News

Outside money floods City Council race

Special interest groups pour over $90,000 into mailers, polling

The real estate industry and a shadowy special interest group is pumping tens of thousands of dollars into the Mountain View City Council election, causing alarm amongst candidates and residents who fear this election will mark the end of low-budget City Council campaigns.

"It's very frustrating to be the candidate in a situation where something is out of your control," said candidate Ken Rosenberg, who said he was surprised to see his own photo on mailers that have been sent to residents in support of his campaign. Some are from the National Association of Realtors, and others are from a Long-Beach based group called the "Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition" (NEC).

He said to those behind the mailers, with whom he is legally prohibited from coordinating: "Please no negative ads. If these start going negative then we've entered a different era of Mountain View politics."

The NEC has also sent out mailers supporting candidates Ellen Kamei and Pat Showalter, spending over $60,000 as of Oct. 21. The National Association of Realtors has also spent $26,000 on mailers and polling in support of Rosenberg.

Though the mailers are outside of their control, the candidates have been facing intense criticism about them in various online forums. Candidate Mercedes Salem said residents should "stand up" against the independent expenditures and "say you can't buy an election in our town" by not voting for any candidate benefiting from the controversial mailers.

Rosenberg, who has built his reputation as a member of the city's human relations commission, has been outspoken against fears the he's been bought off. Over $50,000 has been independently spent to help elect him.

"People think this is going to influence my vote when I get on the City Council," Rosenberg said. "I think that is patently ridiculous."

It is unclear exactly who provided the impetus for the NEC mailers, but the clearest connection appears to be to the California Apartment Association (CAA), which represents landlords. The CAA has given the NEC at least $5,000, according to a June finance report filed with the state. The CAA has also endorsed and directly contributed to the campaigns of Kamei, Showalter and Rosenberg, all of whom have expressed opposition to rent control. Landlords have also been highly involved in past elections to prevent adoption of a rent control ordinance in Mountain View.

"Independent expenditures are an allowable form of communication and totally independent from any campaign," said Kamei. "We received the mail from NEC at the same time as Mountain View residents. I also am not familiar with NEC at all."

"Under our Fair Political Practices Commission rules, it is illegal for the candidate or an associated committee to have anything to do with the production of these mailers," said candidate Pay Showalter. "They need to be truly independent in order to be legal. The photos they used of me are ones that are readily available on Facebook or my website. It's the same with the information. The first time I learned anything about this mailer was when I saw it yesterday in our mail. I had no knowledge of its production or distribution."

Records show that the NEC has also collected funds from several Indian tribes, Pacific Gas & Electric, unions representing boilermakers and ship builders, and DMV contractor Motor Vehicle Software Corporation. Landlords aside, PG&E is the only other group listed that appears to have an interest in Mountain View.

PG&E gave the NEC at least $7,500 and may have an interest in preventing "Community Choice Aggregation" (CCA), which allows residents to collectively buy energy from other, cleaner sources in competition with PG&E. On his website, Rosenberg says he supports CCA, and that he was passed over for PG&E's endorsement because of it.

As of Oct. 21, the NEC spent a total of $27,789 on mailers for Rosenberg, $15,505 on mailers for Showalter, and $19,242 on mailers for Kamei.

Representatives of CAA were not able to comment by press time. PG&E spokesperson Lyndsey Paulo said PG&E gave to the NEC with the understanding that "funds could be spent as the committee sees fit to further its goals." She refused to confirm or deny that PG&E has opposed CCA, saying only that "we absolutely respect the energy choices our customers have. We will continue to cooperate with local governments" that are interested in CCA.

The influx of outside money appears to be a first for a Mountain View City Council election, as local groups such as city employee unions have been the only big independent spenders in previous elections, along with the Democratic Party Central Committee, which in 2012 put out a $1,085 mailer supporting then-candidate Chris Clark.

The wave of independent spending may tempt candidates to compensate by raising and spending more than the city's voluntary expenditure limit of $22,689 this year, which all of the candidates have agreed to. That would mean breaking the tradition in Mountain View of keeping campaign spending low.

"If I knew I had to spend double or triple the amount of the VEL to be competitive with the amount of independent money, I would not have chosen to run," said candidate Greg Unangst, who said he chose to write his campaign a $21,000 check to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

"The amount of independent money obliterates the intent of the VEL policy. It also puts those of us who ethically do not pursue this money at a distinct disadvantage," he said. "I do not question the veracity of those who accepted these endorsements. I don't think they knew the magnitude of the funds coming their way. It is legal and an accepted practice, which I think is unfortunate."

