News

Election recap: Mountain View swings left, but rejects statewide changes to rent control

Ballots cast in Nov. 3 election show city's voters are more progressive than Santa Clara County as a whole

George Sebugwawo places his ballot in a drop box in the Mountain View Civic Center Plaza on Election Day. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Results from the 2020 presidential election this year paint a clear picture of Mountain View as a progressive city even by Bay Area standards, largely backing criminal justice reform, tax increases and blue candidates up and down the ticket.

Yet many of the statewide propositions supported by Mountain View residents fell short elsewhere across Santa Clara County and the state. And when it comes to revising statewide restrictions on rent control, Mountain View rejected the idea despite voting in favor of strong local renter protections.

Election results as of Nov. 8 show 83% of Mountain View voters supported President-elect Joe Biden, while 14.9% supported President Donald Trump's 2020 reelection bid. Biden received a higher percentage of the city's votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Trump received more votes than he did during his first run, showing residents were far less likely to cast a vote in favor of a third-party candidate this year. Close to one-third of all voters in California voted for Trump.

Though the presidential race was a nail-biter through early Saturday, local races had clear winners in the first round of results Tuesday night. Mountain View voters supported Measure C, the city's prohibition on RV parking, with 57.1% in favor of the ordinance. The measure won a majority in all but one precinct in Mountain View, with two-thirds support from the single-family neighborhoods south of El Camino Real -- particularly Waverly Park, Cuesta Park and Blossom Valley.

The only precinct to dip below 50% support included a portion of Shoreline West and the neighborhood around Rengstorff Park, where 50.8% of the residents voted against Measure C.

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The city voted uniformly in the City Council race as well, with Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga winning the most votes in all but one precinct to take a commanding lead on election night. The same precinct that voted to reject Measure C supported former Assemblywoman Sally Lieber as its top candidate.

On rent control, Mountain View voters were wary of expanding the ability of California cities to expand local renter protections through Proposition 21. The measure would have allowed rental units built between 1995 and 2005 to be subject to rent control, which are currently exempt from any local measures through the state's Costa-Hawkins Act. Not only was the measure crushed by California voters -- with 59.9% voting against it -- but it was also rejected locally as well.

Election results show 47.6% of the city voted in favor of Proposition 21, with most precincts at a nearly even 50-50 split. The proposition was strongly rejected by single-family neighborhoods south of El Camino Real, however, where close to two-thirds of voters opposed the measure.

Proposition 21 was written to be a softer version of Proposition 10 in 2018, which proposed an outright repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act, but it did little to move the needle among voters. Proposition 21 won roughly the same support in Mountain View, Santa Clara County and the rest of the state as Proposition 10 did two years prior. If passed, Proposition 21 would not have immediately changed which units are covered by rent control under the city's Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA), which exempts all units built since 1995.

Proposition 15, which would have ended tax protections for commercial properties, fell short of passing in California with just 48.1% of the vote in support of the measure. But the proposition fared well in Mountain View and won two-thirds of the city's vote, with the highest support coming from the Shoreline West and Rengstorff Park area (73.6%) and voters in Old Mountain View (70.4%). Supported for Proposition 15 waned to about 58% south of El Camino Real.

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When it comes to the the trio of criminal justice propositions on the ballot, Mountain View again leaned progressive. As of Nov. 8, 62.7% of city voters supported ending cash bail (Proposition 25), 74.7% supported the restoration of voting rights after prison terms (Proposition 17) and just 25.7% vote in favor of a law enforcement-backed effort to crack down on property crime (Proposition 20). Proposition 17 passed, while propositions 20 and 25 fell short.

Proposition 22, which proposed reclassifying app-based drivers as contractors rather than employees, succeeded in California with 58.50% of the vote after a long and expensive campaign, with ride-sharing and delivery app companies spending in excess of $200 million in support of the measure. Though many gig economy workers received more rights to employer benefits and other perks under the recent state law AB 5, drivers for app-based companies including Uber, Lyft and DoorDash will be exempt under the newly passed proposition.

Though Proposition 22 prevailed across the state and even won a majority in Santa Clara County, Mountain View bucked the trend. Only 44.1% of the city's voters backed the measure, and the proposition did not lead in a single precinct.

