We are a group of residents committed to the future of Redwood City (RWC). We seek to broaden the discussion around choices in the areas of housing, transportation and vibrancy to include more voices. We believe that there are solutions to the challenges facing our city and our region and that a positive and thoughtful approach can achieve great outcomes.
Our goals are to:
1. Democratize and broaden the conversation around land use policy so that all voices are represented: young, old, renters, owners, a wide range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, long-time residents and newcomers. One of the best things about Redwood City is that it remains a diverse community. Balancing the needs of such a wide range of people also carries challenges, but they are worth taking on.
2. Find the solutions to housing and transportation challenges that the most Redwood City residents can agree on and expand the choices available to everyone. We recognize that every solution has trade-offs, sometimes solutions will not please everyone and there are no silver bullets. But this shouldn’t keep us from trying.
3. Inform the discussion with facts by educating ourselves on what’s been tried, what’s worked and what hasn’t. Many cities face similar challenges and we can learn from each other.
4. Work together to encourage the adoption of best practices and work towards the goals of increased and better options for housing and transportation.
Adrian Brandt: I was born and raised in Menlo Park and became a resident of Redwood City 20 years ago.
I have been a longtime rail transit advocate. I served as chair of the Caltrain Citizens Advisory Committee in the 90's. I was President of Peninsula Rail 2000, a Caltrain advocacy group and ran for city council in 2005. I enjoy SCUBA diving and travel. I was raised in a German-speaking household, spent many summers of my youth in Stuttgart, Germany and still speak German fluently.
Ever since being a transit & bicycle-dependent child and teen, and spending many summers in Germany, I've long been interested in transit and complete streets that work well for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. I support TODs, height & density in and around downtown and transit corridors/hubs. As opposed to stand-alone or segregated affordable housing projects, I prefer to see income/means-tested affordable housing to be seamlessly blended into market rate housing projects.
These issues are critical to making cities strong, interesting, stimulating, lively, desirable, livable, diverse, sustainable places to live in and enjoy. My goal is to see Redwood City be such a place.
Kent and Sandra Burke: We moved to Redwood City in 2006. Kent was born in California and graduated from Stanford with a computer science degree. Sandra grew up on the Central Coast and moved to the Bay area for college where she completed her masters degree in education from SF State. We currently work as a software engineer and teacher.
We are mindful that additional housing and offices creates the need for infrastructure. We hope that, in addition to following the upgrades outlined in the general plan, the city will implement policies and plans which minimize impacts on infrastructure and encourage alternative transportation.
Raising our family in RWC we want to understand how new developments positively and negatively impact the city. We are excited to see all the changes and hope that it will result in a stronger community – programs, events and vitality.
Heather Lin Butler: I work in real estate and I have lived in Redwood City for almost 8 years. I fell in love Redwood City when I attended my first Friday night outdoor concert by the History Museum. Not only was the music amazing, the crowd, which ranges from young toddlers to retirees, were having such a great time.
Although I have been blessed with a owning a home in Redwood City, I want to find solutions to make our place a where a diverse population can continue to afford to live. I have an unique interest in the vast development that is happening right now in the city and I want to do my part in making Redwood City not only the best climate by government standard, but one of the best cities to raise your family in.
Isabella Chu: I was born in Berkeley but grew up in rural Washington State. I returned to the Bay Area in my mid-20s after a three year stint in Japan.
My interest in housing started in Tokyo where I learned that there were other ways of thinking about space. Things have been crowded in the great cities of Asia and Europe for a long time and people who live in these places often get an amazing amount of use out of small spaces.
This interest deepened during graduate school when I was studying public health. As one of my bosses says, “all policy is health policy.” One of the most important determinants of health, economic success and a host of other outcomes is where we live. So I see making room in our prosperous cities as a matter of social justice.
I founded Redwood City Forward to broaden the discussion around land use policy and, I hope, find solutions for our housing and transportation challenges. I believe that evidence should inform practice - and that best practices evolve as cities change.
Redwood City is unique but its problems are not. Cities around the world are facing similar challenges and working on solutions. There are good policies and things that have been shown to work. I want to find out what they are and encourage their implementation.
Brandon Murray: I moved to Redwood City in 1999. This is the place I call home, started my family and work as a professional in the addiction recovery field.
We are renters so affordable housing is a concern for our family. I would like to see affordable housing and development balanced with the preservation of open space for nature, recreation and other uses.
I am married and have a 12 year old daughter. We love local parks and the Redwood city movie theater and restaurants. We hope that Redwood City can find ways to add housing at all income levels without losing its “small town” and family friendly character.
Ruby Siegel: I moved to Redwood City in the summer of 2015 from Spokane, Washington to accept an exciting professional opportunity. I am a single mom of a 20 year old son. He stayed behind in Spokane to attend college while I pursued the career opportunity that brought me here. This is my 17th year in the field of organ transplant testing and somehow it still fascinates me. Weekends often find me hiking with my trusty cattle dog on the trails of a local open space preserve.
Though I was a homeowner in Spokane, affording a home in the Bay Area is a very different proposition and I am currently a renter. It is difficult to afford rent in Redwood City; there are few rental options in general and even fewer where dogs are allowed (esp dogs > 20 pounds).
There is a two-way relationship between a city and the people who call it home. Redwood City is a charming town with a hip vibe downtown (unique locally owned businesses, delicious restaurants, laser light shows! live theater and other entertainment, open spaces, trails, and a lovely waterfront). In return, I want to be involved as a citizen. New residents like me offer fresh perspectives, contributions to the economy, and the ability to volunteer in the community.
Erlinda Weger: I graduated from San Jose State University in 2009 after studying Communicative Disorders and Sciences and Special Education and currently work as a Vocational Education Teacher in a school that practices full inclusion. Our family moved to Redwood City last year.
My family and I personally benefited from affordable housing and other forms of assistance growing up. I understand the challenges our community faces living on a tight financial budget. I continue rally friends around me to contribute and donate time, money and food to food assistance programs. I love knowing that we are making a difference.
My hope is to see affordable housing added to Redwood City and for it to continue to be a community where a wide range of incomes can live and work. I am excited about the opportunity to serve our community.