Issue date: November 03, 2000
Candidates, community respond to political ad
Candidates, community respond to political ad
(November 03, 2000)
Endorsements don't compromise candidates
I find it very interesting that ex-Mountain View City Council member Jim Cochran and two current candidates for the Mountain View City Council, Rosemary Stasek and Mary Lou Zoglin, are "shocked" or concerned about compromising their "impartiality" or "integrity" with respect to political endorsements.
Included on every candidate flyer I've received since I've been a registered voter are lists of individuals and organizations backing candidates seeking election to posts from school board to President of the United States. I read those lists to help me decide whether candidates are backed by individuals or organizations whose opinions I respect or are important to me. This practice has been part of the election process for quite some time, and frankly I'm "shocked" that any political candidate believes that speaking to any group or individual seeking their endorsement would compromise one's integrity.
The candidate who is unafraid to be open and honest about their platform, and who speaks with as many individuals and organizations as possible seeking their support, has my respect. And when a candidate's views are most like the values and issues important to me, that candidate will also get my vote.
A candidate either has integrity or doesn't, is able to act impartially or can't -- an endorsement from a group or individual should not change that. Endorsements are nothing to be ashamed of and should not compromise a candidate with true integrity.
Firefighter clarifies ad
Thank you for allowing me to respond to, and correct, three of the letters to the editor printed last week regarding the firefighters' and police officers' endorsement ad in the Voice.
I would like to clarify for all readers that neither the police officers nor firefighters were involved in negotiations at the time we met with council candidates. We met with four of the six candidates on 9/21/00, and negotiations opened on 9/29/00.
I would also like to add that in every election dating back many years there have been candidates who have sought the endorsement of firefighters and police officers. The only thing different this year is that we have become more active about it, and yes, we have spent time and money in order to provide information to the community. The fact that firefighters and police officers are giving up portions of their own salaries should show how concerned we are regarding current issues within our government, and we feel the community has a right to know about those issues.
Regarding the "conflict of interest" concerns raised by Mayor Rosemary Stasek and Council member Mary Lou Zoglin, I do "appreciate their positions," and we are not here to try to force candidates to meet with us if they do not want to. Both candidates opted not to meet with public safety outside negotiations, yet they both chose to seek the endorsement of another labor organization located within our city, SEIU, through the South Bay Labor Council. This was done right in the middle of a highly publicized and difficult negotiation process with SEIU.
In a phone call to Dale Kuersten, the firefighters' president, Mayor Stasek denied seeking SEIU endorsement but stated that she agreed to meet and discuss issues with SEIU and the SBLC. In a phone message Christina Uribe, political director for the SBLC, advised me that Mayor Stasek did come seeking endorsement but was denied. Council members Zoglin and Ambra received the endorsement instead.
We respect and adhere to the rules of negotiations and we do not feel that they should be used as an excuse for council members not to meet with their employees. This takes away our abillity to communicate with one another on important inssues that may directly impact working conditions as well as the safety of our community.
Our hopes are to elect a city council made up of individuals who are accessible to city employees and responsive to their concerns, which are founded on a sincere desire to provide the highest posssible level of care and service. With the trust and support of our community we know that can be accomplished.
Zoglin responds to union
I would like those readers who have seen the Firefighters and Police Officers Association ad saying that I declined to discuss any issues with them to know that I have worked and will continue to work closely with both departments.
I'm particularly proud of the police department's many initiatives to keep young people from using drugs and to help at-risk youth and of the success of problem-oriented policing in preventing crime and solving neighborhood problems.
As mayor, I participated in the department's application for accreditation and accompanied officers to the annual meeting of the Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies to receive this honor. I voted to implement the Fire Department's emergency medical response program, which has brought a new level of service and comfort to all residents of the city.
It is only at bargaining time, when the interests of the city's residents as a whole may differ from those of one group of city employees, that I decline to talk privately with Association (union) representatives. At all other times, it is my pleasure to work closely with our fine police and fire departments.
