Some familiar names throw hats in ring
Council runs start early as Kasperzak, Crank and Inks return for 2008 election
With four seats on the City Council up for grabs this November, a few candidates are lining up early.
Though the nomination period does not begin until July 15, Alicia Crank, John Inks and Mike Kasperzak have expressed interest — either to the Voice or by filing a statement of intent with the city clerk — in running.
Two of the four council seats will become available when Matt Pear and Nick Galiotto term out. Incumbents Tom Means and Laura Macias, who were elected in 2004, are expected to run for reelection.
After withdrawing from the race for Sally Lieber's state Assembly seat last year, Kasperzak is looking to join the council again. He termed out in 2006 after an eight-year stint, but he wouldn't be the first to seek election to another term after the required two-year break. Others who have done so include Angelo Frozolone, Marcy Freelan and Pat Figeroa, who managed to hold a council seat for a total of 18 years after filling a vacant seat for two years.
Kasperzak says his unique selling point is experience. Unless he is elected, the average council tenure will be two years, he says. With many top city staff members at or near retirement age, experience has become a valuable asset for a council member.
The former Republican switched to the Democratic Party in 2006, and said he recently spent some time in Texas campaigning for presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Environmental sustainability is a new focus for Kasperzak, who is organizing this year's group purchase of solar panels from the SolarCity company. He seems more passionate than ever about building new homes to ease housing demand and reduce commuting, and said he agreed wholeheartedly with the pro-housing op-ed article in the March 21 Voice by environmentalists Michele Beasley and Beth Mezias.
Crank and Inks try again
In 2006, John Inks and Alicia Crank were the top un-elected council candidates, with Inks narrowly losing to Jac Siegel.
These days, Inks is in the midst of taking a serious look at the general plan as the chair of the environmental planning commission, while Crank continues her work as a member of the human relations commission.
Inks says there is no arguing that the city's population will increase, and he looks at it not in terms of how much the city will allow itself to grow, but "how the growth is going to happen." Still, he said, growth should consider quality of life and the preservation of open space.
Since 2006, Crank has continued as a member of the human relations commission and has developed a close relationship with the police department. She was the first to submit a statement of intent for this year's election, saying "It's never too early to start." Public safety issues are a top priority for her, especially in light of recent gang activity and the two murders in February.
"We do have gangs in Mountain View," Crank said. "We also have a gang task force that's working really hard. We need to get [the council] more involved."
In 2006, Crank put forth a campaign for "community first" or "public interests, not special interests." Last week she told the Voice she opposes the recent slew of council-approved developments that will replace affordable apartments with more expensive condos.
E-mail Daniel DeBolt at firstname.lastname@example.org