Mountain View also set itself apart in supporting Proposition 16, which proposed the repeal of a law that prevented affirmative action based on race, sex, color or ethnicity by government agencies. Proposition 16 did not pass and failed to gain a majority in Santa Clara County, yet won 54.8% of the vote in Mountain View. Precincts roughly encompassing the Shoreline West, Gemello and Cuesta Park neighborhoods backed the measure with the highest margin at over 57%, while Blossom Valley was the only neighborhood to reject the measure with 49.28% in support of Proposition 16.

The city was united in supporting a sales tax to keep Caltrain's finances afloat. Measure RR won a resounding victory in Mountain View with 74.7% of the vote in favor, well above the required two-thirds majority needed to pass. Voters in the Old Mountain View area showed the highest support for Measure RR with just over 80% in favor.

Though the county had previously chopped Mountain View into dozens of precincts in past years -- giving deep insight into how each individual neighborhood voted -- it now only divides the city into 11 voting areas. Many of the precincts now jut across major thoroughfares and split neighborhood boundaries.

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Election recap: Mountain View swings left, but rejects statewide changes to rent control

Ballots cast in Nov. 3 election show city's voters are more progressive than Santa Clara County as a whole

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Nov 9, 2020, 12:18 pm

Results from the 2020 presidential election this year paint a clear picture of Mountain View as a progressive city even by Bay Area standards, largely backing criminal justice reform, tax increases and blue candidates up and down the ticket.

Yet many of the statewide propositions supported by Mountain View residents fell short elsewhere across Santa Clara County and the state. And when it comes to revising statewide restrictions on rent control, Mountain View rejected the idea despite voting in favor of strong local renter protections.

Election results as of Nov. 8 show 83% of Mountain View voters supported President-elect Joe Biden, while 14.9% supported President Donald Trump's 2020 reelection bid. Biden received a higher percentage of the city's votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Trump received more votes than he did during his first run, showing residents were far less likely to cast a vote in favor of a third-party candidate this year. Close to one-third of all voters in California voted for Trump.

Though the presidential race was a nail-biter through early Saturday, local races had clear winners in the first round of results Tuesday night. Mountain View voters supported Measure C, the city's prohibition on RV parking, with 57.1% in favor of the ordinance. The measure won a majority in all but one precinct in Mountain View, with two-thirds support from the single-family neighborhoods south of El Camino Real -- particularly Waverly Park, Cuesta Park and Blossom Valley.

The only precinct to dip below 50% support included a portion of Shoreline West and the neighborhood around Rengstorff Park, where 50.8% of the residents voted against Measure C.

The city voted uniformly in the City Council race as well, with Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga winning the most votes in all but one precinct to take a commanding lead on election night. The same precinct that voted to reject Measure C supported former Assemblywoman Sally Lieber as its top candidate.

On rent control, Mountain View voters were wary of expanding the ability of California cities to expand local renter protections through Proposition 21. The measure would have allowed rental units built between 1995 and 2005 to be subject to rent control, which are currently exempt from any local measures through the state's Costa-Hawkins Act. Not only was the measure crushed by California voters -- with 59.9% voting against it -- but it was also rejected locally as well.

Election results show 47.6% of the city voted in favor of Proposition 21, with most precincts at a nearly even 50-50 split. The proposition was strongly rejected by single-family neighborhoods south of El Camino Real, however, where close to two-thirds of voters opposed the measure.

Proposition 21 was written to be a softer version of Proposition 10 in 2018, which proposed an outright repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act, but it did little to move the needle among voters. Proposition 21 won roughly the same support in Mountain View, Santa Clara County and the rest of the state as Proposition 10 did two years prior. If passed, Proposition 21 would not have immediately changed which units are covered by rent control under the city's Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA), which exempts all units built since 1995.

Proposition 15, which would have ended tax protections for commercial properties, fell short of passing in California with just 48.1% of the vote in support of the measure. But the proposition fared well in Mountain View and won two-thirds of the city's vote, with the highest support coming from the Shoreline West and Rengstorff Park area (73.6%) and voters in Old Mountain View (70.4%). Supported for Proposition 15 waned to about 58% south of El Camino Real.

When it comes to the the trio of criminal justice propositions on the ballot, Mountain View again leaned progressive. As of Nov. 8, 62.7% of city voters supported ending cash bail (Proposition 25), 74.7% supported the restoration of voting rights after prison terms (Proposition 17) and just 25.7% vote in favor of a law enforcement-backed effort to crack down on property crime (Proposition 20). Proposition 17 passed, while propositions 20 and 25 fell short.

