Mountain View Voice

News - August 27, 2010

Council campaign on a shoestring

Longtime resident Greg David believes $1,000 is enough

by Daniel DeBolt

A city policy encourages City Council candidates to spend less than $20,000 on their election campaigns, but candidate Greg David intends to spend well below that.

"My personal view is it shouldn't take thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to be a council member," David said.

About $1,000 is all David said he intends to spend.

He's written a check for a $500 ballot statement and he hopes that will be his biggest expense. He plans to make campaign signs from recycled wood and leftover paint.

"If you have a vision that is shared by voters, they are going to vote for you," David said. "You shouldn't need a big war chest." He adds that "this shouldn't be something people do as a career."

In the November election he will be competing for three open council seats against five other candidates, including three incumbents: Jac Siegel, Margaret Abe-Koga and Mayor Ronit Bryant.

David, 40, was born and raised in the same downtown Mountain View neighborhood he lives in now. Before taking a job as a logistics analyst at Hewlett Packard in 1997 for 10 years, he helped his father and brother run Eddy's Sport shop, which opened on Castro Street in 1950 and was run by three generations before it closed in 2002. His father, Jerry David, was an outspoken attendee at City Council meetings in his day.

David currently works as a census taker for the U.S. Census, knocking on doors and interviewing people. He expects the job to get him through the end of the year.

David is not married but has a long-term girlfriend in Aptos. He said he doesn't hope to live on the $500 a month council members are paid. He'll be looking for a full-time job soon.

He said he's always "monitored" city politics in Mountain View, but David said his candidacy marks his first foray into city politics. He's been a registered Republican since age 18 but describes himself as more of a Libertarian. He says city council decisions should be about what is best for the city instead of political ideology.

In a nutshell, he said his campaign message is "to say, basically, I want to do things that make sense."

His positions include support for local medical marijuana dispensaries, support for a high speed rail station in downtown Mountain View and a "path of smart and realistic growth."

"As much as we would all love to see a utopian society where you don't need a car, there is no pollution, and everyone gets along, this is not a reality any of us will see in our lifetimes. People will continue to drive cars and cars need efficient road networks and parking spaces. I don't care what the planners say, 1.5 parking spaces is not enough for a two-bedroom apartment," wrote David in an e-mail, alluding to the controversial parking requirement at the recently approved Minton's project. He believes the council diverged from public opinion in approving the project, which is just over 200 apartments along Evelyn Avenue.

David has thought quite a bit about having a high-speed rail station in Mountain View, which he says would benefit the city and its businesses by making Mountain View a major destination. He says there is more room for a high-speed rail station in Mountain than the two other cities being considered for a mid-peninsula stop — Palo Alto and Redwood city.

He said that opposition to high-speed rail largely stems from a fear of the unknown.

"For fear of sounding cliché, I have lived in Germany and have seen how well high-speed rail works first hand," he wrote in an e-mail. "We are already 20 years behind and we need to catch up."

David said the timing of his decision to run for City Council this year has nothing to do with his brother Brian's efforts to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Mountain View. And while he supports his brother's efforts, he said he would have to recuse himself from council decisions that relate to it.

Along with concerns about traffic and the growth of the city, David said balancing the city budget would be his top priority. To that end, he finds the cost of city employee salaries "unsettling" and would like the city to "leverage its assets" to find new sources of funds because "nobody likes new taxes."

"With daily headlines questioning the compensation of city workers state-wide, it's a bit unsettling seeing Mountain View used as an example of bloated payrolls," he wrote.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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