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Issue date: February 25, 2000

The Year of the Kids The Year of the Kids (February 25, 2000)

Children and youth issues top list of council priorities for 2000

by Karen Willemsen

Mountain View's City Council chose its goals for the year 2000 at a casual working meeting Tuesday night. Faced with a plethora of projects already in the pipeline, such as the new community center, or unavoidably on the way, like next year's municipal elections, the council had little room to equivocate.

Nonetheless, armed with colored dots and dogged determination, they chose among those that remained. Mountain View kids and teens should be pleased to learn that following the work of former Mayor Mary Lou Zoglin, who did much to promote the city's youth advisory board and youth ad hoc committees, youth initiatives moved to the top of the council's agenda for 2000-2001. Those initiatives led to expansion of opportunities to study after hours at the library, and may yet help the city build a new skatepark.

The most discussed topic proved to be affordable and accessible child care. Mayor Rosemary Stasek lobbied hard for it, saying ,"The time is now for this issue. The task force should be jumping on Whisman School as a child care facility. It should also be on our list from a policy perspective. This is right on our radar screen."

Council member Sally Lieber agreed, but clarified that the city's role should be to promote and facilitate the work of the volunteer Child Care Task Force and other groups, not to run its own after-school programs.

The council members also decided that they want to review the city's current economic development strategies and start planning for Mountain View's centennial celebration in 2002.

Surprisingly a few projects remained without support.

The losers included redesign of Moffett Boulevard, the search for a new day worker center, neighborhood parks, and the use of city-owned properties. The idea is that those issues, while significant, can wait until next year if staff time, or city finances, start to look tight.

"This is not your final decision," City Manager Kevin Duggan told the council. "But staff time is at a premium, and they need some guidance from you.

"Well of course," replied Stasek. "We can't whip out our seven flip charts full of projects everytime someone asks us what our priorities are. This is a statement about what is important to us."

Already in the pipeline, with funding secured, are plans to build a new Fire Station Two on Grant Road, to renovate the front nine holes at Shoreline's golf course, and and to do a study of potential service and commercial zones around town.

The city already underwent several major area studies in the past couple of years. The Whisman neighborhood, the North Bayshore area, and currently the Americana area each had new or amended Precise Plans drawn up, to guide development.

But new studies proposed for El Camino Real and North Rengstorff fell by the wayside. So did the plan to build a more permanent Fire Station Five in the North Bayshore business area.

"Of course if it crumbles to the ground, I'm sure we'll reconsider," joked council member Ralph Faravelli.

Stasek told the council and the staff to pat themselves on the back, telling them, "We are doing more this year than some cities do in ten years." 


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