Carol Hoffman, 57, a program manager at a high tech company, is up against Sergio Lopez for Campbell City Council’s newly created District 2 seat in 2020. Hoffman touts her experience as a community organizer from her tenures as the vice chair for the town’s Civic Improvement Commission and founder of the Campbell Police Foundation, a nonprofit that fundraises for Campbell Police Department.
Hoffman says she never intended to be a politician, but with an open seat for Campbell’s District 2, which was formed after the town’s recent transition to district elections, she jumped at the chance to support the community that she has called home for the past 30 years. “I am the antithesis of a politician,” she says. “Being a politician is not the point at all. I want to be there to support the city that I absolutely adore.”
Ensuring public safety is Hoffman’s priority, she promises. Through the Campbell Police Foundation, she fundraised for the police department to purchase GPS devices for bait packages to arrest so-called porch pirates—that is, thieves who steal packages from residents’ doorsteps. As package theft has become a growing problem in Bay Area cities, Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) has introduced SB 1210 to increase the penalty for package theft from a misdemeanor to a felony.
And as housing costs continue to rise in the Bay Area, Hoffman wants to ease restrictions on accessory dwelling units (known as ADUs) to increase housing options for residents.
“I was a renter too,” Hoffman says. “To buy a house was not easy. I have a mother and a daughter who renters living in the area.”
An ADU, or granny flat, is a small living unit on the property of a single-family home. Housing advocates see ADUs as a way to increase housing supply and provide more affordable housing options, especially for elderlies and young adults.
There has been ongoing discussions in Campbell council to remove the 10,000 square-foot minimum requirement to build an ADU.
“I have a personal interest in making sure that people have options,” Hoffman says. “So many people are trying to find the best way to have some land. They have family members who may need a caretaker, maybe a place for their children.”
Campbell isn’t the only city looking to ease restrictions on constructing ADUs. In June, San Jose passed a series of changes to permit granny flats to be built on high-density residential developments. Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) and co-author state Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) have introduced AB 670 to reduce restrictions on ADU construction.
Hoffman has yet to receive any endorsements, while Lopez has garnered support from local council members and former Assembly members. But Hoffman, the 2018 Campbell Citizen of the Year, will no doubt give the young Lopez a run for his money.