News

City Council race gets crowded

Nine residents have indicated that they will run for the Mountain View City Council this fall, and the official filing period hasn't even opened yet.

After serving eight years on the council, Jac Siegel, Ronit Bryant and Margaret-Abe-Koga will step down due to term limits in December. The election may bring a significant shift on housing policies as the trio was elected during a time when many residents were protesting new housing developments in their neighborhoods, and the three members have often opposed housing development during their terms, including a plan for 1,100 units for Google employees in North Bayshore. As council members noted last week, public opinion has shifted toward a growing concern about gentrification and a lack of housing for the city's rapidly expanding workforce.

In recent weeks three residents have said they'll join the race: longtime county official Ellen Kamei, attorney Mercedes Salem, and bike and pedestrian committee member Greg Unangst, who has spoken in favor of more housing growth in the city.

The filing period for council candidates to officially join the race begins July 14 and ends Aug. 13, which includes the five-day extension for open seats with no incumbent running.

Those who previously declared an intent to run include planning commissioners Helen Wolter and Lisa Matichak, human relations commissioner Ken Rosenberg, and former planning commissioner Patricia Showalter. IT administrator James Neal and environmental planning commissioner Margaret Capriles said they will run again after coming up short in the 2012 council election.

Comments

Posted by Know-It-All, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm

There is no 5-day extension to file when there is no ELIGIBLE incumbent. The extension arises only when an incumbent eligible to run does not file.


Posted by Sparty, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

If anyone wasn't aware, Jim Neal is running for city council


Posted by Didnt Know That , a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Didnt know that Sparky. Very funny .


Posted by voter, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Jim Neal will have my vote , i like his ideas , and the fact that he is not afraid to look different and has not changed his look just to please the electorate during the 2012 electoral race !


Posted by Maria Marroquin, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 3, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Jim Neal has my vote too!


Posted by Anyone that has , a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Anyone that has a strong stance on stopping all this insane BUILDING will get my vote.


Posted by Maher, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jul 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm

I'm certainly dismayed by the seemingly mindless destruction of MV's downtown and neighborhoods in the name of progress ie to the benefit of corporate developers. It's gotten out of hand and the planning dept needs a priority shift along with an overhaul of the City Council.


Posted by Martin Omander, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm

There is strong demand for offices and housing in Mountain View. We can let the market deal with it, or we can block the market's response. If we do the former, the next generation will have jobs and affordable housing. If we do the latter, we will price out many current residents and our kids will have to move elsewhere to live and work.

We can pretend there are no market forces, but those market forces will not go away. Let's face the facts, acknowledge the current imbalance between supply and demand, and plan for smart growth with walkable neighborhoods and public transportation.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm

@Maher,

The City Planning Department works closely with, and supports, the developers.

They recommended going ahead with San Antonio Phase 2 just as Merlone-Geier wanted. They even said that many residents supported the Phase 2 plan consisting of no new residences and no Milk Pail.

Fortunately, The Planning Commission listened to us, the residents, and voted 7-0 to dis-approve the plan and supported the Milk Pail.

The City Council compromised and added some housing. Merlone-Geier saw the approval of San Antomio Phase 2 would be conditioned on negotiating in good faith with the Milk Pail and an agreement was forged in a matter of days.


Posted by Sparty, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Change is bad!!!!!

Remember when your parents took away your copy of Howl because when they saw a story about the obscenity trial on Huntley-Brinkley Report? What a couple of squares!



you have now become your parents.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 3:08 pm

@Maher,

I support well thought out development.
I have, and will continue to oppose shoddy development.

Good Development:
We, the residents of Mountain View, home owners, renters and businesses, want housing designed for People, similar to the Park Place project, that resulted after the City required the developer to listen to the community and provide an exterior design that looks somewhat like a series of row houses. One of the key elements in this successful project was that the community had a clear vision for downtown and made this project conform to the community vision. Park Place fits well into the downtown neighborhood, with medium-density housing.

Shoddy development:

801 El Camino Real. This planned development is massive and intrudes on the surrounding neighborhood. Renters will be able to see into the backyards and homes of nearby residents. There is insufficient parking. so renters will be forced to park on the streets in the surrounding neighborhood. Traffic along Castro street will increase.


