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Mountain View City Council to appoint a new council member, rather than conduct a special election

After debating between a special election or an appointment, the majority of council members supported the latter option

Former Mountain View city councilmember Sally Lieber stepped down from her position in late December due to a conflict of interest with her new position on the state Board of Equalization. The council decided Jan. 5 to fill her seat by appointment. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

After much debate around what would best represent the will of the people, the Mountain View City Council decided to fill its open seat through an appointment process, rather than a special election.

The council considered its options at a Jan. 5 special meeting, which was called after Sally Lieber officially stepped down from her city council position in late December, citing a conflict of interest issue with her new position on the State Board of Equalization.

“The council must either appoint a new member within 30 days of the vacancy commencement, so in this case on or before Jan. 29, or call an election on or before Jan. 29,” City Clerk Heather Glaser explained at the Jan. 5 meeting. This is a requirement of the city charter, staff said.

If the council wanted to go the special election route, city staff said the earliest that the election could take place per county regulations would be in June, and given the amount of staff time it takes to plan for a special election, staff recommended an election day closer to early August. A special election would cost the city approximately $2.1 million, Glaser said.

The city clerk added that in the past 10 instances of Mountain View City Council vacancies, seven were filled by appointment, two were filled during the next general election (an option that wasn’t possible in this case due to timing), and one was filled by special election.

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If the council opted to go with an appointment, Glaser said, someone would need to be chosen by Jan. 29, 30 days after Lieber officially resigned. However, since that deadline falls on a weekend, city attorney Jennifer Logue said it would be legally sound for the city to hold the appointment meeting on Monday, Jan. 30.

Vice Mayor Alison Hicks initially took a neutral stance between the two options, noting that she’s heard strong support from the public for both routes.

“I’ve gotten many comments from residents saying that we’d be crazy to do a special election and others saying that we’d be crazy to do an appointment, so I guess we’re crazy either way,” Hicks said.

While acknowledging concerns around the cost of a special election and the fact that council would have an empty seat for close to nine months, council members Margaret Abe-Koga and Lisa Matichak both strongly supported the special election option. They were both concerned that any other route would flout the will of the people.

“We’ve been fortunate to be in a place where we have funds to do many things,” Abe-Koga said. “We’ve spent funds on many different things. I think this is an important function that’s worth the funding.”

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Mayor Lucas Ramirez and council members Ellen Kamei and Pat Showalter all supported doing an appointment, bringing the council to an impasse, as Hicks appeared to be leaning toward a special election.

Those supporting the appointment option brought up concerns around historically low voter turnout during special elections, the high cost of conducting a special election and the desire to fill the seat as soon as possible.

“We just received our tentative agenda list, which has many important and critical policy decisions that I believe we need a full council to discuss,” Kamei said.

Ramirez said his biggest concern was the $2.1 million estimated price tag that would come with a special election.

“I can’t justify spending $2.1 million on a special election,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary expenditure.”

Ramirez ended up asking for a show of hands to see if the council had majority support for either option. For the special election option, Abe-Koga, Matichak and Hicks raised their hands, so there was not majority support. For the appointment option, Ramirez, Kamei and Showalter raised their hands, and Hicks raised hers a second time, breaking the tie and establishing an appointment as the path forward.

In a post later that evening on CivicBell, a platform where elected officials can gather input from constituents, Matichak expressed her disappointment with the council’s decision.

“I thought it was very important for residents to have the opportunity to select their representative,” Matichak wrote. “While holding an election is rather costly and leaves a vacancy for a while, I think providing residents with the opportunity to vote outweighs those factors.”

Vice Mayor Alison Hicks told the Voice in an emailed statement that she feels strongly that "city decisions should be made by people voted into office by our residents." That being said, she continued, special elections are expensive and turnout is often low, "so they are not as good a gauge of public opinion as regular elections."

"I put the word out that I supported a special election, but when backing for that among council members and public speakers was not a clear majority, I felt we would be better served by the appointment process," Hicks said. "I am committed to making the appointment process as transparent and open to the public as possible on the extremely short timeline that our city charter requires for appointments."

She added that she would support amending the city charter in the future so that the appointment timeline could be "a little longer to allow for more public input."

The council decided to hold the appointment meeting, which will include both interviewing the applicants and making a final selection, on Monday, Jan. 30, at 5 p.m. The interviews will be conducted in person at the council chambers, though the meeting will still be streamed online per usual, Mayor Ramirez told the Voice.

The council also decided that, in addition to filling out an application, those interested in the open seat will be required to write a letter of interest. The city will open applications and begin advertising the open seat on Jan. 9, and the deadline to submit applications will be Jan. 18 at 5 p.m.

As for the interview questions that applicants will be tasked with answering during the Jan. 30 selection meeting, the council will solidify those at the Jan. 24 regular meeting so that the public has a couple weeks to weigh in.

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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 >>

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Mountain View City Council to appoint a new council member, rather than conduct a special election

After debating between a special election or an appointment, the majority of council members supported the latter option

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Jan 6, 2023, 1:12 pm
Updated: Fri, Jan 6, 2023, 2:47 pm

After much debate around what would best represent the will of the people, the Mountain View City Council decided to fill its open seat through an appointment process, rather than a special election.

The council considered its options at a Jan. 5 special meeting, which was called after Sally Lieber officially stepped down from her city council position in late December, citing a conflict of interest issue with her new position on the State Board of Equalization.

“The council must either appoint a new member within 30 days of the vacancy commencement, so in this case on or before Jan. 29, or call an election on or before Jan. 29,” City Clerk Heather Glaser explained at the Jan. 5 meeting. This is a requirement of the city charter, staff said.

If the council wanted to go the special election route, city staff said the earliest that the election could take place per county regulations would be in June, and given the amount of staff time it takes to plan for a special election, staff recommended an election day closer to early August. A special election would cost the city approximately $2.1 million, Glaser said.

The city clerk added that in the past 10 instances of Mountain View City Council vacancies, seven were filled by appointment, two were filled during the next general election (an option that wasn’t possible in this case due to timing), and one was filled by special election.

