Council incumbents battle newcomers in Chamber debate

Three City Council incumbents defended their records against three challengers in a debate hosted by the Chamber of Commerce Monday night The candidates tackled the topics of medical marijuana, the city's golf course problems and the city budget.

But first came the introductions, most notably from the newcomers. After noting that Google pays $90 million in property taxes a year, Google sales account manager Aaron Jabbari said, "If you trust a new idea, or a new candidate, big things can happen."

Longtime resident Greg David said, "I have always enjoyed the quality of life in Mountain View," adding, "The council is out of touch with the common resident."

Google software engineer Dan Waylonis called himself a "sociable nerd who does have friends," and mentioned his desire for what he later called "a more searchable and transparent" city government.

Budget concerns

In his closing remarks, Waylonis drew ire from incumbents by saying that they "kicked the can down the road" when approving this year's city budget.

"The budget is balanced this year, but what about next year?" Waylonis asked. "Our employees are expensive. The costs are unsustainable. The city has the highest (cost for) health care benefits of any city in the area."

"We did not kick the can down the road," said Mayor Ronit Bryant. "Next year we will not face the same problems."

She pointed to the elimination of the city's human resources department head position last year, with the duties given to an assistant city manager. "A high level department head position is gone," she said.

Margaret Abe-Koga also responded to Waylonis, saying, "The city does not offer the highest (cost for) health care we are middle of the road."

She added that the city's budget situation was "stable."

"I think we've made hard decisions and we will continue to make them," she said.

More tension between the incumbents and newcomers became apparent when incumbent Jac Siegel also fired at Jabbari for his inexperience in his closing remarks. Siegel took Jabbari to task for his apparently false impression that Siegel opposed outsourcing golf course operations because it would mean paying workers minimum wage. Siegel had said only that he opposed using a contractor that would pay course workers minimum wage, but did not say he opposed using a contractor to run the course.

"If you had more experience, you would know there are ways to do that," Siegel told Jabbari.

Public employee salaries have largely taken the blame for the Shoreline Golf Links' $800,000 budget deficit during the recession, along with goose and duck poop making the course unattractive.

"The city should not be in the golf course business," said David, who kept his answers short and simple. Waylonis also pointed to high salaries and said the city should consider selling the land, which Siegel staunchly opposed.

Positions differed on medical marijuana

Jabbari came out as the staunchest opponent to medical marijuana dispensaries. The council will consider a draft medical marijuana ordinance next year.

"Let's not put a pot club in our city," Jabbari said.

When asked how he would bring safe access to medical marijuana for the sick and suffering in Mountain View, Jabbari said, "Put it inside CVS (pharmacy) -- no other options. Like any other relatively dangerous drug, it should be bought at a pharmacy."

No other candidate opposed having a medical marijuana dispensary in the city, although the incumbents cited numerous potential problems with dispensaries, including what police Chief Scott Vermeer called "a potential for violence," as Bryant put it. The two Libertarian candidates, David and Waylonis, both support marijuana dispensaries with no real caveats.

Other topics discussed during the two-hour debate televised on KMVT included whether to be "cooperative" with the California High Speed Rail Authority (yes, said all the candidates), how to encourage new business in Mountain View and how to respond to a disaster like the recent gas line explosion and fire in San Bruno.

Upcoming council candidate debates

Organizers: Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association

When: Monday Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.

Where: Landels School, 115 West Dana St.

Organizers: Cable access television KMVT

When: Oct. 13 7:30 p.m.

Where: Broadcast live on channel 15

Organizers: League of Women Voters

When: Thursday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.

Where: Mountain View City Council chambers, 500 Castro St.

Organizers: Monta Loma Neighborhood Association

When: Saturday, Oct. 23 from 9:30-11:30a.m.

Where: Monta Loma School, 460 Thompson Ave.

Organizers: Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association

When: Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.

Where: Saint Timothy's church at the corner of Grant and Cuesta streets.


Like this comment
Posted by Cuesta Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 30, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Waylonis wants to sell a large part of Shoreline Park? That's crazy!

Like this comment
Posted by Non Golfer
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 30, 2010 at 3:59 pm

I think that the city couldn't sell the golf course even if they wanted to. At least not without county permission since they used some county money to develop the park initially.

Like this comment
Posted by BBernie
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 30, 2010 at 5:22 pm

The CPNA debate is 10/21 at 6:30 (refreshments) 7 (meeting)

Like this comment
Posted by Neil Jensen
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 30, 2010 at 6:50 pm

When Police Chief Scott Vermeer says a medical marijuana dispensary is "a potential for violence," as Mayor Bryant quoted him, reveals that both them simply don't know the score. Contrary to the plot-line of the infamous movie REEFER MADNESS, which they apparently have watched too many times, the wicked weed does not incite its users to violence, certainly not in the way that alcohol does, for example.
This single observation causes me to wonder about the competence of either of them to make important decisions about the policies that the City of Mountain View should pursue.
Are there any candidates running for office who know what they are talking about?

Like this comment
Posted by Mike Laursen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 30, 2010 at 10:08 pm

re: "Waylonis wants to sell a large part of Shoreline Park? That's crazy!"

