News

Nine City Council candidates on ballot in November election

The filing period for City Council candidates in the November election is closed, leaving a field of nine candidates running for three open seats on the seven-member council.

The final list of candidates includes environmental oversight executive Lenny Siegel, civil engineer Pat Showalter, family financial planner Ken Rosenberg, tech executive Lisa Matichak, planning commissioner Margaret Capriles, government policy aide Ellen Kamei, systems administrator Jim Neal, family practice attorney Mercedes Salem and retired electrical engineer and lieutenant colonel Greg Unangst.

Parks and recreation commissioner Helen Wolter, who had declared her intent to run, pulled out of the race citing personal reasons.

After eight years on the council, Ronit Bryant, Jac Siegel and Margaret Abe-Koga will be leaving due to term limits in December.

Come back to mv-voice.com for ongoing coverage of the election, including a story this week about the candidate's positions on the controversial question of building a new residential neighborhood in Mountain View's North Bayshore area, north of Highway 101.

A series of forums and debates for City Council candidates is taking shape, with events scheduled through October. They kick off on Aug. 27 with a forum organized by the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mtn View Voter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Well except for Mr. Rosenberg, none of the other candidates appear qualified with enough credentials to be a council member. They will be overwhelmed by staff reports that they will be unable to understand and challenge. Have observed this with the three EPC candidates running and the remaining ones (except Unangst) bring political agendas to the table. Was hoping for a better talent pool to choose from.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mountain View Citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 13, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Mtn View Voter, from the literally two-word descriptors given for each candidate, I can see how one might not gather the relevant information as to their actual qualifications. There is no mention of what these people do in and for their community, their dreams and goals, and certainly little information about what they've done that is applicable to working for City Council. However, using only one source with a brief description to weigh who or who is not qualified isn't the best way to go about making your decision. Each of these candidates has a personal website stating their values, goals, and the work they've already done. You can look through them and then make a better informed decision. As for me personally, in my opinion the only person that's even paid attention to the Council in recent years and has actually been active in the community at the meetings is Jim Neal. Vote for whomever you wish but know that there is more information out there if you look for it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 13, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Thank you for making clear that this article is one of many to come. I look forward the the candidates' views on "the controversial question of building a new residential neighborhood in Mountain View's North Bayshore area, north of Highway 101."

I was very disappointed when the City Council, at the last minute, deleted all residential development from the North of Bayshore Change Area section of the General Plan. The specific plan is expected to be consistent with the General Plan, but on this issue I think the General Plan is wrong and the specific plan needs to fix it.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by GDM
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 13, 2014 at 8:52 pm

When looking at the advisability of housing in the North of Bayshore area, one needs to consider the expected rise in the water level of the bay. North of Bayshore may already be below sea level. We don't need a 'mini New Orleans' in our city. Businesses are much better equipped to deal with flooding conditions than the residents of individual homes.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Yes, I noticed.
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:16 pm

The list of candidates wasn't alphabetical, nor reverse alphabetical. Not by pure chance did Mr. DeBolt put Lenny Siegel's name up front, with a rather positive 3-word description. Am I imagining things, or is the Voice pushing his candidacy?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Star Chamber of Commerce
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 14, 2014 at 8:18 am

Landlords and other special business interests will make sure at a special forum on August 27 that no candidate for City Code intends to buck them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Morn View Voter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 14, 2014 at 10:08 am

@ Mountain View Citizen,

Reread my post. As I stated I have observed the individuals that have served on city commissions . The only candidate that i have not observed is Ms. Salem. However I did review her website. If past history is any indication, candidates without commission experience have not won a council seat in recent years. We will see if Mr. Neal can buck this trend.

Speak for yourself and try not to figure out what others know or not know based on a simple thread.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Aug 14, 2014 at 10:08 am

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

@"Yes I noticed",

The three word description you allude to was taken from the Registrar of Voters' candidate list, that's the ballot designation that each candidate selected for themselves.