If the council opted to go with an appointment, Glaser said, someone would need to be chosen by Jan. 29, 30 days after Lieber officially resigned. However, since that deadline falls on a weekend, city attorney Jennifer Logue said it would be legally sound for the city to hold the appointment meeting on Monday, Jan. 30.

Vice Mayor Alison Hicks initially took a neutral stance between the two options, noting that she’s heard strong support from the public for both routes.

“I’ve gotten many comments from residents saying that we’d be crazy to do a special election and others saying that we’d be crazy to do an appointment, so I guess we’re crazy either way,” Hicks said.

While acknowledging concerns around the cost of a special election and the fact that council would have an empty seat for close to nine months, council members Margaret Abe-Koga and Lisa Matichak both strongly supported the special election option. They were both concerned that any other route would flout the will of the people.

“We’ve been fortunate to be in a place where we have funds to do many things,” Abe-Koga said. “We’ve spent funds on many different things. I think this is an important function that’s worth the funding.”

Mayor Lucas Ramirez and council members Ellen Kamei and Pat Showalter all supported doing an appointment, bringing the council to an impasse, as Hicks appeared to be leaning toward a special election.

Those supporting the appointment option brought up concerns around historically low voter turnout during special elections, the high cost of conducting a special election and the desire to fill the seat as soon as possible.

“We just received our tentative agenda list, which has many important and critical policy decisions that I believe we need a full council to discuss,” Kamei said.

Ramirez said his biggest concern was the $2.1 million estimated price tag that would come with a special election.

“I can’t justify spending $2.1 million on a special election,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary expenditure.”

Ramirez ended up asking for a show of hands to see if the council had majority support for either option. For the special election option, Abe-Koga, Matichak and Hicks raised their hands, so there was not majority support. For the appointment option, Ramirez, Kamei and Showalter raised their hands, and Hicks raised hers a second time, breaking the tie and establishing an appointment as the path forward.

In a post later that evening on CivicBell, a platform where elected officials can gather input from constituents, Matichak expressed her disappointment with the council’s decision.

“I thought it was very important for residents to have the opportunity to select their representative,” Matichak wrote. “While holding an election is rather costly and leaves a vacancy for a while, I think providing residents with the opportunity to vote outweighs those factors.”

Vice Mayor Alison Hicks told the Voice in an emailed statement that she feels strongly that "city decisions should be made by people voted into office by our residents." That being said, she continued, special elections are expensive and turnout is often low, "so they are not as good a gauge of public opinion as regular elections."

"I put the word out that I supported a special election, but when backing for that among council members and public speakers was not a clear majority, I felt we would be better served by the appointment process," Hicks said. "I am committed to making the appointment process as transparent and open to the public as possible on the extremely short timeline that our city charter requires for appointments."

She added that she would support amending the city charter in the future so that the appointment timeline could be "a little longer to allow for more public input."

The council decided to hold the appointment meeting, which will include both interviewing the applicants and making a final selection, on Monday, Jan. 30, at 5 p.m. The interviews will be conducted in person at the council chambers, though the meeting will still be streamed online per usual, Mayor Ramirez told the Voice.

The council also decided that, in addition to filling out an application, those interested in the open seat will be required to write a letter of interest. The city will open applications and begin advertising the open seat on Jan. 9, and the deadline to submit applications will be Jan. 18 at 5 p.m.

As for the interview questions that applicants will be tasked with answering during the Jan. 30 selection meeting, the council will solidify those at the Jan. 24 regular meeting so that the public has a couple weeks to weigh in.

Comments

Bill Michel
Registered user
another community
on Jan 6, 2023 at 2:25 pm
Bill Michel, another community
Registered user
on Jan 6, 2023 at 2:25 pm

Why not the next highest vote getter from the last election?


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 6, 2023 at 4:03 pm
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 6, 2023 at 4:03 pm

[Portion removed.]

Unfortunately, if the City spent $2M in an election, that money could fund rental assistance of 2,000 a month to 1000 payments for homeless prevention programs.

[Portion removed.]

It would have been a total waste of money to have another election.


SalsaMusic
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 6, 2023 at 4:16 pm
SalsaMusic, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 6, 2023 at 4:16 pm

We spend millions of dollars on silly things, like handing out money to explore universal basic income.


Seth Neumann
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Jan 6, 2023 at 8:26 pm
Seth Neumann, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Jan 6, 2023 at 8:26 pm

I'd support the next runner up, as suggested by Bill Michel.


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 6, 2023 at 9:30 pm
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 6, 2023 at 9:30 pm

IF the fourth runner up had been a close 4th, say less than .5% off of the third place I would not be even arguing against Li Zhang, but the lowest winner was Lucas Ramirez, and his votes were 26.34% in comparison to 11.95%.

[Portion removed.]

I do strongly urge that a charter ballot measure be voted on establishing that if this situation occurs again, that if the 4th runner up was within a .5% range of the lowest winning candidate in the future they will be an option for the future. But you cannot act on this now because the charter doesn't contain that yet.


Me
Registered user
North Whisman
on Jan 7, 2023 at 7:20 am
Me, North Whisman
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2023 at 7:20 am
JustAWorkingStiff
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2023 at 12:31 pm
JustAWorkingStiff, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2023 at 12:31 pm

I suggest appointing the 4th place finisher, Li Wang.
Another perspective:
Appoint somebody from Outside the Activist Community. Somebody with experience in accomplishing something in industry, or started their own business.

We have too many Activists on Council. I don't trust their competence or their ability to represent the interest of the normal working people of this city. Note their direction on RVs was contrary to the City wide vote. The reason why the Activists get elected is because....they're Activists and spend all time getting other Activists elected. I think these Activists are interested in their own agenda, and are willing to throw parts of the community under the bus to get what they want.


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 7, 2023 at 2:03 pm
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2023 at 2:03 pm
Me
Registered user
North Whisman
on Jan 7, 2023 at 3:15 pm
Me, North Whisman
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2023 at 3:15 pm

Herre's a better solution: let the people of Mountain View elect their representatives.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 7, 2023 at 4:14 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2023 at 4:14 pm

I agree with the numbers and statistical reasoning that seasons the logic of JaFo. The 4th place was Way Behind any of the three winners. [Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]

A charter amendment would be just fine - we should check if this type of 0.5% runner up / is fine to adopt in a city charter / as an "alternate council member'. Sort of the way Jose Gutierrez supporters wanted him on 'backbench' for the EPC.


