Election 2020: Nine compete for the Mountain View City Council

High school students gather around Mountain View City Hall Sept. 20, 2019. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

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Election 2020: Nine compete for the Mountain View City Council

High school students gather around Mountain View City Hall Sept. 20, 2019. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The city of Mountain View is poised for a leadership shake-up this November, empowering voters to guide the city's major policy decisions at a time of historic uncertainty and unprecedented challenges.

The coronavirus pandemic has completely upended the city's day-to-day life, putting dire financial strain on low-income residents and beloved businesses on the brink of having to close for good. Budget deficits are on the horizon, development is expected to slow down and the significant shift to telecommuting has raised big questions about the future transit needs of the region.

Voters will decide which four of the nine candidates will make up the majority of the seven-seat council and tackle these issues in the coming years. Two incumbents, John McAlister and Chris Clark, are termed out of office this year. Both McAlister and Clark often took positions of pragmatism and compromise in order to bridge major differences on the council, and their exit could lead to votes split deeply on ideological lines.

The two incumbents in the race, Margaret Abe-Koga and Lisa Matichak, say the city could use experienced leadership amid the uncertainty, and point to what they believe is a strong track record for local pandemic response. But they face steep competition from seven challengers seeking a seat on the City Council. Former council members Lenny Siegel and Pat Showalter, each with experience in their own right, are looking to return to the City Council and pick up where they left off in 2018.

Former state Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, who served on the council 18 years ago, is also seeking to make a return to city politics.

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Newcomers in the race are Jose Gutierrez, a trustee for the Mountain View Whisman School District; Paul Roales, a Waymo engineer; Alex Nunez, a community activist and housing advocate; and John Lashlee, a community activist and member of the Silicon Valley Democratic Socialists of America. Each would bring a fresh perspective on the council, but with a different focus. Gutierrez said he emphatically supports consensus-building on tough issues, while Roales' platform rests squarely on efficient governance. Nunez is pressing for more compassion in the city's decisions, while Lashlee believes the city must embrace more progressive policies.

Nearly all of the candidates say they believe the city's COVID-19 response is a top priority, even eclipsing the perennial issues of housing and traffic. They emphasized the need to invest more money into struggling businesses and renters at risk of losing their homes due to loss of work. Candidates also largely said they would foster stronger relationships with Santa Clara County and other public agencies to ensure the best possible response to the public health crisis.

The policies and functions of the Mountain View Police Department, never previously a hot-button issue, have also risen to the top as major concerns for voters and candidates alike. A series of protests against police violence and use-of-force tactics has since put police reform front and center for the City Council, and impassioned speakers packed the virtual council meetings in June pleading for reform and an end to systemic racism by police.

Each candidate showed at least some willingness to consider changes to police policies, and said they would consider reallocating funds in the event that social workers or mental health experts may be better suited to respond to certain 911 calls. The level of divestment and the extent of civilian oversight, however, is where candidates differed.

While rent control was previously a litmus test that deeply divided the candidates, all of the challengers in the race said they support the city's rent control law, the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA). The two incumbents, Abe-Koga and Matichak, have not previously supported the CSFRA and have reservations about the impact on property owners and the housing market.

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What has become a litmus test this year is Measure C, the city's proposed ban on oversized vehicles on narrow city streets. Measure C, though ostensibly about traffic safety, is the city's attempt to move inhabited RVs off of residential streets. By the latest count, roughly 200 inhabited RVs are parked on city streets, clustered along roads like Crisanto Avenue and Continental Circle.

Gutierrez, Roales, Abe-Koga and Matichak support Measure C, while Showalter, Siegel, Nunez, Lashlee and Lieber oppose the measure.

In the short term, the winners of the election will largely guide the city's immediate response to the pandemic, calls for police reform and the economic recession.

In the long term, they will decide whether Mountain View should continue its high-growth trajectory and expand housing into new areas of the city, and mold the city's future downtown transit infrastructure for years to come. Voters have the chance to deeply influence all of these decisions on Election Day.

Read more about where each Mountain View City Council candidate stands on the issues:

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Election 2020: Nine compete for the Mountain View City Council

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 1:50 pm

The city of Mountain View is poised for a leadership shake-up this November, empowering voters to guide the city's major policy decisions at a time of historic uncertainty and unprecedented challenges.

