished which impacts all areas of infrastructure and the city's fiscal ability. Without business employment scarcity impacts quality of life, access to affordable housing, community engagement, pride, and budget sustainability. Without business economic growth becomes stagnant and public safety is jeopardized by budget cuts.

I know the huge impact even a small business has on the economy and so I understand if properly supported our businesses will have a deep impact on our region. I will be an advocate for business owners. I will investigate the policies, fees, and taxation creating barriers to growth and work to change what I can within my jurisdiction; I will amplify the voice of the business owner to every committee I take part. I will not approve of new policies, fees, and taxation that are not for the betterment of businesses, its operations, employees, and communities.

Q: Please describe your level of engagement with community-based organizations.

A: Through my restaurant, I have built relationships with three local school districts, Center, San Juan, and Twin Rivers Unified, and have partnered with several service organizations to reach mutual goals. My business and I are resources for community organizations. I have developed projects and volunteered time and resources to help community-based organizations create change. In my region I have assisted alongside Fish Radio, KNCI Radio, Morton Golf Foundation, Citrus Heights Women’s Club, Soroptimist, Rotary, Sacramento Association of Realtors, Salvation Army, Pointe Church, North Highlands Foodbank, Playmakers, Lions Projects for Canine Companions for Independence, Citrus Heights Lions, Antelope Lions, District 4-C5 Lions, REACH and SOAR neighborhood 10. The associations bolded I have or am currently serving in a leadership/board position. I have won local, national, and global awards for community service.

Q: Clean and safe is vital to our business districts and neighborhoods, as well as our region’s economy. Please identify two priorities you will address if elected to ensure your jurisdiction is a place for businesses and families to thrive in a clean and safe environment.

A: Two priorities I will address to ensure my jurisdiction is a place for businesses and families to thrive in a clean and safe environment are addressing homelessness including the drug-intoxicated individuals with the related crimes against business owners and residents, and improving neighborhood engagement and community support. Hostile, high, street campers pose a threat to families and create unsafe business districts and neighborhoods. Our business owners are receiving little support in the enforcement of trespass notices and rapid response for repeat violators. Unfortunately, without rapid response and citations, there is no accountability or repercussions. I will keep our police department funded and strategize efforts for rapid response. I will keep the hypodermic debris away from our children and improve community security by working with law enforcement and beautification teams.

The City’s strategic plan for the next three years has five goals, one is to “enhance community vibrancy and engagement.” I feel the city was speaking to me when this goal was developed, it’s part of the reason I chose to run; I know I can help. I know bringing communities together is vital to meet the vision of citrus heights “Citrus Heights will be the city of choice for residents and businesses to prosper and thrive and a model of neighborhood engagement.” Bringing communities together is possible if someone embodies city values: teamwork, integrity, diversity, innovation, respect, trust, and responsive customer service; I am willing to dedicate my time, energy, and heart to be that person. Properly informed, engaged neighborhoods, with an active, aligned council, and community organization support will work together to improve communities. I will attend community meetings, listen to business owners and city residents, develop service projects based on community needs, partner with our community organization/service clubs, and encourage citywide participation for the improved cleanliness and safety of our business districts and neighborhoods.

Q: Throughout our six-county region, there is an urgency surrounding the lack of attainable housing and the tight rental market. Identify two opportunities in which your jurisdiction can help increase the housing stock and development, and how would you specifically support these efforts?

A: Two opportunities in my jurisdiction that can help increase the housing stock and development are the Sunrise Tomorrow Specific Plan and the proposed Woodside Homes Development. I would support these efforts by ensuring ease of permits, inspections, and development approval. I would encourage timeliness to increase profitability, and business opportunities, and quickly decrease homelessness. To increase both accessible housing and revenue I feel there need to be incentives for the development of dual-purpose facilities, i.e., new businesses with condo-style housing above; with Citrus Heights about 98% developed we need to consider building up when possible. Increasing both business and housing simultaneously will encourage local employment growth and build a stronger, more self-sustaining, community with improved fiscal longevity.

Q: The City of Citrus Heights estimates a backlog of $82 million in road repairs, with the average roadway condition (PCI) expected to drop from 51 down to 43 (or worse) over the next five years. Do you support the new half-percent Measure A sales tax proposal as a way to fund road improvements in Citrus Heights and the county? If so, why. If not, what do you propose instead for funding road repairs and maintenance?

A: How were our roads allowed a backlog of $82 million?

I do not support Measure A. It is unclear how much this tax will benefit the streets of our residents if the tax use is county-wide, and it is not solely for road repair/maintenance. Furthermore, with post-pandemic inflation, now is not the time to hit taxpayers with a tax increase.

An increase in residency and commercial properties secures more tax revenue without increasing taxes on already financially burdened residents. With the City slated to finally receive property taxes, I propose we really press into development to fund road repairs.

