Kasperzak says he'd be 'accessible' as mayor
In its first meeting of 2012 the City Council is expected to choose a mayor for next year, and if all goes according to city guidelines, Vice Mayor Mike Kasperzak will take the helm and John Inks will become vice mayor.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the council is expected to vote Jan. 3 for Kasperzak to take over the mayoral duties of running meetings, setting agendas, signing documents and regularly speaking with constituents. Mayor Jac Siegel will step down from the year-long post that rotates among council members.
"That would be the rotation, but you never take anything for granted," Kasperzak said. "It's an awkward position. We have the policy but you don't want to be presumptive."
"The big issue is usually who gets to be vice mayor," Kasperzak added. "I can't recall somebody becoming mayor without being vice mayor."
Inks is the only member of the council who has yet to be mayor. It would be an unusual departure from the norm if Inks were passed over, though it has happened on occasion. Greg Perry was passed over in 2005, which Kapserzak supported in a surprising 4-3 vote. "I don't expect that to happen," to Inks, Kasperzak said.
If Kasperzak gets the job, he said he would like to focus on encouraging civic engagement through new technologies, such as the new online forum service Palo Alto, Berkeley and other cities are planning to use called Open Town Hall.
"It is a civic engagement website where people can post but you can't do it anonymously," Kasperzak said. "They do moderate it and if posts become disrespectful they get moved to the parking lot."
"Two hundred people may show up at a council meeting, but what are the other 74,000 people of Mountain View thinking?" Kasperzak said. "You aren't going get all of them on a civic engagement website but it would be interesting to see how more people view the issues."
There is a cost to using such a service. According to Open Town Hall's website, the company uses "in-house staff and patent-pending software to monitor every comment," to create a forum that will "follow the order and decorum of a government hearing."
Kasperzak says he also aims to run meetings efficiently and make sure agendas aren't packed in order to be respectful of the audience's time.
He plans to schedule office hours soon for the public at coffee shops around the city, something he called "Mocha with the Mayor," in 2003.
"I'm always willing to meet with people," Kasperzak said. "My phone number has been in phone book for the 35 years I've been in Mountain View. If you want to call me, give me a call. Being accessible is really important to me."
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