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Op-ed: Chamber offers platform for City Council race

Candidate forum set for Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The November election is fast approaching, and Mountain View is primed to chart a course for its future. With three City Council seats open, it is essential that Mountain View residents are informed and get involved in the electoral process and advocate for the issues most important to us.

At the Chamber of Commerce Mountain View, we are keenly aware of the importance of the City Council race. We've spent the last several months tuning into the concerns and needs of our members and refining our position on key issues facing the Mountain View community. While we have yet to evaluate specific candidates and make endorsements (something we will do in the coming weeks), we think it is important to first define our policy priorities and what we are looking for in our future city leaders – and we strongly encourage others invested in Mountain View's future to do the same.

When it comes to the election of new City Council members, the Chamber of Commerce Mountain View is most interested in candidates who are eager to provide strong leadership and tackle the complex issues of growth, transportation, affordability, and economic development. Here are the Chamber's positions in each of these areas:

Growth

Mountain View is at the center of a rapidly growing and changing region and economy. Our geography places us in the position to be significantly impacted by this growth, whether or not we encourage commercial and residential development within Mountain View's borders. We believe that Mountain View should embrace its natural role as a hub for innovative thinking and solutions – proactively planning "smart" growth. Rather than allow the policy decisions of our neighboring communities to drive our fate, we believe that Mountain View must capitalize on the substantial benefits to be had from strategically accommodating the current demand for growth and development in our backyard.

Economic and workforce development

Mountain View is home to a wide variety of businesses: some have been part of our community for many years and others are very new, some that are among the largest companies in the world and others that employ just a handful of employees. The Chamber represents this full spectrum of businesses and supports policies that allow all of them to grow and thrive.

Affordability

We strongly value the diversity of our community and believe that proactive measures to maintain that diversity – in terms of both our population and our businesses – are needed. The growth of our local economy has led to skyrocketing costs for housing and commercial space in Mountain View. While we understand that demand is the driving force in this equation, it is incumbent upon Mountain View to address our constrained supply of housing and office/retail space to help alleviate this pressure.

Transportation

The livability and mobility of our community rely on providing real solutions to our rapidly increasing traffic problem. We are looking for our newly elected and existing city leaders to develop solutions that manage demand and capacity for parking downtown and support alternative modes of transportation including rapid transit, bicycling, walking, carpools, and ride-share programs.

As the Nov. 4 election nears, we look forward to learning how the views of the City Council candidates align with the values of our members. To help everyone in the community evaluate the candidates, the Chamber, in partnership with the League of Women Voters, is hosting a candidate forum on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 6 p.m. Please join us to see how the priorities of each candidate compare to your vision for the future of our city. Visit www.chambermv.org for event details and to RSVP.

Oscar Garcia is the president and CEO of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce

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