Mountain View Voice

News - January 7, 2011

Siegel picked for mayor

Kasperzak beats Inks for vice mayor post

by Daniel DeBolt

Picking the 2011 mayor was a no-brainer for the City Council Tuesday night. Without even having to discuss it, the City Council followed tradition and appointed the vice mayor, Jac Siegel, to the job. Picking a new vice mayor was a little more complicated.

After outgoing mayor Ronit Bryant made some remarks about her year as mayor, she immediately nominated Siegel for the job and put it to a vote, which was unanimous.

Siegel said he was "really overcome by it," and that his grandparents, who came to the United States 100 years ago, would be proud to see their grandson as "mayor of the one best cities in the country."

Bryant called being mayor a 24-7 job, and she said she was happy that the city became more "green" during her term and balanced its budget, among other things. She was given a framed resolution of appreciation that mentioned her "energetically involving youth in city life" in a long list of accomplishments.

In 2011, Siegel said the city's biggest challenge would be replacing City Manager Kevin Duggan, probably the best city manager in the state. "We all take that very seriously, but we are up to the challenge," he said.

Starting next week, Siegel said he would continue the mayoral tradition of holding open office hours. "Yac with Jac" will be held every Thursday morning at Peet's Coffee on Castro Street at El Camino Real from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Siegel, 66, is a retired executive of Lockheed-Martin and TRW who has lived in Mountain View over 40 years, after growing up on the East Coast. He said he decided to "give back to the community" after retirement and served two terms on the environmental planning commission before he was elected to the council in 2006 and re-elected last year. He has an energetic style and is a strong advocate for quality projects, including housing, which he has been known to oppose if not up to his standards.

When it was time to pick a vice mayor, some council members wanted to strictly follow tradition and go with the member of highest seniority who won the most votes in the last election. That was Mike Kasperzak, but he had already served as mayor in his previous eight years on the council. Three council members had another idea, which was to give John Inks, the council's newest member, a shot at the job.

Inks said that he'd take the job if it was offered to him, and noted that he'd had perfect attendance over the last year. Kasperzak does have commitments with the League of California Cities that have kept him from attending some council meetings.

The vice mayor's chief role is to fill in when the mayor is away.

"Maybe it's not a high talent position, but it is a time commitment," said council member Margaret Abe-Koga of the vice mayor job. She joined Tom Means in supporting Inks for the job.

Bryant disagreed.

"I like to follow processes unless there is an overwhelming reason not to — it's Mike's turn," she said.

Support for Kasperzak was shared by council member Laura Macias. "I know he's got a lot of obligations but I think he'll do a good job," she said.

Kasperzak eventually won the vice mayor job in a unanimous vote.

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

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