Mary Lou Zoglin
Letter's conclusions unsound, Pear says
Jim Cochran obviously did not read my response to the Mountain View Professional Firefighters and Police Officers Association questionnaire (posted on my website, wwwElectPear.com) before he wrongly concluded that their endorsement might compromise my ability to make fair decisions regarding public safety issues in the future. If he had, he would know that I promised only to consider all aspects of any issue, and decide what is in the best interests for the residents of Mountain View.
Instead, Mr. Cochran made incorrect assumptions and came up with incorrect conclusions. In doing so, he conveniently ignored the fact that his favored candidates participated in interviews with the South Bay Labor Council, whose member union SEIU represents city employees, for exactly the same kind of endorsement and support.
The first priority of local government is the safety and security of its residents. I am proud and honored to have received the endorsement of Mountain View's firefighters and police officers because this is the true essence of what local government is all about.
Candidate for City Council
Ambra to Stasek: how does one union endorsement differ from another?
In an Oct. 27 letter fellow Council member Rosemary Stasek states that she did not seek the endorsement of local firefighters because she "felt that people might legitimately question my impartiality negotiating with a labor union whose political endorsement I had sought and perhaps received."
It should be noted that Ms. Stasek did seek the endorsement of the AFL-CIO (COPE), which includes unions representing many Mountain View city employees. She did not receive that endorsement.
I believe I received the endorsement of our local firefighters and police -- as well as COPE -- because I am willing to listen.
Kudos to Stasek for political stance
I am writing to thank Greg and Laura Blotter for their letter published in your Oct. 20 edition. Until I read that letter I wasn't fully aware that I was such a big fan of Rosemary Stasek. The three examples they provided demonstrating her "narrow personal agenda" strike me quite differently than they do the Blotters.
Regarding domestic partners benefits, the argument for fairness to city employees who otherwise would be denied material benefits befitting committed couples (but who are not allowed by law to marry) seems to have won the day.
The last time I looked it required a majority of the city council to pass new ordinances. If this is merely Ms. Stasek's personal agenda, she should at least be commended for her ability to persuade a majority of her fellow council members, if not the Blotters, to her way of thinking.
I support the change. In addition to being the right thing to do, this benefit allows the city to better compete for talented workers in a tight labor environment.
I agree with the Blotters on one point where they state that very few people may in fact enroll for these benefits. That may be right. And if so, then what's the big deal?
Regarding the standoff over development of the Emporium site, which we are told is "costing the city as much as $500,000 per month in lost revenue," I have to presume that this refers to some virtual tax revenue that might come to the city were Home Depot to occupy the site. I'm actually quite thankful that the city council, particularly in this post-Proposition 13 era, is not forced to recommend projects based primarily on revenue generating potential. There are quality of life issues at stake particularly for the residents in the immediate vicinity that should be given consideration.
I can only encourage Ms. Stasek and the rest of the city council to take it slow as they seek out the best project for that location that serves the interests of the entire community.
Regarding Ms. Stasek's decision not to join other city council candidates in a meeting with city fire and police workers, I think Ms. Stasek's letter to the editor (Oct. 27) explained the situation in a satisfactory manner. The city is currently negotiating a new contract with the Firefighters Union. Her impartiality in negotiating with the Firefighters Union might come into question were she to actively seek that group's endorsement. Given that the police and firefighters are paying for full-page ads in the Voice to support other candidates, her decision to avoid even the appearance of impropriety was made at some personal cost. The Blotters may find her judgment to be "appalling." I see it as sound and ethical.
Paul L. King
Soft money in Mountain View?
I was concerned to see that the Fire and Police Associations (unions of city employees) were spending a considerable amount of money for ads and mailing to support two of the city council candidates. The city and these groups are scheduled for contract negotiations. It is my understanding that the council this year adopted a voluntary campaign limit of $15,000 and that all candidates accepted that limit. The money spent by independent groups, however, does not count toward this total, and therefore renders the campaign limits meaningless.