Phone poll, mailers for Rosenberg

Rosenberg's campaign was the only one to benefit from spending by the National Association of Realtors Fund the powerful, Chicago-based lobbying group that represents a wide range of people in the real estate industry. The association reported spending $10,237 on mailers for Rosenberg. It was also apparently behind the mysterious phone poll that residents complained about in August, as the fund reported spending $15,500 on a phone poll in support of Rosenberg.

Candidate Lenny Siegel, who said he has received no support from special interest groups, is sticking by his recommendation that people elect him along with Pat Showalter and either Greg Unangst or Ken Rosenberg depending on how they feel about rent control. He says that would allow substantially more housing to be built in order to meet demand, hold down housing prices and reduce commuter traffic. All four support zoning to allow thousands of new homes in a new neighborhood north of Highway 101, something Matichak, Capriles, Kamei and Salem say they oppose.

"The existence of well-funded independent committees makes a mockery of the spending limit, but I don't blame the candidates who are receiving assistance from those committees," Siegel said in an email. "Campaign financing in this country needs to be reformed, and right now it looks like that may take a Constitutional amendment."

Orwellian website

On its website, the NEC claims to be a "coalition of professionals, parents, teachers, businesses, and concerned citizens working to keep local dollars at the local level." The NEC's phone number leads to Crummitt and Associates, a Long Beach law firm that specializes in campaign finance reporting, which did not respond to a request for comment.

Somewhat ironically, the NEC website states that "lopsided spending in local elections has prevented many local campaigns from being a fair representation of local needs. Special interest spending tends to overlook the true need of the constituency. Local elections should be about the issues not about who raised the most money."

"I am concerned about independent expenditures from the Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition because it is not clear who they are and what they want," said candidate Lisa Matichak. "I don't have an issue with independent expenditures from organizations that identify themselves and their agenda."

There has been another, less controversial independent mailer supporting Capriles, Kamei and Matichak funded by the South Bay Labor Council, which reported an expenditure of $1,615 for each of the three candidates.

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Comments

13 people like this
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:03 am

Thanks to the Voice for this story. It’s a huge issue. As the article points out, the $22,689 voluntary spending limit becomes almost meaningless when over $50,000 in outside money comes in for one candidate (Rosenberg), and over $15,000 for each of two others (Showalter and Kamei).

Daniel DeBolt seems to have come up against a brick wall in trying to find out exactly what the “Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition” actually is, although his best guess is that “the clearest connection appears to be to the California Apartment Association (CAA), which represents landlords.”

The candidates who have benefited from this “shadowy” group all profess surprise and ignorance. I’m willing to believe that there has been no overt coordination, but that doesn’t answer the question of who exactly arranged for the money to be injected into this election, and why.

Rosenberg seems to be saying that he has no problem with benefiting from this opaque money, just keep the ads positive. Kamei and Showalter just say, “I don’t know anything about this.”

If I were in their place, I’d be trying hard to find out exactly what is going on, instead of just enjoying the support and shutting my eyes.

These are candidates that will not get my vote.

Again, thanks to the Voice and Daniel DeBolt.


9 people like this
Posted by Attack the System
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:22 am

I don't like this, but to blame the candidates is silly.

Same thing happened in Sunnyvale last election. This is a reality of our ridiculous campaign laws. For anybody reading this who didn't care when the Supreme Court ruled that campaign ads are "free speech," you have NO RIGHT to complain. This is what happens in real life when unlimited funds can be used in politics across the country. Wanna change things, call Anna Eshoo, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Jerry Hill and Rich Gordon and get them on task on this issue. Just a bet, but I'm guessing two years from now will be even worse as we'll have two incumbents and two open seats.

I spoke to some of the candidates about this at the Senior Center. None of them were ok with it, but what are they to do? How do they stop it?

Unangst who claims no money was spent on him, is wrong. I received an "election" digest recommending people vote for him (along with Showalter and Kamei). The mailer was put out by "a Project of Coalition for Literacy" out of Torrance California, whoever that is.


10 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:43 am

Reminds me of this quote: "Let's just say I know a guy... who knows a guy... who knows another guy." Saul Goodman (Breaking Bad)

Eventually the NEC contributors will come to light (look for late filings), let's make sure we keep the sunshine on them at each future City Council.


14 people like this
Posted by EngagedVoter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 23, 2014 at 10:01 am

We only have one place to lay blame here---the United States Supreme Court and the Citizens United decision. This decision allowed for unlimited spending by interest groups (business, labor, education, environmental, etc). Our campaign finance system is broken.