Jack Cormode
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Jan 7, 2023 at 6:12 pm
Jack Cormode, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2023 at 6:12 pm

When San Jose had a similar situation recently, the power group that runs things there went against the election idea, claiming that it would leave the District involved with no Councilmember for too long. The solution: appoint someone who knows how things work - did Sally Lieber have a Chief of Staff or an Office Manager who could step in on an interim basis? Appoint that person with the provision that they will not run for the job, but will put in a resignation to be effective upon the election of a new Councilmember. Then run the special election. The cost of the election ($2.1M) is the cost of Democracy. Create a real 'get out the vote' effort. This country has too much apathy when it comes to elections. We can show America how democracy is a total effort by all citizens.


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 7, 2023 at 7:41 pm
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2023 at 7:41 pm

Mountain View clearly does not have a voter apathy problem. it is reported we have 81,000 people living in Mountain View, the election counted 55,000 votes. There is an estimated 10,000 children's in the city. That means that we had a 77% voter turnout. If that cannot be a "statistically significant" sample of the will of the voters, just understand this.

Even if another 16,000 votes were cast, given the percentages of the results, it would look like only 8,620 would have been for Li Zhang.

I would say that VOTER APATHY is PROVEN not to be a problem in the City of Mountain View.

And since when should we be comparing our political situation to San Jose, which has a completely different situation. it has 890,000 people and a completely different political profile along with a completely different set of needs than Mountain View. [Portion removed.]


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 7, 2023 at 9:31 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2023 at 9:31 pm

“After much debate around what would best represent the will of the people, the Mountain View City Council decided to fill its open seat through an appointment process, rather than a special election.”

This a GROSS MISREPRESENTATION of what occurred on Dec 5 (see Web Link ). Discussion about “the will of the people” was COMPLETELY IGNORED until public comments were offered (~48.20). Up until that point, discussion was almost entirely bureaucratic Q&A related to each option. Watch the video.

After public comments, 3 of 6 Council members wanted a special election, and insisted that if the appointment route was followed, steps should be taken so that any appointee not be handed the benefits of incumbency on a silver platter. Lisa Matichak, Margaret Abe-Koga, Alison Hicks, thank you so much for “getting it” at least briefly on Dec. 5, your words and actions warmed my heart.

But thanks to the fine efforts to “compromise” led by Mayor Ramirez, lol, our next council member will be selected via some ramshackle process focused on sterile “qualifications” (rather than “issues” that voters actually care about). It will be hobbled together over the next 3 weeks, and the winner of that process will have all of the advantages of incumbency when they run for re-election. God Bless America! But the process will be “transparent”, lol, because it is important in order “to be fair”! Which is a joke because there is no possible way to strip voters of fundamental rights and also “be fair” at the same time. The incumbency bit is the best part – it is the gift that will keep on giving! [Portion removed.]

Make no mistake, the “will of the people” had nothing to do with this decision. But that rather makes sense from a mayor who tap dances around questions re “quality of life issues” for MV residents. Web Link . Serving the needs of residents is simply not a top priority. Not allowing us to vote for who represents us on the City Council is really just par for the course.

Thank you to Lisa Matichak (~1.16.10) and Margaret Abe-Koga (~1.19.10) for quickly declaring your support for a special election after public comments. I will not forget your bravery, councilwoman Matichak, you jumped in first. Abe-Koga: “I think it's important that the will of the voters be heard, and I'm not confident that given the short time-frame of an appointment process that we would be able to adequately do that … pragmatically how can we do that in this very short time-frame of 3 weeks and an interview process where we have maybe an hour in order to interview one person?”

Thanks also to Alison Hicks for siding with Matichak and Abe-Koga (~1.25.40). These were the PRO-special election candidates. Hicks did not “appear” to be leaning toward a special election, she explicitly expressed support for it. “So I said when I first spoke that I was open to both and gave the reasons why, and wanted to hear from other Council Members. Having heard from two I am now leaning toward a special election, although I also agree with what Councilmember Matichak said that if we appoint someone, I would like them to promise not to run.”

It was fine for Lucas Ramirez, Ellen Kamei, and Pat Showalter to share their concerns about a special elections. But fair is fair. To not give equal time to examine concerns with the appointment process – I find this reality HIGHLY DISTURBING. I will point those out in anther post, they are too numerous to list here.

[Portion removed.]


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 7, 2023 at 10:31 pm
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 7, 2023 at 10:31 pm

I know it is hard to understand, but the conflict of interest that caused this problem was because of:

"“While there is no direct incompatibility between the offices, there is a conflict based on a piece of telecom equipment that exists in Mountain View,” which the Board of Equalization assesses a tax on, Lieber said during the council meeting. The telecom company is in North Bayshore, Lieber told the Voice."

This situation was EXTREMELY unique and in so many way unforeseeabl. But now you have political ideological enemies being used to distract the fact that a proer consideration was performed based on the standards of the Brown act. No matter what you want to complain about.

The fact that Abe Koga and Matichak were involved with the Measure D campaign that Sally Leiber acted in good faith to protect the RIGHTS of Mountain View Voters is played out here. Especially when Measure D got more votes than Li Zhang did. And by the way, to make a good comparison regarding local voting you have to compare the vote Sally got in the election to Li.

Sally got elected with a healthy 10 candidates running for the offices and got 13.9% which made here only 2nd to Abe Koga (16.6% in the 2020 election. Since Li only got 11.95% with only 5 people running. It would appear that if they ran alone, Sally would still win.

In any event, this is obviously another power struggle for Abe Koga and Matichak, but given they are unable to run for office in 2024, they are trying to do as much damage they can with the little time left.

Finally, there is no legal way for the city to prohibit anyone appointed to run for the office. That would be an illegal act by the City Council. There are only one provision in the City Charter regarding term limits . Abe Koga must be joking, she is serving a 3rd term in the City Council


Jack Cormode
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Jan 8, 2023 at 11:57 am
Jack Cormode, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2023 at 11:57 am

Reference the remarks by JAFO about voter turnout: You cite the turnout for a General Election. The problem in the U.S. is that the turnout for Special Elections and Primary Elections is much lower. The non-General Elections are where the radical wings of Left and Right are winning and then ruling. If you believe in Democracy, then you need to advocate and work for it, no matter what the cost of time, effort and expense.


