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Webster Lincoln: East Palo Alto's homegrown data scientist

Webster Lincoln discusses city issues with the Palo Alto Weekly on Oct. 2. Video by Palo Alto Online.

Webster Lincoln, 33, has positioned himself as a homegrown data scientist who, if elected, will bring critical thinking and problem-solving skills and an understanding of the community's spirit, culture, history and challenges to his role on East Palo City Council.

"I'm new to politics, but I have strong and deep roots in this community," Lincoln stated in his campaign statement. "My goal as a council member is to improve quality of life, health, and housing security for all members of our community."

Born in Oakland, Webster was raised in East Palo Alto and attended Menlo-Atherton High School. He continued his education at San Jose State University, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in psychology, with a double minor in biological science and chemistry, and is pursuing a master's degree in biological science. He has had multiple bylines in biomedical journals during his career as a data scientist at various companies along the Peninsula, including his current role at Genentech.

"Regardless of the stigma that East Palo Alto had in the '90s ... there's success within the community," Lincoln said in a Facebook Live event he hosted on Oct. 4 on his campaign page. "I hope to inspire other people and make sure that East Palo Alto also remains a place, where regardless of your socioeconomic status or your skin color or where you live, there's always opportunities for people to make it."

Lincoln is seeking a seat on the council to ensure that East Palo Alto's future accommodates its residents — something he believes the council hasn't always kept in mind when making policy decisions, especially those that could lead to gentrification. He points to the time when the council set aside its long-standing first-source jobs rule of hiring to make way for Amazon in 2017.

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"There's a big divide in the community," Lincoln said. "Some people say (Amazon) is good for revenue, but other people say, 'No, it causes displacement.'"

Lincoln hopes to bridge that divide by seeking policies and developments that are representative of East Palo Alto's residents.

When it comes to housing, for example, Lincoln said the city needs to focus on developments that increase access to affordable and low-income housing.

According to his campaign website, he would focus on inclusionary zoning ordinances, increase multifamily housing zones and provide incentives for homeowners to build second units on their property.

Lincoln also believes that the needs to encourage mixed-use developments that can house residents as well as projects that can accommodate small businesses and startups.

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The city has already made efforts to ensure new commercial office space will benefit the community through Measure HH — the 2018 voter-approved parcel tax on larger office developments, which will fund housing and job training programs. Lincoln said the measure, however, is not enough.

"We need to focus on development that supports people and helps prevent displacement within our community," he said. "I want to move good development forward, but I don't want it to be at the cost of our residents and our diversity."

On top of affordable housing and equitable development, Lincoln is pushing for greener building standards.

By establishing a climate change task force, the city should start taking an emissions inventory to keep track of East Palo Alto's overall climate impact, he said. That data could then be integrated into all of the city's decision-making, including new developments.

Police reform is also a top priority in Lincoln's campaign.

"I think we need to take a step back and really look at what is policing," he said. "What's the need for policing? And what really should police be doing in our communities?

Lincoln said he believes the city should create a task force to evaluate how many arrests and traffic stops are the result of racial profiling and other bias. He hopes to significantly reduce negative interactions between the police and local residents, partly by redirecting traffic enforcement duties away from officers and handing them to unarmed civilians. (The Berkeley City Council approved a similar proposal in July.)

Lincoln also supports reallocating some of the city's police budget into a "Restorative Justice Fund." His campaign website states that the fund would provide down payment assistance for displaced residents looking to return to East Palo Alto; small business loans and grants; and support for science, technology, engineering and math education programs.

For traffic congestion, Lincoln acknowledges that it will likely require longer-term solutions that will extend beyond a four-year term on the council. Still, he hopes he can push support toward a southern connection to the Dumbarton Bridge that would link the Bayshore Freeway south of the Embarcadero Road and Oregon Expressway in Palo Alto. Another possible solution would be to extend public transit from the east bay, since most of the traffic isn't coming from East Palo Alto, Lincoln said.

"We really need people on the council who do their research, read the documents and are forward thinkers," Lincoln said. "Right now, we're in a place where we can negotiate how this development is occurring and moving forward. At the end of the day, I'm running for City Council to represent and align with the people."