Proposition 22, which proposed reclassifying app-based drivers as contractors rather than employees, succeeded in California with 58.50% of the vote after a long and expensive campaign, with ride-sharing and delivery app companies spending in excess of $200 million in support of the measure. Though many gig economy workers received more rights to employer benefits and other perks under the recent state law AB 5, drivers for app-based companies including Uber, Lyft and DoorDash will be exempt under the newly passed proposition.

Though Proposition 22 prevailed across the state and even won a majority in Santa Clara County, Mountain View bucked the trend. Only 44.1% of the city's voters backed the measure, and the proposition did not lead in a single precinct.

Mountain View also set itself apart in supporting Proposition 16, which proposed the repeal of a law that prevented affirmative action based on race, sex, color or ethnicity by government agencies. Proposition 16 did not pass and failed to gain a majority in Santa Clara County, yet won 54.8% of the vote in Mountain View. Precincts roughly encompassing the Shoreline West, Gemello and Cuesta Park neighborhoods backed the measure with the highest margin at over 57%, while Blossom Valley was the only neighborhood to reject the measure with 49.28% in support of Proposition 16.

The city was united in supporting a sales tax to keep Caltrain's finances afloat. Measure RR won a resounding victory in Mountain View with 74.7% of the vote in favor, well above the required two-thirds majority needed to pass. Voters in the Old Mountain View area showed the highest support for Measure RR with just over 80% in favor.

Though the county had previously chopped Mountain View into dozens of precincts in past years -- giving deep insight into how each individual neighborhood voted -- it now only divides the city into 11 voting areas. Many of the precincts now jut across major thoroughfares and split neighborhood boundaries.

Comments

Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Nov 9, 2020 at 1:19 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 1:19 pm
17 people like this

Money speaks loudly. The landlords spent a fortune to defeat Proposition 21. Commercials claimed it would raise rents on the poorest renters. Locally, the only close contest is now for the 4th seat on the city council. Alex Nunez is just 57 votes behind Pat Showalter. He was previously more than 250 votes behind. Two years ago, Pat Showalter was leading for the 3rd seat then on the ballot but fell out of the money.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2020 at 1:33 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 1:33 pm
14 people like this

Again, lets look at this:

MAK and LM are going to be in the minority of the City Council, they may be able to bring motions, but as long as the other 5 do not accept the arguments for the motions, they will not get anywhere.

I hope the 5 will do their own research and not get conned by the false authority of these two. Thus their influence will be either weak or non existent.

The City Citizens need to perform their Constant Vigilance to prevent these 2 from causing more damage to the City.


Ron MV
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Nov 9, 2020 at 2:22 pm
Ron MV, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 2:22 pm
30 people like this

@Steven: Wait, so MAK and LM are two of the top 3 vote getters, and you are thinking we need to make sure "City Citizens need to perform their Constant Vigilance"?

Seems like the "city citizens" were behind MAK and LM to a very large degree. I think we will be fine.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2020 at 3:49 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 3:49 pm
21 people like this

Ron MV,

You are so mistaken, just think about this fact:

Abe Koga got 16.75%, 15,696 votes. That means she only got 17 votes out of 100. Too bad the City Council isn't voted by a district, she would have lost. Especially if it went to a run off where she needed more than 50% of the vote to win:

Matichak only got 12.64%, 11,852 votes, which means she only got 13 votes out of a hundred. Again I can almost guaranty given the Measure D fiasco, that if these two were to be forced to compete in an election where they needed 50+% of the vote to win, the would lose.

I strongly urge that we adopt a City Council system like San Francisco because there, they get a clear choice to vote for and must get a majority vote per district to seat at the City Council.

Our process allows for MINORITY rule if the voters are intimidated from voting by outside interests, like the landlords of Mountain View issuing threats to voters like they did with Measure V in 2016.

They won with a REAL minority vote and you know it.


Elliot Lepler
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2020 at 5:49 pm
Elliot Lepler, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 5:49 pm
13 people like this

Please understand the percentages for each candidate are of the total vote of 96,759 votes as of this writing. Voters could vote for 4 candidates. So the percentages should be multiplied by 4 to get an approximation of the percentage of voters. (not exactly since some voters voted for fewer than 4 candidates)
Abe Koga 67%
Lieber 56%
Matichak 51%
Showalter 47%


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Nov 9, 2020 at 6:06 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 6:06 pm
37 people like this