However, to think that candidates can be "bought" is ridiculous. Margaret Abe Koga had strong support from developers and landlords when she ran---she's supported policies that have harmed those groups (Tenant Relocation Assistance, housing impact fees, prevailing wages on construction of housing). She has stayed true to her values and did not let money from outside groups who supported her sway her.

Take a look at Kasperzak---he's been supported by developers, too and has been a leading advocate to impose higher fees on housing and office development.

The support Abe-Koga and Kasperzak have accepted from developers over the years and their willingness to do what is right for Mtn View clearly shows they are not bought.

I trust the voters of Mtn View will elect who will best serve our community as our city leaders have a track record of standing up for residents first and I know based on their service to Mtn View over the years that Ken, Pat, Lenny, Ellen, Margaret, and Lisa will always do that.



Let's not penalize the candidates for things that happen out of their control.


17 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 23, 2014 at 10:16 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

Did anyone notice that there is no mention of my campaign anywhere in this article?
Could it be because I am the only candidate that has no ties at all to special interests? There has to be some reason that no special interest groups are spending any money on promoting my campaign. The most likely reason is because during this campaign and the last one, I told them to "take a hike"! I have refused all special interest endorsements and donations and will continue to do so. I would rather lose than sell out.


Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link ( Campaign Website )


4 people like this
Posted by MtnViewDan
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 23, 2014 at 11:14 am

Finally! We have a voice for the rest of us.

The Democratic Party and the unions are always trying to buy elections. They are usually the biggest spender in local races.

I'm glad to see a group that is standing up for candidates who aren't really bound to the public employees, bound to developers (Pat supported high developer fees when on the EPC), not bound to housing in North Bayshore (look Ellen questions NBS housing), not bound to PG&E and their record of environmental destruction but actually serve our community NOT the special interests.

What we see in Pat and Ken are true community servants who aren't backed by labor, the Democratic Party machine, or simply have entrenched positions on issues. Pat, Ken, Ellen and even Lenny are pragmatic thinkers who have not run for office before and lost or have staked out a YES/NO position on issues such as how our city should evolve.


8 people like this
Posted by Max Hauser
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 23, 2014 at 11:22 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

The article notes that these Independent-Expenditure mail campaigns "have been facing intense criticism in various online forums" but omits to add that much of the criticism was also intensely clueless and/or underhanded.

I don't particularly support the candidates named in these outside mailers. But the reality is, the candidates have absolutely no control over them, by law. Yet online wags -- always hiding behind pseudonyms, naturally -- write as if tey assume this were action by the candidates to expand their campaign financing -- a behind-the-scenes arrangement. That either is desperately ignorant of how IEs work, or else it's phony and cynical; neither way does it warrant attention from serious people; either way it verges on libel.

We may reasonably decide that we don't want to vote for a candidate because outside lobby group X likes the candidate. But stop pretending that these mailings are part of the candidate's own budget or strategy.


10 people like this
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Which candidate is "bound to public employees" per MVDan, and should be avoided for the good of the city?

If the 'bad guys' are our public employees such as police, firefighters, teachers, librarians and perhaps those behind the desks at City Hall, park workers, maintenance workers, arborists etc please tell us exactly which candidates will protect us from these public employees who go to work each day and create gridlock-generating office buildings, housing for millionaires only, destroy local small businesses and offer us jumbotrons instead, hire tens of thousands of new employees who have no place to live, and drive up rents.

MVDan and his candidates can set a good example by telling us they have a high tech programmer, or perhaps someone who drives around in a driverless car all day, on speed dial for when their house catches fire, they need a paramedic or expect the broken water main on their street to be fixed.

Personally, I would worry a bit more about a candidate such as Ken Rosenberg whose stated philosophy of governing is to characterize as 'GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE" actions by the City Council to prevent a developer from destroying a business such as the Milk Pail or building what the local neighborhoods argue is inappropriate and/or harmful to the area. Ken stated that he would act only as a last resort if the small business could not reach an agreement with the developer. Does anyone really think a small business has any leverage to change the plans of a developer or that the developer will be stopped after the plans are one step away from approval....the prime example being the Milk Pail? Thousands of people voiced their support of preserving this business and the developer did not capitulate. The City Attorney said the Council had the authority to condition approval of the San Antonio Center project upon good faith negotiations by the parties. I don't believe this has occurred or that the City has demanded it. The project goes forward without 'governmental interference' and without parking for the Milk Pail, but thousands for the developer. Ken has stated he supports the project with the hotel and jumbotron too. If elected, where would he be when the next Milk Pail situation arises?

