Don't split the City Council vote
Assuming that the incumbents are re-elected, as is usually the case, there is only one other seat to be filled, but there are four candidates: a libertarian who is likely to be well received by the more conservative voters in our community and three fairly progressive candidates with varying degrees of support for housing.
For voters who want the third seat filled by a progressive, pro-housing council member, voters must unite behind a single candidate; otherwise the conservative candidate will win. It is just a simple matter of math.
In my opinion, Lucas Ramirez is the most electable of the three progressive candidates. While no candidate can please all of the people all of the time, Lucas is thoughtful, knows more about this city through his work on the Planning and Human Relations commissions, and through his attendance at nearly every council meeting for the past several years as the League of Women Voters representative. He appeals to a broad range of people, even though he may have taken positions that run contrary to personal beliefs.
Remember what happened in 2016 with Jill Stein! Vote splitting really happens, and it can and will happen here if voters don't unite on a single third candidate. If you are voting for one of the incumbents, you are most likely planning on voting for one of the three progressive candidates, but to win, voters need to unite behind a single candidate.
Wheeler for school board
Integrity, commitment, and availability are key words to describe Ellen Wheeler's work ethic and her 16 years as a trustee of the Mountain View Whisman School District. As a former superintendent of the Whisman school district and subsequent Mountain View Whisman School District, I strongly support and endorse Ellen's campaign to serve another term as trustee.
In my years of working with Trustee Wheeler, I came to truly appreciate the analytical skill set she brings to problem solving, her thoroughness, her commitment to student learning, and her availability to meet with members of the community to discuss school issues. Trustee Wheeler has been a steady presence in all the schools, forging vital relationships between the staff and the school board. As the longest serving member of the school board, she retains important district history, which can play an important role in decision-making.
Vote for and re-elect Ellen Wheeler for the MVWSD Board of Trustees.
Eleanor G. Yick
Retired superintendent, Whisman and Mountain View Whisman school districts
Councilman endorses Ramirez
This year's City Council candidates offer the voters an interesting choice: stay progressive or turn conservative. Best I can tell, all six of the candidates will say yes to more housing, but only three will work to protect the voter-passed initiative for rent control. Only three will retain the council-adopted policy of compassion and proudly continue flying the banner of being a human rights city as it relates to our complicated homelessness problem. Only three have a grand vision of traffic mitigation solutions that go beyond widening roads or encouraging carpooling. Those three are Pat Showalter, Lenny Siegel, and Lucas Ramirez. Since Pat and Lenny are incumbents, let me tell you why I confidently endorse Lucas.
Lucas has grown up in Mountain View and has participated in the most prestigious council advisory bodies and has a long record of being politically active. He has a strong voting record that is discernible as it relates to the business of the city and his votes progressively comport with the issues of the day and a positive direction for Mountain View. Lucas has formed strong working relationships with our local county, state, and federal elected officials. This is important because he can leverage these relationships to advocate for us outside our borders.
Lucas has attended nearly every council meeting, beginning to end, for years. He knows the issues as well as anybody, including those who formerly (and presently!) sit on the dais, and can speak the technical vernacular of government and policy. And probably most importantly, Lucas is genuinely willing to listen to you, even if (especially if) you disagree. Although he is a bit shy at first, if you get him talking, you will agree with me that he would be a great ambassador for our city and would make a great council member. I hope your vote ensures that Lucas can take my seat as I exit elected life.
Mountain View City Council member
Fung for El Camino board
I am writing this letter to endorse Dr. Peter Fung to be re-elected to the El Camino Healthcare District Board. I have had the honor of becoming well acquainted with Dr. Fung on a professional and personal level for the last eight years that I have served as the rehabilitation medical director for El Camino Hospital.
For as long as I have known Dr. Fung, he has not only been a highly skilled and compassionate physician for El Camino Hospital, but also a true leader and champion for all people within the greater Silicon Valley area. I feel Dr. Fung always develops a thorough understanding of each and every critical board issue so that he can genuinely do what is best for the community at large. His dedication to doing what's right is something that I both applaud and admire.
I therefore have no hesitation fully supporting Dr. Peter Fung in his goal to be re-elected so that he can continue the excellent work that he has been doing.
Justin Liu, M.D.
Rehabilitation medical director, El Camino Hospital
Restore local control of renter protections
Whether or not our state government had good intentions, their actions, such as the Costa-Hawkins law, have enabled massive profits for corporate landlords while making the housing crisis worse and hurting tenants with their interference. We must return local control to our cities and counties. It is the cities and counties that have to deal with financial and humanitarian consequences of rising homelessness, vehicle dwelling and the crowded substandard living conditions of so many of the working poor. The escalating need for new housing is obvious to cities, who will continue to approve new housing, such as the record-breaking new housing permits in Mountain View in 2017.
Proposition 10 repeals the harmful Costa-Hawkins law while having no effect on the state law that guarantees a fair rate of return for landlords. We see and hear a lot from the opposition, the special interest groups who want to increase their massive profits. To see the truth, follow the money.