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Jan 8, 2023 at 12:13 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2023 at 12:13 pm

my 2 cents re: changing the charter to handle replacing council members,

A simpler solution would be to have candidates run as a ticket, where we'd vote for (or against) one candidate AND its chosen alternate (akin a President/VP ticket).

Should that candidate be elected and then resign, the -also elected- alternate gets the seat.

That way, no special election and no appointment process. Also, the will of the people is best respected: when electing someone for a four year term based on issues and political leanings, voters have the assurance that their views will be represented for the full term.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 8, 2023 at 6:04 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2023 at 6:04 pm

The MV charter gives the council the power to appoint a candidate. But just because a power exists does not mean it SHOULD be used. Just because something is “legal” does not make it right. Undoubtedly there are moments when an appointment would truly be an appropriate choice (perhaps the death of a member a few months before a general election?). Those who TRULY believe it is a fundamental RIGHT of VOTERS to choose our political leaders should ACT in ways that demonstrate that they are LOATHE to strip this RIGHT away without VERY GOOD REASONS indeed.

At (~1.26.10), apparently the Council was split 3 to 3, although this was not obvious because the ANTI-special election council members (Lucas Ramirez, Ellen Kamei, and Pat Showalter) had not yet spoken (see Web Link ). Please point out the moments where these folks express concern for “what would best represent the will of the people,” because honestly, I didn't see them.

1) Showalter (~1.26.15) , Kamei (~1.28.50) and Ramirez (~1.33.26) all expressed concerns about the cost of a special election. However, they did not identify which other projects would be a BETTER use of time, effort, and money than preserving the right of voters to choose our elected representatives (though Ramirez did mention capital improvements and filling vacancies in staffing in his remarks, along with this: if it comes to a recession, it would be really nice to have $2.1 million in a reserve, “funds for things that the community will actually NEED” (~1.35.10). The implication of Ramirez' words is that the public's right to choose its political leaders doesn't even register on his radar as an important “need”. Such an admission by the sitting mayor of MV absolutely terrifies me.

2) Showalter talked about low-turnout that is typical for such an election, “my understanding is that they usually have about half to a quarter of the number of people in regular elections”. Kamei and Ramirez shared these concerns.

None of them explained how an option that ensures ZERO VOTER TURNOUT is superior to an option with a possibility of LOW voter turnout. In order “to be fair” to voters who do not engage in the process, the right to vote should be taken away from all voters? Is that it? Voting isn't fair? Is that it? It is “more fair” for six sitting incumbents to make the choice instead?

3) Kamei was primarily concerned about the amount of time the seat would be vacant. In earlier Q+A, it was identified that 4 weeks +125 days (about 5 months) is the minimum amount of time required before a special election could be held (~17.20), based on legal requirements (especially from the county). The earliest election date proposed by Staff, August 1, added an additional 3 months for the convenience of both staff and Council. Kamei claimed that the earliest feasible election would require 9 months.

4) Kamei talked about the need to make progress on many important projects. She appears not to grasp that the very definition of “progress,” and whether it is positive or negative, is subjective and depends upon where one stands on the issues. Some residents think “quality of life” issues are worthy of condemnation and ridicule, they think cutting funding for schools and parks would be a good thing if it means more housing "of any kind" were built. Others like me are baffled and outraged by such thinking. It is CRITICAL in a democracy that the persons empowered to make the most important decisions are selected by VOTERS (“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others”). Whether or not a decision is made in a timely fashion is far less important to most voters than what the DECISION ACTUALLY IS. Government without consent of the governed is TYRANNY.

Here's a thought … if cost is TRULY such a concern, there is a simple and obvious solution: appoint the 4th place finisher from the Nov 2022 election, Li Zhang. Somehow Showalter, Kamei, and Ramirez all failed to bring this possibility to the table, even though such an appointment would satisfy ALL of the concerns they raised on Dec. 5.

1) A special election would be avoided. Think of the $$$ that could be saved! Furthermore, all of the time, money, and effort that will needed for the “appointment route” could be saved as well! Even better!

2) Concerns about low-voter turnout would automatically be eliminated if no eleciton is held.

3) Zhang could be seated immediately, or at least far sooner than if the “appointment route” was followed.

4) The Council could therefore be “making progress” on so many important issues.

Showalter, Kamei, and Ramirez want to fill the seat as quickly as possible, “there are so many good candidates in MV to choose from”. Li Zhang is one such candidate, and is a solution to their stated concerns on Dec. 5. And she has something that NO OTHER APPLICANT has … a vote of approval from almost 7000 voters.

If Showalter, Kamei and Ramirez are unwilling to appoint Zhang, it would obviously have to be for some reason other than the ones they expressed on Dec. 5.

Sadly, ran out of space to itemize CONCERNS with the appointment process. I will try to do that tomorrow.


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 8, 2023 at 6:34 pm
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2023 at 6:34 pm

Leslie, the decision is made, so you just have to move on.

The fact that the City Charter provides the City Council the discretion to decide whether to appoint or elect, simply was performed by the City Council in this case.

Again, you can bring up a ballot measure to amend the City Charter, that is your right.





Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 8, 2023 at 7:05 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2023 at 7:05 pm

Not to put too fine a point on this, but there's a lot of motivated reasoning here for why Li Zhang should get appointed. The voters only got to cast three votes in the previous election. With Ramirez, Hicks, and Kamei so close to each other and so far ahead of the other two candidates, a majority of voters casting ballots preferred those three to the field. Li Zhang was far closer in votes received to Justin Cohen (~2500) than any other candidate (~8100). In fact, the difference in votes received between Lucas Ramirez and Li Zhang was greater than the total number of votes Li received!

In short, the special election would seem to be designed to have a low turnout election where a minority that can't win an election outright would have an edge, and appointing Li Zhang seems to be attempting to place a candidate who couldn't get majority approval by the voters of the city into that seat. It's no surprise that both of those options are being pushed by Abe-Koga, Matichak, and the anti-RV crowd (Robert Cox et al).


