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February 04, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, February 04, 2005

Mayor sticks up for Perry Mayor sticks up for Perry (February 04, 2005)

Business group stands by controversial letter

By Jon Wiener

An influential Silicon Valley lobbying group appears to have failed in its attempt to silence Mountain View City Council member Greg Perry and other critics of the proposed BART-to-San-Jose extension.

Mayor Matt Neely responded to a controversial letter from Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group executive director Carl Guardino last week, saying he would not remove Perry from a Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) advisory board.

"While I recognize your organization's frustration with many of the policy board's concerns about BART and transportation funding in our county, I am not prepared to change my appointment at this time," wrote Neely. "While we disagree on this point, I feel that our city and citizens are being appropriately represented on the Policy Advisory Board by Council member Perry."

Perry lost his bid for vice mayor, an election he was expected to win, in part because of his outspoken criticism of the $4.2-billion BART plans. Despite snubbing Perry, the council has been growing more critical of the BART project. And even some council members who did not support his bid to become vice mayor said they thought Guardino's letter was inappropriate.

Despite the public criticism, Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group said the letters had a positive effect. "An occasional stick of dynamite is needed to break a logjam," said director of communications Anthony Marek.

Guardino, who points to BART as the reason 2000 Measure A passed in 2000 with 70 percent of the county's vote, maintained that a majority of North County residents want the project. He sent letters to several cities whose members have spoken up against the extension at VTA meetings, complaining that the representatives were ignoring the will of their constituents.

Neely invited Guardino to attend a February study session on BART and further explain his position to the council.

E-mail Jon Wiener at [email protected]

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