The coronavirus pandemic has completely upended the city's day-to-day life, putting dire financial strain on low-income residents and beloved businesses on the brink of having to close for good. Budget deficits are on the horizon, development is expected to slow down and the significant shift to telecommuting has raised big questions about the future transit needs of the region.

Voters will decide which four of the nine candidates will make up the majority of the seven-seat council and tackle these issues in the coming years. Two incumbents, John McAlister and Chris Clark, are termed out of office this year. Both McAlister and Clark often took positions of pragmatism and compromise in order to bridge major differences on the council, and their exit could lead to votes split deeply on ideological lines.

The two incumbents in the race, Margaret Abe-Koga and Lisa Matichak, say the city could use experienced leadership amid the uncertainty, and point to what they believe is a strong track record for local pandemic response. But they face steep competition from seven challengers seeking a seat on the City Council. Former council members Lenny Siegel and Pat Showalter, each with experience in their own right, are looking to return to the City Council and pick up where they left off in 2018.

Former state Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, who served on the council 18 years ago, is also seeking to make a return to city politics.

Newcomers in the race are Jose Gutierrez, a trustee for the Mountain View Whisman School District; Paul Roales, a Waymo engineer; Alex Nunez, a community activist and housing advocate; and John Lashlee, a community activist and member of the Silicon Valley Democratic Socialists of America. Each would bring a fresh perspective on the council, but with a different focus. Gutierrez said he emphatically supports consensus-building on tough issues, while Roales' platform rests squarely on efficient governance. Nunez is pressing for more compassion in the city's decisions, while Lashlee believes the city must embrace more progressive policies.

Nearly all of the candidates say they believe the city's COVID-19 response is a top priority, even eclipsing the perennial issues of housing and traffic. They emphasized the need to invest more money into struggling businesses and renters at risk of losing their homes due to loss of work. Candidates also largely said they would foster stronger relationships with Santa Clara County and other public agencies to ensure the best possible response to the public health crisis.

The policies and functions of the Mountain View Police Department, never previously a hot-button issue, have also risen to the top as major concerns for voters and candidates alike. A series of protests against police violence and use-of-force tactics has since put police reform front and center for the City Council, and impassioned speakers packed the virtual council meetings in June pleading for reform and an end to systemic racism by police.

Each candidate showed at least some willingness to consider changes to police policies, and said they would consider reallocating funds in the event that social workers or mental health experts may be better suited to respond to certain 911 calls. The level of divestment and the extent of civilian oversight, however, is where candidates differed.

While rent control was previously a litmus test that deeply divided the candidates, all of the challengers in the race said they support the city's rent control law, the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA). The two incumbents, Abe-Koga and Matichak, have not previously supported the CSFRA and have reservations about the impact on property owners and the housing market.

What has become a litmus test this year is Measure C, the city's proposed ban on oversized vehicles on narrow city streets. Measure C, though ostensibly about traffic safety, is the city's attempt to move inhabited RVs off of residential streets. By the latest count, roughly 200 inhabited RVs are parked on city streets, clustered along roads like Crisanto Avenue and Continental Circle.

Gutierrez, Roales, Abe-Koga and Matichak support Measure C, while Showalter, Siegel, Nunez, Lashlee and Lieber oppose the measure.

In the short term, the winners of the election will largely guide the city's immediate response to the pandemic, calls for police reform and the economic recession.

In the long term, they will decide whether Mountain View should continue its high-growth trajectory and expand housing into new areas of the city, and mold the city's future downtown transit infrastructure for years to come. Voters have the chance to deeply influence all of these decisions on Election Day.

Read more about where each Mountain View City Council candidate stands on the issues:

Margaret Abe-Koga

John Lashlee

Sally Lieber

Jose Gutierrez

Pat Showalter

Lenny Siegel

Alex Nunez

Lisa Matichak

Paul Roales

Comments

Peter
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 8, 2020 at 2:20 pm
Peter, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2020 at 2:20 pm
123 people like this

Please vote YES on Measure C. We have done more than enough on the RV issue. We need to stop the influx to the City. Enough is enough!

HOWEVER, If you want RV’s on every street corner in the City, then Lenny Siegal and Pat Showalter should get your vote. UGH!


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Oct 8, 2020 at 3:08 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2020 at 3:08 pm
131 people like this

In response to Peter you said:

“Please vote YES on Measure C. We have done more than enough on the RV issue. We need to stop the influx to the City. Enough is enough!”

