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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
County

San Joaquin CountyCandidate for Supervisor, District 2

Photo of Kathy Miller

Kathy Miller

San Joaquin County Supervisor
10,441 votes (61.49%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Maintain fiscal accountability and structurally balanced budgets.
  • Develop and implement effective strategies to address homelessness and crime.
  • Secure passage of a San Joaquin Children's Fund to provide support to our chidlren, youth and families through early childhood education, drug prevention, mentoring and job skills training.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Business Owner and Interior Designer
San Joaquin County Supervisor 2nd District, San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors — Elected position (2015–current)
Executive Director, Downtown Stockton Alliance (2004–2008)
Principal Designer, Bonniebrook Interiors (1997–2004)

Education

Bellevue Community College, Bellevue, Washington Three year Associate of Arts (A.A.), Interior Design (1993)

Community Activities

Board President, First Night Stockton (1997–2005)
Founder and Director, Federal Way Thursday Community Supper, a partnership of the Federal Way Community Caregiving Network and Calvary Lutheran Church (1993–1997)

Biography

My husband, Karl, and I were both raised in blue-collar, trade union families and have been employed since our teens.  Karl is the first in his family to attend college and earned his degree through classes at Idaho State during the day and driving a forklift in a potato warehouse by night.  I began working full-time the Monday after high school graduation and attended a community college as a mother of three, after working to put my husband through graduate school.

Our family moved to Stockton in 1997, and I re-established a small, interior design firm, specializing in home remodeling.  Karl managed the commercial banking division of a long standing, family-owned community bank.  Working closely with local businesses gave us a deep understanding of the history, the people and the strength of Stockton.    

In 2004, I became the Executive Director of the Downtown Stockton Alliance and for almost five years served as the face and voice for downtown revitalization.  Under my leadership significant partnerships and collaborations were developed, leading to double-digit reductions in downtown crime, investment in state-of-the-industry equipment and environmental Best Practices for downtown cleanliness and we produced many events, including a Farmer’s Market, Art Walk and Concerts in the Square.

I was elected to the Stockton City Council in 2008, serving as Vice Mayor 2009-2012.  I became one of the strongest voices for fiscal responsibility on the Council, taking the lead on financial oversight and accountability.  Because of my understanding of City finances, I was the only elected official to testify in Bankruptcy Court.  I served on the Regional Rail Commission and currently serve as Chair of the SJ Council of Governments. I have a deep commitment to education and literacy and served for years on the board of the Library & Literacy Foundation.

I also served as a point person for San Joaquin County and Stockton on water issues for the past nine years years and have advocated effectively for preserving regional water rights, stopping construction of the Twin Tunnels and restoring the San Joaquin Delta.  I am recognized as the most experienced official in San Joaquin County on water issues and have served as the Chair of the Groundwater Banking Authority, Delta Conservancy, San Joaquin Delta Coalition and the Flood Control Agency.

Because of my experience on the City Council, I convinced the Board that the Fiscal Health of the County should be a stated strategic priority and drive all budget decisions, guide labor negotiations and lead to a structurally balanced budget each year.  During my first term, this has been achieved while rebuilding reserves, funding delayed maintenance and capital improvement projects.  I also serve on several key oversight committees for the General Hospital, which has posted strong net income during my term. 

Responding to input from residents, I convened a county-wide Homelessness Task Force of service providers, law enforcement, the faith community and experts in the field to bring Best Practices from other communities, see where our gaps were, research new funding sources and develop partnerships and collaborations.  A new Administrator of Homeless Initiatives has been hired and more than $60 million secured to fund innovative programs to provide medical and mental health services, reduce over-utilization of our Emergency Rooms, address substance use, increase job skills training and develop housing where supportive services can be “wrapped around” individuals and families.