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2023 at 9:32 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2023 at 9:32 pm

We don't know who would have run for Sally Lieber's seat if she'd announced her resignation in advance, but I'm quite sure that someone more qualified than Li Zhang would have stepped up. The runners-up from last year's election are irrelevant.


Shane
Registered user
Willowgate
on Jan 9, 2023 at 12:25 am
Shane, Willowgate
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2023 at 12:25 am

In standing firm behind the idea of a democracy and the key element being fair and open elections of our representatives in government decision-making bodies, it is imperative we vote in, and not appoint, our representatives. We are disappointed our City Council feels differently. Just because it was done in the past or cost a lot of money does not make it right nor justifiable. Also, in order to prevent this type of ill-planning by a City Council member (we just had an election), there needs to be new rules about changing jobs while a member of the City Council. What if the real desire was to evade a fair election and appoint a pro-housing or anti-environmental candidate for the open position against the will of the majority of people? I am not saying this is the reason, but what if? It opens the process to possible corruption.


Jack Cormode
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Jan 9, 2023 at 7:15 am
Jack Cormode, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2023 at 7:15 am

If the price of a special election was $1.1 million, instead of $2.1M, would the council members who are against holding the election then approve it? Probably not. So how about $0.1M ($100,000)? Probably approved. So now we are not haggling over whether to hold an election, but rather the cost. From this we can establish a Cost of Democracy. Everything has a price in America...


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 9, 2023 at 3:55 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2023 at 3:55 pm

to remind readers - Leslie was a well spoken proponent of Zhang getting a council seat before November.

I do appreciate her very well examined comments on what happened When and who said What (in quotes).

Lieber - seems she has 'decided to retire' to a better paid and much less onerous government position! $168,015. / yr! yes.
Web Link

I voted for her - but I thinks this 'One Business I'd have to recuse myself from' is an 'ethical miss'. Sally - goodby, farewell, don't ask for my vote again!


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 9, 2023 at 4:21 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2023 at 4:21 pm

Lucas Ramirez, Ellen Kamei, and Pat Showalter shared their concerns about a special election. But fair is fair. To not give EQUAL TIME to examine concerns with the appointment process – I find this reality HIGHLY DISTURBING. Somehow the following problems didn't seem to register as important to the anti-special election contingent on Dec 5:

1) The appointment process does not allow the will of the voters to be expressed, which is a fundamental right under a democracy.

Alison Hicks (~1.10.23)( Web Link ): “the money is not, to me, the biggest obstacle ... we spend a lot of money on a lot of things”. Her biggest concern was that the steps taken were considered LEGITIMATE by as many residents as possible.

2) The appointment route will create an incumbent who will have a distinct and UNEARNED advantage in 2024. This is truly horrific and explicitly against the wishes of Lisa Matichak (~1.18.05) and Alison Hicks (~1.25.40). Staff later pointed out that it is not legally possible to prevent any appointee from running for Council in 2024.

Matichak : “If we do go the appointment route ... I feel very strongly that we should appoint someone who is not going to run for Council in 2024 … an incumbent has a distinct advantage in an election … I don't think it's up to us to make somebody an incumbent, I think that's up to the residents to do that, and I don't really feel that a Council seat should be handed to anybody, I think they need to earn it. To be fair to our residents, even though it takes a little bit longer time, I do think a special election is the way to go.”

3) The appointment route really focuses on QUALIFICATIONS to serve on the council, NOT on POSITIONS ON ISSUES. Under the special election route, the slot would be filled by a CANDIDATE. Under the appointment route, the slot would be filled by an APPLICANT applying for a “job”.

(~1.12.20) Staff: “This is a unique situation in that … you would be making an appointment to a typically elected seat … elections are very different, positions on issues all matter … voters have a right to take that into consideration when they are voting … an appointment is akin to a job application … focusing on the qualifications of the candidate, er, the applicant, I'm sorry.”

Note that IMMEDIATELY after staff made that comment, Lisa Matichak jumped in to express her support for a special election (~1.16.10)

4) The interview process is being built from scratch, under extremely short deadlines. That is not a recipe for a superior result. What measures will be taken to ensure transparency? Doesn't whoever controls this process control who will be selected as the next Council Member?

Abe-Koga: “pragmatically how can we [build an appointment process that reflects the will of the voters] in this very short time-frame of 3 weeks and an interview process where we have maybe an hour in order to interview one person?”

There is apparently no time for the public to provide input as to what the interview questions should be. But SOME un-named persons have already contacted the City Council to provide input. Is it fair and equitable to other voters to not be given an equivalent opportunity to provide such feedback? Isn't this akin to the “low voter turnout” problem? If low-voter turnout is “not fair”, why would allowing a small number of persons (who might not even be residents!) to give input into the selection process be considered “fair”. In the interest of equity and fairness, either give EVERYONE the opportunity to provide input, or NOBODY. Otherwise the process won't be LEGITIMATE.

I truly fail to grasp how anyone on the council can honestly believe that a fair, reasonable, and transparent appointment process can be constructed in the time available. And the primary reason that we are going down this path is to save $2.1 million? I'm sure that certain private schools around these parts could raise that money in a bake sale or two.

5) There is not even a legal requirement that the Council interview everyone who applies. (~47.00)

Mayor Ramirez understands that some constituents would prefer that $2.1 million be spent on other things (~1.34.45): “We'll be accountable to our constituents. Why didn't we spend that money on capital improvements, why didn't we spend that money on filling the vacancies to fill our staffing … I find it so difficult to make any case at all for spending that money on a special election … It's not to say that I don't trust the voters for making the choice, the voters picked all of us! … I could not under any circumstances support a special election.”

Respectfully, the mayor fails to understand that there are OTHER CONSTITUENTS in MV who think preserving the RIGHT OF VOTERS to elect our leaders is actually PRICELESS, and should always be one of the top priorities of any democratically elected government, if not the TOP one. I'm willing to speak out on behalf OF THEM.