Seems like a legitimate idea to me. We know the city is facing some big budget problems in a few years, we have a big golf course that isn't very popular. If we sell the golf course, we could get a big shot in the arm financially, plus tax income from the businesses and residences that could be built there.

Like this comment
Posted by Voter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:56 am

Jabbari and Abe-Koga have GOT to go!

Like this comment
Posted by Pat
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Waylonis probably wants to sell the golf course so it can become a pot dispensary. Jabbari's idea of only having pot available at an actual pharmacy is interesting - if the point is for it to be used as medicine, then it should be treated like medicine.

Like this comment
Posted by Yawn
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 4, 2010 at 2:01 pm

The issue of a pot dispensary is a hot button issue, but in all reality its now meaningless at the local level. The risk cost of getting it and using it at the street level is now cheaper than the cost of getting a medical card for it. Its a 100 dollar ticket, payable through the mail now for having/using less than one ounce. A medical card will run you more than that, esp if you factor in time involved. That means you're more of a criminal in the state's eyes if you drive in the car pool lane than if you smoke pot.
Also, medical pot is a non issue if its legal for all (Prop 19).

Like this comment
Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Oct 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I'm not sure where anyone came up with the idea, but just to clarify: I am not advocating selling any part of Shoreline park. I am, however, not a fan of city employees running the golf course because of their salaries and expensive benefits.

If the city chose to lease the course to a professional golf management company, it would probably be best for all parties.

Like this comment
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 4, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Jabbari: Cannabis can't be sold in drugstores because as a Schedule 1 drug it remains illegal at the Federal level and thus it can not be prescribed. Prop 215 and the dispensary system were a way to do an end run around decades of Federal government stonewalling and get this valuable medicine to the sick and suffering individuals who need it.

Please educate yourself on the issue. Cannabis has millenia of use without a single known overdose or allergic reaction fatality. Indeed, it is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known and there's no legitimate justification for keeping it from anyone who needs it for physical or mental health reasons.

Candidate Waylonis stated the issue most succinctly: "Cannabis is about as dangerous as basil. If you eat an entire bottle of it you might get a stomach ache and feel queasy but it simply can't kill you."

MV Police Chief Vermeer was quoted as claiming that dispensaries are a danger to the community. This is categorically FALSE. Both the San Francisco and Los Angeles police chiefs have stated outright that they have no evidence that dispensaries are causally linked to any increase in violence.

Web Link
Web Link

Let's repeat that so all current and potential City Council members can hear it: Medical cannabis collectives and dispensaries have never been shown to be causally related to increased crime or violence. The "danger to the community" claim is thus a dishonest red herring, not a legitimate argument.

You want to know what's REALLY dangerous to a community? Allowing sick members of the community to suffer needlessly because they choose to use a safe, natural (and unpatentable) medicine. Allowing courageous and compassionate caregivers to face harassment and criminal prosecution for helping the sick and suffering.

Safe access to medicinal cannabis is a major civil rights issue that will not go away. More and more patients of all ages are discovering what virtually every country and culture in history has known. Cannabis is both safe and effective for literally hundreds of medical conditions.

The sick and suffering should be our NUMBER ONE PRIORITY!

Jonathan Steigman
Mountain View, CA

Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm


What you mean to say is that the pot-smoking sick and suffering should be our number one priority.

I'm sick and suffering and certainly not asking for marijuana. So please don't through me into your lot.

Like this comment
Posted by Hospice Care Giver
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2010 at 9:46 am

"So please don't through me into your lot."
OK I don't smoke pot, but, what an insult to the people who actually need marijuana to alleviate suffering, as if they somehow are bad for taking a medicine that helps them live life more comfortably because YOU think they are somehow less than you and your illness??? Wow. Really, really disgusting.

Jonathan had it right the first time. Regardless of what legal, doctor recommended medicine you chose to take for your symptoms
availability of care for the sick and suffering in our community should be a top priority.

Like this comment
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 5, 2010 at 9:51 am

Observer: Sorry to hear that you are sick and suffering. The correct term is "medical cannabis." Depending on your ailment (and if you can overcome your obvious bias), you may want to consider it as a safer alternative to the toxic pharmaceuticals that form the backbone of the modern medical profession.

At any rate, you are correct. The sick and suffering *who need medical cannabis* should take priority over phony reefer madness propaganda. The City Council should get a backbone and honor the overwhelming (80%+) will of the people by allowing medical cannabis access for their constituency.

Like this comment
Posted by Hardin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2010 at 9:57 am

"Cannabis can't be sold in drugstores because as a Schedule 1 drug it remains illegal at the Federal level and thus it can not be prescribed. Prop 215 and the dispensary system were a way to do an end run around decades of Federal government stonewalling and get this valuable medicine to the sick and suffering individuals who need it."


You're arguing conflicting points out of both sides of your mouth.

Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, defined as being high risk for abuse and no current accepted medical use. Under this reasoning, you justify it not being able to be distributed in a pharmacy.

However, as your stated, Prop 215 does allow for "medicinal use" of marijuana, which then would make it possible to distribute it as medicine through a pharmacy.