Read profiles of the other six candidates:

Lisa Gauthier: Shaping an East Palo Alto for her family

Stewart Hyland: If there's a nonprofit, there's a way

Antonio Lopez: Uplifting the community, starting from the bottom

Juan Mendez: 'A new perspective'

Larry Moody: Embracing East Palo Alto as a Silicon Valley city

Carlos Romero: Longtime activist sees city's potential beyond COVID-19

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Webster Lincoln: East Palo Alto's homegrown data scientist

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Oct 12, 2020, 11:06 pm

Webster Lincoln, 33, has positioned himself as a homegrown data scientist who, if elected, will bring critical thinking and problem-solving skills and an understanding of the community's spirit, culture, history and challenges to his role on East Palo City Council.

"I'm new to politics, but I have strong and deep roots in this community," Lincoln stated in his campaign statement. "My goal as a council member is to improve quality of life, health, and housing security for all members of our community."

Born in Oakland, Webster was raised in East Palo Alto and attended Menlo-Atherton High School. He continued his education at San Jose State University, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in psychology, with a double minor in biological science and chemistry, and is pursuing a master's degree in biological science. He has had multiple bylines in biomedical journals during his career as a data scientist at various companies along the Peninsula, including his current role at Genentech.

"Regardless of the stigma that East Palo Alto had in the '90s ... there's success within the community," Lincoln said in a Facebook Live event he hosted on Oct. 4 on his campaign page. "I hope to inspire other people and make sure that East Palo Alto also remains a place, where regardless of your socioeconomic status or your skin color or where you live, there's always opportunities for people to make it."

Lincoln is seeking a seat on the council to ensure that East Palo Alto's future accommodates its residents — something he believes the council hasn't always kept in mind when making policy decisions, especially those that could lead to gentrification. He points to the time when the council set aside its long-standing first-source jobs rule of hiring to make way for Amazon in 2017.

"There's a big divide in the community," Lincoln said. "Some people say (Amazon) is good for revenue, but other people say, 'No, it causes displacement.'"

Lincoln hopes to bridge that divide by seeking policies and developments that are representative of East Palo Alto's residents.

When it comes to housing, for example, Lincoln said the city needs to focus on developments that increase access to affordable and low-income housing.

According to his campaign website, he would focus on inclusionary zoning ordinances, increase multifamily housing zones and provide incentives for homeowners to build second units on their property.

Lincoln also believes that the needs to encourage mixed-use developments that can house residents as well as projects that can accommodate small businesses and startups.

The city has already made efforts to ensure new commercial office space will benefit the community through Measure HH — the 2018 voter-approved parcel tax on larger office developments, which will fund housing and job training programs. Lincoln said the measure, however, is not enough.

"We need to focus on development that supports people and helps prevent displacement within our community," he said. "I want to move good development forward, but I don't want it to be at the cost of our residents and our diversity."

On top of affordable housing and equitable development, Lincoln is pushing for greener building standards.

By establishing a climate change task force, the city should start taking an emissions inventory to keep track of East Palo Alto's overall climate impact, he said. That data could then be integrated into all of the city's decision-making, including new developments.

Police reform is also a top priority in Lincoln's campaign.

"I think we need to take a step back and really look at what is policing," he said. "What's the need for policing? And what really should police be doing in our communities?

Lincoln said he believes the city should create a task force to evaluate how many arrests and traffic stops are the result of racial profiling and other bias. He hopes to significantly reduce negative interactions between the police and local residents, partly by redirecting traffic enforcement duties away from officers and handing them to unarmed civilians. (The Berkeley City Council approved a similar proposal in July.)

Lincoln also supports reallocating some of the city's police budget into a "Restorative Justice Fund." His campaign website states that the fund would provide down payment assistance for displaced residents looking to return to East Palo Alto; small business loans and grants; and support for science, technology, engineering and math education programs.

For traffic congestion, Lincoln acknowledges that it will likely require longer-term solutions that will extend beyond a four-year term on the council. Still, he hopes he can push support toward a southern connection to the Dumbarton Bridge that would link the Bayshore Freeway south of the Embarcadero Road and Oregon Expressway in Palo Alto. Another possible solution would be to extend public transit from the east bay, since most of the traffic isn't coming from East Palo Alto, Lincoln said.

"We really need people on the council who do their research, read the documents and are forward thinkers," Lincoln said. "Right now, we're in a place where we can negotiate how this development is occurring and moving forward. At the end of the day, I'm running for City Council to represent and align with the people."