Is this the beginning of "soft money" rearing its ugly head in Mountain View? At the national level, Sen. John McCain and others are working to eliminate this practice.
As a concerned citizen, I urge voters when reading these materials to take into account this tactic of buying influence.
Thoughts offered on city council campaign
Thoughts offered on city council campaign
(November 03, 2000)
Diversity a troubling issue in council campaign
I am quite disappointed with the choices of candidates for our city council election. It concerns me and, in talking with other residents, I feel we are voting for some people who really don't have our true concerns at heart. Insuring we have elected officials that represent all sides and segments of this community appears to be getting more difficult.
The desire to have people run for public office and serve the community has left many residents. Laws have been put in place that prohibit certain occupations. The perceived time commitment is unattainable for most. Serving as a council member was never intended to be a full-time job. Many good residents who would be great candidates look at it as a burden instead of an honor to serve.
The major newspaper and other local community papers have endorsed the current incumbents. I will vote for them also because the alternatives, I feel, are steps backwards for the Mountain View community as a whole.
Mr. Perry and Mr. Pear are not experienced enough and/or have unrealistic understandings of the problems that face our community.
Mr. Pear especially concerns me with his view of Mountain View diversity awareness and needs. He said during the KMVT candidates' debate on Oct. 19 that we now live in a color-blind society and discrimination doesn't exist as it has in the past. Tell that to the residents who have filed racial profiling complaints with the police department in this city.
Service to the community should encompass the needs of all of our residents, not just special interests, corporations, unions, and the affluent.
Don't be fooled by yard signs or lack thereof. Don't be fooled by personality likes and dislikes. Don't be fooled by full-page endorsements and pre-election promises. Don't just look at degrees from prestigious universities. College education is sometimes not as valuable as community education. Look at the candidates' records and backgrounds and how they have served and if they have the interest of the entire community at heart.
In re: Calderon
In an Oct. 27 article, it is pointed out that political signs in support of incumbent City Council members Rosemary Stasek and Nancy Noe are posted on the property of Anita and Aaron Grossman.
In what I call the "Calderon Property Scheme," Stasek and Noe, on May 9, voted to authorize city staff to work a special sale of a 13,093 square foot lot off Calderon Avenue to four adjacent property owners on W. Dana Street, including the Grossmans, without any public bidding to determine the lot's actual value.
At the time, a made-to-order "appraisal" asserted that the fully developable residential lot was only worth $15 per square foot ($195,000). A city-owned 14,542 square foot lot around the corner is now appraised at over $750,000. In mid-June, the adjacent property owners claimed to have stopped pursuing the lot, but the city has delayed any sale until after the election.
Nancy Noe, according to the article, does not deny knowing some of the adjacent property owners either -- she just asserts that posting her political sign was the first overt act of "political support I got from the Grossmans."
In the article, Stasek and Noe do not explain why they voted to authorize the special no-bid sale to persons they knew personally; nor do they ever attempt to specifically answer the other contentions set forth in my unpublished letter-to-the-editor turned community flier titled: "Stasek and Noe are unfit for re-election to the Mountian View City Council."
Gary B. Wesley
A helping hand for candidates
I attended the Monta Loma neighborhood city council round table last Thursday night and was happy to hear Jim Cochran stand up and say something I agree with. He said the citizens of Mountain View should appreciate the time, money, and effort the city council candiates have invested to serve our community, and that we should help them by mailing a contribution to help cover their campaign expenses.
I couldn't agree more. I think citizens could also show their appreciation by putting knocked-down campaign signs back up, and reprimanding people they see knocking signs down. Even if people don't agree with a candidate, they should do so in the voting booth.
Don't waste hard-working candidates' time and money to replace signs that you break. And if schoolchildren think that knocking down a sign is daring, why don't they be even more daring and fix a candidate's broken sign?