Well Steven. Not exactly. Each voter had up to 4 votes for city council. Getting over 16% of all votes cast for 9 candidates is pretty good. Margaret Abe-Koga finished first - almost everywhere in the city. It helps to have been elected 4 times previously and to be the current mayor - and to list your occupation partly as "mother" (in her candidate statement). And all of those signs in common areas of apartment complexes and near streets. It made it appear she had a lot of supporters. Plus, it helps to be supported by the firefighters' union. Firefighters fight fires. Who would want to be seen as favoring fires? Margaret Abe-Koga did favor Measure C concerning RVs. She voted to propose and adopt the ordinance. Most voters agreed with her. Indeed, Abe-Koga has usually been on the right side of issues. She just has a soft spot for landlords and some developers. And she really is very smart and knowledgeable. But to know just why she finished first, one would need to interview many voters.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2020 at 6:57 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 6:57 pm
27 people like this

In response to Elliot Lepler you wrote:

“Please understand the percentages for each candidate are of the total vote of 96,759 votes as of this writing. Voters could vote for 4 candidates. So the percentages should be multiplied by 4 to get an approximation of the percentage of voters. (not exactly since some voters voted for fewer than 4 candidates)”

Sorry but you are simply WRONG.

The numbers reported ARE the results of the VOTES. You cannot manipulate them in any way. You cannot ARGUE that you can multiply them at all. As long as these are the results recorded by the Registrar of Voters they cannot change at all. The unaffcial results are from the last update at the Santa Clara Reigistrar of Voter say this:

“Abe Koga 16.72%

Lieber 13.92%

Matichak 12.64%

Showalter 11.74%”

The Ballot Counting progress is at 87% You can see it here (Web Link)

You cannot change these numbers; any attempt is simply misrepresentation of the results. SORRY!


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2020 at 7:12 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 7:12 pm
13 people like this

Gary,

I did a comparison from the last election

Ellen Kamei got 19% of the vote

Lucas Ramirez got 18.17% of the vote

Alison Hicks got 17.74% of the vote”

From the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters found here (Web Link)

So, let’s compare with the current standings:

“Abe Koga 16.72%

Lieber 13.92%

Matichak 12.64%

Showalter 11.74%”

It would appear that unfortunately no one in this last election fared well at all. Comparing APPLES to APPLEs here. Unfortunately, this election process simply does not do well for this City. The city should be broken up into 7 districts and have the candidates be residents of those districts and compete for their votes in them. Of course, if it is that no one runs for one, so be it. If only one runs in a district, so be it. But it is very rare to see anyone run unopposed. This process requires that candidates campaign only in their locations for their votes.

This process needs major improvement.


Joel Lachter
Registered user
North Whisman
on Nov 9, 2020 at 8:11 pm
Joel Lachter, North Whisman
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 8:11 pm
6 people like this

@Steven, percent of the votes is very misleading here. What is relevant is the percent of people voting. I don’t see a total for ballots cast, but 30,654 votes were cast on measure C. Using that as an estimate, 51% of voters voted for MAK, 43% voted for SL, 39% voted for LM, and 36% voted for PS.
Two years ago, 26,758 people voted on measure P, so, using that as a denominator 45% voted for EK, 43% voted for LR and 42% voted for AH.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2020 at 8:39 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 8:39 pm
23 people like this

Joel,

You cannot change the vote results.

Here is a complete breakdown:

“Margaret Abe Koga got 16,178 votes resulting in 16.72%

Sally Leiber got 13,468 votes resulting in 13.92%

Lisa Matichak got 12,226 votes resulting in 12.64%

Pat Showalter got 11,363 votes resulting in 11.74%”

The total votes cast in the election was 96,759 regarding all votes in the City it is a 100% reporting report

Again, look at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters report found here (Web Link)

You cannot use the Measure C’s vote totals in this comparison because it was a YES/NO vote. Ands you know it.

If your approach was valid the registrar of voters would report it like you claim. THe reporting standards are defined under the laws of the state of California, you are in no position to change them. You must accept the results reported.

SORRY


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Nov 9, 2020 at 8:46 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 8:46 pm
30 people like this

In 2018, there were 6 candidates for 3 seats. This time: 9 candidates for 4 seats. So, Margaret Abe-Koga actually was the choice of a higher percentage of voters in 2020 than was Ellen Kamei in 2018. Therefore, Abe-Koga should be made mayor again in 2021. Ok. On the "therefore" part, just kidding.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Nov 9, 2020 at 8:55 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 8:55 pm
27 people like this

Think of it this way: if there had been 4 candidates for 4 seats, no candidate would have lost - only the voters given no choice would have lost. So thanks to everyone who ran. And if Pat Showalter does not hang on to 4th place this time, well maybe she will in 2022 (hang on to 4th place).


