gmhTODAY 24 gmhTODAY Feb March 2019 - Page 18

beyond San Jose to Gilroy, and Morgan Hill must be a scheduled stop for all north- and south-bound trains going through our city. And if Caltrain and SAMTRANS want South County vot- ers to support a 2020 ballot measure for countywide transportation improvements, our needs must be addressed, or we’ll work to defeat it.” Mayor Constantine and Councilmember Larry Carr also advocate for Morgan Hill’s needs with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), where Carr serves on the board and Constantine is on the Policy Advisory Committee. “The VTA votes on county bus and light rail system improvements, but South County’s needs are not well represented,” Constantine said. Half of the VTA’s current board members live in San Jose, and meetings are in San Mateo. “We can’t even use their mass transit system to attend their meetings.” Another priority, according to Constantine, is to “work with State representatives and Caltrans to expand the Highway 101 commuter lane through Morgan Hill.” “High-Speed Rail is coming. It’s a big topic, right now, and it’s going to be hard for Morgan Hill.” “Two of the five busiest railroad crossings in the greater Bay Area are here in Morgan Hill at Dunne and at Tennant. The High-Speed Rail Authority proposes to run eight trains per hour. What will that do to our local traffic? If Caltrain is running, that’s what Morgan Hill commuters will use. They’re not going to drive south and park at a high-speed rail station in Gilroy to turn around and ride north to their Silicon Valley jobs.” “As a city council, we can’t control the Authority’s decisions but we can educate and influence them to minimize their impacts on our community and compensate land- owners properly. We’ll continue to ask for community input and pose the tough questions to the Authority to get answers.” Fix Our Streets Currently, Morgan Hill has roughly a $21 million backlog of street maintenance projects. Mayor Constantine said the City’s $1.6 million annual budget for street maintenance falls far short of what’s needed to reduce that backlog. He stated during his campaign that he wants the City Public Works Department to provide City Council with a monthly status report on maintenance and efforts to secure funding to upgrade streets faster. Improve Local Internet Speed and Access Certain areas of Morgan Hill continue to be negatively impacted by slow and intermittent internet service. According to Constantine, “Businesses, schools, and residents can’t function without reliable high-speed internet. We’ll continue to explore partnerships with internet providers, and incentives for providers to improve their services, looking for ways to improve fiber optic and wireless relay infrastructure among other things.” “The City’s Economic Blueprint addresses telecommunications with creative ways to improve infrastructure such as the Dig Once policy. When developers invest in a property we want to leverage their efforts, for example by laying fiber optic cable in their pipes. We’ll continue to look for new ways to improve.” Promote a Sustainable Community “As Mayor, I’ll continue to support measures shown to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Constantine said. “Since 2016, Morgan Hill residents have had the opportunity to get their energy from Silicon Valley Clean Energy, a community-owned agency providing clean and renewable energy, thereby significantly reducing CO2 emissions.” “Our City has implemented energy- efficient LEED standards for city buildings and realized signifi- cant cost savings as a result. We also supported Recology South Valley, our trash and recycling service provider, on their installation of a natural gas filling station and use of trucks fueled by clean natural gas.” Keep Schools Safe and Fully Funded “The City’s largest employer is the Morgan Hill Unified School District,” Constantine said. “I believe we can make them more a part of our community.” “The City Council voted to increase funds for a School Resource Officer from our Police Department to provide schools with education and training related to active shooter drills, cyber- bullying, and other safety measures to keep students safe.” “The school district currently needs at least two 10-acre sites to serve our growing population. They’ve done well putting Measure G funds to work on capital improvements, but they can’t build ahead of the curve; the funding won’t support it. We can help the district look for sites.” “Even with the Local Control Funding Formula, our teachers are still paying out of pocket for classroom supplies. I’ll work with school leaders to ensure that Morgan Hill gets its fair share of state funding and advocate for more support from Sacramento.” Address Homelessness Acknowledging Santa Clara County’s persistent homelessness crisis, Mayor Constantine said he’ll advocate for part- nerships with the County and neigh- boring cities to help end homelessness. He favors an “aggressive, multi-faceted approach that addresses the issues that make people homeless in the first place.” Preserve and Create City Parks A proponent of local community parks, Constantine said he’ll ask for a Master Plan for land acquisition and creation of new parks accessible to all residents including those in underserved areas of Morgan Hill. “Our council works as a team: we all read the meeting agendas; come with open minds; hear information from staff, council and citizens; discuss issues openly; and then build consensus to move things forward in a unified way.” 18 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN february/march 2019