We need candidates such as Lisa, Mercedes, Jim and others who recognize that the Council's job is to represent the people who elected them. We need representatives who do not see it as governmental interference to listen to and work on behalf of the neighbors of a massive project which will affect them greatly, or a small business owner trying to run a business while plans are being presented which would eliminate it.

The residents and local businesses do not have a dozen guys in white shirts to attend every meeting; do not get notice or invitations so sit in on visits with city staff (or the time during the work day to do so), do not have consultants to prepare glossy presentations. As residents we have none of those things. Instead, we have a City Council who is supposed to be US at the table. I would want a Council representative to do exactly that and not call doing their job 'interference' by the government because, last time I checked, the government IS US.


11 people like this
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 23, 2014 at 1:48 pm

I can't blame the candidates who received unsolicited support, but I'm a little appalled at their apparent lack of curiosity about the source of the funding.

From the article:

"It is unclear exactly who provided the impetus for the NEC mailers, but the clearest connection appears to be to the California Apartment Association (CAA), which represents landlords. The CAA has given the NEC at least $5,000, according to a June finance report filed with the state. The CAA has also endorsed and directly contributed to the campaigns of Kamei, Showalter and Rosenberg, all of whom have expressed opposition to rent control. Landlords have also been highly involved in past elections to prevent adoption of a rent control ordinance in Mountain View."

If Mr. DeBolt's guess is correct, it may not be just about rent control, but more about the likelihood of increased high-density apartment development in MV, if these candidates are elected to the council.

Mr. DeBolt notes that the $5,000 figure is from a June filing. In time, we may find out how much more the CAA has given the NEC since then.

But who in turn funds the California Apartment Association? A Google search provided a link to electiontrack.com, with a listing of CAA Political Action Committee contributors: Web Link.

Quite a few Bay Area companies are listed, not least Prometheus, a major MV (and West Coast) landlord and developer, with over $90,000 contributed to the CAAPAC in 2014.

I'm just an ordinary person with Google search as a resource, trying to find a few answers. But it would be great if someone with political or journalistic connections could shed a little more light on this.


10 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 23, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

Abe-Koga and Kasperzak may have gotten support from developers in the past, but that support was open and declared on their form 460s. From the records in past elections, this is the first time that money is being spent independently on the behalf of candidates instead of being donated directly to the campaign. This allows candidates to have money far in excess of the "voluntary" spending limit spent on their behalf.

I am not saying it is right or wrong, I am just saying that all the money should be out in the open, and then the voters can decide who they want to have the most influence in Mountain View elections, the residents or the special interests.


Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link ( Campaign Website )


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Hey! What else is new? That's what campaigns are about: people voicing their opinions, and like-minded people agreeing and contributing. When I recently asked a couple of my neighbors (who are union) to vote for a certain candidate I supported, their reponse was, "Are they supported by labor? We have to vote for the candidates that labor supports."


4 people like this
Posted by Homeowner
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 2:54 pm

I saw some candidates were endorsed by the Sierra Club -- since when did Mountain View become a wilderness area?


9 people like this
Posted by Greg Perry
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I certainly don't like the outside mailers, or the outside groups that organize precinct walkers. This time, it looks like NEC and SBLC are trying to buy this one, one with cash and the other with literature drops.

The best advice I have is to throw the mail and leaflets in the recycling bin, and use the candidates' web sites.

Every serious candidate has a web site, and Google or Bing can find it for you. This lets you ignore the money and just focus on what the candidate has to say.


7 people like this
Posted by Greg Perry
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

To make it easier, here is a web site for each of the the nine candidates:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

(posing the URLs in batches of 3, to evade the filter.)


6 people like this
Posted by Greg Perry
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 23, 2014 at 3:07 pm

3 more:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Greg Perry
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 3:08 pm

last 3:

(sorry it stripped the names. not sure why it did that, but now I have to do them all the same to be fair.)


Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Area Resident
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Abe-Koga has accepted money in the past from developers and, for this election, is being supported by tens of thousands of dollars by unions who have sent mailer after mailer at what cost. I would like to see a declaration of those spendings. To say that their is no influence ignores the fact that money can and does change the way a candidate will vote. City Council races and local races like Healthcare District should not be tainted by these outside influences that are not from the area.


5 people like this
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Oct 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Actually, Greg Perry's web links to all 9 candidates' websites are the most useful aids I've encountered. I hope everyone will use that option. Thanks Greg.