First what “influx” are you talking about, with the drop of rents as much as 35% in the last year, people are leaving. What is the real story is this:

“Raw sewage in creeks prompts lawsuits against Sunnyvale and Mountain View

Posted February 11, 2020

Raw sewage in creeks prompts lawsuits against Sunnyvale and Mountain View

The Mercury News

A Bay Area environmental group has sued the cities of Sunnyvale and Mountain View, saying they are in violation of the federal Clean Water Act for discharging raw sewage and polluted storm water into creeks, sending bacteria pollution to levels more than 50 times legal limits. The group, San Francisco Baykeeper, said samples it collected revealed dangerous levels of E. coli, fecal coliform and other pollutants in Stevens Creek, Calabazas Creek, Sunnyvale East Channel and Guadalupe Slough, all of which empty into San Francisco Bay.

LIKE OTHER CITES IN THE BAY AREA, BOTH SUNNYVALE AND MOUNTAIN VIEW TREAT THEIR SEWAGE AT WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANTS BEFORE EMPTYING IT INTO THE BAY. BUT THE SUITS CLAIM AGING CLAY SEWER PIPES THROUGHOUT THE TWO CITIES ARE LEAKING UNTREATED SEWAGE INTO STORM DRAIN SYSTEMS, WHICH EMPTIES INTO THE CREEKS. “Basically these two cities are contaminating the bay year round with raw sewage,” said Sejal Choksi-Chugh, executive director of Baykeeper.”

THE CITY IS TRYING TO SAY THAT THE RVS CAUSED THE PROBLEM.

What a joke!

The City has failed to maintain and upgrade the sewage system and doesn’t want to be forced to do it, as well as avoid any court judgement. This is NOTHING but a SCAM to try to avoid accountability of the poor management of the City Sewage Systems. It has NOTHING to do with RVS at all.


Julia L
Registered user
another community
on Oct 8, 2020 at 3:35 pm
Julia L, another community
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2020 at 3:35 pm
129 people like this

Mountain View has a chance to really be the most progressive city in the South Bay. Tax the big corporations, stop trying to kick out our RV neighbors, take a good look at the racial issues in police conduct. I think the best candidates for this are Lieber, Lashlee, Nunez, Siegel!


Lenny Siegel
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Oct 8, 2020 at 3:47 pm
Lenny Siegel, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2020 at 3:47 pm
113 people like this

Come on Peter, spell my name right. There is a Leonard Siegal (with an "a") in town, and if I recall correctly, he's on the other side of many of our major issues.


Peter
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Oct 8, 2020 at 4:15 pm
Peter, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Oct 8, 2020 at 4:15 pm
145 people like this

Sorry, Lenny. Didn’t mean to misspell your name. My apologies! I, however, wouldn’t be bothered if people misspelled my name, but that’s just me.

I still think you need to realize that we voted you out because of your RV stance. Would you entertain this voters idea that you house an RV in your driveway?


Gladys
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Oct 9, 2020 at 10:29 am
Gladys, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2020 at 10:29 am
87 people like this

The question voters need to ask themselves is, should we turn over our city council to activist who will not work for the benefit of ALL of the city residents and the well being of our entire city.

Look at what has been happening in Portland and Seattle. This is being allowed to happen because the activist on the council have ordered the police to not stop the violence, and the DA is not prosecuting these crimes against people and property.

Think this can not happen here? Siegel and Showalter while they were on the city council, ordered the police to NOT enforce our parking ordinance were it is illegal to live in your vehicle on the city street. Then you have Lenny Siegel and HIS coalition gather signatures to put on this ballot a measure that would overturn the RV parking ban on narrow streets that are less than 40 feet wide.

You have RV's that are 8 feet 6 inches wide, add 2 feet for the mirrors and you have something that is 10 feet 6 inches sticking out into the street. Put one on both sides of the street and you have 21 feet of road way taken up by the RV's, taking up more than half of the roadway space. What sane person would think that is O.K? that is just an accident waiting to happen. Either by a car pulling out of the driveway and hits an oncoming car or someone on a bicycle. This disregard for public safety should not be on any council members agenda.

Look at what those council members and mayor are saying in Portland and Seattle, then look at our council candidates and see who is saying the same things and have the same policies. De fund Police? Disarm Police? That was what was happening here just a few months ago. Fortunately our council did not follow those "suggestions" by the activists that spoke for this. If we get 4 new activists on our council, this issue will come back and will have a different outcome.