Posted by Gardener, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Gardener is a registered user.

Spot on, Martin.

The world is knocking on the door of Mountain View. If we don't allow smart growth (and smart includes protecting unique treasures like the Milk Pail), we will see Mountain View turn into Palo Alto or Los Altos, where only the rich can live. Smart includes well-planned medium to high density housing around around public transportation centers.

If rents continue to rise at above 10% annually like they have for the past few years I'm going to forced out of Mountain View very soon, as will many of my friends and neighbors.


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I agree with "voter" & Maria M. and "Anyone that has" and hence am voting for Jim Neal, Lisa Matichak, and Helen Wolter. All three, by far the best in opposing the over building.


Posted by GDM, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 5:54 pm

@ Konrad M. Sosnow

Don't presume to represent the residents of Mountain View. I am one resident of Mountain View who you certainly don't represent.


Posted by B-real, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Matin,
Lets not pretend we have a free market. If there were no zoning laws, we would have 20 story buildings across mountain view. The city had a plan, council is empowered to over run it... and they did! Now people want to bandaid it up... build a bridge over the creek....housing in North Bayshore....Developers all go to council and offer public benefit for increased entitlements.... because Council is a push over! They bargin cheap!
We need to give the last word to the voters when there is wheeling and dealing to be done!

I wonder how long this post will stay up before the Yellow Journalist from the Voice take it down?


Posted by Let's B-feal, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 3, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Anti free market types fail to understand there are two sides to the market place. Just because someone might build a 20 story building doesn't mean there are enough people that would want to live in a 20'story building. Markets are self constrained by both buyers and sellers. It's nonsense to make bold statements that the optimal level of output is infinity. Govt regulations that restrict market outcomes like price controls lead to inefficiencies and misallocation of resources.

The council had a similar type of thinking when it decided to deregulate the taxi market. The anti market types argued that if you did not limit supply there would be a deluge of taxi drivers in Mountain View. Perhaps , but the the number of buyers will limit supply.


Posted by Dylan Carlson, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 4, 2014 at 2:14 am

Dude. I am as "free market" as the next guy, but it's not a magic answer for everything.

I don't have a masters in planning, but zoning & permitting regulate the supply, besides the demand. The people vote in the council, and the council votes on these new developments. This has always been the case, just about everywhere, including Mountain View, since its incorporation. Planning is always constrained by some policy, it is not freely subject to natural forces. These policies are put in place by the town council, who, with input from stakeholders (voters, mainly) have some kind of strategic vision for the town they serve.

Or at least they should. Except that recently, much of the development has seemed (at least to me) like we are shooting ourselves in the feet.

The point has been made, over and over, about how commercial rates have stabilized since so much new office real estate has been brought on the market. The same needs to be done for housing. Not just for affordability, but to avoid turning the city into a commute destination.

A shortage of housing will result in all kinds of perverse outcomes besides pricing ... e.g. overcrowding units (2 families in 1 house, etc.), nevermind all the money the workers earn not staying here because they can't live here, or don't have a good enough reason to. Overbuilding beyond what the infrastructure is meant to support is going to ruin it for everybody, eventually.

Speaking only for myself, I am not opposed to development, I am just opposed to unsustainable development. Let's build things in the right way.

It's just profoundly disappointing that what we're faced with right now is an excess of office development, with very little housing and infrastructure improvement. This is not going anywhere good.


Posted by nothing new, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2014 at 9:18 am

@ Gardener

Make no mistake, a community like Los Altos and Palo Alto with sky high property values is what Konrad, Maher, B-Real, Linda and others want for Mountain View.

It is the oldest NIMBY argument in the book, let's preserve the "character" (read property values) of our neighborhoods by limiting the housing supply; thereby driving up prices in the face of growing demand...

I have mine so I'm closing the door behind me... good luck everybody else...elsewhere that is...

hopefully they are the vocal minority


Posted by smart growth, a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 7, 2014 at 11:56 am

Make no mistake. Most homeowners are not speculating, or looking to sell and make a bundle. We just want to keep MV a decent place to live.

