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Issue date: March 10, 2000

@vcredit:Karen Willemsen

Liz Kniss celebrates with friends Tuesday night after finishing first in the primary for county supervisor. She will face a run-off in November against Dolly Sandoval.

Area politicos see good, bad in election Area politicos see good, bad in election (March 10, 2000)

Kniss and Sandoval feel votes on juvenile justice and school bond passage "the wrong approach"

by Karen Willemsen

The high points were pure elation, and the low points, numbing disbelief.

Election night found many Mountain View politicians celebrating the results for Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors candidates Liz Kniss of Palo Alto and Dolly Sandoval of Cupertino. As the No. 1 and No. 2 vote-getters, respectively, they'll face each other in a run-off race for the Fifth District supervisor's position in November.

At an election night celebration for front-runner Kniss, who is the current mayor of Palo Alto and a former public health nurse, local politicians, media, and supporters from Mountain View, Los Altos, and her home town of Palo Alto shared hugs and toasts while they watched the results come in from the statewide races.

Mountain View city council members Ralph Faravelli, Mike Kasperzak, and Mario Ambra, who are campaigning for Kniss, listened as she praised both Sandoval and Terry Trumbull, also of Palo Alto, for engaging with her in a spirited campaign. Mountain View environmental planning commissioner and former mayor Joe Kleitman were also in the audience.

Looking ahead to the November run-off, Kniss told her supporters, "The county board of supervisors will spend $2.2 billion of your money next year. It's inordinately important that we think about how that money should be spent and how our city (of Palo Alto) and nearby ones will be represented at the county level."

Conversation at Kniss's gathering also focused on the failure of Proposition 26, which would have allowed a simple majority vote for passing school bond measures, and on the success of Propositions 12 and 13, two environmental initiatives to fund clean air and water projects and neighborhood parks.

"I'm happy about 12 and 13, but honestly I'm very disappointed with the rest, particularly the Proposition 21, the juvenile crime bill," said Kniss. "It's the wrong approach on children's issues."

Kleitman said he voted for 26, while Liz Ambra, who works in adult education and is married to Mario Ambra, voted against it.

In Cupertino, Sandoval hosted a Tuesday night party for over 100 supporters. A teacher by profession, Sandoval is the current board president for the Foothill/DeAnza Community College District. She has also served with the Valley Transportation Authority and has worked on affordale housing issues.

Among her guests were Republican Greg Zlotnick, a Mountain View resident who won voters' approval to head the Santa Clara Valley Water District, and supporters from Democrats Mike Honda's and Byron Sher's campaigns.

Honda will challenge Republican Jim Cuneen for the 15th Congressional District, which covers Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and points south.

Sher is the longtime Democratic incumbent running for state Senate District 11. He will face Republican Gloria Hom in November.

Mountain View is currently divided into two state senate districts represented by both Sher and State Senator John Vasconcellos.

Sandoval believes the diversity of her supporters speaks to the universality of her campaign's issues.

"My message has always been about youth services, fiscal management, affordable housing, and so forth and that won't change," she said.

Mountain View council member Sally Lieber, a Sandoval supporter, agrees the race had three very good candidates this past Tuesday. "I'm very happy she made the run-off," said Lieber, adding, "What will be interesting to see is where the environmental vote goes, now that Terry Trumbull is out. I was impressed with the number of volunteers he had, the support he got from the Sierra Club. He obviously had some very intelligent ideas."

Mountain view mayor Rosemary Stasek is also endorsing Sandoval but stayed home to catch the news on her other favorite candidate, presidential hopeful Bill Bradley, who fared less well.

Lieber also told the Voice that she was displeased by the outcome of Proposition 22.

"That was a major disappointment to me, because it's a human rights issue. I am married, and both my husband and I feel that the Knight initiative is not just unkind, it will have a real and negative effect on people's lives -- on the ability of gay partners to visit each other in the hospital, to care for each other and their children. I did campaign against it and I plan to continue doing so," Lieber concluded.

The environmental propositions, 12 and 13, earned broad support throughout the county. In the national elections, incumbent U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo, the lone Democratic candidate for the 14th Congressional District, handily won the primary to run again for her seat, earning 70 percent of the vote.

"She is the best, the best!" Kniss gushed about Eshoo, who flew in from Washington to attend Kniss's party. Eshoo said modestly of her success, "Well, you know I lost in '88, so every time someone tells me they voted for me I get so damned happy I can't tell you."

Noting the turnout of 170,000 of the 340,000 eligible voters in the county, Kleitman said, "That's another message of this election. So about half the voters came out to vote. That's also an important message, that if people think there is something to vote for they'll vote. They have the freedom not to vote, too."


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