You can see the whole list here, with the Council candidates starting on page 66:

Web Link

I don't know how the order of the candidates as listed in the Voice article was chosen.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Another voter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 14, 2014 at 10:19 am

Rationales offered in 2012 by Council members for opposing North-Bayshore housing were heavy on offhand opinion -- Bryant citing Chinese factory dormitories, Jac Siegel remarking '"This is not a university, people need to grow up and they need to go out" of where they work.' Web Link

Those are interesting personal views, entirely appropriate for a party or barroom conversation. What on earth do they have to do with serious city planning?

Young single workers, some taking their first full-time job here, will be more interested in small inexpensive accommodations than Ms. Bryant or Mr. Siegel is, or can apparently imagine. Obviously, planning must look beyond today's jobs and employers, but please let's focus on facts, infrastucture, transportation -- not armchair personal notions about "dormitories."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by another voter 2
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 14, 2014 at 11:12 am

@ Another voter,

"Rationales offered in 2012 by Council members for opposing North-Bayshore housing were heavy on offhand opinion -- Bryant citing Chinese factory dormitories, Jac Siegel remarking '"This is not a university, people need to grow up and they need to go out" of where they work.' Web Link..Those are interesting personal views, entirely appropriate for a party or barroom conversation. What on earth do they have to do with serious city planning?"

Great post and the same level of thinking applies to 2 of the older women on EPC running for council. We need some younger people on council that have worked in the private sector like Chris Clark and actually know something about todays tech workers


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yes, I noticed.
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm

@Greg Coladonato - Thanks for the link. I do think that the Voice has been kind of obvious in promoting the idea of housing in North Bayshore, and in promoting Siegel's organization and candidacy, in a number of recent articles. It's not just the little matter of the order of names in this particular article.

BTW, the candidate descriptions in this article are not always the same as shown on the Registrar's list. For example, the Registrar's list showed Capriles simply as "Community Volunteer," where Mr. DeBolt's article changed that to "Planning Commissioner." It's worth noting that Matichak and Kamei are also current Planning Commissioners, although the article did not `add that information.

@another voter 2 - We can do without the constant attempt to make this election a generational dispute. It's not. It's about how to allow the city to develop without creating total gridlock.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

I appreciate that many people are finally willing to give candidates a chance that aren't insiders and haven't spent their whole life building political careers. I have worked in the tech sector for almost 30 years. I am also a renter. However, I will bring a reasoned and balanced approach to solving problems rather than the political sledgehammer approach that seems to be in vogue these days.

Even though I have a full time job and commute at least 4 hours a day, I have attended more city council meetings in the last 3 years than all of my opponents combined! Unlike council, I get paid nothing for all the hours I put into attending meetings. I think that should tell people how serious of a candidate I am and how seriously I will take my responsibilities if elected.


Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marrissa
a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm

It is frustrating that so many within our government are people that just have no clue as to how the world really operates. These are not people that I would want to have leading me into any kind of battle, let alone make any kind of decision on my behalf.
The fact that Jim is a person that has been where you are and can actually relate to you and the rest of the community should really hit home with you. Not only is he right there in the trenches with you day by day, he actually knows what he's talking about! How many times have you watched a politician give a speech and you just had to laugh because it was THAT ridiculous?
Don't you get ever tired of the same record playing over and over again? We keep letting the same kind of goofball get elected into positions of power, and then cry home to mama when we get the same terrible results that we had before. Take a chance and do something different, vote for an actual human being this time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M, Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

@Yes, I noticed,

Daniel DeBolt is a renter.

Mr. DeBolt is a big supporter of Lenny Siegel and more housing.

Mr, DeBolt does not understand the difference between being a reporter and being a cheerleader.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No you didn't notice
a resident of Gemello
on Aug 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm

@ Yes, I noticed., a resident of Monta Loma

Really the two oldest council members fail to support housing? They are out of touch with the tech world. Neither of them have worked full time in over Two decades but they understand today's tech workers. Their comments speak for themselves and reveal their ignorance.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Another voter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2014 at 9:07 am

"another voter 2" and anyone else: Please don't trivialize the N-Bayshore housing exclusion as some generational thing. Diverse Mtn View residents support housing there. I'm not much younger than council members Bryant or Siegel, and have voted for both of them before. Both also supported other new housing developments.

