Editorial endorsement: Mountain View City Council

Clark, Matichak, McAlister and Ramirez for council

There is no shortage of difficult challenges facing Mountain View, nor is there a shortage of residents who want to help address them as members of the City Council. Eight candidates, including two incumbents and one former council member, are competing for four open council seats -- residents representing a broad range of interests and civic experience.

The Voice endorses incumbents John McAlister and Chris Clark, and challengers Lisa Matichak and Lucas Ramirez.

John McAlister

Chris Clark

Lisa Matichak

Lucas Ramirez
John McAlister

Completing his first four-year term, McAlister isn't ready to wrap up his work on the council, where he has devoted much time and effort to transportation issues. He has worked with the Valley Transportation Authority board on issues affecting the North County, pushing for more funding for local transportation projects.

He views the shortcomings of the region's transportation network as a factor in the city's housing crisis, arguing that with improved mass transit, the demand for housing in the city would ease, with those who work in Mountain View but can't afford to buy a house being able to commute more easily from areas with more affordable housing costs.

Of all the candidates and current council members, McAlister is the only retail business owner, and as such provides a valuable perspective to the council.

Chris Clark

Clark is also seeking a second term on the council. He has shown skill as a consensus-builder. In addition to wanting to help tackle housing and transportation problems in the city, he wants to focus on sustainability when decisions involving growth come before the council.

He also has focused on city and regional transportation issues.

With only four years of council experience under their belts, Clark and McAlister are nevertheless the members with the longest tenure -- the three other members, who are not up for re-election this time around -- were elected to their first terms in 2014.

Lisa Matichak

Matichak lost a bid for a council seat in 2014, but deserves a chance this time around. She has been a member of the Environmental Planning Commission for about seven years, and would bring valuable knowledge and insights regarding development, housing, transportation and other city planning issues to the council.

Not a fan of rent control, she supports housing growth as the solution to the burdensome spike in the cost of rental units, and a more aggressive approach to traffic-demand management plans for new development.

A supporter of the county's Measure A bond measure for affordable housing on the November ballot, she wants the city to prepare for new funding from bond revenue to build such housing here.

Lucas Ramirez

A member of the city's Human Relations Commission and the Valley Transportation Authority's Citizens Advisory Committee, Ramirez has chalked up much valuable experience that would serve him well as a council member. He has been a City Council observer for the local League of Women Voters for years, attending most council meetings.

Key concerns include the city's housing crisis and the need for improved and expanded bike lanes and transit infrastructure.

Another issue Ramirez wants to focus on is public access to local government, which he finds in need of improvement. He wants better public notification practices in City Hall, including earlier publication of City Council agendas, and advocates putting into place a system whereby residents could directly petition City Hall to schedule a hearing on a particular issue.

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57 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 31, 2016 at 6:00 pm

I agree that we need the most experienced council for our city.

Having lived here for 50 years, and watched Margaret Abe-Koga all ready serve as city council woman for 8 years during the worst recession in my lifetime, she would be the most qualified candidate and bring back all these experiences to a new council.

I agree with the Voice suggestions on 3 of the 4. Instead of Ramirez, I am voting for Abe-Koga.

These 4 would be the most experienced and qualified candidate's for a new council, IMO.

7 people like this
Posted by yuri
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Nov 1, 2016 at 7:00 am

Matichak has some questionable, if not alarming, endorsements on her flyers. I'm going with Abe Koga.

14 people like this
Posted by recycle MAK no thanks
a resident of Gemello
on Nov 1, 2016 at 8:38 am

Like old DEM politico Honda in San Jose politics, MAK seems to represent the old style thinking that we can probably do without. Trust her, like the VTA Bus Rapid Transit position that he has staunchly held for years? No Thanks! Not Possible to figure out how to put ANY residential use / with commercial out in North Bayshore? Old School, No Thanks!

I'm going to vote for three of the Voice's recommendations (which I have been thinking about after my own studies). But give my 4th vote to MAK? No Thanks!

3 people like this
Posted by Amelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 1, 2016 at 9:27 am

I have been emailed by several members of the current council asking for my support. How did they get my email? How is it legal that they can use my email to contact me when other folks running for city council who are not on the council cannot?

(spell checked original post)

7 people like this
Posted by @amelie
a resident of Castro City
on Nov 1, 2016 at 12:06 pm

It's because you either emailed them or u are making this up. It's against council protocol for current council members to support candidates that are running

7 people like this
Posted by Just wondering
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 1, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Why is the Voice endorsing any of the candidates?