Q: The latest official count shows the number of homeless individuals in Citrus Heights nearly doubled between 2019 to 2022. Why do you believe homelessness is increasing? How would you address the needs and challenges tied to our unhoused community? What are specific actions you believe can and should be taken in Citrus Heights to address homelessness? What role and services do you believe the cities and counties in your district should be held accountable towards and how would you support them?

A: Homelessness increase is complex. The fentanyl/opioid epidemic affects one’s ability to function in society; accessibility of affordable housing and drug/mental health services; pandemic-related job loss; increased cost of living; staffing shortages in homeless support.

Homelessness is truly a sad situation that needs to be addressed with empathy. I would tackle the three main challenges of homelessness separately but simultaneously for more direct and immediate change. Availability of affordable housing, addiction, and mental health all need to be addressed with new strategies and resilience. I will ensure funding to law enforcement and resource teams so that they can develop separate teams and actively give help to our unhoused populations. I will approve policies good for improving affordable housing development, new jobs, and accessibility to health services. I will advocate for policies that offset expenses to businesses that must repair, relocate, or otherwise respond to issues created by city/county negligence.

We need to improve funding to resource teams such as the navigator program and HART to ensure those whose issues are related to paperwork, job placement, and access to housing can be served. We should keep our resource teams supported with a citywide homelessness committee and proper funding. We could consider a dual-diagnosis inpatient facility that safely houses drug-addicted mentally unstable persons while addressing their needs. Then work with resource teams to transition them into jobs and permanent housing after graduation from the program.

We need to get more members of the community connected with the neighborhood associations so those facing potential homelessness are aware of resources, have a safe space to ask questions, and get connected to prevent an increase in our already high homeless population. We need to create affordable housing with low upkeep costs for residents in need. We can continue investigating areas to safely build housing above businesses, then rezone.

We need to ensure we have proper staffing in our police department so both patrol and a nuisance response team can rapidly respond to calls from businesses and residents reporting the unhoused who are committing crimes: vandalism, extreme littering, open drug use, theft, and assault. We need to hold accountable those doing crimes, and those ignoring crimes out of frustration with new misdemeanor laws. Furthermore, we need to exchange sentencing for rehabilitation time. We need to have a drug enforcement team that is willing to get those openly using drugs and leaving hypodermic debris out of our city.

I believe that the cities and counties in my district should be held accountable for not responding to public calls, failing to serve citations, not developing affordable regional housing, and giving little or no mental health/addiction services. They have ignored the plight of businesses suffering a loss of customers and destruction of property. The working class is paying the price for their negligence and both the value, and the safety of our community has decreased. They need to work to improve the blight, graffiti, and destruction without expense to business owners. They need to amend legislation to protect businesses and develop solutions to address the needs and challenges of our unhoused community. I will not approve of policies that restrict or decrease agency in addressing homelessness.

Q: What are three key principles that would guide your votes on the council?

A: 1) The Human Rights Principles as laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Does it uphold inalienable rights?

2) Biblical principles of love: Is my vote reflecting God’s love? Does it give confidence through true actions? Does it offer hope, banish fear, and protect? Does it bind good virtues in unity?

3) Triple filter test: True, kind, and necessary. Does it mislead? Is it based on false reason, motives, or agenda? Does it risk safety or cause hardship to families? Is it needed and/or useful to our community, or just a worthless policy and/or another expense to residents? It must be true, kind, and necessary to win my vote.

Q: What are the top two things you’d like to change/improve in Citrus Heights if any?

A: I want to improve the quality of life in Citrus Heights by addressing homelessness. I don’t have all the answers and understand often it isn’t as simple as housing, especially when addiction is involved; however, I have empathy, and resilience, and am willing to respond. I hope to build a local committee (not only the regional board) to strategize solutions within our city.

I want to improve community involvement. More citizens with open dialogue within the neighborhoods give transparency, create understanding, remove barriers, build trust, and allow Council to serve the citizens better by accurately representing their wishes when voting.

Q: Redistricting will change the makeup of the San Juan Unified School District. What does a successful partnership with the SJUSD looks like, and how will you contribute to this effort?

A: A successful partnership with San Juan Unified School District looks like open communication between families, school board members, SJUSD administration, and the City of Citrus Heights. We need to ensure that the needs of families are being met at the schools. We need safe schools that meet diverse learning goals, cross language barriers and give proper mental/social support to children. I will contribute by staying informed of school board agendas and meeting outcomes, and discussing ‘lacks’ with the city and SJUSD administration to see how we may best remove obstacles and improve resource procurement. I will also analyze current resources and programs to ensure that both the city and neighborhoods are doing their part to supplement the needs not met by SJUSD.

Q: Citrus Heights has a three-year goal to "preserve and enhance public safety." What are two specific actions you would take to enhance public safety in Citrus Heights?

A: The first step I would take would be to encourage the development of a rapid response team to protect our businesses and residents from those displaying dangerous unstable mental/drug-induced conditions. This would mean maintaining proper funding for our police department so our many critical units stay active and have the resources needed. Also, I have learned in the many miles of streets I have walked that some of our neighborhoods are not very well-lit at night. I would take inventory of areas in need of lighting and cross reference that with crimes and prioritize those areas first.