Sierra Vista Avenue
Don't subsidize large developers
At the recent (City Council) candidate forum in the Mountain View Library, John Inks declared that no Mountain View city funds should be used to subsidize the RV dwellers on our streets. He also appears to favor unrestricted and unregulated and untaxed development in our city.
I wonder if he would apply his logic to the huge subsidies granted to developers and corporations in Mountain View, who pay far less than the actual cost to the city for their impact on roads and traffic, parking, environmental impact, fire, police, schools, parks, and urban forest. Why should the city of Mountain View and its residents be subsidizing developers and large corporations and their wealthy owners?
Inks' astonishing postcard
In Sunday's Mercury News article about the contestants for the Mountain View City Council seats, John Inks was paraphrased, if not quoted, as commenting that there isn't room for all people in Mountain View. In context, he was saying not that there isn't enough space to house everyone trying to live here, which is true, but rather that Mountain View has a right to discriminate against those who can't afford to buy or rent conventional housing in Mountain View, which is a judgment call, and could be made by the City Council. The issue here is whether the voters want council members who feel that it is right for the council to pass actions that discriminate against those whose only negative characteristic is that they don't make a six-figure income.
John's postcard said "City Council should not use your sales and property tax dollars to subsidize RVs on Mountain View streets. " By extension, this statement suggests that poor (or poorer than the MV average) people should not be allowed to live in Mountain View. Mountain View was built on the backs of workers from multiple ethnicities who worked in fields, in auto shops, in restaurants and other industries that paid less than the tech industry.
While tech as a sector has grown phenomenally since those days, Mountain View has retained much of its multicultural, multi-class character, which is part of what makes it more friendly than surrounding cities like Palo Alto and Los Altos/Los Altos Hills. We have room for both rich and poor, and all residents along that spectrum deserve fair treatment from all city officials, including council members.
Based on his campaign statements, plus his previous council record of opposition to most civic projects requiring money, I voted against John Inks when my ballot arrived. I urge others to do the same.
Dr. Elna Tymes
Founder and former member, MV Senior Advisory Committee
Member, Santa Clara County Senior Care Commission
Mountain View leads the way again
Measure P addresses the challenges of higher infrastructure and transportation costs needed because of the increasing number of businesses and employees in our city. It does so without using funds from our general revenues or having residents pick up the tab for new bonds.
Measure P is a progressive tax on the number of employees. Thus, it minimizes the effect on small businesses and asks large employers to pay their fair share from which they will benefit.
The measure has the unanimous support of our City Council and broad support of city residents. We can be proud that our city is leading the way with an innovative idea for surrounding cities.
One can hope that the newly elected City Council will take a similarly thorough "cooperative" approach to our next large challenge, the increasing numbers of houseless individuals living in vehicles or on the ground. We can be a model for our sister cities as we have done with minimum wage, rent stabilization and will do with an innovative and fair business tax.
Michael Fischetti and Marilyn Winkleby
Coladonato needed on school board
In a Oct. 19 editorial, the Voice recommended one incumbent in the Mountain View Whisman school board race and acknowledged that the other incumbent, Greg Coladonato is "a reasonable choice." Even if, as your editorial states, Greg Coladonato is "a fiscal hawk who asks probing questions," some of us taxpayers value a fiscal hawk who asks probing questions. Indeed, that is exactly what every school board needs at least one.
George E. Harris, Jr.
Kasperzak for El Camino board
I urged Mike Kasperzak to run for the El Camino Healthcare District Board for three basic reasons.
First, Mike will champion good governance, so business is done in open session where the public is welcome and can provide comments. Mike is concerned that too much of the El Camino Healthcare District board's business has been done in closed session where the public is excluded.
Mike has the skill and experience in governing and policy development that is sorely needed. He has already served the hospital on the Campaign Cabinet, which raised funds for the new hospital, the Genomics Institute Committee, the Government Affairs Committee, and the Planned Giving Committee of the Hospital Foundation. He has been president of the California League of Cities, on the board of the National League of Cities, has served four terms on the Mountain View City Council and has been mayor twice.
Second, even though El Camino Hospital is in Mountain View, no one from Mountain View is on the board. That doesn't make sense. Mike really knows Mountain View. Prior to his leadership on the City Council, Mike served on our Parks and Recreation Commission and our Environmental Planning Commission. Mountain View has been Mike's home for over 30 years.
Third, Mike is well-versed in finance, particularly public finance. El Camino Hospital's budget is large at close to $1 billion. Mike will provide valuable oversight so that the finances of the hospital remain healthy. When the California League of Cities published a guide on government financing for elected officials, the quote on the back of the book was from Mike Kasperzak.
I have worked closely with Mike. He is a good listener who explains why he is making a decision. Please join me in voting for Mike Kasperzak for the health care district board.
Mountain View City Council member