With 30,000 new jobs planned, the only way to stabilize prices would be to build with a density that would wreck the city. The roads couldn't support it, and the schools couldn't support it. We can't keep building more and more densely, in a futile effort to meet ever-increasing demand. There's a capacity limit, and we are close to it.

I don't know anyone who is saying "don't build." The problem is that for the last few years, Planning has been letting developers call the shots, and the present City Council has usually played along. The result has been that we are seeing worse and worse congestion. It's easy to see where continuing to "build, build, build" would take us.

We need a moratorium on new office space, and a housing policy that does not envision 6-story apartment buildings. We need a City Council that will never, ever consider rezoning neighborhoods to permit even higher density.

So why all the "NIMBY" insults and ascribing of base motives? Well, I'm sure that some pro-developer posters are sincere in their (mistaken) belief that unleashing denser development will solve all our problems. HOWEVER, considering the multi-millions that developers stand to make, I have to believe that a lot of the "NIMBY" name-calling is coming from "developer trolls."


Posted by What's up with the NEWBIes, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm

All the Newbies from Detroit want to overwhelm our little city so it fails. Let them go back to from where they are from.

Yes "smarth growth" the Developer trolls are out in force. I would rather prefer this place to be a destination point then to have all those 30,000 + move here.


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Well said, "Smart Growth" just above.

Housing could never catch up with 30,000 more jobs here in MV, but at least instead of building ever more and more offices, let's insist on new building being housing, and in appropriate locations that don't tower over their neighbors thereby ruining the value of the little piece of MV they have spent their lives investing in.

So let's attend the San Antonio Precise Plan tomorrow night at the Senior Center at 6:30 PM (last city council meeting before their break) and make known that we want two apt. towers instead of two office towers: Housing & retail there instead of more offices!

And what can we say about MG taking back their deal with Milk Pail? They really had to do that because City Council asked them to wait one stinking week for them to rough in more of the precise plan for the place? Shame on you, MG!


Posted by WHITE HATS, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 21, 2014 at 1:20 am

Jim Neal will have to switch from his black cowboy hat to a white one to get my vote. And he needs to ride a horse to the first candidates' night. Plus, if he isn't prepared to chew straw, how could we trust that he is a real cowboy?


Posted by Linda Curtis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm

@WHITE HATS-

What you are prejudiced against people who wear Western attire? So you prefer one one style of candidate to be successful and support only one "look" that goes along with one way of thinking so we can continue to have exactly what we have right now?

How about going for a new look, something way out-of-the-box that happens in this case to go along with a real individual who thinks-outside-the-box. He also happens to shoot straight from the hip (pardon the pun) as he tells exactly how he is thinking on a topic and doesn't conform for no good reason. His ideas sound really good to me.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Jul 24, 2014 at 4:48 pm

I want a City Council person who loves Mountain View for what it basically is right now, isn't ashamed of it, and values Mountain View's past. Not one whose first impulse is to destroy the uniqueness of the city in order to throw up 4, 6, 8 Story developments all up and down EL Camino (and other areas) and envisions Mountain View as Manhattan west. A council person who won't sell the city's soul at the slightest uptick in housing prices like some currently on the council or salivates for uncontrolled development. Ask yourself, do you want El Camino to be like Santana Row on both sides of El Camino and with twice the density of traffic at Winchester and Stevens Creek- i.e. near permanent gridlock/congestion. If you want to see Mountain View's future given our current trajectory on El Camino, go to Santana Row which is the tip of the ice berg, to me that represents a dark and soulless future. The Village at San Antonio in its current form is just the warm up act at this point a lot more is on the way. I also don't think you can build enough housing or housing fast enough to bring down the price of housing in this market. I believe in supply and demand but in this context demand so grossly outpaces supply that you can't build enough housing without totally destroying the character of the city and turning it literally into Manhattan West. I would like to see controlled moderate growth that really benefits the Citizens of Mountain View not a benefit such as a fountain to poseidon or the like as seems to be in vogue with the current council.


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