The Alhambra Source reached out to each candidate, asking for a biography, platform statement and a few reader-generated questions. The Source does not endorse any candidates nor statements.
Jeff Maloney is the chief attorney for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which has preserved nearly 80,000 acres of parkland throughout the greater Los Angeles region.
Jeff was elected to the Alhambra City Council in 2016 with over 73% of the vote. He is actively involved in many organizations, including the League of California Cities – API Caucus, Go For Broke National Education Center, Japanese American Bar Association, the Clean Power Alliance, and co-chaired the Alhambra Host Committee during the 2015 Special Olympics.
As a councilmember, Jeff has prioritized environmental reform, expansion of parks, affordable housing, traffic reduction, and enhanced quality of life. He has also been actively working on Alhambra’s first sustainability action plan, its first inclusionary affordable housing ordinance, and its first historic preservation ordinance. Due to Jeff’s efforts, Alhambra recently became a “Tree City USA” for the first time in history.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Jeff played a lead role in establishing COVID testing for residents, direct housing assistance, and expanded senior meals program.
He attended law school at USC and completed his undergraduate studies at UC San Diego. Jeff lives in Alhambra with his wife, Akiko, and their young two children.
Now, more than ever, Alhambra residents must come together to create the future that we want and deserve. Recent events such as the global pandemic, extreme heatwaves, earthquakes, and toxic air quality make it clear that these are challenging times. I believe that the resilient people of Alhambra are up to the task and will meet these challenges head-on. As a councilmember, my job is to listen to the residents of our City and transform their ideas into policies that will lead us into the future.
My specific ideas for the next term:
Sustainability. Climate change is an existential threat to humanity. We must alter the course of climate change, but also implement comprehensive environmental reform to ensure that we protect the health of our entire community, especially children and other vulnerable populations. The Sustainability Action Plan that I have proposed will do just that.
Transportation reform. I helped to secure nearly $200 million for traffic improvements for our streets and freeways, so we have the first opportunity in decades to implement local solutions to this regional problem. Data shows that our current plan will reduce traffic in our area by up to 10%. I am committed to seeing this through.
Affordable Housing. I have been a leader in implementing Alhambra’s first affordable housing ordinance. In my next term I will work to strengthen the ordinance and explore other opportunities to address the issue of affordable housing and housing insecurity.
Quality of life. Alhambrans should be proud to call this City home. From historic preservation to improved parks, to citywide design standards, to increased outreach and transparency in government, we must continue to improve our sense of community and sense of place. I am an optimist, a bridge-builder, and someone who can help bring our City together.
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated small businesses in Alhambra. What is your plan to help these businesses and reinvigorate the local economy?
We must do everything in our power to help our small and family businesses recover after the pandemic subsides. We must press the state and federal governments to extend financial assistance to our local businesses to keep them afloat. The City has already eased regulations on restaurants opening outdoors and begun a no-fee, over-the-counter permit system for restaurants to utilize public rights of way.
These are modest measures that will help, but we must plan for the future of our economy and ensure that it serves the needs of our residents and is resilient to bounce back from economic turmoil. This is why I support diversification of the types of businesses the City regulations allow, especially in our commercial corridors along Main and Valley. Brick and mortar retail will play a role, but we need to make sure we know what our local residents want so we can put our locally owned establishments in the best position to thrive and grow after the pandemic. We are currently preparing for an economic analysis that will give us this information which we can use to prepare for the future economy of Alhambra.
How will you help Alhambra reach its affordable housing goals?
Alhambra recently adopted its first-ever affordable housing ordinance, which will require all new developments larger than 7 units to set aside at least 15% as affordable for low-income residents. I believe this is a first step to meet the affordable housing goals Alhambra is required to provide under state law and the Regional Housing Needs Assessment. We must also consider utilizing funds from the new affordable housing ordinance and the San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust to renew long term affordable housing covenants that may be expiring soon. Additionally, the City Council has been exploring the possibility of creating new affordable housing on City-owned properties. Solving this problem requires an “all of the above” approach. I am proud to say that the Council and City staff are pursuing all available options and we have been making significant progress.
How do you plan on increasing the city’s green space and tackling sustainability issues?
In my professional career, I am an attorney for one of the most successful parks and open space agencies in the state, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. I have 16+ years of experience in
acquiring, planning, and building new parks throughout the Los Angeles region. I believe the model I have helped to create can work in Alhambra. All options must be on the table – but we must first start with City and other publicly owned properties and reevaluate if they can be repurposed as public open space and parkland. We must consider implementing a development fee program under the Quimby Act to create a trust fund for park acquisition and improvement. Leveraging these funds with grants available from state and regional sources, we can quickly raise the funds to implement open space improvements and even new acquisitions to expand our park space. We must also expand our vision to include small pocket parks, walking paths along our local waterways, and the transformation of grounds around City Hall and other city facilities. We should also not give up on the idea of utilizing the few remaining large, privately-owned vacant lots for park purposes. I believe I am well equipped to lead these efforts. Finally, I am committed to building an off-leash dog park within City limits.
My proposal for a citywide Sustainability Action Plan, which will bring all aspects of environmental reform and sustainability within one cohesive plan, is my top priority in my next term. It will address issues ranging from CO2 emission reduction to climate resiliency, but also include policies to improve our air quality, water quality, food waste, single-use plastics, and general environmental health. This will be a major step in environmental reform in Alhambra.
I will also continue to push for the City to pursue an ambitious tree-planting program on publicly owned properties and rights of way. We’ve planted over 900 new trees in the last four years, which is good, but we should aim to double or triple that number in my next term.
What is your plan for improving the air quality for Alhambra residents?
One of the main benefits of adopting a Sustainability Action Plan will be to reduce particulate matter and CO2 air pollution in our community. I believe this will be a major step in the right direction. However, the largest contributor to air pollution in our communities is from transportation. One of the biggest improvements we can make is to create policies that encourage and incentivize people to get out of their cars and, instead, walk, bike, or take public transportation. To that end, I have proposed an alternative transportation plan, which will be underway within the next few months, pending approval of outside grant funding.
How will you improve traffic safety for both drivers and pedestrians?
I believe the best way to improve safety for cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists is to reduce the need to rely on cars in the first place. The alternative transportation plan mentioned above will help us plan out safe bike routes, create attractive pedestrian walkways, and provide us with insight into how we can best utilize land use and planning to create a community that is less car-centric than it is now. If we make other options more attractive and people utilize them, the chances of accidents will necessarily decrease.
I subscribe to the theory of “15-minute cities” where shopping, work, recreational, and social/cultural needs should be available within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from residences. If we want people to choose not to drive, we must make our communities amenable to this goal. Alhambra has wonderful amenities and, with some modest adjustments to our infrastructure, I am confident that we can meet this goal.
Visit Jeff’s website.
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