My father passed away last year, the VA ruled that his lung cancer was likely caused by exposure to agent orange when he served as a fighter pilot in Vietnam. He didn't put his life on the line so that highly paid MV residents could have a pretty pedestrian mall. He fought in an attempt to preserve and protect DEMOCRACY. Our existing rights were bought an paid for by patriots who were willing to shed their BLOOD for democracy. I think the reasons offered as an excuse to take voting rights away from residents to choose who represents us on the council are lousy as heck. Our community is at a critical moment, it did not end on Dec. 5. I am fighting to hold the Council accountable to what I believe are values held by most residents.


Shane
Registered user
Willowgate
on Jan 9, 2023 at 6:53 pm
Shane, Willowgate
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2023 at 6:53 pm

I find Leslie Baines comment "There is apparently no time for the public to provide input as to what the interview questions should be (for an applicant)". This reminded me of the absence of notification by City Council of the public's right to appeal a decision by the City Council to approve an Environmental Impact Report that is clearly defective in ignoring the most significant impacts to public health & the environment. According to CEQA, the statute of limitations for filing an appeal is only 30-days after the decision is made to approve the EIR. That is very little time for the public to to file an appeal. Most people are not even aware of their right to appeal nor the statute of limitations. It is the responsibility of the city officials to inform the public of this right to ensure the environmental review process is fair, competent, and above-board. There are some serious deficiencies in the EIR process as administered by the City of Mountain View.


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 9, 2023 at 8:25 pm
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2023 at 8:25 pm

Just an Observation,

To keep on complaining about what was a perfectly performed City Council hearing is not going to achieve anything.

The City Charter needs amending if you want to get a change, time for you to start the signature collecting.

You have until the next election


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 10, 2023 at 3:28 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2023 at 3:28 pm

Fact: whoever controls the interview process controls who will be selected as the next Council Member, a person who will have all of the advantages of an incumbent in 2024.

“The council decided to hold the appointment meeting, which will include both interviewing the applicants and making a final selection, on Monday, Jan. 30, at 5 p.m. ”

Grab the popcorn, that's going to be one hum-dinger of a meeting.

“As for the interview questions that applicants will be tasked with answering ... the council will solidify those at the Jan. 24 regular meeting so that the public has a couple weeks to weigh in.”

A couple of weeks? No, the public will have SIX DAYS “to weigh in”, whatever that means. I wonder what portion of voters will participate in that process? Far fewer than the number who would vote in a special election, no doubt. Low-voter turnout is not fair, but this monstrosity of a process is fair? Seriously?

It is not possible to un-ring a bell. In the interest of full transparency, I call for the City Council to release the input that has already been given to them as to what the interview questions should be.

Here is my suggestion for an interview question: “Imagine that while sitting on the Council, one of your colleagues is forced to resign over a matter of conflict of interest. The charter gives you the power to fill that vacancy by either calling for a special election or to appoint a replacement within the next 3 weeks. Explain which option would you choose, and why.”

@Steven Nelson – since you brought it up, yes, I was a proponent of Li Zhang getting a council seat. I have lost faith in the MV City Council, I think they are fighting most strongly for the best interests of Google and developers instead of RESIDENTS. That our MAYOR seems to view the ability of residents to choose who represents us as some kind of luxury than can be dropped, rather than a necessity, shocks me but it is really just par for the course. Building a pedestrian mall for the techies is apparently a higher priority. And hand-picking the next incumbent, some would call that a feature rather than a bug.

I was/am very attracted to Zhang's willingness to fight for the “quality of life” in Mountain View. Sadly this phrase has become a weird dog whistle in some quarters, leading to conclusions that those of us who want good schools and parks, un-congested streets, adequate parking, etc. are SELFISH MONSTERS, and even RACISTS. It amazes me. Good and virtuous people should be fighting to LOWER the quality of life in MV? Seriously?

I am not indifferent to the plight of those trapped by high rents, if you could look inside my heart you could see that, but of course you can't. It is my sincere and earnest belief that the solutions being offered by the CA YIMBY movement are snake oil that primarily helps Google, developers, and powerful State politicians like Gavin Newsom, so I oppose them. The result is I get falsely accused of being a “NIMBY”. The truth will out, but sadly that time is years away. When 90% of housing units are constructed that are unaffordable to the majority of the population, those at the bottom end of the ladder will forever remain trapped by high rents. It's a Math thing.

“What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” - James Madison (aka “Father of the Constitution”).

For the record, at this point in my life I don't trust ANY politician, I am open to the idea that they have self-interest as their top priority. The founding fathers told us so, and did their best to construct a system of checks and balances to keep us safe. What is happening in MV today is a PERVERSION, apparently the charter allows the Council to strip the right to vote from Residents whenever a sitting member is forced to resign because of conflict of interest. Who knew?

Here's a truly ugly thought: Li Zhang was a RIVAL to those sitting on the Council. Choosing to go the appointment route is essentially a check mate that denies her the opportunity to earn a seat via a free and fair election. Will she rise to the top of the list via the appointment process? Ha ha ha, I won't hold my breath.

I sincerely wish that the Council would hold an emergency meeting, reconvene, and vote on whether continuing down “the appointment route” is truly a decision to which they wish to remain committed. I honestly think they are on a path that is going to blow up in their faces. Is there a reason why the Council cannot change its mind, and decide that after more consideration, a special election is actually the best choice among crummy options? Kind of like democracy itself (“the worst form of government, except for all the others”)

If Li Zhang loses in a free and fair election, so be it. But if she wins, it would mean that SHE is who the VOTERS want to represent them on the Council. For her political rivals to act in way to overrule the WILL OF THE PEOPLE is just ugly, despicable, shameful politics of the lowest form.


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 10, 2023 at 3:48 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2023 at 3:48 pm

Not to point out the obvious, but Li Zhang literally just lost "in a free and fair election."

The tradeoffs facing council are to interview and appoint a council member that reasonably aligns with Sally Lieber's View's (i.e. the will of the voters who put her into office in the first place), or to run a low-turnout special election for the seat that won't be filled until August at the earliest. Neither is perfect, but either way, we will still have a new election next year for the seat, this isn't some lifetime appointment. Incumbents lose, and it happened here in recent memory.

If you look at the election that put Sally Lieber into office, Alex Nunez missed out on a seat by only 58 votes. Perhaps he should be appointed?