The mailers are very slick but I did notice the nebulous sources and I was astonished at the $$'s spent on them. I received duplicate mailing of some of them. Frankly, the mailers were more confusing than anything else. Esp the explanation of the * designation next to candidate or prop names. Anyway, I read them and then tossed them and came to the Voice to find pertinent info and clearer minds.

I do have to say the Ellen Kamei's DVD voice packet was an impressive tool and really rose above the others. Very impactful... hearing a candidate speak about what's important to her.

The good news is we have a very smart, dynamic and interesting group of candidates in our city. We're very lucky.


14 people like this
Posted by Not so Naive
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm

This quote from the NEC web site makes me very suspicious on the nature of The relationship the Candidate has with the NEC " NEC weighs in on campaigns all over California on behalf of candidates who stay true to our mission statement. "
Web Link
If they stay true to the NEC, how they can stay true to the residents of Mountain
View ?

Ken Rosemberg "Please no negative ads. If these start going negative then we've entered a different era of Mountain View politics."

"Phone poll, mailers for Rosenberg

Rosenberg's campaign was the only one to benefit from spending by the National Association of Realtors Fund the powerful, Chicago-based lobbying group that represents a wide range of people in the real estate industry. The association reported spending $10,237 on mailers for Rosenberg. It was also apparently behind the mysterious phone poll that residents complained about in August, as the fund reported spending $15,500 on a phone poll in support of Rosenberg."

If this is true the phone calls were made to trash Lenny Siegel and dig as much dirt on him as they could , so Ken, we've already entered a different era of Mountain View politics.The era in which three candidates hare so naive (or think that the voters hare too naive to understand) to think that this is only a gratuity given to them, and not smart enough to understand that is a loan which they will have to repay sooner o later with interests , and of course the residents of Mountain View will get the bill! The era in which special interest groups think that putting a lot of money in the political campaign will buy them the three seats they need to get the majority of votes in the city council to push forward the agenda of transforming Mountain View in Manhattan for their own profit !

No thanks , i will vote for those candidates that give me a better guaranty because free from special interest pressure.( it does not matter whether required or involuntary will always be a sword of Damocles over their heads and ours).

I will vote for Jim Neal , he made it very clear in his web site which donations he was accepting!

"Please note that I can only accept donations from Mountain View residents or those that own small businesses here. All other donations will need to be refunded. Thanks for your support
Jim Neal"

Lisa Matichak
Mercedes Salem


9 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 6:57 pm

I also found it strange that Jim Neal's campaign wasn't mentioned in this article. I may not agree with all of Jim Neal's positions, but I do respect his principled stand on campaigning and believe in his sincerity.


13 people like this
Posted by hmmm....
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:31 pm

I think we need to show outside interest groups that Mountain View doesn't tolerate this kind of independent spending and outside influence in our local politics. There is nothing illegal about the independent expenditure, at least as far as I know. But I still don't like it.

Mountain View City Hall should be influenced by mountain view residents not by special interest groups pouring tens of thousands of dollars into one or two candidates. I don't want special interests supporting Mountain View City Council candidates. I'm going to send a message to these outside special interest groups with my vote. I am going to vote for candidates that don't get money from outside of our area.

If we vote for candidates that are supported by special interest group then these groups will continue to pour in money to our city and will continue to have influence over our neighborhoods.

I don't think any of the candidates did anything wrong but I still don't want council members that have received thousands and thousands of dollars of support from outside groups.

Nothing is for free and they will definitely want something later down the road.


10 people like this
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 10:38 pm

@ Jim Neal,

You said that "Kasperzak may have gotten support from developers in the past."
Do you think that influenced him when we, the Cuesta Park neighbors, told City council that we wanted 801 ECR to be 4 stories, not 3, and Mike told us that we were lucky 801 ECR wasn't going to be 8 stories?
Do you think that influenced him when, the Cuesta Park neighbors, brought a petition to City council stating that they wanted 801 ECR to be 4 stories, not 3, and Mike told them he was going to ignore their petition?
Do you think that influenced him to support development in North Batshore and more offices at San Antonio?
Do you think that influenced him when he said “Now that I am elected, I will do as I wish? I don’t have to listen to anyone?”
He has been bought for a relatively modest amount.
pytR3


11 people like this
Posted by Konrasd M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 10:46 pm

@concerned citizen,

You said "Rosenberg seems to be saying that he has no problem with benefiting from this opaque money, just keep the ads positive".

You must realize that Ken Rosenberg is not like you and me.
Ken Rosenberg is a Wall Street executive at Morgan Stanley. He won't say anything that might offend the big money interests.

Ken hopes that if he supports developers and landlords, that they will return the favor by making investments through him.








