Russ Melton’s 2016 Campaign for City Council

Promises Made … Promises Kept



From my 2016 campaign for Sunnyvale City Council, here are the Five Campaign Pillars for Quality of Life. For each, click to see results since 2016.

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Oversee best practices on City budget and finances
  • Maintains appropriate rainy-day reserves
  • Manage the City’s pension obligations over time
Click here to see results

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Oversee best practices on City budget and finances

    Results: Sunnyvale has delivered a balanced budget, on time, each year I have been on Council. During this time, I have vigorously advocated for robust internal financial controls to ensure our financial reports are reliable and that Sunnyvale’s over $1.5 billion of assets are protected. In addition to the numerous scope-audits I have advocated for, the annual independent audit of Sunnyvale’s financial statements by a firm of certified public accountants has achieved the highest possible rating each year.
  • Maintains appropriate rainy-day reserves

    Results: During my time on Council, Sunnyvale’s rainy-day General Fund reserves have increased from $80.6 million (as of June 2016) to $94.6 million (as of June 2019). These reserves are critical in maintaining Sunnyvale’s services to our residents and businesses in the event of turbulent economic conditions.
  • Manage the City’s pension obligations over time

    Results: Under my leadership, Sunnyvale established a pension trust account to put money away irrevocably and separately from other City accounts in advance of large pension bills expected to come from Sacramento (CalPERS) in ten years. So far, Sunnyvale has transferred $5.5 million into the account and we plan to add another $9 million between now and 2029.

Smart Infrastructure

  • Improve bicycle and pedestrian connectivity
  • Move forward on Mathilda/237/101 interchange
  • Strong oversight of Water Pollution Control Plant re-build
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Smart Infrastructure

  • Improve bicycle and pedestrian connectivity

    Results: In 2019, I voted to adopt the Vision Zero Plan which strives for the total elimination of fatalities and severe injuries for all modes of travel on Sunnyvale’s roadways. I have advocated for implementation of the Vision Zero Plan to be a Council Strategic Policy Priority. I have been a strong advocate for the safety improvements implemented and forthcoming at Fremont and Manet/Bobwhite. I have advocated for safety improvements in District 4 at El Camino and Poplar, and El Camino and Henderson. And, I am working with District 4 residents to have a sidewalk funded and installed on Norman between Marion and Dunford/Oriole. During my time on Council, numerous bicycle and pedestrian improvements have been made on Fair Oaks, Mary and Maude, and green bike lanes have been installed at many intersections throughout the City.
  • Move forward on Mathilda/237/101 interchange

    Results: This long-awaited project to improve Mathilda Avenue over U.S. 101 and under S.R. 237 is nearing completion, on schedule and significantly under budget to Sunnyvale taxpayers. Since 2017, environmental review and design of the project has been completed. I attended the groundbreaking event in March 2019 and expect to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony later in 2020. Sunnyvale was originally expected to contribute $25 million of the $42 million in project costs but that amount was significantly lowered when a $17 million funding grant was received from the State of California. When complete, this project will bring huge improvements to all users (drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians).
  • Strong oversight of Water Pollution Control Plant re-build

    Results: This massive public works project is on track. I personally toured the construction site in September 2018 and Council receives regular project updates from Staff. Additionally, under my leadership, costs and timelines have been moved to a separate section of the annual budget for greater transparency and oversight.

Manage Balanced Growth in Land Planning

  • Balance growth, housing and traffic
  • Realize vision of vibrant downtown
  • Bring Civic Center and Library redevelopment to a balanced solution
  • Support Sunnyvale businesses
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Manage Balanced Growth in Land Planning

  • Balance growth, housing and traffic

    My outlook on growth in Sunnyvale has always been guided by the following: (a) We need more housing in Sunnyvale and throughout the region, especially more affordable housing; (b) The availability of great jobs in Sunnyvale is a great thing for the economy and for Sunnyvale residents; and (c) We have to do everything we can to mitigate the negative effects of traffic.

    Here are a couple of other key points: The biggest land-use decisions are made when the City adopts new “Specific Plans” that guide the development of a specific part of the City for the next several decades. And, I do not support an outright ban or prohibition on new development.

    Results: During my time on Council, we made significant progress on four Specific Plans, each of which could enable significant additional housing in Sunnyvale.

    • Moved forward drafting an amendment to the Lawrence Station Area Plan to look for additional housing opportunities there (which I support)
    • Moved forward drafting a new Specific Plan for Downtown (which I support)
    • Moved forward drafting a new Specific Plan for El Camino Real (which I support)
    • Moved forward drafting a new Specific Plan for Moffett Park (which I have many questions about)

    More specifically:

    • I strongly opposed the project at Butchers Corner because it was way too much building intensity for that location. I’m sure many District 4 residents remember my efforts there!
    • I voted in favor of the residential project being built at El Camino Real and Poplar because 20% of the units there are dedicated to affordable housing (along with other community benefits).
    • There is a development application early in the pipeline that would replace the Wendy’s on Wolfe, and the adjacent vacant lot, with multi-story housing. I have told the developer about my serious concerns regarding the traffic impact that would have on Wolfe.

    Meanwhile, during the past four years, significant office development has taken place in the Moffett Park and Peery Park areas of Sunnyvale, enabling thousands of new jobs for Sunnyvale residents.