Robert C. Schick
Support for Kleitman, Filicetti in school board race
Support for Kleitman, Filicetti in school board race
(November 03, 2000)
Kleitman for school board
Your failure to endorse Joe Kleitman for School Board gives us yet one more reason to support him. Here are some others:
1) Joe has always supported young people in issues and city projects.
2) As Mountain View City Council member he endeavored to bring many perspectives of an issue to the dais to assure a full discussion, rather than just pushing his personal agenda. That's integrity. Elected officials with integrity are getting harder to find around here.
3) As mayor of Mountain View, Joe was a great facilitator in open council meetings. He was able to create a non-intimidating atmosphere while still keeping our meetings on track. Our current mayor could take some notes here. This open yet orderly atmosphere is imperative if we really want community involvement, and Joe can foster this.
4) Joe listens. He is interested in other views, even if he might not share them.
5) Joe Kleitman has our endorsement and vote on Election Day.
Andy and Catherine Knipe
In support of Kleitman
I am writing this letter in support of Joe Kleitman. I have heard Mr. Kleitman speak at several principals' coffees at Huff School. What has impressed me most is his genuine concern for all the children in the Mountain View School District. His focus has always been on including all of Mountain View and the Mountain View School District, as well as making Huff better than great. He cares for all issues, whether they are academic success, teacher morale, or parent involvement.
For this reason, I write to let the Mountain View community know another side of Joe Kleitman and why I am giving him my support and my vote on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
An endorsement for Filicetti
I am writing this letter as an endorsement for Rose Filicetti, candidate for trustee on the merged Mountain View/Whisman School District Board. As a trustee on the Mountain View School District Board, I have seen how hard she works, how much she time invests, and how knowledgable she is about education issues. Most importantly, she is not afraid to ask the tough questions of the district's administrators. I strongly endorse her candidacy for trustee on the merged MVSD/Whisman Board.
Trustee, Mountain View School District Board
School board endorsements 'horrify'
I was horrified to read your editorial endorsing candidates for the merged Whisman-Mountain View School Board. Your refusal to endorse Rose Filicetti shows that you do not have an understanding of what the job of the school board is. It also demonstrates that it is the Voice, and not Rose that is out of touch with the community.
You do pay lip service to Rose's hard work. She is, of all of the candidates running, the one who has worked the hardest on school board issues. I know, because I have worked closely with her on many of them over the years. Rose was involved with the merger right from the very beginning, and understands fully what that merger will entail.
Merging two organizations into one, even two organizations with similar goals, values, and purposes will require endless hours of work, thoughtful consideration and understanding of the issues, and a great deal of sensitivity to the differences in management that those organizations have. As a member of the Mountain View School Board, Rose participated in the Strategic Planning process for The Whisman School District, as well as in other Whisman District activities. She and I spent a great deal of time over the years discussing our respective districts, and the issues they were facing. Thus, she has the best understanding of any of the candidates of both districts, not just her own.
You base your decision on two controversial issues, out of the history of six years of work as a board member. These are two issues in which Rose took positions that were different from the editorial position of the Voice: the Morgan Center, and the adoption of the district math standards.
Rose acknowledged in her interview with you, how unhappy she was with the way the Morgan Center issue was handled. She agonized over this decision, and we spent many hours discussing how things could have been handled differently. During this time she was bombarded with letters and other communications from members of the public, some quite hateful, telling her that they didn't want that program in their neighborhood. It was a very difficult time.
Finally, the math standards. It is here that the actions of the Voice are most egregious. You gave a great deal of attention to a very small, but very vocal group of individuals and completely ignored the positions of the majority who were present at those meetings. I will not go into the merits of the state versus the national standards except to say that there is a great deal of concern on the part of many educators about the state standards. There is honest disagreement about them which you failed to acknowledge in your reporting of this issue.