Jack Cormode
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Jan 10, 2023 at 4:50 pm
Jack Cormode, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2023 at 4:50 pm

Each person interviewed for the vacant City Council position should be asked if they would sign statement that they will not run for election when the position is up for consideration by the voters. Even if they were to then run, that unethical person would have to deal with being (properly) labeled an untrustworthy liar.


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2023 at 7:37 am
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2023 at 7:37 am

So y'all think Alex Padilla shouldn't be our senator, or Rob Bonta our attorney general?


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 11, 2023 at 2:50 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2023 at 2:50 pm

Not to point out the obvious, but Li Zhang earned over 7000 more votes than ANY OTHER POTENTIAL CHALLENGER in a special election. She placed 4th out of a field of 5 for 3 open seats. To call her a loser is nothing but spin-meistering.

Zhang is a brave women who was willing to face down incumbents who had many advantages over her.

Perhaps the biggest advantage was MONEY. I cannot help but notice that the number of votes each candidate earned is rather proportional to the amount of money that they raised. Zhang raised about half the amount of MONEY as each incumbent, and earned about half the number of VOTES.

From 9/30 - Web Link

Kamei “has reported raising about $28,500 so far this calendar year ... a handful of contributors backed her campaign with $1,000 donations. Those include, but aren’t limited to ... Santa Clara Valley Water District Director Gary Kremen.” Note that Kremen was voted OUT in November, he lost to Rebecca Eisenberg; an independent investigation had found that he “bullied, verbally assaulted and threatened district workers.” Web Link

Ramirez “reported raising $27,700 so far this year … [he] outspent all his opponents this filing period, having used about $14,750. The majority of his expenditures went toward campaign literature and mailings.”

Hicks “raised a bit more than $20,600, all of which came in during the most recent filing period.”

“Zhang’s reported campaign donations so far top out at just over $7,750, mostly ranging from $20 to $500. She received one $1,000 contribution from Mountain View Professional Firefighters Local 1965.”

The incumbents also had the advantage of a local paper who was willing to repeatedly publish fund-raising numbers as if they were some kind of poll. The last article was published DAYS before the the election! It is well known that many voters have a psychological desire to “vote for the winner”, a desire that is often exploited during political campaigns. Remember that this fine paper endorsed the incumbents over Zhang.

From 10/28 - “Incumbent council member Ellen Kamei continues to lead in total campaign donations
”, Web Link

“While newcomer Li Zhang comes in fourth for overall money raised (about $12,000), during the last filing period alone she outraised everyone except Kamei, bringing in about $4,200. Nearly all her recent contributions came from individual community members, with the exception of $300 from the API Empowerment PAC. During the previous filing period, she received donations from community members and one $1,000 contribution from Mountain View Professional Firefighters Local 1965.”

Let me repeat an important point: Nearly all Zhang's recent contributions came from individual community members.

@ivg, I have much to say about the appointment of Alex Padilla, but in the interest of space I will save that until tomorrow. The bottom line: he is a great example of how incumbents have great UNEARNED advantages over other challengers.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 11, 2023 at 3:11 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2023 at 3:11 pm

Correction: I wrote "Not to point out the obvious, but Li Zhang earned over 7000 more votes than ANY OTHER POTENTIAL CHALLENGER in a special election." I should have written "about 7000 more votes", as her actual vote count was in the very high 6000 range. I regret the error.


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 11, 2023 at 3:26 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2023 at 3:26 pm

She only received ~2500 more votes than Justin Cohen. We understand you really supported Li Zhang, and that you truly wanted her to become a city council member, but the fact remains that she lost by a significant margin, with her vote total closer to 0 than anyone who got more votes than her, let alone the fifth place candidate.

People often lose and then go on to win subsequent elections (including some sitting Council members!), but you need to be honest about the election results.


Jack Cormode
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Jan 11, 2023 at 4:06 pm
Jack Cormode, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2023 at 4:06 pm

Re: IVG's post noting the appointments of Alex Padilla and Rob Bonta - Although there are different circumstances about the positions they hold versus the City Council vacancy - I would support the idea of any appointee being asked to sign a statement that they will not run in the following election for that position.
Thank you, IVG.


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2023 at 9:20 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2023 at 9:20 pm

Kamala Harris and Xavier Becerra both resigned shortly after a general election to take federal offices. Same thing. They didn't think they could hold two offices at once, but that's Sally Lieber's problem.

Point is, filling vacancies by appointment is not new.


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2023 at 9:33 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2023 at 9:33 pm

I think it's funny that all the people now clamoring to spend $2M of public funds on an election because "democracy is priceless" couldn't be bothered to donate an extra $10--15k to their preferred candidate's campaign to even up her budget with the incumbents.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 12, 2023 at 2:25 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 12, 2023 at 2:25 pm

“a low-turnout special election for the seat that won't be filled until August at the earliest” - FALSE. 4 weeks +125 days (about 5 months) is the minimum amount of time required before a special election could be held (~17.20), based on legal requirements (especially from the county). The earliest election date proposed by Staff, August 1, added an additional 3 months for the convenience of both Staff and Council. Kamei claimed that the earliest feasible election would require 9 months, the truth of that statement lies in the definition of “feasible”.

@Jack Cormode, after Jane/John Doe has been seated on the Council, I can assure you that his/her supporters will scream bloody murder at those who oppose his/her “right” to run for re-election when the next election takes place. They will LOUDLY PROCLAIM that opponents simply don't like Doe's position on the issues, period. Only geeks will remember the conversation we are having today. You can already see people coming forth now to pooh-pooh the idea that incumbents have any advantages. Yesterday I realized that former Mayor Lucas Ramirez SPENT more in the first filing period than newcomer Li Zhang was able to RAISE in total over her entire campaign. That's not any kind of advantage though, lol. Zhang's momentum was growing at the end, the appointment process will do much to snuff that out. God bless America!

@ivg, wow. Are you aware that the majority of residents in MV do not earn fat tech salaries, and don't have “an extra $10—15k” lying around to donate to their favored politicians? Money in politics is an important issue, the rich have obvious advantages, and politicians have a long record of doing what is best for their campaign donors instead of for “we the people”. Web Link

I note that nobody has come forward to explain how a NON-TRANSPARENT interview process (built from scratch under extremely short deadlines) is superior to a low voter turnout election. Nobody has come forward to dispute my observation that whoever controls this process controls who will be selected as the next Council Member (who will then have the advantages of incumbency).

