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Town Square

Voter Guide: City Council race

Original post made on Oct 12, 2012

Our Voter Guide story profiles the candidates and the issues in Mountain View City Council race, an election that could dramatically change the makeup of the council. Here's a look at the six candidates hoping to win one of four seats on the seven-member council.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 12, 2012, 1:46 PM

Comments

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Posted by Chris
a resident of Willowgate
on Oct 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I was going to run but am too green. From what I see in this list is nothing save the Mayor to vote for. We need more than just fancy talk about development in the city. I need to see people ready willing and able to take on the entrenched interested in ABAG, CAHSR, and MTC. Yet I hear nothing save their standard pitches.

We have problems for these three agencies that our future will alter according to those interests.

Do we want to self govern for a Mountain View?

Do we want the status quo of developer rewards from these three agencies walking all over Mt View and trumpeting their corporate stances?

We need to demand much from our city leaders. They are great people but we need super Medici type people today.


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Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Daniel,

I have to say that I am extremely disappointed with the way that you have been covering my campaign. I have provided you with written as well as verbal replies to your inquiries and yet you continue to misquote me and provide misleading information about what I say. The way you wrote this story, you are giving people the impression that I am homeless and living on the street with my children (either that, or I am a former father). You also stated:

Despite his libertarian positions, Neal says "I am not endorsed by any special interest group and therefore do not owe anybody anything, so I will be free to represent the best interests of the people of Mountain View. "

What does one have to do with the other? You may as well have asked "Are you now or have you ever been a Libertarian?". I am proud that I am independent and primarily self funded; and have refused to accept endorsements from special interest groups because if I am elected to City Council, I will be free to represent the best interests of the people that live here. This is the primary reason that I am running now instead of waiting two years as I had originally planned. There are too many important issues that will soon be before the Council that will affect all the residents of Mountain View and somebody needs to be on the Council that will protect people's rights.

I became involved in politics because of the City's ill-conceived ban that exposes MORE PEOPLE to second hand smoke because smokers are now in the city's parking lots and forces walking up and down Castro street instead of being in a secluded patio that is off limits to children and where no food is served.

However, I have also told you on several occasions that that has never been my primary reason for running for office. I attended almost every single City Council meeting since then and have spoken on many topics from the City budget, to drive-throughs, to the bag ban, to High Speed Rail and as you well know, it is the budget and High Speed Rail that are the greatest concern to me because they are the two biggest items likely to have a significant impact on ALL the residents of Mountain View.

You also attributed many of my ideas to Chris Clark. I was the one who first stated that the drive-throughs are also used for pharmacies. Here is the question that you asked me and the written reply that I gave you:

How should El Camino Real redevelop in the future? Should there be a moratorium on drive-throughs?

There should be no ban on drive-throughs. The marketplace can much more efficiently and effectively determine how many drive-throughs El Camino Real can support. The current proposal would ban all drive-throughs including those for places such as Walgreens that have 24 Hour pharmacies that provide an invaluable service to the community by allowing people to pick up medications for themselves or a sick child in the middle of the night, without having to go to a hospital emergency room or waiting until the next day. People that are disabled, elderly, have small children, or are time constrained would be at a tremendous disadvantage if they have to leave their vehicles and go into a store or restaurant. It would also force the stores to choose between losing revenue by terminating their late night services, or keeping their employees safe. These are but a few of the obvious "unintended consequences" of yet another ban.



I was also the first to address the City Council regarding making changes to benefit structures for future City employees, while ensuring that current employees get to keep every single benefit that that their contract calls for. As a matter of fact, you also blew it on my position on the budget. You said I blamed it on employee salaries. Here is your question and my written response to you:

How should the city balance its books when expenses outpace revenue growth? What expenses should be cut? What revenues should be raised?

No revenues should be raised. Mountain View's problem is like most other cities in California in that it has an unsustainable salary and pension program that currently consumes 83% of the general fund and consumes an increasing percentage every year. I would look at a plan to restructure the benefits and pension plan only for any NEW employees in a way that would reduce the costs to the city over time. Current employees would be able to keep their current pension plan and benefits.



You also go out of your way to point out that Chris Clark would be the first openly gay person on the City Council (although I have never heard him mention this fact), yet you conveniently overlooked the fact that if I am elected, I would be the first Black person EVER on the City Council. Why is that? As a matter of fact, your paper endorsed all four white, male candidates that are all already working for the City in some capacity and who coincidentally have also placed ads in your publication.

With regard to my position on the Shoreline District, I have made it very clear that I fully support schools and education, but I believe the schools should not be forced to rely on a funding source that can vary from year to year and therefore could result in shortfalls that could reduce funding for schools when they need it the most. In addition, the funds for the Shoreline District are specified for very specific uses and I do not think that it should be treated like a slush fund or "extra" money that is used for pet projects. We have seen this from the example of New Orleans, where money for strengthening the levies there was "repurposed". There are several vital systems that may need to be rebuilt in the case of a major seismic event and that could potentially cost several million dollars to replace. Thus far, no money from the fund has been set aside for this purpose.

