Mountain View Voice

Opinion - March 7, 2014

Letters to the Editor

Having Google better than the alternative

Don't curse success unless you know what the alternative is really like. I for one am grateful that Google is in our town.

One only needs to look at cities that have massive empty commercial spaces or pollution-spewing factories to see how lucky we are to have vibrant clean companies in our backyard. I encourage residents to look with an open mind at Facebook and its deal with Menlo Park to build housing that is biking distance to its offices as part of the solution to our traffic and housing issues.

Who can dispute that the smallest carbon footprint comes from walking or biking to work to smaller homes?

Council's laissez-faire attitude unfair

Mountain View has three possible development scenarios: status quo, laissez-faire, and land-use planning.

Status quo, "no-growth," is not realistic. Buildings age, maintenance costs increase, and the buildings become inefficient and need to be replaced. Business and housing needs and desires change over time. The highest and best use of property changes over time. For example, who wants El Camino Real to continue with used car lots, deteriorating strip malls, and vacant buildings?

Laissez-faire, "let them do as they will" is a libertarian philosophy. It allows property owners to maximize their return on investment and the developers to maximize their profits.

What laissez-faire ignores is the fact that residents also have rights. An example is that prior to the City Council's El Camino Real study session, residents had collected 539 signatures, objecting to the (Greystar) developers' plan. Once again, the majority of the City Council totally ignored the residents of Mountain View.

Land-use planning is a device used by local governments in most developed countries. Land-use planning is used to prevent new development from interfering with existing residents or businesses and to preserve the "character" of a community. This practice recognizes the need to balance the rights of the property owner, the rights of residents in the community, and demands placed on infrastructure.

Five members of the City Council hold a laissez-faire attitude toward development. Their policy maximizes the rights of land owners and developers and ignores the rights, needs and desires of residents as to population density, building height, parking, and traffic. It is high time for these five council members to acknowledge that residents, as well as property owners, have rights and chart a course that equitably balances these rights.

Council needs to change direction

I couldn't agree more with the Feb. 14 Voice editorial saying that Mountain View needs candidates for City Council who understand the major issues. Three of the most wasteful and biggest spenders are being termed out.

Our new 30-year-old mayor has no clue as he is fairly new to the city and has no past political experience here.

Google continues to make big gifts to the City Council — but not things that benefit the outlying residents or small business owners that are really suffering from the outrageous costs of housing and renting.

The attitude of "more city revenue" and "new sources of city income" must stop with the new City Council.

The gentrification of the city to "Googleville" must stop if we are going to be able to survive as residents.

Donald Letcher Rengstorff Avenue

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