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Incumbents hold strong lead in Mountain View City Council race, early results show

Christopher Peri fills out his ballot electronically at a vote center inside St Timothy's Episcopal Church in Mountain View on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Early election results indicate the Mountain View City Council won’t have any fresh faces on the dais, despite three seats being up for grabs this election season.

As of 10:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, incumbents Ellen Kamei, Alison Hicks and Lucas Ramirez have emerged as frontrunners, having captured 27.1%, 26.5% and 26.2% of the vote, respectively.

Results will continue to roll in throughout the night and following weeks, and final results will be certified no later than a month after Election Day on Dec. 8.

The three candidates who collect the most votes will be tasked with addressing long standing issues like the city’s housing crisis, lack of affordable housing and finding long-term solutions for homeless residents.

Early leader Ellen Kamei, who’s captured 8,104 votes so far, said in an interview on election night that she was "incredibly grateful" to the residents of Mountain View, and that the strong turnout in favor of incumbents shows voters are confident in the city's leadership.

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"It gives me hope that residents in the community see how hard the three of us have tried to work together," Kamei said. "We have common goals of what’s best for the city and we’re better together."

On the campaign trail, Kamei said that her No. 1 priority for her next term is housing: building more of it, making it more affordable and stopping displacement of residents from the homes they already live in.

She reiterated her interest in infrastructure upgrades on election night, including parks, open space and safe routes to school.

Close behind her is Vice Mayor Alison Hicks, with 7,906 votes. Minutes after seeing the initial results, Hicks told the Voice, "I’m feeling happy."

"I think we all felt that there were things we set out to do, but because of the pandemic we couldn’t achieve them," she said. "I think there are a lot of things around housing. We have a somewhat ambitious housing element but there’s a way to go."

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Hicks told the Voice in a September interview that she believes growth is inevitable in Mountain View – but it’s how the city grows that city officials can influence.

“I share the concern (with the community) that we need the infrastructure,” Hicks said. “We need parks and other kinds of open space and green space, we need to upgrade our transportation, our sidewalks, bike paths ... and also we’re going to have to expand our schools.”

Mayor Lucas Ramirez follows closely behind Hicks with 7,813 votes, and said he was "cautiously optimistic" with the initial results. He said he's enjoyed working with Kamei and Hicks on the council, and that the early vote count is an endorsement of their work, adding that the election only serves to get even more in-tune with the interests of city residents.

"The value of a campaign is it forces all candidates to really get in touch with the community and learn where the concerns and opportunities are," he said.

Ramirez said he looks forward to tackling the housing crisis (if these early results hold), and that he believes the city’s general plan already has the capacity to meet most of its growth needs.

“The general plan already provides a tremendous pathway for us to meet those community needs in tandem with the housing growth that we're experiencing,” he said in a previous interview.

Justin Cohen, Vice Mayor Alison Hicks, council member Ellen Kamei, Mayor Lucas Ramirez and Li Zhang. Photos by Magali Gauthier.

But for challenger Li Zhang, the council’s historic enthusiasm toward growth is exactly what inspired her to run against the incumbents. In contrast to her opponents, Zhang has been wary about the city’s approach to updating its "R3" zoning district to make room for growth, and instead advocates for reopening the general plan.

From Zhang’s perspective, the R3 Zoning Update “will increase the density in many, many neighborhoods, which will decrease the quality of life for residents,” she said in a previous interview. “I am not supportive of this.”

Initial results show Zhang out of reach of a council seat, having received 3,690 votes, or 12.4% of the votes cast so far. Zhang said in an interview election night that she wishes the best for the incumbents if she loses, and that she has learned a lot over the last three months. If the results hold, she said she intends to run for City Council again in two years.

"It was a very good experience, and I'm very appreciative of the support I received from people, just volunteering for me without even knowing me beforehand," she said.

Fellow newcomer Justin Cohen, who ran on the concept of a website that polls his constituents on every issue he’s faced with to guide his votes, received 2,355 votes (7.9%), according to early election results.

"Perhaps it's a little early for direct democracy," Cohen told the Voice as results rolled in. "Maybe I'll do a little better as more votes comes in but time will tell."

Cohen added that with voter turnout currently at about 29%, "it doesn't seem like the people really spoke, only a small portion did."

"This is something that my platform and online voting in general is meant o fix," he said.

This is a developing story that will be updated as results are released.

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Malea Martin
Malea Martin covers the city hall beat in Mountain View. Before joining the Mountain View Voice in 2022, she covered local politics and education for New Times San Luis Obispo, a weekly newspaper on the Central Coast of California. Read more >>

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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Incumbents hold strong lead in Mountain View City Council race, early results show

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Nov 8, 2022, 8:29 pm
Updated: Tue, Nov 8, 2022, 10:47 pm

Early election results indicate the Mountain View City Council won’t have any fresh faces on the dais, despite three seats being up for grabs this election season.

