Karen and her husband, Paul, moved their family to Brentwood (from San Jose) back in 1995 for affordable housing; at that point the population was 10,000. From the get-go Karen became active in the community, serving as chairman and president over various boards, commissions and foundations. She has had the opportunity to contribute to policy, review budgets and serve as the voice of those boards (see below & check out "Rarey - In the News").
Due to her commitment to serving the community, Karen was recognized in 2012 as Brentwood's Citizen of the Year.
Karen also served as a neighborhood activist – her actions resulted in $7,000,000 in repairs by a housing developer and two new parks being erected within the 242-home housing development where she lived with her family. Her actions also resulted in new building standards throughout the city.
Even before becoming a Council Member in 2016, Karen was already working to make the city of Brentwood a better place to live - she continues to work for the city she loves to truly make it Better in Brentwood!
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM: Utilize the Economic Development Incentive Program we recently created to attract beneficial projects to the City that will provide high-quality employment, generate revenue and serve as a catalyst to attract other complementary development and fulfill community goals.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY ACTION PLAN: To drive economic growth and directly address the jobs/housing imbalance in the City, we need to implement our Economic Development Strategy Action Plan. The plan calls for cultivating existing businesses, attracting new business development (specifically bio-tech, high-tech industries, advanced manufacturing, R&D, clean technologies, healthcare and food processing) and promoting Brentwood as an Agritourism destination city.
NORTHERN WATERFRONT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE: We need to work with our neighboring cities to attract businesses to our region. We need to revive the Economic Development MOU between all the East County cities and County, which stalled last year. For all our cities and towns to be successful, we need to market East County as a region – an Opportunity Corridor
COVID-19 RECOVERY: Work with existing businesses to identify their needs, conduct workshops for small-business resources, and help them recover and grow.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CITIZEN ADVISORY COMMISSION: Assemble a group of citizens, who can market Brentwood to the various types of business we are trying to attract to our city (see business types above under ED Strategy Action Plan).
AGRI-TOURISM: Preserve our precious agricultural land, by continuing to work with the County to allow Bed & Breakfast Farmhouses, Farm Stays and Farm-to-Fork cafes on farms to help them be sustainable. Work with local restauranteurs to create a Brentwood Grown Farm-to-Fork restaurant community. Continue to fund marketing of the various farm seasons, farm-to-fork events, and create a wine trolley pilot program through the use of Ag Mitigation grant funds.
POLICE: Support our police department and create updated policies through constructive dialogue and engagement. Work towards instituting a fifth police beat in Brentwood (Brentwood has been at 4 beats since the population was 38,000, it is now over 64,000).
GENERAL PLAN: I will continue to work towards the goals set in our General Plan, and will advocate for smart responsible growth. I will also continue to fight to retain local control over Brentwood land-use grabs by state legislators and other agencies.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Since getting on the Council, I have fought for affordable housing (not Section 8) in our city. We recently updated our inclusionary affordable housing ordinance requiring builders to provide 10% of their total units in affordable housing this year, and next year that number increases to 13% of total units.
Karen's 2020 Vision and Beyond is Clear
FIRE AND MEDICAL SERVICES: Continue to work with East Contra Costa Fire Protection District to identify funding for the current fire protection deficit. ECCFPD now has a seat at the table - All "NEW" development will have one-time Fire Development Impact Fees, which will build 3 new fire stations, as well as annual Fire-specific Community Facility District assessments which will pay for staffing fire personnel at those 3 stations.
Karen has over two decades of service in Brentwood
CITY OF BRENTWOOD
COUNCIL MEMBER - CITY OF BRENTWOOD (2016-PRESENT)
CHAIRMAN - ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE (Initiated Enhanced Infrastructure Finance Districts to help pay for infrastructure without raising taxes)
CHAIRMAN - FIRE & MEDICAL SERVICES COMMITTEE (Initiated Fire Community Facility Districts and Fire Development Impact Fees discussion, which ensures future development pays 100% of its impact for both increased personnel and infrastructure costs for East Contra Costa Fire Protection District)
CHAIRMAN - AGRICULTURAL ENTERPRISE COMMITTEE (Initiated Farm to Fork Initiative and influenced County Ag Land Use zoning to increase agritourism in the Ag Core surrounding Brentwood)
CO-CHAIR - PA-1 WORKING GROUP (Employment Center Light Industrial : The rezoning, streamlining, and creating of shovel-ready land for high-quality, high-wage jobs on 430 acres in northwest Brentwood. Land that is currently undergoing $11.5M in city-sponsored road and utility infrastructure improvements to help entice companies to come to Brentwood.