Children and Youth will always be a top priority for me.  I have focused my energies on providing character-building, quality activities for young people and support to their families, especially those struggling economically.  Pre-natal care, early family intervention to teach strong parenting skills and establish reading-friendly homes, opportunities for quality childcare and pre-school, tutoring and mentoring programs, job skills training and summer employment programs for youth are all cost-effective and deliver results.  For the past four years, I have worked with the San Joaquin Children’s Alliance, educational leaders, child care and family support providers from throughout our County to identify and grow sustainable funding for these critical services.

I will always fight for safe neighborhoods.  During my term, I have consistently voted to increase deputies AND prosecutors.  I strongly support the Probation Department’s progressive approach to reducing recidivism, a model for the State.  I was an early and vocal advocate for a thorough operational audit of the Coroner’s Office.  I strongly support our decision to move to a Medical Examiner’s Office to provide the highest quality service to our residents and to restore the public’s trust in our criminal justice system.

Achieving regional goals depends on respectful collaboration and honesty between partners.  I believe in open and transparent government, the need for elected officials to be accessible and the responsibility of government to provide services fairly and equitably to all residents.  I am a full-time Supervisor, delivering good value for taxpayer dollars.  I am the only Supervisor to have publicly posted my calendar.  For the past nine years, I have sometimes taken difficult or unpopular positions, always articulating why I felt my votes were necessary for the good of the whole community.  I work hard to educate myself and understand the issues, cast my votes publicly and then clearly explain my position to my constituents.  I have distributed communication videos to the Public for many years on key issues.

I am a graduate of the Great Valley Center Leadership Institute, Leadership Stockton and California State University San Bernardino Downtown Association Professional Certificate Program.  I hold a three-year A.A. in Interior Design and am a recipient of the 2005 California Association of Leadership Programs Distinguished Leader Award and 2004 Leadership Stockton Outstanding Alumni Award for Community Service.

I believe I have already succeeded at the most important job I will ever have…raising three children into strong and compassionate members of their own communities.  My three (and soon to be four) grandchildren are the joy and great delight of my life.  The decision I made to marry husband Karl, more than 40 years ago, still remains my best.

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (5)

  • San Joaquin County Stonewall Democratic Club
  • San Joaquin County Probation Officers' Association
  • Central Valley Labor Council
  • San Joaquin County Democratic Party
  • Truman Club of San Joaquin County

Elected Officials (13)

  • Congressman Jerry McNerney
  • Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal
  • Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum
  • Lodi Councilmember Doug Kuehne
  • Tracy Councilmember Nancy Young
  • Tracy Councilmember Rhodesia Ransom
  • Stockton Councilmember Jesus Andrade
  • Stockton Councilmember Susan Lofthus
  • Stockton Councilmember Susan Lenz
  • Stockton Vice Mayor Elbert Holman
  • Stockton Mayor Michael D. Tubbs
  • CA Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman
  • CA State Senator Cathleen Galgiani

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

San Joaquin County Priorities

Summary

Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability; Homelessness; Children and Youth; Public Safety and Water

San Joaquin County weathered the Great Recession better than many local governments because of sound fiscal policies, adequate reserves and a commitment to increasing efficiencies to preserve services.  However, to prepare for the inevitable rainy day, reserves must be restored, delayed maintenance accomplished and smart investments made to maintain the ability to deliver top-quality services to our residents.

When I became Chair of the Board in 2015, the prevailing attitude of the Supervisors was that a commitment to fiscal responsibility “goes without saying”.  As the County’s Budget Watchdog, I convinced the Board that the Fiscal Health of the County organization must be stated as the organization’s #1 Strategic Priority.  Addressing this priority must drive every department’s budget requests, guide all labor negotiations and support the Board’s efforts to maintain a structurally balanced budget.  For the past three years we have done that, while meeting our reserve goals and carefully moving forward with capital projects.  The County Hospital is posting strong net income, which is being re-invested in 21st century technology and equipment, as well as replacement of the 1932 hospital tower.  These improvements will provide a much higher level of care to our residents, enable our hospital to continue in its critical role as our County Trauma Center and ensure the long-term viability of this essential community resource.  We must continue to closely monitor any changes to the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), which has been a key element to the hospital’s turn-around.  Thousands of newly insured individuals have meant increased reimbursement to SJ General Hospital for treatment and any roll-back or reductions in the ACA could have serious repercussions to the hospital and our residents.