13 people like this
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 23, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Protect the Value of Your Home!

Lenny Siegel is running for City Council because his children can't afford to buy a home in Mountain View. He knows that either they need to increase their incomes, or home prices have to go down.

So, he and his henchmen Rosenberg and Unangst came up with a plan called "Balanced Mountain View." They know that Mountain View has twice as many jobs as resident workers. The basis concept of Balanced Mountain View is to bring jobs and resident workers into balance by doubling the population and residences.

They feel that the impact on our schools, parks. Library, traffic and parking will reduce the quality of life in Mountain View and drive many home owners out of Mountain View. Thus, his children will be able to buy your home at a large discount


11 people like this
Posted by Cross at the Crossings
a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:43 am

@Konrad

---

You must realize that Ken Rosenberg is not like you and me.
Ken Rosenberg is a Wall Street executive at Morgan Stanley. He won't say anything that might offend the big money interests.

Ken hopes that if he supports developers and landlords, that they will return the favor by making investments through him.

---

Good point, Konrad.

We had a lot of talk after the 2008 collapse about whether we wanted to be lead by Wall Street or Main Street. I for one won't be voting to bring the interests of Wall Street to City Hall on Castro Street.

As for these outside mailers, it's just another example of getting the things you want with "other people's money", a principle that has the Wall Street crowd has used so well to their advantage in the past.


15 people like this
Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:59 am

Please help keep Mountain View free of more high rise anything such as offices, condos, or apartment. We will soon have more traffic than our water supply, roads, and air can handle. Don't vote for anyone that is supported by outside money and look carefully at who you do support


5 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

Konrad -- Please read my entire statement in context. I was replying to another comment about how developer money has always been part of campaigns and I responded with:

____________________________
Abe-Koga and Kasperzak may have gotten support from developers in the past, but that support was open and declared on their form 460s. From the records in past elections, this is the first time that money is being spent independently on the behalf of candidates instead of being donated directly to the campaign. This allows candidates to have money far in excess of the "voluntary" spending limit spent on their behalf.

I am not saying it is right or wrong, I am just saying that all the money should be out in the open, and then the voters can decide who they want to have the most influence in Mountain View elections, the residents or the special interests.


Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link ( Campaign Website )
________________________________


As far as the motivations for their decisions, I think I have a good idea, but I do not have any proof; and unlike some newspapers I can name, I try not to engage in speculation and present it as fact.


Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link ( Campaign Website )


23 people like this
Posted by Google just stepped in
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Too late for inclusion in the article but another prominent player has entered Mountain View politics, Google. “MV Voters for Housing Diversity” filed a form 460 with the City on the 23rd, available via the Cities web site (City clerk, City records). MV Voters for Housing Diversity is run by the Google engineer Jeremy Hoffman. The funders for Mr. Hoffman’s PAC are all Google employees; Jon Wiley, Gary Miguel and Jal Laefer. While Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Wiley are residents of Mountain View the other two participants are not. Obviously this PAC is the opinion of one person and his close buddies. It’s no coincidence that the candidates most likely to be favored by Google are the only candidates endorsed by MV Voters for Housing Diversity—three candidates pushing for extra high density, except in their own personal back yard.


14 people like this
Posted by Lilly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 25, 2014 at 9:24 am

Very Interesting Lenny Siegel , Ken Rosenberg , Greg Unangst are getting money and support from Google! Lenny and Greg where telling everybody that they were free and independent from special interest groups, It looks that the only ones really free and independent are Jim Neal and Mercedes Salem, Congratulations to the two of them for staying true to their words !

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Oh Lilly
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Oct 25, 2014 at 10:02 am

Willful ignorance. That's the only thing these kind of comments can be attributed to.

Let's see if an example could work here:
Robert Cox, the Chairman of our Environmental Planning Commission, is working with Lisa Matichak's campaign. He has put much time and some money into her campaign. Robert Cox works for Intel. Therefore, by Lilly's logic (and others that continue to spew nonsense) Lisa is in the pocket of Intel. Shame on you Lisa. You've claimed to be so independent and free from such conflicts of interest.

Lilly, do you see how ridiculous you are being? If you wanted to band together with a few friends, raise money, pass out fliers, INDEPENDENT of any campaign, but on a campaign's behalf, you could. Just because a few people from Google have done this does not make Unangst, Rosenberg, or Siegel in Google's pocket. No more than Matichak is in Intel's.

Vote for whomever you choose. Let us know who you wish to vote for. But to try and disparage a candidate or two (or three) because of things they have not done simply makes you look bad, not them.


