Councilman drops out and a candidate steps forward

Rosenberg announces he won't run for re-election, endorses Lucas Ramirez for seat

Mountain View's upcoming November election is already taking shape.

Earlier this week, Councilman Ken Rosenberg surprised his colleagues by announcing that he would not seek a seek a second term. That news has already inspired activity among aspirants looking to fill his seat.

Ken Rosenberg. Photo by Michelle Le

Lucas Ramirez
On Thursday morning, Environmental Planning Commissioner Lucas Ramirez formally announced he would run for the open seat in November, with Rosenberg's endorsement.

Ramirez ran in 2016 amid a crowded field of candidates, and he came up just short of winning one of the four open seats.

Ramirez said he originally wasn't planning on running again, given that it appeared any newcomer would be at a considerable disadvantage. The three City Council seats open for this year's election are all held by incumbents in their first term: Mayor Lenny Siegel, Councilwoman Pat Showalter and Rosenberg.

But then Rosenberg declared he wouldn't run for re-election, and he reportedly encouraged Ramirez to go for it.

"Even through I wasn't planning at all to run this year, I feel strongly enough about several of the key issues that will likely dominate this campaign," Ramirez said in an interview with the Voice. "I've been to every City Council meeting since 2012, and I've absorbed a lot through osmosis, so I'll be able to hit the ground running."

Much like his last run, Ramirez expects the big issues in this election to be housing and transportation. He supports “aggressive” housing growth centered in certain neighborhoods, including North Bayshore, East Whisman and possibly the Terra Bella area. But he is more cautious about similar housing growth in other areas of town, such as south of El Camino or the downtown.

He remains supportive of Mountain View’s rent control program, but he emphasizes that it should be considered a short-term measure to prevent displacement. A true remedy for the long-term has to be housing growth, he said.

“Fundamentally, I don’t believe (rent control) is going to address the root cause of the housing crisis,” he said.

Rent control is already shaping up to be a dominant issue in this year’s election. In recent weeks, an opposition media campaign was launched by a group that appears to be laying the groundwork for a November ballot measure to repeal rent control.

Ramirez, 29, has worn a lot of hats in local civics around Silicon Valley. He also regularly volunteers with the local chapter of the League of Women Voters and he served on Mountain View's Human Relations Committee and the Valley Transportation Authority's Citizens Advisory Committee.

Last year, he was appointed to Mountain View's Environmental Planning Commission and began working as a legislative analyst in the office of San Jose Councilman Sergio Jimenez. He has previously worked as a campaign volunteer for state Sen. Jerry Hill and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, both of whom are endorsing him.

Ramirez also has the endorsement of Councilman Rosenberg. Ramirez would be an excellent candidate to fill his seat, Rosenberg told the Voice.

"I would only want to vacate my position if there was someone I trust who would replace me," Rosenberg said. “I know Lucas well and I trust him ... and we share a lot of the same values.”

Rosenberg said his decision not to run was based primarily on the huge time demands of local public office. He wanted to devote more time to his family and his job, as well as on a project to create an international institute for human rights. As mayor last year, Rosenberg championed that project and pushed the city to support it.

As for the other council members up for re-election, Mayor Siegel told the Voice he intends to run again. Councilwoman Showalter could not be immediately reached for comment.

It remains to be seen whether other challengers will run in the 2018 City Council race. Former candidates Thida Cornes and Ellen Kamei both have updated campaign committees on file with the city, although they have not formally declared candidacy. Neither of them could be immediately reached for comment.

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53 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 15, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Good riddance to Rosenberg, who tried to cut two lanes on El Camino despite his campaign promises to the contrary.

This Ramirez is on the Valley Transportation Authority's Citizens Advisory Committee? Sounds like another Rosenberg... just say no.

57 people like this
Posted by MtnViewJS
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2018 at 2:14 pm

MtnViewJS is a registered user.

Ramirez is a clone of Siegel, Rosenberg, and Showalter. He will think just like them and do what they want.

And, lets not forget that Showalter is a flip flopper too...she was against the bus lanes on El Camino to get elected and then sold us out when she won.

Here is hoping for a solid election with good choices. Maybe three new council members that understand our neighborhoods and move away from the social justice causes.

44 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Feb 15, 2018 at 3:07 pm

During last year's climate of political strife, I am grateful Council Member Rosenberg was our mayor, for he struck a tone of civility and inclusion that exemplified the best of MV. You may agree or disagree with his votes, but he never shied away from a tough vote, never driven by special interest pressures, and alway for what he thought was best for Mountain View.