19 people like this
Posted by Kenneth Parker
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Having had the opportunity to have a few in depth conservations with Lucas Ramirez I am an enthusiastic supporter of his candidacy for Mt. View City Council. He is not only extremely well informed on the issues facing our city, he has demonstrated, through his well reasoned and well researched opinions, a comprehensive grasp of these issues in a fully interactive environment, a "holistic" (I hate that term in this context but it seems most appropriate here) approach to ssolving our problems of housing and transporation, not only for the short term, but for the long term health and well being of our community. I strongly urge everyone to take a long look at each of the candidates, and the positions on the issues, including, if possible, how they arrived at those positions, as well as the short term and long terms effects/benefits of their solutions. But, whatever your thoughts, and whomever you chose to vote for, VOTE!! It is our responsibilty as citizens to do whatever we can to help our community. Making an informed choice in the voting booth is one way of meeting that responsibility. And my "informed choice" includes Lucas Ramirez for Mt. View City Council.

40 people like this
Posted by RoxieK
a resident of Slater
on Nov 2, 2016 at 12:59 am

Agree wholeheartedly with McAlister, Clark and Matichak. Ramirez has some frightening views on bringing extremely high density housing to an already heavily congested area. Ramirez feels reckless and is a No Vote for me.

5 people like this
Posted by Scott
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 2, 2016 at 4:14 am

The incumbents sold out to developers and landlords and even support VTA tax Measure B that would bring bus-only lanes to El Camino Real.

26 people like this
Posted by small town
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2016 at 10:23 am

Both incumbents are against Bus only lane on El Camino
I know McAlister has it on his website that he is against dedicated bus lanes.
Measure B tax money would not be used for a bus only lane.

18 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 2, 2016 at 12:09 pm

My main concern with Mr. Ramirez is, I was in a conversation with several people, not clear if they all where workers or not, at the Democratic Volunteer Center. One individual was very clear that the party has higher plans for Mr.Ramirez, possibly state wide office or Congress.

I am not comfortable supporting a candidate who is already planning for higher office. I would like for council members to make the best decisions for the community, today, and not make decisions that would get them farther down the road into higher office.

16 people like this
Posted by Kenneth Parker
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2016 at 12:55 pm

"Gladys" Lucas Ramirez is 28 years old, highly intelligent, personable, well informed and remarkably well prepared to be a member of the Mt. View City Council. Of course the Democratic Party has long term hopes for him. And membership on the city council in Mt. View will most likely not be his last elective office. This is, in my opinion, a very good thing. We want our elected leaders to be capable and experienced, and the only way to et governing experience is by governing. His time on the city council will prepare him for another, higher, office where he can continue to serve the public, and bring his talents and abilities to bear on problems and issues effecting even more people. If he was not planning for "higher office" it would be an inexcusable waste of talent and ability. And it is how our system of governance works.

11 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 3, 2016 at 11:25 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

I am firmly in support of Lisa Matichak and John McAlister because of their experience and history of being very resident focused. I think it is vitally important that the City Council represent the people of Mountain View and truly listen to their concerns and both of these candidates have demonstrated their willingness to do so.

As far as the dedicated bus lanes are concerned, Clark and McAlister have had to recuse themselves from prior votes due to property that they own, so it is vitally important that any other candidates elected to also are firmly opposed to the BRT lanes and are committed to maintaining that position AFTER they get elected.

Another major issue is the Closing of Castro street at the Caltrain tracks, which I believe will be a disaster for the businesses as well as the Old Mountain View neighborhood. Where the candidates stand on that issue is a REALLY big priority for me.

I am still deciding who to cast my other two votes for and I will be studying the candidates sites and viewing their recorded meetings (if available) before making my final decision.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

18 people like this
Posted by @Gladys
a resident of Slater
on Nov 3, 2016 at 12:21 pm

"I am not comfortable supporting a candidate who is already planning for higher office. I would like for council members to make the best decisions for the community, today, and not make decisions that would get them farther down the road into higher office."

Interesting that you say that about Ramirez when it is Abe-Koga who ran for higher office (hospital district) only 2 years ago and has filed for county supervisor before. I think you're confusing your candidates.

18 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 3, 2016 at 3:22 pm

"@Gladys" My decision was based on who has the most experience's that they could contribute to the new council. I watched Abe-Koga when she was on the council during the middle of the worst recession of my life time. I agree with 90℅ of her positions on issues. In 2001 the start of the valley's dotcom recession, Mr. Ramirez was just 13 years old at that time. He has not experienced what a recession is as an adult. Abe-Koga already served her first term as council member on the last halve of that recession. Mr. Ramirez has no experience in this area. IMO it would best serve him and the city for him to gain more experience before becoming a council member.
To my memory I never heard the Party or Abe-Koga talk about higher positions for office, like state wide office or Congress as I am hearing now about Mr.Ramirez. If any talk was like that about any candidate, I would seriously look at all candidates and still would decide on who has the most experience to bring to the council. I have not change my position as to who I am voting for.