When my family made the decision to move out of Mountain View I left secure in the knowledge that Rose Filicetti would be there to continue to build on the framework of the hard work that the merger committee completed. Your extremely shortsighted editorial threatens to undermine that hard work, and is a disservice to the school children of Mountain View.
Sanda Jo Spiegel
Former President, Whisman School Board
A different standard for Filicetti?
I'm disappointed at the logic that led you to endorse Carol Fisher and not Rose Filicetti. It almost feels as if you are holding Rose to a standard higher than the one you used for Carol! Rose dedicated hundreds of hours to the successful bond measure campaign -- many more than other board members, I believe. She effectively reached out to all residents in her district.
As a Whisman District resident and long-time board member, I appreciate the difficulties boards face. As an outsider, knowing only what the media told us, I, too, was unhappy, for example, with the Morgan Center process but see little difference in the roles these two very hard-working, positively oriented board members played.
The worst error prospective and sometimes sitting board members make is attempting to manage. Board members are not administrators.
As an individual, a board member can affect process, philosophy, and policy only through suggestion, not by dictating. Only the board as a whole can shape the process, philosophy and policy.
So where is the difference? Certainly, hindsight serves us all well, but Rose Filicetti clearly learns from mistakes; she listens well and has a vision for her district as well as a merged district. She deserves your endorsement and the voters' support.
Filicetti deserved endorsement
We are writing to express our surprise and disappointment with the Voice's failure to endorse Rose Filicetti for the merged school board. Rose is a dedicated school board member who has been actively involved in the education community of Mountain View. A member of the Joint Board Committee, she has been a champion for the merger from the very start.
We agree with the Voice, that "Rose Filicetti is unquestionably hard-working as a Mountain View School District trustee." Rose is so much more than a board member who just attends Monday evening meetings. It is apparent when watching Rose at board meetings that she has thoroughly studied the materials prior to the meeting and comes ready to ask probing, insightful questions.
We have worked with Rose for many years in a variety of capacities, including the 1998 School Bond Campaign, the Mountain View School District and Whisman School District Strategic Planning Committees, the Mountain View Education Foundation, the PTA, the Community Committee for the Merger, Yes on Measure C, the Parent Leadership Network, and Leadership Mountain View.
Throughout these interactions we have found Rose to be a thoughtful listener and effective communicator. She gathers information from many sources, and communicates it to her broad network to inform others on local and state issues. As a school board member, Rose asks questions, even the really tough questions, and listens carefully to diverse opinions, both at board meetings and during casual conversations in the community. She ultimately bases her decisions on the varied input and discussion she has heard. This is one of her greatest strengths.
As the executive director of the Santa Clara County School Boards Association and a member of the California School Boards Association's Delegate Assembly, Rose has many years of experience that are extremely valuable in that she has a perspective on education that is broader than just our district. She is able to understand what is going on at the state level and translate the impact on our district to other board members and the public. Rose's deep connection throughout the community is evidenced by her many endorsements from parents, teachers, elected officials, and local and regional leaders in education.
With the challenges facing us as we merge our districts, we cannot afford to lose one of our most effective, capable, and experienced leaders. The children of Mountain View need Rose Filicetti on the merged school board. Her experience, wisdom, hard work, and inclusiveness are vital to the merged district's success. We respectfully ask fellow community members to vote for Rose Filicetti on Tuesday.
Mark Dietz and Carey Holubar
Sally J. Lieber, Council member
Mike Kasperzak, Council member
Lack of support for Filicetti 'surprising'
I am surprised by the lack of Voice endorsement of Rose Filicetti for the merged Mountain View and Whisman School District. I do not understand the Voice's criteria for deciding to provide endorsements or not. Rose has been a dedicated member of the Mountain View School District board for years, was instrumental in the original committees to study the merger of Mountain View and Whisman School Districts, and is serving on the Measure C Merger Committee. She also serves in numerous other civic volunteer positions including a current term as the secretary of the Leadership Mountain View Council. I give my endorsement to Rose.
