Online Interview with John Cordes
John Cordes and wife Diane
Grassroots Candidate for Sunnyvale Council Seat 3
(Full disclosure: I endorse Josh Grossman, Henry Alexander III and John Cordes for City Council and have contributed to their campaigns. - Michael Goldman)
Link to this blog post: https://meetingthetwain.blogspot.com/2018/10/sunnyvale-city-council-campaign-2018_31.html
Interview with candidate Josh Grossman
Interview with candidate Henry Alexander III, https://meetingthetwain.blogspot.com/2018/10/sunnyvale-city-council-campaign-2018_25.html
Link to original doc: https://tinyurl.com/askJohn2018
On Oct. 30 2018, Save My Sunny Sky group (http://savemysunnysky.org) , together with a group of 340 Sunnyvale residents, interviewed (online) one of the Sunnyvale city council grassroots candidates, John Cordes. He is running for city council seat 3, and his campaign site is here: http://www.john4sunnyvale.org.
Please feel free to post these links (https://tinyurl.com/askJohn2018 and https://meetingthetwain.blogspot.com/2018/10/sunnyvale-city-council-campaign-2018_31.html) into any social media (FB, Twitter, Instagram, NextDoor) or email it to your friends, to spread the words. And we will update this doc with any new materials available, so please do come back and revisit this doc!
Host: First of all, I would ask for your permission, that everything we talk tonight, would be uploaded to internet. NextDoor, Facebook, Twitter. So it's going to be part of permanent history for John Cordes, would you like to approve it?
John Cordes: Yes. I approve. I want to be transparent with Sunnyvale residents.
Host: Thank you very much! Now we are good to go for the first question!
Question 1: Why are you running for Sunnyvale City Council?
John Cordes: I am running for city council because I believe I have the skills, experience, and knowledge to help us achieve a better future than the one we are currently heading for with the uncontrolled growth and the problems it is causing.
Question 2: What have you done for the community before?
John Cordes: I have been active in Sunnyvale for a long time. I volunteer at the Sunnyvale homeless shelter. I am serving my 5th year on the Bicycle and pedestrian commission. I am on Sunnyvale Climate committee. For 2 years I have been a co-leader of Sunnyvale’s Safe Routes to school coalition. I was the SNAIL neighborhood association chair for 201-15 and I currently its treasurer. I serve on the executive board for two environmental non-profits. I lead nature trips for disadvantaged youth.I am an active member of Livable Sunnyvale.
Question 3: Could you compare our quality of life in Sunnyvale now and 5 years ago? What will you do if you are elected for protecting our quality of life and creating a sustainable future in Sunnyvale?
John Cordes: Life has not gotten better in Sunnyvale in the past 5 years. I have been here since 1981. I was here during the dot-com boom of 2000. So it would take a long time to completely answer what I will do if elected. Here is a short version. Let me know if anyone wants more details
Question 4: What are the differences between you and your opponent?
John Cordes: The key differentiator between me and my opponent is about growth. I want to slow down the office growth so Sunnyvale has time to make improvements in housing and transportation instead of these problems continuing to get worse.We need to increase the fees we charge developers to better offset to the impacts
I think my plans will improve the quality of life in Sunnyvale whereas my opponents' will continue to worsen.
Question 5: Why do we need to vote for you?
John Cordes: My plans will improve our quality of life better than those proposed by my opponent. I have deep and vast amount of knowledge about Sunnyvale and what we need to change. I have demonstrated my commitment to Sunnyvale with years of service in various ways.
Question 6: If a pot store (marijuana store) ever shows up on the Sunnyvale council meeting, what would be your vote? Yes or No?
John Cordes: I would oppose any marijuana stores or manufacturing businesses in Sunnyvale.
|Seven Seas Park, Sunnyvale|
John Cordes: Yes, for removing any properties from the PARCS list we need a vote of the people. I think council should be allowed to add new ones without a public vote. I think that makes more sense than requiring a public vote to add new parks to the PARCs list. We want it to be easy to add new properties to this protected list, but require a vote of the residents to remove them. (Edited for clarity and to remove duplication- mg)
This is also covered on John's web site as question 7 in his "Q and A" page at http://www.john4sunnyvale.org/q--a.html
"Yes, I support a ballot initiative for the addition of voter approval provisions to Sunnyvale’s municipal code for removal of properties from the PARCS list or changes to the ordinance itself.Question 1 - What have you done in the past for Sunnyvale residents?"
- How would you make sure that the over-development in the city can be corrected? By trusting the council members all the time?
- Has the city proven that it's doing just fine in the past?
- Can you say something about the Horizon 2035 and LUTE (Land Use and Transportation Elements) adopted last year?
- What is the impact for Sunnyvale's future?
I was very disappointed in what the staff proposed and the Council approved. It was clear to me that it will probably make traffic, affordable housing and other problems in Sunnyvale worse.
The LUTE allows up to 14,000 more homes and 42,000 more jobs in Sunnyvale by 2035. It allows way too many jobs given the status of our transportation infrastructure and does not charge developers enough to pay for needed improvements.
As approved, the LUTE will allow and predicts that traffic congestion will get much worse.
Question 8: What is your opinion about rent control in Sunnyvale?
John Cordes: Rent control is one among many method that cities can use to help ensure that a people with diverse incomes can afford to live in a city. For example it takes about 5 low wage jobs for ever 100K high-tech worker who works here.