Lashlee, Siegel, Nunez are 100% pure activists, socialist.
Showalter is a follower and will do what ever Siegel tells her.

Lets not repeat the same mistake, we voted out of office Siegel and Showalter, do not return them again only to say after the election "oh why did I vote for them again"

Our city will go thru some very challenging years ahead of us. We need people who will take the job seriously and work for everyone's best interest.

We should not elect activist who will tear apart our city.




Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Oct 9, 2020 at 12:06 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2020 at 12:06 pm
115 people like this

In response to Gladys you said:

“The question voters need to ask themselves is, should we turn over our city council to activist who will not work for the benefit of ALL of the city residents and the well being of our entire city.”

Yes, like handing the City over to the corporate “activists” like Jose Gutierrez, Margaret Abe Koga and Lisa Matichak that have lied about the Measure D which died in the last election. Or they abused their position by targeting residents to remove their homes simply because they are not “worthy” enough to have a home here. They made the state create a new law called SB330 the HOUSING CRISIS ACT OF 2019, because City Council members like these were punishing their voters for passing the CSFRA. These three only have the California Association of Realtors and the California Apartment Associations interests in mind and NOT the ENTIRE CITY. You said:

“Look at what has been happening in Portland and Seattle. This is being allowed to happen because the activist on the council have ordered the police to not stop the violence, and the DA is not prosecuting these crimes against people and property.”

What VIOLENCE? Maybe if these people get elected people like yourself will pay instigators to commit violence here. But you are really not expecting the public to believe that any of the other candidates are involved with these Cities? You said:

“Think this can not happen here? Siegel and Showalter while they were on the city council, ordered the police to NOT enforce our parking ordinance were it is illegal to live in your vehicle on the city street. Then you have Lenny Siegel and HIS coalition gather signatures to put on this ballot a measure that would overturn the RV parking ban on narrow streets that are less than 40 feet wide.”

WOW, the fact is that this is a pure “non-violent” process where the “ENTIRE CITY” is allowed to make a choice. This had nothing to do with Portland or Seattle and you know it. I don’t know what the polls say regarding Measure C because there are none. But this action is clearly the correct kind, you are trying to say that proper political process is “RADICAL”, when it clearly is not.

[Post shortened due to excessive length]


Gladys
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Oct 9, 2020 at 12:36 pm
Gladys, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2020 at 12:36 pm
50 people like this

@BM,

Your dishonesty continues.

One person liked your last post 72 times in just one minute.

You said in the past that you know how to manipulate the likes, but you see no point in doing so.

Apparently, you changed your mind.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Oct 9, 2020 at 12:57 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2020 at 12:57 pm
65 people like this

Gladys,

NO, you just want to think it. The reality is that I have a TEAM.

Sorry if it proves that the LIKES here do not reflect the public at all. It has been manipulated by many like yourself in the same way.

Again, the LIKE function should be secured. Just look at the posts made by Peter and many others. This is a SOCIAL network with no security so it is used like Facebook and Twitter, and YouTube in just the same way.

So many that it became a national issue regarding the last election, and they are still tying to figure out what to do about it.

I for one am for fact checking every post, even mine, so that the people here are not CONNED by unfounded statements like yours.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Oct 9, 2020 at 12:59 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2020 at 12:59 pm
71 people like this

I just received in the mail a second piece attributed to the MV Firefighters (Union) Political Action Committee {PAC)endorsing 3 city council candidates - the same 3 candidates the landlord group used on mailers for the March 2020 election. Like the first piece, it lacks any disclaimer concerning any involvement by the endorsed candidates or committees controlled by the candidates. But I do not intend to file an FPPC complaint. It is just a public employee union offering support for support.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Oct 9, 2020 at 1:08 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2020 at 1:08 pm
42 people like this

Although, come to think of it, I am not sure Councilmember Lisa Matichat was featured on a landlord mailer in support of the rent measure she voted to place on the March 2020 ballot (defeated 2-1).


Activist Socialist
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Oct 9, 2020 at 6:26 pm
Activist Socialist, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2020 at 6:26 pm
40 people like this

Imagine a NIMBY claiming to care about "all of the city residents".

If caring about my community makes me an "activist socialist", then bring on the revolution.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Oct 9, 2020 at 9:26 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Oct 9, 2020 at 9:26 pm
36 people like this

[Post removed due to being off-topic]


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