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November 05, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, November 05, 2004

Pear, Galiotto re-elected Pear, Galiotto re-elected (November 05, 2004)

Means, Macias edge out other challengers

By Jon Wiener

Mountain View's city council race drew to a close in the wee hours Tuesday morning, as Mayor Matt Pear and former police captain Nick Galiotto easily won re-election.

Pear led all vote-getters with 11,432 votes for 21.18 percent of the total. Galiotto came in a clear second at 17.3 percent with 9,336 votes.

Challengers Tom Means and Laura Macias edged out Margaret Abe-Koga and Stephanie Schaaf to fill the two seats being vacated by Rosemary Stasek and Mary Lou Zoglin.

The four challengers on the ballot were separated by only a few hundred votes.

"I'm just very delighted the voters had confidence to elect me for another four years," Pear said.

The biggest surprise of the night was Means' third-place finish. An economics professor at San Jose State University and a parks and recreation commissioner, Means spent only $5,000 on his campaign and did not seek the endorsements of any outside groups. His 8,414 votes constituted 15.59 percent of the vote and made him the only candidate to have more votes than dollars spent on the campaign.

Means spent the night of the election taking down his campaign signs with his wife and then watching election returns at home.

Means did not want to claim victory until all of the precincts had reported their votes. That did not happen until after midnight on Tuesday.

"I'm not a big stat man," he said, "except to say, in the end, I got more votes."

Macias will be the only woman on the council after taking fourth place with 8,400 votes.

"I'm surprised," she said. "I really thought the women would have a better showing." Macias, who hosted a party at Zucca restaurant on Tuesday night, added that she was willing to speak for the women of Mountain View.

Human relations commissioner Margaret Abe-Koga and community activist Stephanie Schaaf -- among the leading fund-raisers in the race -- narrowly missed election. Abe-Koga tallied 8,207 votes and Schaaf 8,109.

Abe-Koga boasted the support of key local figures in the Democratic Party, connections she made while working in U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo's district office. But another controversy over a political mailer may have hurt her chances.

Council member Greg Perry sent an e-mail to 20 people, including reporters, accusing Abe-Koga and Macias of cooperating with the County Democratic Committee on a mailer that was sent to voters last week, endorsing both candidates.

Perry also raised questions about another Abe-Koga mailer sent this summer, ultimately prompting her to reduce the amount she spent on her campaign by nearly $3,000.

Perry retracted his allegations against Macias after she saw his e-mail and called him to tell her side of the story. But she said later that it seemed that he was targeting Abe-Koga.

Perry also faced criticism from candidates and other council members for getting involved in the campaign.

"I'm very disappointed that he continued to make false accusations," Abe-Koga said. She added that she did not think Perry's actions affected the final vote tally.

When asked before the election how he would feel if his actions impacted the outcome, Perry pointedly said, "I would feel bad if I cost Laura the election."

Schaaf, whose party at the Tied House restaurant emptied out before the final returns came in, sent an e-mail to her supporters Wednesday morning thanking them for helping with her campaign.

The young software engineer said she will continue to be involved in local politics.

"Although I am disappointed to lose the race, I have great respect for the winners and I feel confident that Mountain View will be in good hands for the next four years," she wrote.

Schaaf said she wanted to set an example of a successful grassroots campaign. Despite limiting contributions to $250 each and refusing organizational money, she outpaced her opponents by raising more than $17,000.

But Tuesday's election had little to do with money or endorsements and seemingly more to do with years in town. The order in which the candidates finished correlated directly with how long they have each lived in Mountain View.

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