Indian American Software Engineer Makes Bid for Campbell City Council Seat, Campaigning on Platform of Curbing Rampant Development
Indian American software engineer Daraius Sorabji, a newcomer to politics, is making a bid for one of three seats on the Campbell, Calif., city council, campaigning on a platform of curbing rampant development.
Campbell sits on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Silicon Valley, which has witnessed a population explosion over the past decade. Scaffolding and construction sites dot the landscape of the region once known for its fruit orchards and canneries. Campbell has grown from a population of 11,000 in the 1960s to about 42,000 currently, and has added 300 to 500 new residents each year since 2010, according to census data.
Article by Sunita Sohrabji | India West
High-density units are being built at a rapid pace in Campbell, with limited oversight from the current city council, Sorabji – a Parsi, who is not related to this reporter – told India-West. “I want to make sure that developers are not riding rough-shod over residents,” he said.
In June, Google revealed its plans for a transit village in downtown San Jose which would link local neighborhoods. Sorabji noted there is an opportunity for developers to create high-density housing all along the light rail corridor from San Jose to Campbell, but said it must be done responsibly.
New structures do not take into account the diversity of the community, which increasingly has multi-generational households under one roof, he said. Most high-density units have space for one and a third cars, which is not feasible for families, said Sorabji, noting that both husband and wife need cars to commute, and – as adult children increasingly begin to live with their parents because of the region’s lack of affordable housing options – space for at least three cars are needed per household.
Moreover, high-density units are being built without requisite infrastructure support,” said the candidate. “We’re seeing first-hand how rampant development is affecting our quality of life. We can’t do it without building infrastructure,” he told India-West, noting that an increased number of cars on the town’s small roads have turned 20-minute commutes into hour-long endeavors.
The expansion of public transportation is a must, said the candidate, noting his support for extending Santa Clara County’s light rail system further into Campbell. He also supports express buses along the Highway 85 median, reducing congestion on the town’s roadways.
Sorabji alleged that his four competitors for the three available city council seats were beholden to developers, who are funding their campaigns.
“Candidates are accepting campaign donations from businesses, developers, water and garbage companies, all of whom will come before the City Council at some point with issues.”
“I’m not trying to be the wrecking ball; I want to be a voice for the residents of this community who are not being heard,” he told India-West.
Sorabji is self-funding his first bid for office, and has pledged to take no campaign contributions. Unlike his opponents, who – he said – are using the city council seat to begin their political careers, Sorabji has no aspirations for higher office. “I hope I win a first term, maybe a second one, then term limits will kick me out. But I hope I will have made a difference for the people of Campbell.”
The Mercury News noted that the candidate is running a green campaign, eschewing flyers for wasting paper and resources and using recyclable yard signs.
The New Delhi native has lived in Campbell since 1994, and currently lives there in a multi-generational household with his wife Lori, his dad Rusi, and his two grown sons Shiraz and Bijan. Sorabji credits his dad Rusi as being one of his most active campaign volunteers, finding new sites for yard signs at Indian restaurants and corner shops, which are largely owned by Indian Americans.
Sorabji is the founder of AhuraSoft, which creates software for medical device companies. One of his clients, Neuropace, has created an implantable stimulator to treat epilepsy.
The candidate noted his long career of community service, which includes serving as the Scout Master for his children’s Boy Scout troops. As he campaigns around town, Sorabji said people often recognize him because of his community service work.
As he knocked on doors Oct. 18, Sorabji said he encountered a Parsi gentleman from Mumbai who had seen his signs. The man told Sorabji: “I was just talking to my brother and told him there are so few Parsis left in the world and one of them is running for my city council.”
Election Day is Nov. 6. Registered voters in California can vote early via mail-in ballots.