Read profiles of the other six candidates:

Lisa Gauthier: Shaping an East Palo Alto for her family

Stewart Hyland: If there's a nonprofit, there's a way

Antonio Lopez: Uplifting the community, starting from the bottom

Juan Mendez: 'A new perspective'

Larry Moody: Embracing East Palo Alto as a Silicon Valley city

Carlos Romero: Longtime activist sees city's potential beyond COVID-19

Comments

Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Oct 14, 2020 at 5:02 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 14, 2020 at 5:02 pm
9 people like this

My household is not impressed enough by Mr. Lincoln, regretfully, to vote for him. His behavior doesn’t match his political ambitions:

He doesn’t seem to know how city government works, but he suddenly wants to be part of it.

Some of his social media interactions have been unprofessional, snide, shallow and misleading. This is a huge red flag.

Lincoln doesn’t have much community service on his resume, or the kind of service attitude that could make up for that.

He claims HH doesn’t go far enough, but has no concrete idea of what would. He didn’t work on HH or any of the other revenue-producing measures of recent years. We don’t think he knows what it takes to enact a local measure.

He uses his family relationships as community currency in lieu of a body of legitimate civic or activist accomplishments.

He can’t control that he’s related to people who’ve been part of contentious local agencies, but his public way of dealing with it has not been effective.

Wanting to reallocate some police budget will have a detrimental effect on crime victims, primarily women, as studies show. We have a historically underfunded and understaffed police department so we aren’t yet in a place to have the luxury to reallocate funds.

We applaud his desire to serve the community, his being able to speak to some immigration issues, how to successfully navigate Silicon Valley as a minority, and very importantly right now, his solid understanding of Covid-19. We hope that in a few years Webster Lincoln will be ready to serve our city.


We Are The People
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2020 at 3:54 am
We Are The People, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 3:54 am
12 people like this

I beg to differ with "Optimist Pessimist Realist" (OPR). There are many Households that are Impressed with Webster Lincoln quality of Service in East Palo Alto (EPA). The statements provided by "Optimist Pessimist Realist " are incorrect and whomever it is, is obviously campaigning for The Other Guy?

There are 3 Others that have much less community involvement and NO Community Service. "Optimist Pessimist Realists" fail to express this realism?

OPR's Remarks are made with the appearance out of concern. In fact comes across as being "snarky"? It is well known that The New people entering into East Palo Alto have a grudge with the Older Citizens? They have systematically woven Their way into all facets of EPA government. Making constant misleading accusations.

If you live in EPA, you know that Crime is Down. This is what Lincoln was addressing. Suggesting that some of the Police budget be placed in other areas. As this is being done in San Francisco and other Larger cities.

OPR & Others have gone as far as in attacking Lincoln's family members that have been working at jobs that are unrelated to ANY Council position? Or city business.
Accusing Mr. Lincoln of possible Nepotism that would never ever could occur. Job positions that would have nothing to do with The City Business. Naming them "contentious"? This is more like slander.

I too follow their "Social Media''. Its a shame that a minority can not defend themselves, after being falsely accused. And then are "labeled" quote "unprofessional, snide, shallow and misleading". Going further in Stating that “This is a huge red flag." When the Facts show that, Mr. Lincoln has been anything but "Gracious" even after accusing him in using his Wife that speaks fluent Spanish. This is what they are afraid of and are attacking. He’s a Man that has traveled the World.

The reality is that. When it has been them baiting him by attacking his Family that have lived in the community for decades.
This is where they are lacking. They accuse Lincoln to compensate where they have none.

They fail to state that all of Mr. Lincoln's family have College Degrees have been a positive force within EPA. That His Sister plays "Rugby" for The Navy. Very Admirable. They seem to be afraid of Lincoln's credentials.

Those that have known Mr. Lincoln will be Voting for him.


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2020 at 1:28 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 1:28 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


We Are The People
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2020 at 3:11 pm
We Are The People, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 3:11 pm
5 people like this

[Post removed.]


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2020 at 7:17 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 17, 2020 at 7:17 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2020 at 3:49 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2020 at 3:49 pm
Like this comment

Now that we see Webster Lincoln’s sympathies toward the badly run Sanitary District we‘re glad we’re not voting for him! He had to be warned by city staff to stop pushing his campaign into council meetings.

After watching Regina Wallace Jones [portion removed] in the EPA council meeting the other night, it’s important to have a council who can competently deal with difficult special districts like the Sanitary District.

Practical advice to Wallace Jones: stop blaming staff for your mistakes. [Portion removed.] Your being mayor isn’t an elected position, it’s mostly administrative. It wasn’t the first time it was obvious that you didn’t read your info. If you can’t handle your job, family and council duties, then resign from council. It was clear that you’re not managing well at all.


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