In 2014, as I walked precincts across District 2, the number one issue was Homelessness and its impacts on our quality of life.  Residents were alarmed by the trash and waste in their neighborhoods.  The encampments, visible throughout Stockton, left them feeling disturbed and there was a sense that the problem was growing and “out of control”.  In 2015, I began convening a Homelessness Task Force (HTF) of service providers, law enforcement and subject matter experts from throughout San Joaquin County to develop an accurate picture of the problem, what was currently being done to address it and what would be the most effective strategies to make a positive impact, going forward.  We made a commitment that our recommendations would be fact-based and data-driven and would consider any possible funding sources to pay for them.

We learned that there were many dedicated and expert organizations providing essential services to homeless individuals in our County, and working hard to address negative impacts to their communities.  But we also learned that many of these excellent organizations and individuals were working in “silos”, without knowledge of what others were doing, if they were duplicating efforts or, even worse, if their efforts were hampering the work of others.  It became quickly apparent that one of the primary benefits of the HTF was the monthly sharing of information and opportunities for partnering with others.

Some of the HTF’s recommendations concerned policies, such as maximizing federal dollars by adopting a Housing First model throughout our County.  This model is based on data which shows that by providing stable housing to homeless individuals before requiring completion of counseling, health assessment or other programs, there was a significantly higher success rate and less likelihood of these individuals returning to the streets.  Adoption of diversion strategies by law enforcement agencies, rather than just enforcement, has shown strong results in some of our communities.  Uniform discharge policies from all medical facilities to prevent vulnerable individuals from returning to the streets provides another opportunity for successful interventions.

Partnerships formed through the HTF have led to expansion of grant applications with a focus on homelessness, resulting in awards of new funding of more than $60 million.  These innovative programs are just now enrolling individuals who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and will be strictly measured to gauge their effectiveness in reducing overutilization of our Emergency Rooms, providing medically supervised detoxification and sobering centers, more accessibility to mental health assessment and treatment, and more types of housing with wrap-around supportive services to reduce the number of homeless individuals on the streets.

To ensure that these efforts are sustained, the HTF recommended that it be incorporated into an expanded, county-wide Continuum of Care with an Administrator of Homeless Initiatives to support the development and implementation of a Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness in San Joaquin County.  I am so pleased that Adam Cheshire, former Director of Stockton Shelter for the Homeless, has accepted the position and will begin in April.  Adam brings a big heart, along with specific knowledge of our local issues to this position and I’m confident he will be able to hit the ground running.

For the past 18 months, I have made a series of short, communication videos to keep the Public, but especially my District 2 residents, informed of these efforts.  I’m proud of the work we’ve done, partnerships developed, funding secured and, most importantly, fostering the belief that we’re stronger together and that we CAN make a difference.  When I talk about this amazing group of individuals and organizations and the challenging work many of them have been doing for decades, I say “We do collaboration really well in San Joaquin County and it’s making a difference.”

In San Joaquin County, about 1 in 4 children live in poverty.  The results of this statistic are lower health and literacy rates, lower performing schools, higher truancy and drop-out rates, lack of job skills, higher under or unemployment rates, and the cycle begins again.

Our families, children and youth need our help.  Not just for their success, but for our region’s economic success.  Companies providing higher-wage jobs are reluctant to relocate to our County for several reasons, but one of them is because of under-performing school districts and the lack of a skilled workforce. 

