San Jose Councilmember Pam Foley has spent the last three years prioritizing solutions for public safety, housing and homelessness. As she runs unopposed for the District 9 City Council seat, she hopes to build on that momentum, while also focusing on fighting blight and improving accessibility for the disabled and seniors.
“These are critical issues that take time to resolve,” Foley told San José Spotlight. “So I commit my time and energy to work on these and other important issues as they arise.”
Foley was first elected in 2018, defeating three other candidates to replace termed-out Councilmember Don Rocha. She served on the board for the San Jose Unified School District from 2004-2017, completing her third term as board president. She owns a mortgage company with her husband, called Foley Mortgage, and is an active member of the Rotary Club of San Jose, YMCA and the St. Francis Episcopal Church.
She says she’s running for reelection because her work isn’t done.
Foley represents roughly 98,000 residents in neighborhoods in the southwest corner of San Jose, bordering Campbell and Los Gatos and located between Willow Glen and Almaden Valley. She has raised about $55,000 for her reelection, campaign filings show.
Championing public safety, homelessness
Foley chairs the city’s Community & Economic Development Committee, is vice-chair of the pedestrian safety-focused Vision Zero Task Force and sits on the Smart Cities & Service Improvements Committee and the Transportation & Environment Committee. The city neared record highs of traffic-related deaths in 2021 and this year is on track to surpass those numbers—with most fatalities happening on the city’s east side.
“One of my greatest accomplishments is that my office has been able to support and fund over $1 million in street safety improvements within District 9,” Foley said. “I took charge and worked alongside the Department of Transportation to create an innovative dashboard, piloted in District 9. This dashboard allows the city to track speeds and volumes in real-time on our streets to deploy traffic calming resources more efficiently.”
During her first term, Foley developed a camera rebate program for residents who installed home security cameras. She has also voted on several occasions to expand the number of officers in the San Jose Police Department and increase funding for programs like Hire Ahead. SJPD has struggled in recent years with staffing and resources—losing nearly 600 officers after the 2008 recession due budget cuts, layoffs and a bitter battle over pension reform.
The councilmember also advocated for development of affordable housing in District 9 which will provide 900 new residences. Foley took the lead in creating the ADU Ally program, which assists homeowners who want to build a backyard home. She has championed the city’s ban on flavored tobacco. Most recently she hosted the inaugural Music in the Valley Festival, allowing hundreds of students to perform together in person for the first time, with the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
Although Councilmember Sergio Jimenez didn’t endorse Foley during her first election, he was happy to endorse her this time. He points to her strengths on the council in working to preserve Coyote Valley. Last year, the City Council voted to preserve 314 acres of green space—rezoning it from industrial use to agricultural and open space use.
“I have come to know her as a very honest, very straightforward, direct person who is great to work with,” Jimenez said. “She is a smart, hardworking woman and councilmember who puts her constituents first, but is always willing to listen to other perspectives and put the good of the broader city community ahead.”
Rocha, who held the District 9 seat before Foley, also pointed to her interest in meeting with different stakeholders and being present in the community.
“As a councilmember the first and foremost important aspect is to be a part of the community, to truly be a part of it and be present,” Rocha told San José Spotlight. “Foley does and has made great efforts to be visible in the community, even in the face of the pandemic shutdown, which made her job even more difficult.”
Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.