Supervisor race pits Abe-Koga against Saratoga's King


Mountain View City Council member Margaret Abe-Koga declared her candidacy for county supervisor on Wednesday, setting up a duel with former Saratoga mayor Kathleen King -- if Joe Simitian doesn't enter the race.

Mountain View's current representative on the Santa Clara County board of supervisors, Palo Alto's Liz Kniss, will term out of the District 5 seat at the end of 2012, leaving residents of the North County to select a replacement.

With nine months to go before the June primary election, Mountain View Vice Mayor Mike Kasperzak said "the great unknown" in the race is whether Joe Simitian, the popular state senator from Palo Alto, would be a candidate. Simitian has yet to announce one way or the other.

Kasperzak has expressed interest in entering the race, but said, "If Joe runs, I'm definitely not running."

"There are a lot of people who think he's going to run," Kasperzak said. "If he runs, he'll be the hands-down winner."

Mountain View council member Laura Macias has also expressed interest in entering the race, but like Kasperzak, she said she would not run against Simitian and is holding off on her decision.

"I believe that Joe Simitian is the best person to serve in the county seat," she said. "His ability to cut through extraneous data and see a practical solution is second to none. We need a county supervisor and board to make tough choices -- such as collapsing the administrative structures of VTA and putting the Santa Clara Valley Water District back under Santa Clara County's government. I would propose that and encourage Joe to do the same."

Without Simitian, a race between King and Abe-Koga could be a close one. Both have years of experience on city councils and are well connected county-wide. Assemblyman Paul Fong has apparently been unable to pick only one, as both candidates say they have his endorsement, according to King's website and comments from Abe-Koga Wednesday.

King is a former Saratoga mayor and eight-year Saratoga council member who is now executive director of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation. The foundation provides health care for children who do not have health insurance, which the organization calls "a basic human right." King says her son would have died from a rare disorder if he had not had health insurance, an experience that she says motivated her to quit her sales executive job at Applied Materials to promote community and children's health.

Abe-Koga is on her fifth year on the City Council, served as mayor in 2009, and has become familiar with county-wide issues as a former member of the County Board of Education and as the appointed chair of the Valley Transportation Authority's regional board. She's consistently been a top fundraiser in City Council elections.

Abe-Koga had no criticisms of county services, which she said usually serve the most in need. Her concern is that those services are at risk unless more cost-effective service delivery methods can be found. She said that unlike cities, the county has no good options for increasing revenues as costs increase.

Kasperzak said he was leaning towards not running because other plans would leave little time for campaigning: his interest in being mayor next year, his wish to be involved in the presidential election and the likelihood of his being president of League of California Cities next year.

Similarly, Macias said "as a working person and a sitting council member, I do not know that I have enough hours in the day to gather $200,000 for a campaign."

District Five 5 Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, the northwestern half of Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto.

Abe-Koga has set up a website at and King's can be found at


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Abe-Koge has "consistently been a top fundraiser in City Council elections." And all of it from unions.

Please don't run.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Tough choice. Which would be better for Mtn View residents: to get her out of here, or keep her here, away from any real power?

Like this comment
Posted by Dominick
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm

What a choice to make. Keep her on the City Council till she terms out or have her as a Supervisor where she can stay till she terms out there and with more power. It's a lose lose choice.

Like this comment
Posted by For MAK
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I am not sure who you guys have been listening to. Margaret has been a great City Council representative. She has fantastic ideas about city growth, transportation, and the needs of the citizens of Mtn View.

She is not one to talk and talk. She listens to all sides, then makes her decision. She is determined and can really get things done.

The vote is easy for me.

Like this comment
Posted by hwhite
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Margaret Abe-Koga has done a great job for the community of Mountain View. I would vote for her for county supervisor and know she would do a great job. She gets things done!

Like this comment
Posted by Abe Vigoda
a resident of Castro City
on Sep 23, 2011 at 10:44 am

Damned if we do, damned if we don't. Abe Goga is bad for local govt and no doubt the people donating to her fat coffers are also the ones singing her praise. No I will not vote for her because the county deserves better. If we keep her we can get rid of her and her high dollar "pay for service" donators once and for all next election.
Abe-Koga gotta go-a!

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Don't need to listen to anyone to form an accurate assessment. See the 29Sep Voice article 'council votes to outsource golf course'. Her position there sums it up well enough. Tax and spend, tax and spend. Truly 'fantastic' ideas!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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