In other news
In other news
(November 03, 2000)
Public footed bill for Bush's Rangers
This week George Bush called for an "era of personal responsibility." How does this square with the way he and his fellow owners of the Texas Rangers baseball team got the taxpayers to pay for their new stadium a few years back? His crew turned around, and in traditional Robber Baron fashion, made good ol' private sector profits while shifting the costs to the public.
"Personal responsibility" my (cowboy) hat! How much of the $1.6 million income he reported last year came from this public subsidy?
Identifying PTA officer was misleading?
In regards to the articles about Mountain View School District teacher contract negotiations, it is misleading to quote a parent and also state at the same time that they are a PTA officer. This leads one to believe that the PTA is in some way involved in the parent's position on these negotiations, which is not the case. Let us summarize the PTA guidelines for employee-employer negotiations.
The PTA is an organization whose membership is composed of parents, teachers, students, school district employees, school board and other concerned community members all working together to promote the welfare of our children. The PTA recognizes that during the current work-to-contract situation in the Mountain View School Districts, parents will do what they think is best for their child(ren) regardless of any affiliation with PTA.
PTA will not take sides on any dispute arising from employer-employee negotiations and must remain neutral.
During this period of negotiations, the PTAs will continue normal volunteer activities at the schools.
Catherine Vonnegut and Claudia Hevel
Co-Presidents, Los Altos-Mountain View PTA Council
A raise for Mountain View teachers
Mountain View teachers deserve a two-digit raise immediately. This should not be debated. The teachers are the most valued assets of the Mountain View School District and our community. Their raise needs to get the highest priority of all budget items. Unfortunately, it appears that a lot of high-priority issues get mismanaged in the Mountain View School District (teacher raises, the math program...).
I would like to commend the Voice for its editorials on all important issues facing Mountain View. You have been doing a great public service. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
A question of attitude
I was surprised to read that C&C body shop failed to admit that their bad neighbor behavior has brought the neighborhood ire. They have violated city regulations for years. Yet C&C believes they "deserve" the city's help in relocating.
Why should Mountain View encourage a business to stay when it has been a bad neighbor? In a new location they will find some other ordinance to violate. If C&C really wants to "solve" their parking problem, they would acquire the adjacent lots and park cars next door. The lots next to C&C are empty. Next we have the overall esthetics of C&C's building. Why don't they make the building attractive? C&C misses the point. Mountain View wants businesses that are good neighbors and obey local ordinances. After reading the Voice article, it appears to me that C&C seems recalcitrant instead of cooperative.
Prop 13 still needed
I was surprised to see in your "Around Town" interviews published 10-6-2000, that 4 of the 5 people were completely in favor of repealing proposition 13, the one person who was not clearly in favor of repeal was also not clear about not wanting it repealed.
I think Proposition 13 was passed in 1978; perhaps that was so long ago that people have forgotten why we needed it! Property taxes at that time were rising so fast people were forced to sell their homes because they could not afford to pay the taxes. Of course, it was seniors who were most often the victims of out-of-control taxation.
Many younger people today or people who bought their homes after Prop 13 do not realize they too are the benefactors of the protection provided by the most important proposition ever passed in California. If we did not have the 2 percent annual cap on property tax increases, even those people who bought as recently as 2 to 3 years ago would have a major increase in their taxes.
Without Prop 13, your property would be taxed at 1 percent of the current market value. For every $100,000 in increased value your property tax bill would increase by $1000. What are homes in your neighborhood selling for? Could you afford the tax?
At the time, I favored Proposition 8, which was less drastic and felt more fair, but that was not passed. To "repeal" Proposition 13 would cause great hardship for families as well as seniors. Think about how much the value of your home has increased since you bought it, and then compare that to the increase you have had in your property tax. That says it all!
This state is awash in tax revenue. I cannot imagine why we should be looking for ways to increase the state's income. Our government has developed an insatiable appetite for our money. Californians are overtaxed already!
El Camino Real