We ought to be thankful for any fellow resident who gives countless hours to try to make the community better for everyone, and at the personal costs of time away from their career and family.

19 people like this
Posted by Sheri
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 15, 2018 at 3:22 pm

I second Christopher Chiang's comment. And I think Lucas Ramirez would be an excellent council member.

7 people like this
Posted by Longview
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Longview is a registered user.

Mountain View will have some strong, thoughtful, and responsive candidates in this election.

12 people like this
Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 15, 2018 at 3:50 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Who appoints people to the Environmental Planning Commission, and is there any transparency to the process --- like public hearings or oversight? Seems to me like the process is pretty opaque and that members are chosen for exactly what criteria? To guard our future quality of life in Mountain View, or just political cronyism? The two seem to be mutually exclusive in MV govt at least the last 10 years, probably more like 15 or 20.

15 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Castro City
on Feb 15, 2018 at 4:07 pm

@William Hitchens, do you seriously post here as much as you do without even taking a tiny effort to understand how your city works? Amazing, but not at all shocking. We have a fantastically transparent city government, but I guess there's no accounting for laziness.

7 people like this
Posted by Liza L.
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 15, 2018 at 4:31 pm

I recommend that Chris Chiang run for the open seat!

7 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Feb 15, 2018 at 5:51 pm

no thank you, but we are lucky to have many upstanding residents (of all political stripes) who will.

32 people like this
Posted by MtnViewJS
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2018 at 9:33 pm

MtnViewJS is a registered user.

I'd like to see others enter the race who have more qualifications than being a policy aide to a SAN JOSE elected official. What about local school board members, neighborhood leaders, and long-time residents? I'd be hopeful to see more like Lisa Matichak, Margaret Abe-Koga, and John Inks on the council...they are thoughtful people and while they may all have different points of view they do their homework and always look out for the community and you know where they stand.

31 people like this
Posted by MVWoman
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Feb 15, 2018 at 10:01 pm

MVWoman is a registered user.

I agree with MtnViewJS. We need good people to run for Council, along the lines of Matichak, Abe-Coga and Inks. AND we need to be SURE not to re-elect back-stabbing politicians like Showalter, who voted FOR the lane grab by VTA on El Camino after promising voters that she was against it, and Siegel who wants Mountain View to be the "Berkeley of the Peninsula". PLEASE someone run so they are not re-elected!
We have some very good community leaders in Mountain View, but they need to be encouraged to run, or we get people like Showalter, Siegel and Clark who do not have the best interests of the citizens.

19 people like this
Posted by Randy
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 16, 2018 at 11:40 am

I think we're really lucky to have Ramirez step forward for the City council position. He's very smart and completely dedicated to the well being of Mountain View and our residents. He's got my vote.

29 people like this
Posted by Osmosis
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 17, 2018 at 12:18 am

Osmosis? Seriously?

Mountain View has a $300 million annual budget, millions more in capital expenditures, and a multitude of other high impact decisions. Ramirez' hands on knowledge, expertise, and experience in those critical areas? This is big time stuff. Osmosis?

Not saying he's not a good person. Not a fit for this job.

PS - A byproduct of not having the trained and real world expertise is an inability to challenge and push back on staff reports and recommendations or to suggest viable alternatives.

19 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 20, 2018 at 12:51 pm

It seems Rosenberg saw the writing on the wall that he had no chance of re-election. Good riddance. Hopefully we'll have only one or two other strong, neighborhood-friendly candidates throw their hat in the ring. Ramirez lacks any meaningful experience doing anything with accountability or the issues that matter to MV residents. Simply cozying up to politicians and serving on political appointee boards/committees isn't real experience. He would be a useful tool for the Peninsula regional government apparatus, which is focused on dumping all new housing (and/or their RVs) for the area's businesses on MV. The MV city council should not be the platform for him to learn on the job on his way to his next political gig. The only way he gets elected is if the field is so crowded that the thoughtful, common sense vote gets diluted among too many candidates.

Let's find a fiscally-responsible candidate who has experience bringing accountability to budgets, thoughtful solutions to encouraging a safe, vibrant downtown, and responsible ideas for eliminating the RV blight.

10 people like this
Posted by reader
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 20, 2018 at 5:15 pm

@Osmosis and @Common Sense, what nasty criticism you spew! Have you ever MET Lucas Ramirez and spent any meaningful amount of time talking to him? Have you personally seen and heard him present his views at the numerous candidate forums for the last election?

How does one get experience being a council member before serving on council? Do our current council members all have prior experience managing a $300 million annual budget and millions more in capital expenditures?