11 people like this
Posted by recycle MAK no thanks
a resident of Gemello
on Nov 3, 2016 at 4:13 pm

MAK was preparing to run for County Supervisor when old-battlehorse Joe Simitian made it clear he was going to get it. So MAK let her Supervisor Campaign committee and money-raising gradually fade out.

Does anyone know - is MAK's campaign committee for County Supervisor still active and have money? Or has she, for now, recycled it into this City Council campaign?

16 people like this
Posted by Voted
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 3, 2016 at 5:07 pm

I've known Lucas Ramirez for years. He is young, true, but no one currently running has a better handle on all issues facing the city. He is about as involved as you can get in the details of policy and procedure. And he also has the connections needed to get things done regionally. To top it off, he has a good brain. The best. He is deliberate in his thinking and rational in his decisions. I don't think it's possible to agree with anybody on every issue, but what I look for in a candidate is a steady hand, open for new considerations and perspectives, and not an ideologue. Having grown up in Mountain View, he brings with him a view of a very long term resident and all the changes that have happened around him. Vote for Ramirez for a wonderful addition to council. Vote with confidence.

11 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 3, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Let's take the political aspect out of consideration for council member.

Talk me into changing my vote for Mr. Ramirez.
I see he is a member of of the city's Human Relations Commission and Valley Transportation Authority's Citizens Advisory Committee.
What else has he done?
If nothing else how can you compare this to another candidate who has already served 2 terms as a city council member?

Please explain how Mr.Ramirez, who again was just 13 years old at the start of the last recession and never lived thru a recession as an adult, what has he done to be prepared to deal with a $300 million dollar city budget when we go into the next recession and know how to handle that?

Abe-Koga does not need on the job training to do that, she already did it. This is what I mean by experience. Unfortunately I fear others are just making a political decision here by towing the party line and not considering what is best for the city.

As I said, what am I missing that makes him so qualified?

16 people like this
Posted by Good point!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Gladys makes a good point! She-Koge's experience is exactly why you shouldn't vote for her. The office / housing imbalance only got worse on her watch. Time for a change.

36 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 3, 2016 at 8:12 pm

"Good point" No that is not accurate. During that period they where tearing down commercial properties for housing and the majority residents voted candidates in to stop the growth. Please do not turn this into a trash section like other columns here. It is a serious question. Usually the majority of candidates have first served in the Environmental Planning Commission, Some Board of Education, Parks and Recreation Commissioner, came from a high level of a private sector, Business owner, professor or similar. While Mr.Ramirez is part of a commission and a committee, those are both very light weight positions. He has no experience in planning, housing, zoning, EPC, budget issues and again, never had to have an income to pay a bill as an adult in a recession. How can you expect him to make these decisions as a council member when he has no experience in these matters in his private life?

4 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2016 at 11:48 am

I will be voting tomorrow. I was hoping someone would reply to my previous post about Mr.Ramirez qualifications for city council.

11 people like this
Posted by Kenneth Parker
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Gladys from Another Mt. View Neighborhood: Lucas Ramirez has been to countless city council meetings as the official observer for the League of Women voters, so he knows the issues, challenges, procedures, and protocols intimately. He has served as Chair of the Mountain View Human Relations Commission so he understands issues beyond transportation and housing, as wel as how to structure and run a meeting. He has taaken the time to educate himself on transportation and housing issues, as well as other issues facing our community. If you read his positions, or hear him speak on his positions, you will understand that his grasp of, and well considered solutions for, the problems facing our community are founded on both thorough research and a strong love for our community. He is smart, thorough, well educated on our problems and on possible solutions for those problems. He is exactly who we need on the city council.

16 people like this
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Nov 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.


There is no doubt in my mind that Lucas is qualified to be on City Council. A good city council will have intelligent and reasoned voices representing a variety of perspectives in the community. It's OK if some have experienced Event A and others haven't, since maybe those others have experienced Event B.

I served on the Human Relations Commission with Lucas for 2 years. In my observation, Lucas practices the highest standards of ethics in politics. He does not take money from special interests, he posts his answers to endorsement questionnaires on his website, he is a straight shooter.


15 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 7, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Greg, I appreciate your personal opinion, but this is the city council we are talking about. We need people who have actually done these things and bring real world experience to the council. What does he do for a profession? for example.
This is no place for on the job training, especially when other candidate's running have far more experiences. IMO he is to young and does not have the experience yet. He needs to serve in other city government agencies, like the EPC, and actually have to make decisions so we as a city, could then judge his record.

14 people like this
Posted by Monta Loma
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 7, 2016 at 6:46 pm

Jim Neal - I agree, Matichak and McAlister will definitely get my vote. They are both smart, experienced, and resident-focused.

I'm not thrilled by any of the other candidates. I went to a couple of candidate forums and tried to see what the other candidates stood for, but just wasn't impressed. Ramirez might be a good candidate ten years from now.

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

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