The real question here is why there is so much resistance from the pro-marijuana movement from having this self acknowledged "medicine" be distributed and controlled like all other drug-based medicines, by a pharmacy, by prescription, and under medical supervision.

Like this comment
Posted by GetOverIt
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2010 at 10:52 am

All this wasted energy about pot. Its all out there, avail for anyone who wants to smoke, eat or drink it for whatever reason they want. If a cop sees you smoking a joint and you don't have medical permission, you mail in the 100 dollar fine and smoke another one if you want.
I find it funny that the anti-compassion groups don't realize they've already lost the war. Its all just a matter of time before there are no penalties, but until then, the penalties are now soooo minimal, there's really no reason to worry about legalities. Monetarily I'd rather get stopped smoking a joint that doing 35 in a 25 zone. That carries a stiffer fine.
Time to stop trying to legislate everyone ELSE'S behavior.

Like this comment
Posted by Iknewit
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Ha! Nice to see the truth finally come out...Let's be real people, this has never been about "medicine", its about smoking a joint. Now that its easier to do that than getting a "medical" card, I see "medicinal" marijuana going up in smoke.

Don't mind people toking up for their own reasons, just don't insult the rest of us by calling it medicine.

Like this comment
Posted by BetterLateThanNever
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 5, 2010 at 1:17 pm


It IS medicine and it IS abused. I betcha we can think of one or two drugs at the CVS pharmacy that fit that category as well.
Some people seem to think there's one singular entity trying to push medical mj under some mass conspiracy. That's paranoid(probably best to avoid pot if your naturally that paranoid) Yep, many want to smoke it for fun,a yep, many need to smoke it as medicine. There simply is not one side to this; it not an either/or issue.
There's no "Thruth" that has come out. Its always been that way but maybe you just now see it, so congrats I guess.

Like this comment
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Hardin: You are confusing two issues. The Schedule 1 status of cannabis has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics. The Drug Enforcement Agency ruled over 20 years ago that cannabis was "safer than many foods we commonly consume" and that it had clear medical value." DEA Judge Francis Young also ruled that there was not a single documented death from cannabis overdose or allergic reaction in all of medical history (they looked). They recommended it be immediately rescheduled.

Their recommendation was summarily ignored.

The American Medical Association and many other medical groups have called for cannabis to be accepted as medicine as well. Over 20,000 studies of cannabis and cannabinoids have been conducted worldwide. The potential of cannabis as a medicine is not in serious dispute in the medical and scientific community.

Pharmacies are bound by Federal prescription law so they can NOT carry cannabis even if every state in the Union passes laws allowing medical cannabis. Prop 215 was only necessary because the Federal government has abdicated its responsibility to the American people and continued to lie about the safety and efficacy of cannabis. The situation for patients is a national disgrace. The fact that our City Council has not acted immediately to protect access to this benign herb for the sick and suffering patients in our community is shameful.

Like this comment
Posted by Jonthan Lustig
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Where is my post from yesterday mv-voice?? I hope you're not attempting to silence individuals who represent sick and suffering patients and their right to pursue liberty and happiness, let alone their health. I would like to know why the voice deleted my comment, Mrs Wakerly would be infuriated.

An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere - MLK

Jonathan Lustig

Like this comment
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 7, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I noticed that, too! Mr. Lustig put up a long, eloquent comment defending patients and somehow that comment has disappeared!

MV Voice: Can you please explain?

Like this comment
Posted by M. Geffroy
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm

When my adult child, was very ill and in pain and agitated from her "accepted" medications cannabis was the one thing that gave her some relief in the late stages of her illness & life. Empathy and compassion are in short supply it sweems these days.

Like this comment
Posted by Hardin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm

"I noticed that, too! Mr. Lustig put up a long, eloquent comment defending patients and somehow that comment has disappeared!

MV Voice: Can you please explain?"



The word "defecate" was used in that diatribe no less than 5 times and in an accusatory and deprecating manner. If you consider that to be eloquent, I suppose you liken George Carlin to be Shakespeare.

Read the Terms of Use for posting here:

Web Link

Mr. Lustig violated conditions 1 and 2 at a minimum.

No suppression of free speech here, just adherence to minimum standards and conduct of behavior.

Like this comment
Posted by Andrea Gemmet
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Oct 8, 2010 at 11:28 am

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

Hardin is correct: the post by Jonathan Lustig was removed for violating the terms of use of Town Square. If Mr. Lustig cares to post his views again in a manner that complies with our terms of use, he is certainly welcome to do so. This isn't a free-for-all, this is a monitored forum that aims to foster community dialog. We expect everyone to keep to a respectful level of discourse.

Like this comment
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Sad. Those who "spit" (does that pass muster?) on sick and suffering patients are given a forum, as they should, but when someone decries that behavior his post is removed. Lustig helps truly sick and suffering people on a daily basis and has little truck with those who ignorantly bash medical cannabis users.

At any rate, I've read the MV Voice Terms of Use and I don't believe Lustig violated them. He did not personally attack anyone and he did not use profanity. If his taste was questionable, his passion is not.

PS to Hardin: You don't think Carlin is worthy of comparison to Shakespeare?

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