The Smoke Signal reached out to all District 4 City Council and School Board candidates for information on their platforms* including traffic congestion and affordable housing. Some were interviewed one on one and some by phone. Others supplied email responses. The Smoke Signal was unable to interview School Board Candidates Hua Li and Larry Sweeney; for these candidates, we retrieved as much information as possible from candidate websites.
Topic 1: FUSD SEX EDUCATION
On May 3, 2018, the FUSD Board voted against adopting new sex education curriculum through the Rights, Respect, Responsibility program for fourth through sixth graders after concerns over the appropriateness of new curriculum and it sexualizing young students arose. This decision also removed sex education for elementary school students. The debate over sex education centers around the importance of educating children and the importance of preserving their innocence.
Topic 2: SCHOOL FACILITIES
While there are some aspects of Fremont schools that are being modernized, such as the Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) system and the swimming pool at MSJHS, a large portion of the school facilities have not been updated in decades. As the population of students grows, the lack of up-to-date facilities is becoming more of a problem. Sports teams in particular find it difficult to train on inconvenient facilities.
Topic 3: AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Due to the quantity of “magnet” schools in FUSD, median house prices are often well into the hundreds of thousands or even millions in certain neighborhoods, leading to the need for affordable housing. However, affordable housing is a major issue in Fremont, as increased real estate development exacerbates existing overcrowding and traffic congestion. While the school board has little direct impact on housing issues, the issue impacts education.
Topic 4: TRAFFIC CONGESTION
Traffic congestion has been a long-time issue for many residents of Fremont, as many commuters from Pleasanton, Dublin, and San Ramon travel through not only local highways but residential neighborhoods to and from work in Silicon Valley. This has led to increased rates of road degradation and congested residential streets, which often negatively impact local residents. High-profile examples include Palm Avenue and Mission Boulevard during rush hour traffic, which coincides with the start of the school day. While the school board does not have as a large an impact on this issue as city council, congestion negatively impacts school zones.
Topic 5: PUBLIC SAFETY
Fremont is a fairly safe city with a crime rate far below the nation’s average. However, the crime rate has been increasing lately. According to an FBI crime report, Fremont experienced a 24.6 percent increase in violent crime. The city is also situated on the Hayward Fault, putting it at risk for earthquakes.
*Disclaimer: See in-print coverage for candidate platforms regarding Housing and Overcrowding.