Our new mayor, Alison Hicks said, "I am committed to making the appointment process as transparent and open to the public as possible on the extremely short timeline that our city charter requires for appointments." Sounds good, but WHERE is the TRANSPARENCY NOW? I want to know WHO is in charge of creating the interview questions. Someone on the council, or has this matter been delegated to Staff? Are suggestions from the public being accepted on the sly, even though there was insufficient time to set up a process by which the PUBLIC AT LARGE could provide feedback?

IMHO, “as possible” are weasel words. If it is not “possible” to give the public any transparency into the interview process, no promises are broken. Don't you love how that works? This entire process smacks of illegitimacy, the very issue for which Hicks expressed concern on Dec. 5.

My second and third suggested interview questions come from the debate hosted by the Voice for the November 2022 election, Web Link

Q- "In the coming years, MV's housing stock is poised to grow significantly ... How will you ensure MV's housing growth won't impact the quality of life for current residents?"

In particular, I want to see if the candidate actually addresses the question or chooses to tap dance around it.

Q- "The MV City Council has a reputation for collegiality. How important do you think it is to try to reach a consensus on thorny issues rather than settle for a split vote."

FYI, I loved Zhang's answer in that debate, but I suspect that sitting Council members must have hated it: "I have a slightly different opinion on this, that's why I want to bring a fresh perspective to the council. I do believe sometimes from my observations of the council meetings, some council members are not especially expressing their opinions due to they know they are not a majority of the vote. I believe for democracies everyone should take their vote seriously. If I'm being elected I will stand by what I believe the majority, the people, the residents who I will represent who their voices want to be heard. I am not going to be just voting with the majority because I don't think it really matters where I vote. That's my opinion".

Lastly, a matter of housekeeping. The above article states: “The city will open applications and begin advertising the open seat on Jan. 9.” That was 3 days ago, has this happened? If so, where is the advertising taking place? Will the public be given any information about potential applicants before the Jan. 30 selection meeting, or will we be kept in the dark until the last possible moment?


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2023 at 3:57 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 12, 2023 at 3:57 pm

I see. The campaign for the homeowners' candidate is pleading poverty.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 13, 2023 at 1:50 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 13, 2023 at 1:50 pm

“I see. The campaign for the homeowners' candidate is pleading poverty.”

@ivg, I truly thank you for your comment. It is a great example of the hatemongering that has gone hand in hand with the YIMBY movement since day 1. The movement spreads the false idea that SFH homeowners in MV are RESPONSIBLE for the high cost of housing here, that we are evil monsters who work in unison to “block supply” out of our own, nefarious self-interest to increase the value of our homes. Has ANY credible evidence been offered to prove this vile theory? No. However it does have a vague air of “truthiness” to it (do folks know the history of that word? Colbert used it to mock Republicans), and that appears to be good enough for many. Anyone who objects to any aspect of the YIMBY movement gets called a “NIMBY” - because clearly those of us who support balanced growth with responsible urban planning are just the same as people who advocate for no growth whatsoever.

Regardless of the hate that gets hurled my way, I try to maintain a sense of compassion for those who feel trapped by high rents and are increasingly desperate. I try to speak from a place of reason and rationality. I do my best to explain the downside of YIMBY policies (such as advocacy to eliminate or reduce certain developer fees, which are used to add capacity to public schools and parks when the population grows. YIMBYs are advocating to DEFUND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, that might not be their intention per se, but that would be the net result of their advocacy). I can see how tempting it must be to swallow snake oil, if that seems like the only option available. I can see how a person who is trying to stop the sale of snake oil must seem like a villian.

In trying to craft a response to you, I'm noticing several things:

1) Instead of responding to my arguments in a constructive manner, you have made a mocking comment about Zhang. The net effect is to move the conversation away from the topic of “money in politics”, the benefits that incumbents have over newcomers, and the momentum that Zhang was gaining at the end of the election in November. That's called “deflection”.

2) I'm confused by the comment itself, because Zhang never ran as “the homeowners' candidate”. Why are you calling her that? Is that what she is called in YIMBY circles? She said, “I'm running primarily because I am concerned about the quality of life in Mountain View.” Is it your belief that those who rent do not care about quality of life issues? Do you think that renters don't care if their children are forced to attend overcrowded schools? Do you know how many birthday parties are held in parks by families who cannot afford to hold the party at Build-A-Bear instead? The cost of housing is ITSELF a quality of life issue, which many YIMBYs seem to fail to understand.

3) You are making an ASSUMPTION that all homeowners are Richie-Rich's with bags of $$$ lying around. Have you ever heard the expression “House Rich and Cash Poor”? Are you aware that the Great Recession greatly harmed many older workers who had not yet retired? Web Link

4) You seem to think that the money for a special election would be better spent elsewhere. Care to mention any specifics? Or do agree with Lucas Ramirez, who simply wanted to save the money for a rainy day when it might be “needed”? As if filling a vacancy on the City Council after the resignation of Sally Lieber over a matter of conflict of interest is not a RAINY DAY matter in and of itself.

5) Another of my comments that has been ignored: details about Jan. 30 selection meeting. It is now almost TWO WEEKS away from the day when a JOB APPLICANT will be selected, and I have seen NOTHING about the selection the process. So much for TRANSPARENCY.

Where is the advertising for the open seat taking place? Will the public be given any information about potential applicants before the Jan. 30 selection meeting, or will we be kept in the dark until the last possible moment? WHO is in charge of creating the interview questions? Someone on the council, or has this matter been delegated to Staff? Are suggestions from the public being accepted on the sly, even though there was insufficient time to set up a process by which the PUBLIC AT LARGE could provide feedback?

Here's another truly ugly thought: I suppose there is a lot of back door maneuvering in smoke-filled rooms going on over who to put forward to fill the seat.


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 13, 2023 at 3:10 pm
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 13, 2023 at 3:10 pm

Just an Observation,

The announcement for appointment applications is here on the city website Web Link

They also posted it in the City Hall bulletin board.

In any event, I cannot understand what the problem is, the Cty Charter allows this to occur. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


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