Los Gatos Weekly Times

Councilmem­ber Lawler vying for Assembly seat

- By Hannah Kanik hkanik@ bayareanew­sgroup.com

Liz Lawler announced she is running for the District 28 state Assembly seat in the 2022 election.

Lawler, who currently serves on the Monte Sereno City Council, said she wants to bolster public safety, bring local control to housing developmen­t and increase mental health and educationa­l resources for students.

“I'm running wanting to restore common sense, accountabi­lity and cooperatio­n in Sacramento. Those are my three main points,” Lawler said.

Incumbent Mark Stone announced earlier this year he would not be seeking reelection after redistrict­ing grouped Santa Cruz with the West Valley and Morgan Hill. Other candidates like Los Gatos Mayor Rob Rennie decided to run for the seat after hearing the news.

Lawler started her political journey back in 2012, when she moved to Monte Sereno from Southern California.

“I like to say I got into politics because of potholes,” Lawler said. “Our street had a lot of potholes when we first moved in, and our neighbors… collective­ly lobbied the city to do something about it.”

In response, the city council created the Better Streets Commission and appointed Lawler and others to create a program to repave all the streets Monte Sereno. From there, she worked her way to city

council, served as mayor in 2020.

Improving public safety is one of Lawler's main concerns. She said in light of recent police reform bills, like Propositio­ns 47 and 57 and AB 109, safety in her community has suffered.

“These recent reforms have led to a rise in crime and created a sense of lawlessnes­s, and so doing, they've put the lives and livelihood of residents at risk,” Lawler said. “It's really important that our officers, our law enforcemen­t, have the tools and resources they need to effectivel­y and thoughtful­ly enforce the law.”

Prop 47 reclassifi­ed some felony drug and theft charges to misdemeano­rs, and allowed both those currently serving or who previously served felony sentences to petition for their charges to be changed to misdemeano­rs. Prop 57 allowed parole considerat­ion for those convicted of nonviolent felonies, and AB 109 which shifted nonviolent offenders to local county jails to relieve overcrowdi­ng in state prisons.

Lawler is also pushing to bring back local control of land use.

“We need to build more affordable housing; we need more housing,” Lawler said. “Unfortunat­ely, how it's being done right now is that what we're building ends up being market rate, so it's not helping the very people that need it the most.”

Jurisdicti­ons across the state are currently drafting their Housing Elements to address future housing developmen­t and affordable housing quotas. Housing Elements, which are updated every eight years, require each city to plan for a certain number of new housing units.

Monte Sereno, which has a population of 3,400, is tasked with building 193 homes over the next eight years.

“California for years has had housing policies that have consistent­ly failed to yield desired results,” Lawler said. “So instead of fixing those policies and addressing why those aren't working, Sacramento has decided to punish cities by stripping them of local control and thereby stripping residents of a voice in how their communitie­s are developed.”

Lawler said she also supports the School Choice initiative, which allows public education funds to follow students to schools that best fit their needs rather than automatica­lly going to the schools in their local district. She also supports increasing youth mental health reforms.

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