    We are also working hard on our transportation system to ensure safe, reliable movement for all roadway users. Sunnyvale spends about $10 million per year maintaining our roadways. I have led the charge to aggressively patch Wolfe Road between Homestead and El Camino and to get to a final resolution with PG&E there. We have made significant improvement to our traffic signal timing systems. I support discussions between the City and Caltrans to see if the City can take over signal timing on El Camino traffic signals, and I sponsored a study issue to explore ways to improve traffic operations at the intersection of Fremont, Bernardo and SR-85. The City has also made significant progress on the concept of an overcrossing at Mary Avenue that would go over U.S. 101 and S.R. 237 into Moffett Park.

  • Realize vision of vibrant downtown

    Results: There has been incredible progress in the last four years! TheCityLineSunnyvale project is underway at the 36-acre site in the core of downtown Sunnyvale. The project’s owner, STC Ventures, LLC, hard at work and what they have accomplished is clear for all to see. Construction at the corner of McKinley and Sunnyvale avenues is nearing completion with a Whole Foods Market and an AMC Movie Theater expected to open soon, although the exact timing has been made unclear by the COVID-19 emergency. The public open-space amenity at Redwood Square was completed in 2017, and the long-stalled housing project at Washington and Taaffe has been completed and is at near-full occupancy. Additional housing is under construction, including 75 new apartments on Iowa Avenue, expected to open in the fall of 2021. But we’re not done there. Next up: City Council’s review of a new Downtown Specific Plan, which will guide the way for the realization of our vision of a vibrant downtown for Sunnyvale!
  • Bring Civic Center and Library redevelopment to a balanced solution

    Results: In August 2019, I voted to move forward with the next step of the Civic Center modernization project. Phase 1 is a $240 million project that will build a new City Hall for Sunnyvale along with a much needed expansion of our Public Safety Department building. I have been a strong advocate for making sure this project stays on budget. We will probably tackle Phase 2, a remodel or rebuild of Sunnyvale’s main library, in 2022. This will likely entail floating a bond in the $150 million range with voter approval. In the middle of this, I have been at work bringing together many different parties to see if it will be possible for Sunnyvale to take control of the old Courthouse land and building at 605 W. El Camino Real.
  • Support Sunnyvale businesses

    Results: Earlier this year, I supported a new Sunnyvale program supporting small businesses in the City impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. I strongly support the Downtown Business Association and the Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce, having presented at their annual award ceremony each year that I have been on Council

Environmental Sustainability

  • Meet 2020 greenhouse gas reduction targets
  • Continue forward on City's Climate Action Plan
  • Launch Silicon Valley Clean Energy
Click here to see results

Environmental Sustainability

  • Meet 2020 greenhouse gas reduction targets

    Results: We did it Sunnyvale, ahead of schedule! As was announced during our 2018 Biennial Progress Report, Sunnyvale achieved a 12% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels, exceeding the State’s 2020 targets.
  • Continue forward on City's Climate Action Plan

    Results: I supported Sunnyvale’s Climate Action Plan 2.0 which passed unanimously in 2019. The 2.0 CAP, also called the Climate Action Playbook sets a vision for Sunnyvale to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050 (80x50). A significant contributor to Sunnyvale success has been the implementation of a food scraps recycling program which, after a rocky launch, has proven to be a tremendous success, reducing Sunnyvale’s solid waste going to landfill by 18%. The success of the Foodcycle program led to a 2019 reduction in the garbage bill residents pay, and garbage collection rates will stay flat in 2020.
  • Launch Silicon Valley Clean Energy

    Results: Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) successfully launched in April 2017. Today, SCVE provides residents and businesses in Sunnyvale and twelve other communities in Santa Clara County with renewable and carbon-free electricity at competitive rates.

Compassion for Community

  • Support Sunnyvale Community Services
  • Protect mobile home park residents
  • Support minimum wage
  • Fight wage theft, human trafficking
Click here to see results

Compassion for Community

  • Support Sunnyvale Community Services

    Results: Sunnyvale Community Services (SCS) is an incredible partner in the City of Sunnyvale and their mission is Preventing Homelessness and Hunger in Our Local Community. I have supported various funding grants to SCS during my time on Council, including an emergency grant of $250,000 earlier this year at the onset of the COVID-19 emergency. Last year, I supported the City purchasing the SCS facility at 925 Kifer Road at a market-rate price of $5.8 million and then renting the building back to them on a one-year / $1 lease as they transition to a larger facility. To facilitate the property purchase, I also supported the forgiveness of a $400,000 loan SCS had with Sunnyvale on their Kifer property.
  • Protect mobile home park residents

    Results: In December 2019, I supported the early adoption in Sunnyvale of new California rent-control measures. At the onset of the COVID-19 emergency, I supported an eviction moratorium ordinance in Sunnyvale that specifically protected mobile home park residents even while a similar ordinance by the County did not.
  • Support minimum wage

    Results: In 2018, over the course of several meetings, City Council debated whether to cancel a scheduled increase in Sunnyvale’s Minimum Wage. I fought against this, engaging with many local residents and advocacy groups, including the South Bay Labor Council, Working Partnerships USA, the Sunnyvale Democratic Club and the Sunnyvale Employees Association, to ensure Council heard our voices – Protect Sunnyvale’s Minimum Wage! At the end, the Council decided on a 6-1 vote to not cancel the scheduled increase, and today Sunnyvale’s Minimum Wage stands at $16.05 per hour, which by some media accounts is the highest in the nation.
  • Fight wage theft, human trafficking

    Results:I supported the creation of an anti-Wage Theft ordinance in Sunnyvale, which was passed in April 2018.
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