Do you really think that attending EVERY long, drawn-out, late-into-the-night city council meeting for the last several YEARS really counts for nothing? Are you attending every council meeting as well?

I'm thrilled that Lucas Ramirez will be on the ballot again and I'll be out there campaigning for him.

19 people like this
Posted by What about the cowboy?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 20, 2018 at 11:10 pm

What about the cowboy? is a registered user.

Time for Jim Neal!

3 people like this
Posted by raghu
a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 21, 2018 at 2:28 am

raghu is a registered user.

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21 people like this
Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 21, 2018 at 8:48 am

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

Yes! Jim Neal!! Voice of reason, accountability and fair compromise. Jim Neal for City Council!!

27 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 21, 2018 at 10:02 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@What about the cowboy & @mvresident2003 - I really appreciate the support and the sentiments! Mountain View was the first city in California that I really fell in love with because I feel like I am truly part of the city and the community.

I will always feel like this city is part of me because it has had such a powerful impact on my life. Unfortunately, I will not be able to run for City Council as I am no less affected by the recent changes than many of my friends and neighbors. We can no longer afford to live here, so it is very likely that we will be moving within the next year.

I will always be grateful to those who supported and encouraged me. I've kept up with the online version of the Voice even if I don't always comment, and I was very happy to see that there are still a lot of people who are willing to speak out and fight for the best interests of our great city. I am also grateful for those who opposed me. They helped to show the contrast between our ideas and ideals; and helped me to sharpen my thinking and my arguments.

I imagine that even after we leave, we'll still be returning from time to time, and that I will still keep an eye, even if it is a distant one, on the one city in California that ever truly felt like home to me. I am sure I will miss it.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

17 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 21, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Gary is a registered user.

Sorry to hear you (Jim Neal) may be leaving - even if you did support Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. The excusable part of that position was that Hillary Clinton (even though she won the popular vote against Trump) had far too much baggage to run for President. No one else could have lost to Trump. Not even Bernie Sanders. And remember Jim, we still have a dinner bet on whether Trump is forced out early. And you might still consider running for City Council and staying if you win. Councilmembers do get paid with a salary, full-time employee benefits and expense accounts - not to mention the business contacts they make. Conservatives can get elected to City Council in Mountain View. John Inks is a conservative, for example. But at this point the biggest issue in Mountain View is whether existing residents should be protected against overcrowding and other attacks upon the quality of living in Mountain View. The current City Council majority adopted a nonsensical, pro- corporation resolution asserting that showing any preference for existing residents is a form of, get this, "bigotry" to be avoided.

22 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 21, 2018 at 6:57 pm


Yep, I've met Lucas Ramirez. He stopped by my house to chat while campaigning the last go-round. I found that he lacked depth and was unwilling to take any meaningful positions, or alluded to a position that was contrary to his publicly acknowledged position on issues, for fear of having a difficult conversation. For example, he explicitly told me that he did not think Measure V was the right solution for mountain view, and just about a week later came out in favor of it.

Just because you think he's nice guy doesn't mean that he's the right answer to lead our fair city into a prosperous, sustainable, and pleasant future.

17 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 21, 2018 at 7:06 pm

@reader (again)--to answer your remaining question--no, simply attending every council meeting does not qualify someone to serve on the council. It says nothing about whether a candidate has the skills and critical thinking ability to analyze issues independently and exercise autonomous judgement, or to weigh the needs and interests of constituents. If Lucas is so engaged in our community, why isn't is putting out policy papers proposing solutions for the various issues that ail our community, such as neighborhoods blighted with RVs, land use considerations, and budget analyses?

15 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 22, 2018 at 10:38 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@Gary - Thanks for your kind words. I won't forget about the dinner and I'm looking forward to it. I too would love to see a Council with more members that prioritize the community over the developers and corporate special interests. We'll just have to see who decides to run.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

14 people like this
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 28, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Is this how Mountain View politics works? You just get anointed by an outgoing council member? We need council members who reflect and actually want to represent the values of the citizens of Mountain View, not ones who want to foist their agendas on us.

7 people like this
Posted by True
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 21, 2018 at 1:18 pm

True is a registered user.

Lucas Ramirez is a bright kid. He visited me at my home during the last CC election go'round.

He told me that he was in favor of the BRT lunacy and the wrong-headed Measure V. I told him then that I appreciated his honesty but he couldn't have my vote.

Rosenburg on the other hand.......

I'd rather have someone on the CC that is honest, even if I don't agree with them. Still won't vote for them though.

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

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