Three MV council members eyeing Kniss' seat

Macias, Kasperzak and Abe-Koga considering run for Board of Supervisors in 2012

A trio of Mountain View City Council members -- Margaret Abe-Koga, Laura Macias and Mike Kasperzak -- said this week that they are considering a run to replace county supervisor Liz Kniss when she terms out in 2012.

A number of prospective candidates from Palo Alto and Cupertino are also lining up to replace Kniss after her 12th year on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, even though the general election is two years away, the council members said.

Running a typical county supervisor campaign requires raising as much as $250,000, Abe-Koga said, as well as making it through a June primary before the November general election. Campaigning is really only a year away, Macias said.

Lawyer and mediator Kasperzak said he had the advantage of having had worked with Liz Kniss on all three of her campaigns. He said the county is facing many for the same sort of financial problems the city has had to deal with. There are so many issues," he said. "To me the most serious issues have to do with continuing financial stability of the county."

Macias, who works in government relations for Comcast, said she would advocate for merging the Valley Transportation Authority and the Santa Clara Valley Water district with the county in order to find "economies of scale" and to have more accountability in leadership.

"Being someone who's run two successful campaigns, I'm really excited. I think it could be really fun," Macias said about running. She attended a campaign camp over the summer paid for by the memorial fund of Paul Wellstone, the Minnesota democratic senator killed in a 2002 plane crash.

Abe-Koga, a stay at home mother of two, was a little less excited to talk about the county supervisor's race, having just won re-election this month to the City Council. She felt like she came under fire for being the top fundraiser (she spent about $20,000) and for being endorsed by several unions. The South Bay Labor Council said she was the best candidate in the Mountain View council race.

"If you can't raise money you aren't viable as a candidate" Abe-Koga said. "People expect you to be able to raise $100,000 (for the county supervisor's race). When you say 'no thank you, I don't want your support,' you are picking and choosing who you are going to listen to. That doesn't make for a good policy maker."

Abe-Koga is a rising star among established democrats. Rod Diridon recently called her a "dynamo" in an interview with the Voice. She's quickly moving up the ladder on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) board and has already served on the board of the county office of education.

Macias joked that even the county supervisor job was aiming low for Abe-Koga.

"I think she'll be the next Anna Eshoo," Macias said of Abe-Koga's potential to run for congress.

"At this point in time I would really like to focus on my new term on council and see what opportunities come up and probably do a little bit of exploration," Abe-Koga said. "I'll make a decision down the road."

It may make sense for Abe-Koga to run in order advance her political career. She says there is "no way" she would run against her former boss Sally Lieber for state Senate when Elaine Alquist terms out in 2012. Her other options could be a run for state Assembly when her friend Paul Fong terms out in 2014, or to run for a Mountain View school board seat, she said.

Abe-Koga said her top focus would be on transportation issues, the environment and health issues, as the county runs several health programs and Valley Medical hospital. She also wants Mountain View to "get its fair share" of projects and funding, which she says she has done on the VTA.

"You have to like the work you are going to do," Abe-Koga said. "You have to be passionate about it. I definitely have really enjoyed the work I've been able to do with the VTA."

Macias will be terming out of her seat on the council in 2012, while Abe-Koga would be halfway through her second term on the council. Kasperzak will be finishing his third council term and qualifies for re-election. He could still run for re-election to the council and run for the county seat at the same time, but said he wouldn't. "If I got through the (June) primary I would clearly have to say the council would be out," Kasperzak said.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 17, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Margaret would make a fabulous County Supervisor! It would be Mountain View's loss, but then we'd be sharing her with our fellow Santa Clarans, to everyone's great advantage!

Like this comment
Posted by Seer
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 17, 2010 at 2:42 pm

In other words, these 3 will be focused on winning the next election rather than doing the job the voters entrusted them to do. I wish they would have said they didn't REALLY want the Council job before the election. I guess they needed it as a holding place before they could try and leave for greener pastures. Thinking only of their next political move/job, not of their constituents.
Career politicians act the same at all levels. Sad.
And BTW, Abe-Koga is the worst of them all!

Like this comment
Posted by Sean
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm

I completely disagree that Abe-Koga would be fabulous in any position that would grant her more power or in any way widen her scope. Her campaign was largely funded by the same unions that the city negotiates with for labor services. If that is not a clear conflict of interest, I don't know what is.

At what point do voters begin to recognize the terrible damage caused by the cozy relationships between regulatory bodies and the entities they are supposed to regulate? It seems extraordinarily nieve to believe for one second that Abe-Koga will put the interests of the people of Mountain View above the interests of the people she needs money from to get elected to her next position. The worst part of it is that she probably didn't need the money to win the council seat.

Totally agree with you Seer. Absolutely infuriating that we can count on half of the city council to be completely distracted for the next couple years. Good thing nothing important happens in our little city.

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Posted by YouWereElectedToDoaJob
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Can we vote these people out so they can concentrate fully on their next political seat. This city deserrves people on iots council who view the council seat as the job they truely want. Obviously Abe-Koga and the rest want something other than what they have. Lets help them free up their time with a recall! Its win-win for the city and the career politicians who only want to leap frog to their next job.

Like this comment
Posted by Manang Rosing
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 22, 2010 at 3:21 am

Whoever runs, I hope they address code enforcement. Affordable housing *is* an issue!

Letcher/Ideafarm 2012!

Like this comment
Posted by Ted
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I totally agree with the above posters. We JUST elected Abe-Koga, and now she wants to jump to another post? How about staying put and doing her job?? I think it is time to enact an ordinance that prohibits standing council members from leaving early to pursue greener pastures.

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Posted by riter
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 23, 2010 at 2:02 am

Shame on you for dishonestly soliciting the votes of your constituents who placed their trust in you. Do you feel proud being sworn in for your council position when you know fully well that you have other motives? In my opinion you are insulting us with a slap-in-the-face thank you for voting you into a council position. How can we trust you to do the best for Mountain View citizens over the next two years when you say you will be considering and possibly campaigning to go elsewhere? This is disrespectful to say the least.

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Posted by Brizz Lool
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 23, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Nothing wrong with looking ahead. Do you job, but look at where you'll be a few years from now. Nobody said they are dropping everything to go for the next elected position. Let's be sensible here.

On second thought, that's not much fun.

Like this comment
Posted by Hardin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 23, 2010 at 9:04 pm

"Nothing wrong with looking ahead. Do you job, but look at where you'll be a few years from now. Nobody said they are dropping everything to go for the next elected position. Let's be sensible here.

On second thought, that's not much fun."


+1. Based on their past performance, they have dedicated themselves to their responsibilities as Council members and been effective.

I'll take a little common sense over hyperbole any day. If I want entertainment, I'll go see a movie.

Like this comment
Posted by AgnosticAl
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm

They said they wanted the job. Its not as two year term. Did they REALLY want the job? The answer will be in their actions.
Every single future candidate should be asked "Do you pledge to the citizens of Mountain View that you will serve out your full term on the council?"
Of course Abe-Koga and the rest of this lot would have just said "Yes" anyway, but at least the citizenry can try to weed out these wanna be climbers who look at their elected post as just a stepping stone on their political career path. As some have said, it truly is insulting, and a slap in the face to the people you looked in the eye and said "I want to serve the city of Mountain View"

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