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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Political Philosophy for Patricia "Trish" Dixon
The most pressing challenge facing Milpitas is maintaining our long-term fiscal stability.
As Bay Area cities slowly recover from the recession, Milpitas has weathered the economic downturn. Through our strong leadership, conservative management and strong financial reserves, Milpitas is a progressive "Great City".
In the midst of the recession when California was nearing "junk bond" status, I led the city's "bond team" to Wall Street. I represented our culturally rich community and our potential to succeed long term. Milpitas was put through the most comprehensive financial audit ever, comparing salaries, overall debt, business climate, housing potential, city organization and even the quality of life for our citizens. Milpitas was placed among other California cities in competition for funding and we won outright. The result is a double A Bond rating that lead to an insured Triple A Bond rating.
The expansion of the redevelopment agency will enable Milpitas to build many necessary improvements. However there are also ongoing expenses to the taxpayer that have been escalating over the years. The cities cost for health care as in the private industry has skyrocketed along with other employee benefits. I believe and will work for ways that Bay Area cities can merge to form opportunities to achieve lower insurance rates instead of cities going at it alone.
Midtown Specific Plan
Second priority is using the funds from the recently secured redevelopment bonds to implement our award winning Midtown Specific Plan, to develop a modern, attractive downtown serving the growing needs of our community.
My long term vision for a thriving, livable downtown resulted in the Midtown Plan, a blue-print for invigorating our neglected historic downtown. The majority of the Council in 1999 had the foresight and courage to create a vital downtown using redevelopment funds without raising taxes.
My planning background and council leadership provided Milpitas with the ability to attain a Triple A bond rating. The funds will purchase land for housing, stop the expansion of the Elmwood Jail, build a new library, senior housing, County Medical Center, major streetscape improvements, neighborhood services, meeting/banquet space and refinancing higher interest bonds
Midtown will also be the location for the first multi-Modal transportation hub in Santa Clara County. It will connect our Great Mall 12-line bus terminal, Great Mall light rail and the future BART station to Milpitas. Midtown will ultimately be the revenue driving force to create housing, jobs and retail.
Milpitas is one City and has one school district. This has resulted in cooperation and partnerships with Milpitas Unified School District. Our relationship has never been stronger. We recently signed a formal Resolution of Partnership. Now more than ever the City of Milpitas will have to enter into more innovative ways to help enhance the education of all our children. MUSD has already seen State budget cuts of 6 million dollars.
In 1996, District Administrators and the Board of Trustees, asked me to form the Friends of Milpitas Schools. I Chaired the efforts to go out into the community to educate them on the needs of all our Milpitas' aging schools and the need for additional buildings with the technology to lead us into the 21st. Century.
In June 1996, the voters of Milpitas passed a $64.7 million bond by 82% approval to provide new auditoriums, libraries, major renovations, new technology and a state-of-the-art Math/Science Building at Milpitas High School. We promised voters in 1996 that a community-based committee would form a bond oversight committee and monitor all funds being spent. I kept my promise and served on the oversight committee for the entire 7 years. All school construction was completed on time and under budget. The District was able to leverage the 64.7 million into almost 100 million. The interest alone has paid for the new athletic fields at MHS.
Current partnerships between Milpitas and MUSD have resulted in: The DARE program for all 5th graders in Milpitas; the DARE program has been expanded to the Middle schools; resource officers at Cal Hills; police science course at MHS; crossing guard program; Stay-n-Play expanded program; annual emergency evacuation drill at every school; shared athletic fields and many other programs.
Our recent partnerships introduced by the Mayor and myself resulted in college classes being offered by San Jose/Evergreen College District at Milpitas High School. Classes began this Fall. We also introduced a three year pilot program geared to our lowest performing elementary schools to help reduce the learning gap before entering kindergarten. The pre-school program is called "Raising a Reader".
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