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2020 at 8:59 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 8:59 pm
18 people like this

Gary,

Lets look at the 2016 numbers a little more closely:

“LISA MATICHAK got 12,435 votes resulting in 15.84%

MARGARET ABE-KOGA got 12,271 votes resulting in 15.63%

CHRIS CLARK got 11,319 votes resulting in 14.42%

JOHN MCALISTER got 11,145 votes resulting in14.20%

The total number of votes were 78,508 per the Santa Clara County Website found here (Web Link)

Compared with the last election:

“So, let’s compare with the current standings:

“Abe Koga 16.72%

Lieber 13.92%

Matichak 12.64%

Showalter 11.74%”

With 96,759 votes cast.

If you look Margaret Abe Koga did outperform the last election by 2.1%. BUT Lisa Matichak lost 3.2% in this election.

A mixed bag.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Nov 9, 2020 at 9:01 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 9:01 pm
50 people like this

One last point. Voting is over - but vote counting is not. Ballots continue to arrive for processing. Don't be confused by the "100 percent" stuff.


Joel Lachter
Registered user
North Whisman
on Nov 9, 2020 at 9:29 pm
Joel Lachter, North Whisman
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 9:29 pm
4 people like this

@Steven, you can’t compare the percentage of votes cast in an election where each voter gets to vote for three to an election where each voter gets to vote for four. To take your argument to the extreme, suppose every voter voted for Kamai, Ramírez, and Hicks in 2018, and every voter voted for Abe Koga, Lieber, Matichak, and Showalter in 2020. Kamai, Ramírez, and Hicks would each have gotten 1/3 of the votes cast in 2018, while Abe Koga, Lieber, Matichak, and Showalter would each have gotten only 1/4 of the votes cast in 2020. Yet certainly you wouldn’t say the 2020 candidates performed worse than the 2018 candidates. All seven candidates would have gotten all the votes possible.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2020 at 10:23 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 10:23 pm
27 people like this

Joel,

Yes I can because the results reported are what they are.

You are the one comparing APPLES to ORANGES because the candidates were NOT in the same ELECTION.

Only where MAK and LM were in the same election as EK, LR and AH can you compare them. Because they will be directly competing with each other.

You keep on trying to make up a story with no rational basis to support it.

You can compare the results of elections regarding the SAME candidates running in both, and you know it.

In any event, I like the fact that MAK and LM are in a clear minority of the City Council at this time no matter what. I truly hope that when it is based on sound logic, that AH, LR, EK, PS, and SL will simply override any attempts of MAK and LM to abuse their position. I hope they provide proper revisions like the RV ban and new policies like extending the CSFRA to the Mobile Home land rents. Given that they are arguably the best decision to make.


smorr
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Nov 9, 2020 at 11:34 pm
smorr, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2020 at 11:34 pm
1 person likes this

What I'd really like to see is a ranked voting process, i.e. be able to rank order our preferred winners, especially when we have so many candidates.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 10, 2020 at 1:47 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 1:47 pm
1 person likes this

By the way

I also hope we can have a CLEAM RHC roster, no more financial interests involved.

Just Mountain View homeowners or residents with no financial ties to the Apartment industry.

My hope.


Joel Lachter
Registered user
North Whisman
on Nov 10, 2020 at 8:38 pm
Joel Lachter, North Whisman
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 8:38 pm
5 people like this

@Steven
You say "You are the one comparing APPLES to ORANGES because the candidates were NOT in the same ELECTION." Yet my initial response was to a post where you seem to be comparing the 2020 council winners to the 2018 council winners. Maybe I just don't understand the point you are trying to make.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 10, 2020 at 9:01 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 9:01 pm
1 person likes this

Joel,

Yes I initially did. It was a mistake to do so to some degree. Except they did get better vote percentages. To me that shows "less divisiveness" and if the candidates were really good ones it wouldn't matter how many candidates were in the elections.

But I will say that it was not a good comparison. However when the SAME candidates are in an election and they see a loss in vote level, that surely is not a good sign. And that comparison is significant. LM clearly did not do herself any favors, and fortunately these 2 will not be able to run in 2024.

Still the results were pretty clear, and the fact that the voters didn't choose to populate the City Council with a "RIGHT" leaning majority is not going to be good for MAK or LM in their run.


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