10 people like this
Posted by Lilly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 25, 2014 at 11:20 am

@ Oh Lilly,

When you say "Willful ignorance" you're referring to yourself right ?

The example you make is senseless , Robert Cox is helping in Lisa's campaign as volunteer and personal friend of Lisa !

The MV Housing Diversity disclosure states:

"MV Voters for Housing Diversity is an independent political committee registered with the CA Secretary of State (link ). We are not authorized by any candidate or committee controlled by a candidate".

However, in looking at the people that make up this "independent political committee", they are all Google employees, some of whom are not even eligible to vote in Mountain View! If they are trying to deceive people with something as simple as the name of their organization, how can we trust that they are being truthful about anything else?

Also, Robert Cox has been open and honest about his support for Lisa and has not hidden his support behind a misleading organization name, nor has he structured the donations as an "independent" expenditures in an effort to to bypass the 'voluntary expenditure limits'.


Oh Lilly, do you see how ridiculous you are being? Putting apples and oranges together just to try to make this nonsense look good?

It is not me trying to make the candidates backed by the special interests look bad, but one has to wonder why the special interests are so interested in these candidates. Does anyone think that they are spending over $100,000 on behalf of these candidates from the goodness of their hearts?

As I said previously, only Neal and Salem are free from special interest funding and that says to me that the special interests know they won't get any special treatment from them!


6 people like this
Posted by Sue
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2014 at 9:57 am

I realized the moment when, Our countries Supreme Court Ruling occurred where a PAC is a "person" and people in high places did not react along with the folks who make up our country stayed quite. Darwin evolution, of the fittest will be the wealthy. They can manipulate, lie, rig, and justify their actions by going under the frosting, so to speak. Look at medicine Their is a cure for Hep C, yet $84,000 is the cost for treatment. Our government & FDA agreed that the Company who made the drug could set their cost. The poor die. So money in an election to buy the people they want? It is the young who must react too if we are to stop this. Speak up folks


8 people like this
Posted by outraged
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 26, 2014 at 9:04 pm

The best way and the ONLY way to speak up is to not vote for the people getting the outside money. That way these outside special interests will know that they can't by us and that their money is the kiss of death for a candidate.


12 people like this
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 27, 2014 at 11:57 pm

New filings listed on the City website show that Ken Rosenberg's campaign has been supported with $58,576 in outside money, to date - $31,896 from the developer-affiliated "Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition," plus $26,680 more from the National Association of Realtors.

NEC money has also been spent in support of Ellen Kamei and Pat Showalter. The most recent city records show NEC money spent for Kamei as $19,243 so far; for Showalter the total to date is $15,506. Here's the link: Web Link

Outside money in support of other candidates has been far, far more modest.

The "Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition" seems to exist mainly to obscure the original source of money that is being routed to certain candidates.

Developers know who they want to support - it is candidates who can be expected to be agreeable to dense development.


6 people like this
Posted by Dave Williams
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 28, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Wow, I don't know what all the concern is? Don't you know it's the ones that have the biggest or most signs littering our corners and intersections that will win.

Seriously, do what Greg Perry says and check out the websites and make an informed choice. Throw the junk mail in the recycle bin.


10 people like this
Posted by Council Watcher
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm

@Greg Perry - "Every serious candidate has a web site, and Google or Bing can find it for you. This lets you ignore the money and just focus on what the candidate has to say."

Actually, the flow of money and sources of support can tell you a lot about the candidates. I consider it very useful information, along with their carefully-parsed statements on their websites, their endorsements, and their sometimes more open statements in the candidate forums/debates.

I'm voting Matichak, Neal, and Salem.


6 people like this
Posted by only Neal
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Oct 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

If people are not going to vote for candidates that have received endorsements from outside groups, that leaves only Jim Neal to vote for. Everyone else has accepted money, or endorsements from outside groups.


8 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Resident
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 9:47 pm

The Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition (Web Link) also sent out a disgusting brochure supporting Brian Schmidt's opponent in the Santa Clara Valley Water District race. They must have spent tens of thousands of dollars as it included an audio clip. It seems very suspicious to me that these politicians know nothing about this. How would the NEC even know about these local races? The NEC supports a fundraising floor vs. ceiling so perhaps they were attracted to the obscene amount of money Brian's opponent is spending on the campaign - $50K on lawyers alone!