We know that pre-natal care, early family intervention to teach strong parenting skills and establish reading-friendly homes, opportunities for quality childcare and pre-school, tutoring and mentoring programs, job skills training and summer employment programs for youth are all cost-effective and deliver results.  However, funding for these proven strategies continues to shrink.

For the past four years I have worked with the San Joaquin Children’s Alliance, educational leaders, child care and family support providers to identify and develop new and sustainable funding streams for these critical services.  In November, the voters of San Joaquin County will have the opportunity to create the first San Joaquin Children’s Fund, by dedicating 50% of the taxes on the commercial cannabis industry legalized by California voters with Prop. 64.  This will ensure that an industry with known negative impacts on children pays its fair share to address those impacts, much as we have done with tobacco.  The remaining 50% of the taxes will be dedicated to enforcing strong industry regulations and addressing Public Health issues.

Regardless of how you feel and voted on the legalization of marijuana, the fact remains that it IS legal in California and as of January 2018 every adult has the right to grow up to six plants for personal use.  There is no way to effectively enforce a continued ban on cannabis in San Joaquin County without a huge and growing drain on our General Fund, resulting in a significant reduction in services to all residents.  This newly legalized industry must be made to pay its fair share to keep our neighborhoods safe and our children healthy. 

I am proud that for the past three years we have passed a structurally balanced County budget, while supporting our Criminal Justice system through increased numbers of deputies AND prosecutors.  The County’s Pretrial Assessment program is a model for the state and has successfully prevented early releases from our jail, due to overcrowding.  Our Probation Department’s innovative oversight of AB 109/Realignment has resulted in reduced recidivism through funding a variety of counseling, behavior modification, job skills and educational programs through partnerships with community-based organizations. 

Through operation of the jail, San Joaquin County Correctional Services and the Sheriff’s Department interact and provide services to law enforcement agencies in all our cities.  Mutually respectful and professional relationships are crucial to making this system work effectively.  I strongly support the County’s practice of regular informational meetings with all agencies to share issues and foster this teamwork approach to serving the Public.

I was an early and vocal proponent of a top-to-bottom audit of the Coroner's Office and it's operations.  There is always room for improvements and efficiencies and this thorough review by an independent, outside consultant produced excellent strategies for better delivery of services.  I strongly support our decision to move to an independent Medical Examiner to provide top-quality services to our residents and restore their confidence in our criminal justice system.

Protecting our water supply and providing effective flood control are critical to business, industry, agriculture and residents.  I have been involved in local, regional and statewide water issues for the past eight years and am recognized as a knowledgeable leader in this area.  I spearheaded the effort to expand the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency (SJAFCA) to include the cities of Lathrop and Manteca, which will provide increased flood protection to critical infrastructure and more than 46,000 residents.  I have served County residents as a member of the Delta Counties Coalition, fighting against the Twin Tunnels and advocating for a portfolio of regional projects which would increase our state’s water supply, as well as provide local jobs AND local control of project operations.  Restoring, protecting and preserving our precious Delta guides my chairmanship of the San Joaquin Delta Conservancy.  Responsible for administering millions of dollars in Prop. 1 Water Bond funding, this agency is supporting environmental restoration, the sustainability of agriculture and protection of the Delta as a unique and historic place.  Agriculture is our largest economic engine in San Joaquin County and we must support and protect it.  We worked closely with the Farm Bureau, and the wine industry to fine-tune the winery ordinance, passing revisions in 2016 and 2017 in an effort to be responsive to all interests.  I strongly support continuing the County’s policies to concentrate development in existing urban areas to prevent excessive conversion of agricultural land.

Videos (3)

Budget Watchdog — April 24, 2018 3AM Communications

Kathy discusses her position as a Budget Watchdog for San Joaquin County.

Meet Kathy Miller — April 24, 2018 3AM Communications

Kathy and her husband, Karl, discuss their backgrounds and history together.

Ready To Work — April 24, 2018 3AM Communications

Kathy discusses an exciting new program in San Joaquin County.

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