What this is about is, do you make important, strategic planning choices on reasoned grounds, from the best available information? Or from offhand personal taste, colorfully expressed as I quoted above?

Since 2012, residents have become more vocal about runaway commercial development far outpacing local housing, and the politicians have taken notice. ALL 2014 council candidates will now give this issue earnest-sounding lip service. A few of them will even mean it.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm

I spent 2 hours with Mercedes Salem yesterday, discussing what is best for Mountain View. Her thoughts follow:

Mercedes has 3 goals:
1. Neighborhood preservation is # 1
2. Preserve open spaces and the environment
3. Improve Mountain View infrastructure and services

Mercedes is concerned about rising rents as it affects her personally as well as her neighbors. However, she realizes that it is a regional problem and there is no magic bullet. She says "No matter how much housing we build, we cannot meet demand. We will just have additional expensive housing." The solutions are BMR Housing, Low Income Housing, assisting medium income residents by providing more services such as free summer day camp for children, and providing training for high-paying, in demand jobs, such as IT technician.

City Council should negotiate with developers and Google, LinkedIn, Intuit, etc instead of acquiescing to their requests. For example: City Council should ask Greystar – What do the residents of Mountain View get if we approve your request to build a 4th story at 81 ECR? Another example: City Council should ask Google – What do the residents of Mountain View get if we grant your request to add offices?

Mercedes is against building 5,000 residential units in North Bayshore. She points out that there are no services or infrastructure in North Bayshore and those 5,000 residential units is too small to form a real community. Increased traffic is also a concern.

BRT dedicated lane is dead on arrival. She will consider a shared lane option.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Two young renters joined me at Peet's Coffee Shop on Sunday, August 10, to talk with Ken Rosenburg, candidate for City Council.


*********************************************************
Ken (Web Link) started off by providing us with his goal and background:

-Ken's goal is to Preserve Character of Mountain View. Preserve and protect what we love about Mountain View and change only what we need!

- Started out as member of Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association when he lived there.
- Past member of Leadership Mountain View
- Currently member, and past president, of Chamber of Commerce
- Past member Emergency Response Team
- Founder of Civility Roundtable

I then asked the following questions.
Key issues:

1. Mountain View, when North Shoreline is excluded, has the highest population density of any city in Santa Clara County? Why should we increase our density?

Ken: A city that expands its jobs base also has to expand housing.
However, we don't want to turn Mountain View into Manhattan.


2. Should we cap new office development, and if so, at what level?
Ken: The market will determine the split between jobs and housing.
If we build more housing, then we will have to reduce offices, as there is only so much land.

3. The General plan calls for approximately 7,000 additional housing units. Should we stop there, or add additional units? If so, how many and at what density?
Ken: The 7,000 number is SWAG. Market forces will determine the actual number.
No high density housing in our neighborhoods. High density should be reserved for El Camino Real and downtown

4. Should we build housing in North Bayshore?
Ken: I am not sold on housing in North Bayshore, but I am keeping an open mind. I am concerned about the environmental impact such as the destruction of a wilderness area and runoff.

Moffett Field is a better place to build housing. Repurpose the existing facility to residential use.

5. How many stories are appropriate for new development along ECR?
Ken: Development should fit in to the existing neighborhood.
Building height should be appropriate to the location.
I don't want El Camino Real turned into an 8 story Canyon.

6. Your ideas to improve transportation between the Transit Center and North Bayshore?
Ken: If Mountain View is to become a world class city, it needs better transportation. The Transportation Center is overwhelmed by buses. We should move the VTA bus stop to the other side of Central Expressway and build a pedestrian overpass so that riders can safely get across Central Expressway. A trolley or tram between the Transportation Center and North Shoreline is inevitable. Google will probably build it.

7. Should we approve the VTA BRT plan
Ken: Mountain View should not approve the BRT plan to have a dedicated lane in each direction. A shared use lane in the answer.