9 people like this
Posted by On MV Voters for Housing Diversity
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2014 at 2:59 am

Like others have said, this group is run by Google employees. Their criteria for endorsing candidates are simple: who is going to let developers build the most housing no matter what - especially in North Bayshore. Primarily they want to pay less rent and walk to work.
They're not interested in any of the other issues that unchecked development may cause, like excessive traffic and overcrowding. The group includes some that don't live in Mountain View, despite the name and noting it was "founded by Mountain View residents". A more appropriate name for the group would be "Future Mountain View Renters for Plentiful Dense Housing". And they hang out with SPUR (a video is postes on their FB page), which is a San Francisco outfit to promote densification. Don't be surprised if they rezone your neighbor's parcel for an 8 story apartment tower.
Please don't underestimate them - they are campaigning hard for the candidates that they have endorsed, and are targeting Mountain View renters specifically, including with outside volunteers that do not live in Mountain View.
If you don't agree with their agenda, please visit their site (Web Link) - see whom they endorsed, then pick from the other candidates! Thanks.


7 people like this
Posted by @ on MV Voters for Housing Diversity
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 30, 2014 at 10:09 am

Thanks i will not vote for lenny, kenny or greg.

Sounds like they want to turn this city into google ville, which would eventually turn into the slums of Mumbai. We do not have the resources or the infrastructure to turn this small town into NYC.

Even though that is what Google Execs want.

If you follow the money, i would most certainly bet all the big money mailers are somehow tied into Google.

They want more and more and won't stop until they get it.


4 people like this
Posted by let's not exaggerate
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 30, 2014 at 11:20 am

Posted by @ on MV Voters for Housing Diversity
a resident of Monta Loma .

"Sounds like they want to turn this city into google ville, which would eventually turn into the slums of Mumbai. We do not have the resources or the infrastructure to turn this small town into NYC."

------

Do you honestly believe that ANYONE wants to turn MV into NYC and the "slums of Mumbai"??!!

"Housing in North Bayshore" means replacing some of the existing buildings with moderate density housing so that people can live near where they work. It does NOT mean building skyscrapers out on the edge of the bay.

None of the recent developments in MV look like slums to me.


8 people like this
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 30, 2014 at 11:52 am

@let's not exaggerate - Agreed. No need to exaggerate, the reality is bad enough.

But let's not minimize, either, what is proposed by Siegel/Rosenberg/Showalter/Unangst.

Their intentions go beyond North Bayshore, and go beyond "replacing some of the existing buildings with moderate density housing so that people can live near where they work." These candidates have been quite clear about wanting to build as much housing as possible, as fast as possible, chasing the impossible dream that we could "balance" jobs and housing within Mountain View. Siegel proposes 5000 new units of housing in North Bayshore, and has lobbied heavily for maximizing housing in the San Antonio area.

I suppose "moderate" density is in the eye of the beholder. Most people, including Planning staff, call 4-6 stories "high density". That's what is being built these days, and that would be the only way to get 5000 units into North Bayshore. Just for perspective, 5000 units would be 25 complexes the size of the Madera development that is across from the transit center.

This proposed overbuilding would not be sufficient to drive prices down. It would be mostly expensive rentals like the Madera apartments. That's what developers want to build, because that's where the real money is. I doubt that the rapid-development candidates would get us any significant amount of affordable housing, or ownership housing.

I'm voting Matichak, Neal, and Salem.


10 people like this
Posted by baffled
a resident of Jackson Park
on Oct 30, 2014 at 11:18 pm

What was Ellen Kamei thinking when she sent those horribly wasteful mailers with the recorded message. Very irresponsible!!!


5 people like this
Posted by floored
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2014 at 12:19 pm

i'm disgusted

this is a summary of 2 posts from: NEC finances "toilet water" attack ad in Water District race" Original post made on Nov 3, 2014 www.mv-voice.com/square/2014/11/03/nec-finances-toilet-water-attack-ad-in-water-district-race

- NEC's treasurer Gary Crummitt has 2 violations and 1 warning from the FPPC this year alone! see here: Web Link
- in addition, NEC also paid 5,000 dollars to Barry Wyatt Associates
- Barry Wyatt Associates was until recently (it's still in Google's cache) part of Robinson Communication's team see here: Web Link
- and guess who's running Kremen's water district campaign.... Rich Robinson
- Ellen Kamei also used Robinson. She paid Robinson close to 18,000.00 (according to her campaign)for that awful mailer.
- There is a NEC mailer supporting her regarding traffic and then she sends out that mailer about traffic that was created by essentially the same people.
-Gary Kremen and Ellen Kamie share an office space and are having their election night party together.

This is all making sense.

WOW. This is bad.

Maybe the expenditures are truly independent but what a series of coincidences...


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

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