Host: One follow up: In San Francisco, a lot of landlords lost their property because of the harsh rent control, and also due to the rent control, landlords tend to charge a much higher rent in the fear that they would never have the chance to raise up the rent.
John Cordes: There are lots of downsides to using rent control too broadly. The most important is that it would discourage housing developers from building needed housing
|Economics of Rent Control|
John Cordes: Sunnyvale is not San Francisco. I don’t support that Sunnyvale would ever try to implement rent control the way it was done in San Francisco. I am currently only supporting and advocating for rent stabilization for the mobile home parks. Those are different than apartments.
XY: John, about rent control. Some people want rent control so they can stay in Sunnyvale. Some believe rent control is a government interference in private business that robs property owners. Are you on one side or do you plan to balance the two sides? If latter, how?
John Cordes: I am not a support of Costa-Hawkins. I think the state went too far in preventing any new housing since 1995 from every coming under rent control. I think it would be useful for the state to set some more flexible rules. Like ‘no rent control on detached home’ or No rent control on apartments less than 20 years old
Question 9: What will you do to decrease our airplane noises dumping from other cities?
John Cordes: This is a major problem and I am very concerned about how is it expected to get worse with increasing air traffic. Sunnyvale need to pursue many courses of action. Form a citizens advisory committee. Hire or with the county group hire our own consultant. Continue to put pressure on the federal gov’t to change the noise standards. NASA is working with Airlines to develop quieter plans,but they are still years away. We need the Fed gov’t to invest more there.
Ellen ZhaoN: I would like to get a bit more sense of what would be your immediate action plan to help decrease airplane noise.
John Cordes: I don’t know if any changes that can be implemented quickly. We want the FAA to designate multiple parallel routes to spread the noise back out, but that will take time.
Question 10: What will you do to increase public safety?
John Cordes: We need to increase the business license tax so we can afford to hire more public safety officers. I also think Sunnyvale should evaluate getting license plate scanner to help identify when stolen cars or the cars of known criminals come into town. We also need to consider storing for a short time (4 hrs?), the video data we get from all of our traffic cameras to help solve crimes. Today, nothing from the traffic cameras is recorded.
|Dallas TX recycles food waste through composting|
John Cordes: It is unfortunate how badly this effort to reduce organic waste from landfills has gone. There is little we can do until we begin negotiations in around 2020 for the new garbage contract starting in 2022 without a major cost. We need to keep the organics out of the landfill, but many cities did this by mixing yard waste with green kitchen waste. They bury bones, dairy, etc in the landfill which produces methane. Methane is 70x worse than CO2 for warming the planet. Sunnyvale has a goal of recycling 90% of our waste by 2030 so it is clear we need a long term solution to avoid burying organic waste in the landfill.
For garbage, we need to increase the amount that is recycled instead of dumped in the landfill. This means there are more people and more expensive sorting equipment being used which increases the cost. Yes, I agree the split ‘food cycle’ cans are more costly and harder to use because of the narrow shape.
Sunnyvale needs a transportation commission for one thing. We need to stop relying on what VTA provides and start and manage our own shuttle system. Both Mtn View and Palo Alto have local shuttle systems. We need to increase the business license tax and use those funds to develop effective local systems focused on getting more people to CalTrain, Light Rail.
Question 13: Please tell us what Sunnyvale Climate action plan is, how much it costs and what the benefit is for our residents?
John Cordes: Sunnyvale needs to reduce the Greenhouse gas generated by burning oil and gas by 80% by 2040. The Climate action plan is the 100+ changes needed to make that happen. 60% of our greenhouse gases come from driving. That is the toughest area to reduce emission and a key reason why we need better transportation systems.
The benefits are that we don’t overheat the planet causing untold misery for billions. The costs are mostly behavior changes like using public transportation.
Mr. Sun: Can Sunnyvale control the green house gas when people from other cities can pass through Sunnyvale?
John Cordes: WRT to GHG emission from cut-through traffic... Whether we like it or not, that is the state law. That is why it is so important to build more local housing so far fewer people are driving long distances to get to work.
Question 14: Could you tell us more about the office growth is Sunnyvale? What is the problem for residents if we have escalating office growth?
John Cordes: The rapid expansion of office space has multiple problems. It causes congestion, it makes the affordable housing crisis worse, it increase time wasted in traffic and miles driven and more greenhouse gases for starters.
John Cordes: Sunnyvale pays the same amount for water as every other city. The city only charges what it costs to buy and provide the water. It is called an ‘enterprise fund’. It is revenue neutral. It does not make or lose money. The same goes for the sewer and garbage. These are both enterprise funds. All three will be going up for a long time. Water cost will probably double in the next 10 years. Same for sewer and garbage. The water and sewer rate are going up because we are replacing old infrastructure that is worn out.
|Please email me other questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org|
John Cordes: (closing statement.) . I hope I have demonstrated my deep understanding of the issues and challenges facing Sunnyvale and that I have clear proposals to improve our quality of life, make Sunnyvale more sustainable, just and enjoyable for everyone
Remember if you want more uncontrolled growth, vote for the candidates who are getting $100,000+ of support from the developers. If you want to control our growth, you need to vote for candidates who are not taking money from the developers.
Host: Thank you @John Cordes ! Independence is what we all cherish. Kudos to your bravery to stand up for residents!