TONIGHT: Council takes up HSR, Cuesta tennis

The City Council has a packed agenda tonight, including a study session on high speed rail, proposed utility rate increases, home loans for city employees and the selection of a new operator for the city's much-loved Cuesta tennis courts.

The meeting kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with a major discussion about high speed rail, including whether to sign a memorandum of understanding with a coalition of Peninsula cities who have been critical of the California High Speed Rail Authority.

During the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. the council is set to pick a new operator for the Cuesta tennis courts. From a list of four applicants, city staffers have recommended Mountain View Tennis, comprised of Los Gatos community tennis operator Todd Dissly along with Nick Fustar and Brian Eagle, who operate the Santa Clara University, Mission College and West Valley College tennis courts.

To compensate for increased water, garbage and sewer costs, the council is also expected to raise utility rates for residents, which will equal an average increase of $1.15 for garbage service and $1.15 for sewer service per month. Water services for a household that uses 250 gallons per day would have its water bill increase from $31.18 to $32.74.

The council will also decide a plan to help city employees, especially new police and firefighters, buy their first homes in Mountain View by providing low interest $100,000 loans. The city would make 20 such loans available by using $1 million in general fund reserves and $1 million in below market rate housing funds.

Several amendments to the city zoning code that could provide some relief to property owners in the commercial service zone on Old Middlefield Way are also up for approval.

The council is also expected to adopt the 2009-10 general fund operating budget, which includes about $4 million in budget cuts.

The meeting agenda and staff reports are available here.

— Daniel DeBolt


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Posted by Caltrain Rider
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I hope the city of Mountain View will consider joining with the Peninsula cities in the high speed rail coalition. All the cities that will be immediately and intimately and forever impacted by high speed rail need to be able to draw from a position of political strength - not necessarily because one size fits all for the ultimate high speed rail configuration, but rather to ENSURE that "one size fits all" is not imposed by the high speed rail authority. The CHSRA is clearly interested in ~any~ lowest cost implementation, with minimal regard for the econimic health and welfare of the communities, which is not an appropriate criteria. Lowest cost implementation can do some very scary, ugly and distressful things to our communities if we don't fight for what is right. Mountain View will be a host of high speed rail forever after, please ensure that you have the political voice to make sure they do right by Mountain View.

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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

The best low-cost implementation would be to stop it in SJ and not destroy our neighborhoods like BART's elevated tracks did in Oakland.

Tranit planners wanted HSR to go to SJ via the Altamont Pass. Politicians want it on the Peninsula. Why?

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Posted by Bruno
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2009 at 3:24 pm

It is my hope that our residents don't make a hasty decision to join a NIMBY movement. There is a very good reason why those cities don't want HSR, they've built their homes up against the tracks. We in Mtn. View on the other hand do not have that same issue, there's a lot of space. Don't let these other cities try to bully Mtn. View into joining their pity party.

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Posted by Spokker
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Tennis courts? What a boondoggle.

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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Bruno, I live nowhere near the tracks, so there is nothing NIMBY-ish about my opposition. I'd like an answer to what transit expert decided that added billions for this route made more sense than the original plan.

Sending this thing up the Peninsula is an expensive boondoggle with a negligable return on investment.

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Posted by Bruno
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm

You would rather start from square one. The route has been chosen and if this keeps up I won't be able to ride this train until I'm 60.

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Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm

It would seem to be in Mountain View's best interest to have the HSR end in San Jose, where commuters could then take an electrified version of Caltrain. Why are we trying to get people to SF as fast as possible while denying local communities a chance for their dollars. The time difference would only be 30 minutes. Stopping HSR in San Jose would also save a ton of money on this boondoggle which is destined to have cost over runs and ultimately be tax-payer subsidized for many generations to come.

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Posted by curious
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 9, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Bruno, have you ever driven on Central?? There are plenty of houses and business areas like Castro St. that would be totally disrupted. We need to join with the other Peninsula cities to fight this poorly thought through boondoggle. Stop it at San Jose and electrify Caltrain on the peninsula is the only idea that remotely makes sense. Like Ben Franklin said, "We must hang together or we will hang separately."

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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2009 at 8:06 pm

The areas that will be devastated by HSR are occupied largely by voiceless lower income members of our community. Bruno, Rod Diridon, the City Council and other HSR cheerleaders have shown their level of concern for these people.

Like this comment
Posted by Erin Horbach
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 10, 2009 at 8:23 pm

I'd understand that the council 'must' increase fees for garbage, water and sewer costs, but I'd also like to see the an incentive to use less of all three other than just an additional $1 in fees.

I often do not need to put out my garbage bin weekly because I compost my food waste, and I purchase items with as little packaging as possible to avoid adding waste to our landfills. But what incentive do I have to continue to do these things if I have to pay for a minimum 20gal garbage bin? And on top of my efforts, I even have to pay extra when others are not mindful as I am.

Furthermore, I have chosen to not purchase a home in this area because it financially does not make sense for my family. Why are we providing loans to people (e.g. new firefighters) who also financially cannot afford the abnormally high real estate in this area? Instead, it makes sense to put effective legislation in place which protects renters and ensures that certain standards and rent rate controls are maintained. That would be the financially more sound approach to ensuring we all have a secure and happy home.

Like this comment
Posted by test
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 10, 2009 at 8:25 pm


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