CHAIRMAN - HOUSING POLICY COMMITTEE (Initiated Affordable Housing Update to ensure developers pay their fair share of State-imposed Affordable Housing mandates)
SCHOOL INTER-AGENCY COMMITTEE (Fire, Police, LUHSD, BUSD, LMC and City of Brentwood)
DIRECTOR (CITY LIAISON) - John Marsh Historic Trust (2022 - Present)
LEAGUE OF CALIFORNIA CITIES PUBLIC SAFETY POLICY COMMITTEE (2017/2018/2019/2020/2022)
LEAGUE OF CALIFORNIA CITIES COMMUNITY SERVICES POLICY COMMITTEE (2021)
LEAGUE OF CALIFORNIA CITIES DRONE TASK FORCE
CHAIR/MEMBER - CONTRA COSTA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY CITIZEN ADVISORY COMMITTEE (2000-2003) City of Brentwood Representative
Oversaw review of the Growth Management Program compliance checklists. GMP compliance is required by cities within Contra Costa County to receive their 18% share of Measure C’s local street maintenance and improvement funds.
FOUNDING COMMISSIONER/CHAIR - CITY OF BRENTWOOD PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION (1999–2002)
Helped to develop the newly formed commission’s mission statement and identify its primary objectives. Worked with staff, developers and architects to design new parks and open spaces within the city. Created the Master Plan, still in existence today, for parks, trails and open space. Assisted finance in establishing the city’s 5-year Capital Improvement Plan as it related to parks and open space. Oversaw the opening of the city's Aquatic Complex & Skate Park and design of Sunset Athletic Complex.
MEMBER - BRENTWOOD SKATE PARK TASK FORCE (1998–1999)
FOUNDING MEMBER - BRENTWOOD ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMITTEE (1996–1999)
Served as a liaison between the community and the city council. With substantial growth taking place in the city, the objective of the newly formed committee was to help resolve issues arising within neighborhoods before they became problematic to the city/neighborhood. Helped to develop the committee’s mission statement and objectives and took part in establishing the city’s ‘Home of the Month’ program and annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
DIRECTOR - JOHN MARSH HISTORIC TRUST (2011–2013 / 2017-2021 / CITY LIAISON 2022-PRESENT)
PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR - LIBERTY UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION (2008–2015)
ACCOUNTING CHAIRMAN - BRENTWOOD RELAY FOR LIFE (2009/2010/2011/2012)
PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR/CHARTER MEMBER - KIWANIS CLUB OF BRENTWOOD (2000-2008) President (2002/2007)
CO-FOUNDER/CO-ORGANIZER - NWF GREAT AMERICAN BACKYARD CAMPOUT OF DISCOVERY BAY (2011/2012/2013/2014)
CHAIRMAN - HIGHWAY 4 BYPASS GRAND OPENING AND CRAFT & SAFETY FAIR (2002)
ORGANIZER - KIWANIS CRAFT & SAFETY FAIR (2003/2004)
DECOR ORGANIZER - BRENTWOOD POLICE OFFICER'S BALL (2001)
ORGANIZER - BRENTWOOD POLICE ACTIVITIES LEAGUE FUNDRAISER - $35,000 raised (2001)
ORGANIZER - GLORY PARK GRAND OPENING (1998)
Outstanding LUHSD ED Foundation President & Director - Liberty Union High School District (2015)
Brentwood Citizen of the Year (2012)
Liberty Union High School District Volunteer of the Quarter (2010)
Distinguished Kiwanis Club President (2007)
National Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest (2006) – Best Family Life/Living Section
National Newspaper Association Better Advertising Contest (2006) – Best Multiple Advertiser Section
Kiwanis Distinguished Service Award (2004)
City of Brentwood Park and Recreation Commission Distinguished and Devoted Service (2001)
NEWS CORRESPONDENT - EAST BAY TIMES (2008–2016)
OUTREACH SPECIALIST/PUBLIC RELATIONS - RECREATION EQUIPMENT INC., BRENTWOOD (2009–2013)
ASSOCIATE EDITOR/PRINT EDITOR - BRENTWOOD PRESS & PUBLISHING CORP. (2001–2007)