8. How do we reduce traffic congestion? Won't additional residences and offices add to traffic congestion? Can we get people out of their cars? Will a road diet plus adding bike lanes do it?
Ken: We need a clear vision for Mountain View. We are in transition from a suburban to an urban city. How far do we want to go with urbanization? Mountain View has been project oriented with each project being evaluated out of context. We need a big picture. Yes, we need to construct bicycle paths.

9. Ideas on reducing traffic along ECR and North Shoreline Boulevard?

Ken: The new BRT buses will have several advantages. They will have wifi, will turn traffic signals green, will be express, and will run more frequently. We need to build protected bike lanes in the center of El Camino Real.

10. How to control escalating rents?
Ken: I am very concerned about the gentrification of Mountain View. However, in the short term there is not much we can do. Market forces control prices in a capitalistic society.

Rent Control is not a solution. Upon the passing of a rent control measure, landlords will immediately increase in their rents because it will the last rent adjustment under their control. Rent-controlled units are in great demand. Landlords know that filling them is easy. So, landlords have no incentive to upgrade their units. In addition, they generally reduce maintenance to the minimum.





 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Candidates seem to claim to be in favor of "preserving neighborhoods" yet 801 El Camino Real, as proposed, will literally share property lines with one story single family homes...I wouldn't consider that "protecting a neighborhood, it will destroy that neighborhood.

Also, one might want to pay attention to how many homes in that neighborhood (directly behind 801 El Camino) have been sold and/or are on the market. People are getting the hell out of dodge before the value of their homes plummets as a result of the negative impacts that are sure to follow this development -- literally in their backyards.

Pfffffft


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by coming soon to your neighborhood
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm

At the other end of downtown, the same thing is happening with the 100 Moffett development. The old buildings have been scraped, and 4 stories is going in there too, next to a single family neighborhood. By Ken's logic, I suppose this would be "downtown" - where he says it's appropriate. It was time to redevelop this property, but what was approved is a gross misfit for the neighborhood.

Konrad, thanks for these interviews. It's better and more even-handed coverage than what we have come to expect from Mr. DeBolt.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Did you happen to purchase your home in an R-1 zoned neighborhood...you know, zoned for single family homes? Yeah, well good luck with the city of Mountain View respecting zoning laws. Perhaps your neighborhood will not be up-zoned to "planned community" or any of the other sheik zoning terms that are presently all the rage, but that certainly doesn't preclude the city from approving 4 story (or more) apartment blocks that literally share a property line with those R-1 zoned, single family homes.

Way to go City Council...destroying neighborhoods one development at a time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 18, 2014 at 7:22 pm


I recently finished reading the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the development proposal at 801 West El Camino Real, and to make a 214 page story short, here's the crux of it...there will be "NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT" for ANYTHING related to this development as currently proposed. It's like the immaculate conception - it's a miracle!

Go ahead and read for yourself and pay close attention to the details, like Greystar requesting the change in zoning prior to the El Camino Real precise plan being completed - kind of like what the developers of San Antonio Center developers were requesting for phase 2 of that development proposal. There's all kinds of good stuff in this draft EIR, some of it made me laugh out loud.

It's worth the time to read this "report"..

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Evan Kroske
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:07 pm

For more information on Lenny Siegel's candidacy, visit his campaign website:

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lilly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm

You can also get more information on my favorite candidates Jim Neal www.electneal.org Lisa Matichak Web Link Ken Rosenberg Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lilly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm

You can also get more information on my favorite candidate Jim Neal www.electneal.org
Lisa Matichak www.lisaforcouncil.com/
Ken Rosenberg www.mountainviewken.com/


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Linda Curtis is a registered user.

@ the first two comments on this thread"

I agree with "Mountain View Citizen" that Jim Neal has been very involved in the happenings of his city and I support him. He has been a forerunner in saving the Milk Pail and Rose Market from the beginning of their threatened displacement. He knows the players behind each step of all the council and EPC decisions in the last few years and is very approachable for discussion and learning ever more about our needs and concerns He stands up to protect our rights and freedoms.