Q: What are two books that have had the most influence on your life, and why/how?

A: The Bible taught me the power of grace, to love my neighbor, rejoice, be thankful, not neglect to do good, share what I have, support my community by bearing their burdens, have faith in the lion’s den, and face giants with confidence.

Chronicles of Narnia showed me the importance of wise counsel and listening; admitting wrong and giving forgiveness; that our words and deeds have a profound impact on those around us; the importance of courage, perseverance, family, and friendship; just because it may seem illogical doesn’t mean it’s impossible, fight for what you believe in, and be honest.

Q: City Council members are paid a small monthly stipend of $600 for their service. If elected, how do you plan to balance work life elsewhere with council responsibilities?

A: I own and operate Taste of Tuscany, a local restaurant, and that offers extreme flexibility. Although I must work enough hours to ensure profitability, I have built a strong team that ensures success when I am away. Clerical and prep work can be done before and after operating hours. I will build my schedule around council responsibilities. While working 65+ hours a week saving a restaurant during a pandemic and navigating zoom learning with an autistic child and a kindergartener, I graduated from Sacramento State with honors; sleepless nights, long days, and hard work are not foreign to me.

Q: How will you address many of the institutional barriers and bias that impacts our minority and women-owned small businesses, especially as it applies to the jurisdiction you hope to represent if elected?

A: In the jurisdiction in which I serve I have not been made aware of institutional barriers for our minority and women-owned small businesses but pledge to look further into it to ensure inclusivity, diversity, and business opportunity. We have a diverse economy but should increase the visibility of that diversity. We can ensure that overlays do not have hidden biases preventing the expansion of primarily minority and women-owned businesses. We can assess all future developments for barriers and biases and remove them at the policy level if applicable.

Q: What is your vision for economic development in Citrus Heights?

A: My vision for economic development in Citrus Heights is to strengthen established businesses with shared city resources while incentivizing a ‘build up’ plan along Auburn Blvd and the new Sunrise Marketplace Development. Many of the older buildings along Auburn Blvd west of Greenback are vacant or dilapidated. Visibly they have become an eyesore, while affordable housing is still lacking. A big fear among residents is that affordable housing will bring unwanted neighbors, those who cannot afford to care for the outside of their home and upkeep of the property. By revamping the older businesses with affordable housing above we remove the upkeep costs from tenants, but also build supportive communities for the businesses and offer increased revenue developing new landlords. Also, I really want to see the event center in the SMP development as I feel it will give reoccurring revenue opportunities and make us a draw for outside communities. Lastly, it’s important to amplify the voice of even the smallest resident; my kiddos would love to see a splash pad!

Q: What kind of development and planning measures should be adopted to encourage more development in the region? What will you do, or have done, as an elected leader to support development growth? If elected, how will you work with other regional leaders to foster inclusive economic growth?

A: Development and planning measures that increase the ease of development, support development incentives, and increase inclusion and diversity should be adopted to encourage more development in the region. Knowing costs of business are inflating, we should be diligent in incentivizing our area with lower fees or tax breaks to offset total business expenses and improve our regional desirability. As an elected leader, I will approve overlays that protect diversity, I will promote economic incentives for the improvement of old businesses, and I will work with planning and development committees to develop business promotions that fuel more regional business and community support. I will continue successful partnerships with economic councils and work closely with area chambers of commerce to foster inclusive economic growth and tackle regional issues. I will ensure timely processing and advocate for the decrease of license and permit expenses to developers. In my zone of jurisdiction, I will look to copy the development plan and register diverse city resources as learning sites to provide internships; thereby improving budget sustainability and job development.

Q: What is your position on PLAs? Do you support open and competitive bidding for public projects?

A: I am a supporter of whatever makes the city money, improves budget sustainability, and increases business growth. I believe open and competitive bidding helps to ensure budget sustainability and is aligned with the rights of business. My own personal budgeting along with business operations relies on being able to “shop around” for improved profitability. I fear deals that block the market for open and competitive bidding are against business opportunities and leave room for hidden agendas, and avoidable fiscal expense. I believe the city and its leaders should compare and make informed, fiscally responsible decisions and not discriminate against equitable and quality companies choosing not to join a union.

Q: What industries do you believe are critical to the inclusive growth of our region’s economy and workforce? How would you support this growth if elected?

A: All industries are critical to the inclusive growth of our region’s economy and workforce as there is an interconnectedness in improving multiple revenue sources. Large business complexes, warehouses, and box stores offer high levels of fiscal revenue. Small businesses strengthen other small businesses and support local fiscal efforts. Industries that are responsive to new trends will set us apart from outdated communities and will improve fiscal sustainability. If elected I would support this growth with pragmatic solidarity. I will encourage city workshops offering community and business owners insights into new trends, opportunities, and services along with the importance of supporting local business development. We can give marketing strategies and increase community engagement campaigns. Sharing city resources will strengthen businesses for maximum community impact and make us a draw for new business development.