Accomplishments

It has been my privilege to serve you for the last four years as a Director on the Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District (KPPCSD) Board. With your support, I've been able to work with other Board members and District staff to improve the accountability and quality of our town's governance and services. I am proud of what we have been able to achieve!

 
GOOD GOVERNANCE

I am proud to have removed the single biggest obstacle to good governance by separating the positions of General Manager and Chief of Police six months after taking office. I pushed to restructure our town’s administration so it operates professionally and efficiently.

 

INVESTING IN THE COMMUNITY

I led a public-private partnership to renovate our 65-year-old community center to meet today’s safety, accessibility, and energy standards. I have made tough but smart choices to stabilize our finances for the long haul including supporting a “rainy day” fund, a police contract that reigned-in medical inflation costs, and refinanced our police pension debt, saving taxpayers nearly $2 million.

POLICE REFORM

For 4 years, I have worked to bring greater accountability to the KPD with the adoption of body-worn cameras, appropriate use of force guidelines and progressive discipline measures. I will ensure that the 3/4 of our budget that funds the police will be spent effectively or redirected to meet community needs. 

 

Good Governance

I have helped restore the trust and improve relations among Board members and between the Board and civic-minded residents. I am proud to have separated the role of the District’s General Manager from the Chief of Police in my first six months in office, eliminating an inherent conflict of interest. I supported overdue modernization of the District’s finance and accounting procedures, the adoption of a fiscal reserve policy, 2-year budgeting, and a 5-year budget projection model. Our experienced, professional GMs have produced more user-friendly budgets that provide more detail and narrative and assign revenues and expenses more accurately instead of a broad miscellaneous category. 

 

In an effort to communicate with a broader swath of our District’s residents, our board adopted a schedule of two regular meetings per month, held numerous town halls on police services, and created a newsletter mailed to every household twice per year. We also upgraded our website to be fully ADA compliant and searchable. All these actions were designed to enhance opportunities for public participation. The District is on track to earn The California Special District Association’s (CSDA) Transparency Certificate of Excellence in operations and governance by later this summer for the first time. 

Investing in the Community

 

I will find ways to reallocate district resources to support urgent community health and safety needs. Until my election 4 years ago, the core of our civic life, our park and its buildings, had been neglected. Since then, we have:

  • completed the renovation of our 65-year old community center

  • removed poison oak, trimmed and limbed trees

  • identified dead and dying trees and authorized funds for their removal

  • authorized funds for the taping and resurfacing of the tennis courts. 

  • created a capital account with $80,000 in reserve to be set aside for improvement to the park and park buildings.

 

The renovation of our current public safety building, which co-houses the District’s administrative staff, and the Kensington Police and Fire Departments, is illustrative of the financial challenges facing our residents’ pocketbooks. It has grown too small, especially for today’s fire fighting vehicles, and is past its useful life, with maintenance costs that continue to rise. 

 

Under current regulations, it must be upgraded to an “essential services building” seismic standard. And, the situation is further complicated because the public safety building is located right on the Hayward Fault. The renovation was last estimated to cost $10-$12 million. 

 

I have voted to authorize funding for x study …  And a potential use for Building E will be to house the Districts administrative staff to make more room for police and fire in the public safety building.

 

I want residents to have a clear picture of the resources it takes to provide the services at the levels we have, identify areas that could benefit from realignment, and help them navigate the choices before us.  

 

Police Reform

I’ve worked hard over my 1st term to hold the police accountable to high standards of professionalism and earns the confidence and support of our community. I led measures to heighten police accountability with the adoption of body-worn cameras and attendant policy and a revised use of force policy that is more in line with the #8Can’tWait campaign.  

I voted for the subsequent hire of an interim chief known as a “turnaround expert” with strong leadership skills that changed the culture of the department.  Over the past year, our interim chiefs have refocused the department on the top concerns of residents: emergency evacuation, traffic safety, property crime prevention, and community engagement.

If re-elected, I will be responsible for approving the new permanent police chief’s hiring and contract. I intend to build performance measures into the contract and provide rigorous oversight of the still-nascent effort to provide appropriate community-policing services to meet Kensington’s needs.

We cannot go back to the bad old days of 2013’s “Renogate” cover-up, or even last year’s, embarrassing, and frankly chilling, citizens arrest of our General Manager by one of our officers as a means of intimidation. The effort to provide appropriate, accountable, community-policing services needs consistent, rigorous oversight and there’s much more work to be done. 

© Hacaj for KPPCSD Board 2020

205 Columbia Ave

Kensington, CA 94708

Sylvia4Kensington@gmail.com