I also never called for voter approved parcel taxes to pay for schools. I merely stated that that is the normal way that funds are provided for the schools. Again, here is your question and the written reply that I gave you:

Parents say schools should receive a larger share of Shoreline property taxes, paid by companies like Google. Should the unusual Shoreline tax district there be done away with? Or is the city's "joint powers agreement" with schools adequate?

How many parents? All of them? Most of them? Some of them? Or a very vocal minority? I will not go through the iterations of responses for each scenario. I will merely state my belief that the schools should not be put in a position where their funding is dependent upon the highly variable revenues generated by a tax district where the priorities can change on an annual basis. This is why schools are primarily funded by bonds. The bonds provide a steady and reliable stream of income that is far less subject to economic ups and downs.

Anyone can clearly see that there is a huge difference between the written replies that I gave you and what you wrote. I do not know why you could not have simply provided the answers that I gave you verbatim instead of changing them and in doing so, completely changing the context and the meaning of my words.

I had even sent you an email previously telling you that what you wrote regarding the OMVNA forum was inaccurate and provided you with correct information and yet you provided some of the same incorrect information in THIS article.

I demand an apology, and I demand that you correct the record. This election is too important to the people of Mountain View for you to make these kind of ridiculous errors. I am already a huge underdog in this contest because most of my opponents are backed by special interest groups and/or can outspend me by at least 5 to 1. Having articles written about me that are full of erroneous information certainly does not help.

Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council


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Posted by where is the truth ?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Reading what Jim Neal has to say on this article, I'm wondering if DeBolt was inaccurate about him, can he be believed about the good things he is saying about the candidates that the Voice is endorsing ?


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Posted by huh?
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 13, 2012 at 7:07 am

Thanks Jim. Well said. Unfortunately, the Voice has always worked hand-in-hand with the real power here in Mountain View and departed from its journalistic responsibilities long ago.


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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Otto Maddox is a registered user.

The days of an unbiased even handed report of the news are long gone.

Everyone has a bias.. some hide it better than others but if you pay attention you'll see it.

The best way to find out what a candidate thinks, especially at the local level, is to just ask them. They are usually very accessible as Jim Neal has made obvious.


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Posted by John
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

We need elected officials to stand up to the high density developments and non elected city management.

Look at the incumbents record rather than "I'll say anything to get elected" and then resume normal business.

Seems we have a chance to get some new ideas on the council rather than same ol' same ol'.

Unfortunately same ol' keep getting reelected.


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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 16, 2012 at 8:59 am

Otto Maddox is a registered user.

I'm on an anti-incumbent kick.

Vote them all out of office. As others have said.. give some new people with (hopefully) new ideas a shot.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

Thank you, Jim. Clear, direct, and well written as always!


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Posted by Rob
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 16, 2012 at 10:24 am

I echo that we should remove the incumbents and give others a chance.

In particular, people should take a hard look at John Inks and his track record. He is willing to be bought by Google and continues voting on Google issues. Let's remember that he accepted a once-in-a-lifetime flight on Google's fighter plane. If you could buy this privilege (which you cannot), it would be worth more than $3500. If John Inks was honorable, he would have declined or offered this gift to a Mt. View resident through a lottery.


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Posted by 2012 Voter
a resident of Jackson Park
on Nov 1, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Thanks. This helped me decide who not to vote for...the incumbent Kasperzak! Mountain View does not need paid parking. I stopped going to downtown SJ because they discontinued free parking on Saturdays. Unless I'm going up to SF I refuse to pay to park! I live close enough to walk to downtown but if I have someone with me who can't walk that far than we drive. Sorry Mike but paid parking will hurt businesses not help them!


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Posted by Julia York
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 2, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Mr. Kasperzak, did you think before you made this comment, quote: "If parking had a cost for drivers, "maybe people would come to downtown Mountain View because they could find parking," he (Kasperzak) says. I would think that if new buildings-condos and and new rentals on Evelin Ave had two parking spots per unit, not one as they do, that would take cars off the streets to underground parking to underground parking under these condos/rentals. Also, making more parking space in the city would be the answer to this problem. If there is no place to build parking areas, leave it as is and we will deal with is as we are now.
You said to me personally that one car space per family is enough for Evelin Ave new buildings???!!! Charging for parking will drive people away so your philosophy must be that charging for parking will create more parking because fewer drivers will be willing to pay, thus less people will come into town of Mountain View. That is the most ridicules idea I have ever heard. DId you not think if over that less visitors in town will create problem to many small businesses in town including restaurants. Do not count on my vote. I am pro business and for free parking.


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Posted by Julia York
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 2, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Mr. Kasperzak, and furthermore regarding to your comment, quote: If parking had a cost for drivers, "maybe people would come to downtown Mountain View because they could find parking," he says. We have a lot of people coming to downtown Mountain View. Amount of people coming here is not a problem. You must be voted out not to decrease amount of visitors with your ridicules ideas.