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Know Your City Council Candidate: Sasha Renée Pérez

Image courtesy of Sasha Renée Pérez

 


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.


 

Biography

Born and raised in Alhambra, Sasha Renée Pérez grew up in a working-class Latino household. Her father is an electrician and her mother is a social worker. Her parents never had the opportunity to graduate from a 4-year university, so they saved up every penny they had to ensure she could attend college. After graduating from Mark Keppel High School, she went to Cal State L.A. and became the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree.

In college, Sasha discovered her passion for public service. She led a statewide campaign that successfully secured $97 million dollars to increase college access and college affordability. She was elected to her local neighborhood council and worked on issues such as neighborhood beautification and transportation.

Sasha has continued her work on pressing policy issues, led statewide campaigns and educated constituents from across California on how to effectively fight for policies to improve their community. In the last 10 years, she has played an important role in passing historic legislation that has increased healthcare access, expanded government transparency and provided protections for victims of violent crimes.

Sasha serves as a Housing Commissioner for the City of Alhambra and a board member to Asian Youth Center, a 501(C)3 non-profit dedicated to empowering low-income, immigrant, and at-risk youth. In her free time, she enjoys checking out new restaurants, volunteering at local food banks and reading with her cats.

Platform

My platform was developed over the past year after gathering feedback from Alhambra residents. This platform is representative of Alhambra residents’ views and, as your city council member, that is reflective of how I will serve.

  • Preserve and Improve Quality of Life–I will strengthen city services and improve our quality of life: reduce traffic, increase our access to green space, maintain and update infrastructure, and preserve historic neighborhoods.
  • Promote Government Transparency and Anti-Corruption Policies–I do not take campaign contributions from developers or anyone with contracts before the city. I have endorsed Measure V which, if passed, will protect Alhambra’s political process from moneyed interests.
  • Community Safety–We need to stop crime from the start. We can increase community safety through prevention efforts, such as strengthening neighborhood watch programs, installing speed bumps, ensuring youth have access to supportive year-round programs and providing access to mental health resources.
  • Strengthen the Local Economy–We need policies that support small businesses during the pandemic and after. The city must continue seeking state and federal relief funds, pass ordinances to allow businesses to operate safely during the pandemic and protect businesses from excessive third-party service fees.
  • Create a Sustainable Future–I will push for the creation of a Climate Action Plan to establish goals for reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. I will work to increase Alhambra’s green space, create alternatives to driving (complete streets), streamline electric vehicle charging station permitting, and propose programs to reduce waste, encourage gardens and plant trees.
  • Address Housing and Homelessness–I will work to pass multiple protective ordinances that provide affordable housing, renters protections and displacement prevention. I will expand homebuyer programs so that low- and moderate-income families can access homeownership, and advocate for ways to stretch the impact of our existing HUD/CDBG funds.

Responses

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 continue seeking state and federal relief funds, pass ordinances to allow businesses to operate safely during the pandemic (such as streamlining outdoor dining, exploring street closures for outdoor business, etc) and protect businesses from excessive third-party service fees (e.g. Grubhub, UberEats, Postmates, etc). I will work to ensure small business owners get every lifeline they need in order to stay open during the pandemic and beyond.

Overall, Alhambra needs to make a greater investment into the rich diversity of our restaurant community. We are a ‘food hub’ — people travel from all over Los Angeles to eat here. We can better celebrate that identity through exciting events such as night markets and the creation of a food hall that can serve as a business incubator. Food halls offer micro-sized kitchens for pop-up restaurants to temporarily rent and test out their business ideas, without risking a major investment. Additionally, food halls typically mix an indoor/outdoor setting, making it easier for these businesses to operate during the pandemic.

How will you help Alhambra reach its affordable housing goals?

I appreciate the acknowledgment that we are in an affordable housing crisis. Oftentimes we hear groups claim that we are simply in a housing crisis, but cities across LA County have built luxury housing, much of which has sat empty because many residents cannot afford the high rent. We desperately need more affordable housing stock for Alhambra residents. I have worked alongside local advocates for the past two years to pass a robust Inclusionary Housing Ordinance with 15% set aside for affordable units. Additionally, we must ensure the application of SB 330: The Housing Rights Act of 2019 to ensure that any time a low-income resident has their house torn down for new development, the developer is required to replace it.

How do you plan on increasing the city’s green space and tackling sustainability issues?

As mentioned in my platform, I will push for the creation of a Climate Action Plan to establish goals for reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. I will work to increase Alhambra’s green space through identifying parcels of land that can be converted into pocket parks and regular parks, create alternatives to driving through bike lanes and improved public transportation, streamline electric vehicle charging station installation, and propose programs to reduce waste, encourage gardens, and plant trees. I’d also like to see our local waste and recycling services incorporate composting. Composting is an efficient way to dispose of food waste while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and producing nutrient-rich soil. Everyone wins!

What is your plan for improving the air quality for Alhambra residents?

To tackle an issue as large as air quality, we need reliable data, therefore we need to expand data collection by installing more air quality sensors throughout Alhambra and on our public buildings. API Forward Movement, a local non-profit, has worked to install these air sensors across Alhambra and I’m proud to be a part of their stakeholder group where they have actively educated local residents about the air quality issues facing our community. Since unhealthy air is not confined to city borders, we need to partner with our neighboring cities and regional leaders to pass policies that improve our region’s air quality, from creating alternatives to driving to setting ambitious greenhouse gas emission restrictions to planting more trees.

How will you improve traffic safety for both drivers and pedestrians?

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the City of Alhambra is one of the most dangerous cities in the state for pedestrians. We can improve safety in Alhambra by utilizing data to make informed decisions about where to make road improvements to increase traffic safety for both drivers and pedestrians. There are a number of improvements we can make, from installing speed bumps and dedicated bike lanes, to expanding sidewalks and crosswalks to accommodate those in wheelchairs, to educating drivers and pedestrians on how to avoid distractions and travel safely.

Visit Sasha’s website.

 

Return to the main page for the other candidates’ biographies, platforms and responses.

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