But I totally disagree with "Mountain View Voter" about EPC members being overwhelmed by staff reports. A few of them maybe, a couple of them definitely, but not Liza Matichak. She excels at studying these reports and finding important considerations other have overlooked. She has also has paid attention and been involved in our city's government in general as a current and 5 yr. member of the Environmental Planning Commission, as well as last year's chairperson of it. She is amazingly on top of absolutely every project's pro's and con's that are being considered for construction everywhere in MV. Her ideas are well grounded with every factual detail involved and her experience guides her to consider details that others often overlook. She is uniquely talented and amazing.

Mercedes Salem knows what families and seniors need to help them survive in this increasingly gentrified city as a family law attorney who works with people trying to keep their heads above water financially. She brings a particularly helpful set of skills to the table from practicing law with all its fine print, from her background of working with those in office federally, and from her resources in the know politically here. She knows what our issues are here through her research and involvement, and as a renter herself.

Jim Neal is also a renter, and Lisa Matichak had been for years before she bought into a condo.

So not one of these three candidates is a fat cat who is working for the big developers, as you can research for yourself and discover is the case with how many of the other candidates? Look and see ow many! At least some of them openly admit it! So who do you want? A council members representing us and our concerns, or someone who OWES the really big developers, like Prometeus, who financed their champaign?

Don't just judge from a brief description of these people, or from their time restricted short answers at the candidate forums. Come meet them yourselves and talk with them each, one on one, as I have done, for hours on end. I really know them well and suggest you all vote for all three.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Linda Curtis is a registered user.

@ Lilly (just above)-

I like your picks but I swapped Ken Rorenberg for Mercedes Salem after having finally met her and discovering, among other things I liked, that she knows 801 ECR is too tall for the neighborhood that it is bordering on.

Rosenberg's answer to my question about "How high of building do you find acceptable along ECR?" showed me a vision of a concrete canyon instead of a Grand Boulevard! He answered my question by saying "Five stories." That's better than some of the other candidates height limits for ECR, but still too tall for me!

These three have it right:

Lisa Matichak
Jim Neal
Mercedes Salem

All of them have better ideas of where to add various styles of nice housing elsewhere that will not destroy the people next door to the building.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 17, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Linda Curtis is a registered user.

As Konrad Sosnow brilliantly stated in another tread, but on the same subject as the four comments immediately above:

"Ken Rosenburg has stated that he does not see any problem with four (4) or five (5) story apartments along El Camino Real. The adjacent residents, living in one (1) and two ((2) story homes don't want a massive apartment building looming over their homes. There are also concerned about apartment residents parking in fro of their homes.

I don't want ECR turned into a canyon.
ECR is already a parking lot for most of the day and evening.

A better alternative than ECR is East Whisman. Lisa Matichak has pointed out that it has public transportation - Light Rail, and car access from 237, Middlefield Road, 101, and Central expressway, and two closed schools which can be reopened."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Look B. Hindthem
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 18, 2014 at 4:15 pm

@Lilly-

I like Jim Neal for lots of reasons. He has always helped people who need it. And his motivations are pure, unlike so many of the other nine candidates, with the exception of the EPC council members and the lawyer, all four of whom have too much to lose! Look behind the candidates to see who funds them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by an old Mountain View Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 19, 2014 at 9:09 am

I have ben trying to get the Voice to look at it's own bias in favor of Lenny Siegel.

Town Square: Bias in the Voice.

Also, I have been trying to get an answer to the question: Is is legal/ethical or a conflict of interest for an Executive Director of a 501 c non-profit to be the president of the board also.

This is what is happening at one local environment non-profit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Ken Rosenberg is actually a friendly fellow. He's genuinely nice, I believe, BUT I do NOT want five story buildings blocking the sky and towering over us! He told me himself that he goes for that height.

The best candidates for careful growth that wrecks this place less are Lisa Matichak, Mercedes Salem, & Jim Neal. They pledge to find locations where housing, even of that height, will not be infill overshadowing those already there. Those plans will be carefully laid out to be better for the residents of it and their surroundings. That makes for much better neighbor relations!


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