Mountain View Voice

Opinion - April 23, 2010

Town Square

On council approval of $625K for downtown studies

I think spending more money on the schools is the better investment now, the returns will be greater down the road, plus I expect tech workers can afford to pay a little more for the downtown in the form of parking fees or higher restaurant bills.

James, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood

UC Berkeley reported that it spent $3 million on a survey to find out where it is wasting money. (I'll wait a moment while the irony-challenged catch up.)

Mountain View is going to spend $625,000 on surveys including $175,000 on parking needs. (Let me guess, we need more parking?) For $625,000, we could have hired a dozen teachers for a year.

USA, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood

I don't understand what the council means when they say "There isn't enough money to keep up downtown's appearance." I like to know exactly what services are going into the downtown area that needs the additional tax revenue. This is an area where the city needs to show accountability and allow the residents to have more insight into this dilemma so that we can all provide valuable input into this discussion.

Taxpayer, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood

Longtime MV residents may be interested in the opinion of a newer MV resident. My husband and I moved to the area for jobs about three years ago. Last year we decided to purchase a home, and we considered all neighborhoods between San Carlos and Sunnyvale. This is the competition that MV faces: How does the city lure in new residents and convince them to purchase here (and bring with them big increases in property taxes, since longtime residents are all grandfathered in at ridiculously low property tax rates). The new residents are the ones driving up the tax revenue — so that is who the city needs to attract.

For us, MV represented the best combination of decent schools, access to public transportation and a nice downtown. Sunnyvale and Cupertino were axed off of the list because they lack a multicultural, enjoyable downtown. In contrast, Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Menlo Park have downtowns that feel like overpriced tourist traps to our Midwestern sensibilities.

So far, we love MV, and we hope to stay here for a long time. I think improving the schools to the north of El Camino would definitely lure in more new residents and be beneficial for the entire city, but the city council is also correct to worry about sustaining the downtown development. We would have purchased a home near downtown because we enjoy walking there, but the schools worried us, so we bought in Blossom Valley instead.

New MV resident, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood

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