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.
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.
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.
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.
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.