The Town of Los Gatos hosted a series of Community Workshops to address issues of racial and social injustice and discuss how Los Gatos can be more welcoming for all.
Community Workshop #1: Police Practices & Reforms
The first Workshop regarding Police Department Practices and Potential Reforms occurred on September 8, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. via teleconference. A panel including the Town Manager, Town Attorney, and Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Chief of Police was available to listen, learn, respond to questions, discuss policy options, and identify specific next steps.
The Workshop was facilitated by the Honorable LaDoris Cordell, an American retired judge of the Superior Court of California and former Independent Police Auditor for the City of San Jose, California. Judge Cordell is an advocate for improving transparency into charges of police misconduct. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and was the first lawyer to open a law practice in East Palo Alto, a low-income community of color. Judge Cordell was appointed Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the Stanford Law School, where she helped develop a program to increase minority recruitment. Within a year, Stanford Law School went from last to first place in enrollment of African-American and Hispanic students, among major law schools. She was the first female African-American judge in Northern California and the first female African-American Superior Court judge in Santa Clara County, California.
The Town continued conversations regarding racial and socio-economic diversity with its second Community Workshop which focused on Affordable Housing. The Workshop took place on September 29, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. via teleconference. A panel including Associate Executive Director of West Valley Community Services Sujatha Vankatraman, the Town Community Development Director, Town Attorney, and Town Manager were available to listen, learn, answer questions, and discuss important topics such as:
What is affordable housing?
Why does the Town need to plan for more affordable housing?
What does the current housing stock look like?
What are the Town’s current programs, laws, and policies to foster affordable housing and can they be improved?
How does affordable housing fit into the General Plan?
What are the relevant State laws?
How do the Town's non-profit partnerships provide housing services?
What are some new ideas to provide homes in Los Gatos?
The full recording of the meeting is available to view on the Town YouTube page. The Community Development Director's presentation slides regarding affordable housing in Los Gatos are available here. The Town Attorney's slide presentation regarding State legislation is available here. Links to other resources referenced during the Workshop are as follows:
What is Los Gatos culture? What is the look and feel of Los Gatos? The Town continued to explore issues of racial, social, and socio-economic justice with the third Community Workshop addressing the topic of Community Culture. All were invited to share experiences, perspectives, and motivations for working toward a more inclusive Los Gatos. The workshop was opened by Mayor Marcia Jensen, facilitated by Town Council Member Marico Sayoc, and a community panel was available to listen, learn, share, and discuss. The panel included Rabbi of Congregation Shir Hadash Melanie Aron and Los Gatos High School student Nika Sabouri. Attendees split into smaller groups using Zoom Breakout Rooms for more in-depth discussions regarding social change and how Los Gatos can be more welcoming for all.
A full video recording of the Workshop is available on the Town YouTube page and the slides regarding Los Gatos demographics can be viewed here. A transcript of the live chat typed during the Workshop is available here and the results of the poll questions can be viewed here.