As of 10:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, incumbents Ellen Kamei, Alison Hicks and Lucas Ramirez have emerged as frontrunners, having captured 27.1%, 26.5% and 26.2% of the vote, respectively.

Results will continue to roll in throughout the night and following weeks, and final results will be certified no later than a month after Election Day on Dec. 8.

The three candidates who collect the most votes will be tasked with addressing long standing issues like the city’s housing crisis, lack of affordable housing and finding long-term solutions for homeless residents.

Early leader Ellen Kamei, who’s captured 8,104 votes so far, said in an interview on election night that she was "incredibly grateful" to the residents of Mountain View, and that the strong turnout in favor of incumbents shows voters are confident in the city's leadership.

"It gives me hope that residents in the community see how hard the three of us have tried to work together," Kamei said. "We have common goals of what’s best for the city and we’re better together."

On the campaign trail, Kamei said that her No. 1 priority for her next term is housing: building more of it, making it more affordable and stopping displacement of residents from the homes they already live in.

She reiterated her interest in infrastructure upgrades on election night, including parks, open space and safe routes to school.

Close behind her is Vice Mayor Alison Hicks, with 7,906 votes. Minutes after seeing the initial results, Hicks told the Voice, "I’m feeling happy."

"I think we all felt that there were things we set out to do, but because of the pandemic we couldn’t achieve them," she said. "I think there are a lot of things around housing. We have a somewhat ambitious housing element but there’s a way to go."

Hicks told the Voice in a September interview that she believes growth is inevitable in Mountain View – but it’s how the city grows that city officials can influence.

“I share the concern (with the community) that we need the infrastructure,” Hicks said. “We need parks and other kinds of open space and green space, we need to upgrade our transportation, our sidewalks, bike paths ... and also we’re going to have to expand our schools.”

Mayor Lucas Ramirez follows closely behind Hicks with 7,813 votes, and said he was "cautiously optimistic" with the initial results. He said he's enjoyed working with Kamei and Hicks on the council, and that the early vote count is an endorsement of their work, adding that the election only serves to get even more in-tune with the interests of city residents.

"The value of a campaign is it forces all candidates to really get in touch with the community and learn where the concerns and opportunities are," he said.

Ramirez said he looks forward to tackling the housing crisis (if these early results hold), and that he believes the city’s general plan already has the capacity to meet most of its growth needs.

“The general plan already provides a tremendous pathway for us to meet those community needs in tandem with the housing growth that we're experiencing,” he said in a previous interview.

But for challenger Li Zhang, the council’s historic enthusiasm toward growth is exactly what inspired her to run against the incumbents. In contrast to her opponents, Zhang has been wary about the city’s approach to updating its "R3" zoning district to make room for growth, and instead advocates for reopening the general plan.

From Zhang’s perspective, the R3 Zoning Update “will increase the density in many, many neighborhoods, which will decrease the quality of life for residents,” she said in a previous interview. “I am not supportive of this.”

Initial results show Zhang out of reach of a council seat, having received 3,690 votes, or 12.4% of the votes cast so far. Zhang said in an interview election night that she wishes the best for the incumbents if she loses, and that she has learned a lot over the last three months. If the results hold, she said she intends to run for City Council again in two years.

"It was a very good experience, and I'm very appreciative of the support I received from people, just volunteering for me without even knowing me beforehand," she said.

Fellow newcomer Justin Cohen, who ran on the concept of a website that polls his constituents on every issue he’s faced with to guide his votes, received 2,355 votes (7.9%), according to early election results.

"Perhaps it's a little early for direct democracy," Cohen told the Voice as results rolled in. "Maybe I'll do a little better as more votes comes in but time will tell."

Cohen added that with voter turnout currently at about 29%, "it doesn't seem like the people really spoke, only a small portion did."

"This is something that my platform and online voting in general is meant o fix," he said.

This is a developing story that will be updated as results are released.

Comments

Richard
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 8, 2022 at 9:31 pm
Richard, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 8, 2022 at 9:31 pm

Congratulations Mountain View City Council Incumbents on your apparent re-election! It is great to have continuity in these times of change, especially after Covid. We have a lot of work still to do to make Mountain View a great resilient and sustainable city, and a wonderful place to live.
Time for us ALL to pitch in to make this happen!


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2022 at 12:03 am
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2022 at 12:03 am

Just an observation,

I do not know if this city is actually sustainable when the tech offices are being shut down. Meta recently closed their Mountain View San Antonio office and are letting go of a LOT of workers. WeWork is not going to be a good long term alternative. . The same situation appears to be in the works for Alphabet, Apple, Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce, and even Intel.

I am afraid that there really is not much these people CAN do, but I voted for them because they were the best choice I had.


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