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In last-minute surge of applications, 10 people seek a spot on the Mountain View City Council

Applicants include four former mayors, a Rental Housing Committee member and a runner up in the last council election

Mountain View is looking to fill a vacancy on the City Council, and 10 people have applied for the spot. Photo by Sammy Dallal

Following a surge in last-minute applications, a total of 10 residents are now vying for a spot on the Mountain View City Council as the city looks to appoint a replacement for Council member Sally Lieber later this month.

Sally Lieber. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Lieber was elected to the state's Board of Equalization in November and had planned to continue serving on the Mountain View City Council at the same time. She later found that being on the state board constituted a conflict of interest, compelling her to resign her council seat with almost two years left in her term.

But as of Tuesday, Jan. 17, the city told the Voice that nobody had applied for Lieber's spot. And with the 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline fast approaching, only two had stepped forward. Mountain View did not release applications until after the deadline closed, despite the Voice's request that they be made public as they were submitted.

Michael Kasperzak. Photo by Michelle Le

The now-crowded field has a mix of both familiar and new names in local politics, with four former council members seeking to finish out Lieber's term. Mike Kasperzak, who termed out in 2016 after serving on the council for a combined 16 years, was the first to apply. Mountain View's term limits prevent anyone from serving more than two consecutive terms on the City Council.

In his application, Kasperzak said housing and affordable housing are "extremely important" and remains the highest priority for the council, but that growth must be balanced.

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"I believe Mountain View needs to continue its aggressive stance on increasing housing supply and to address the jobs-housing imbalance," he wrote. "As more jobs are created, more housing should be developed."

Ronit Bryant

Ronit Bryant, who served on the council from 2006 to 2014, has also applied. In her application, she emphasized the importance of livability and quality of life, which she believes can be improved by the concept of a "15-minute city," in which you don't need a car to get to between housing, jobs and services. Livability also means access to parks and green spaces, and a tree canopy that shades the streets, she wrote.

After terming out in 2020, John McAlister and Chris Clark both filed applications to replace Lieber.

Consistent with his views while previously on the council, McAlister said Mountain View needs to find ways to create a more robust transit network and reduce traffic, and that the city should be buying residential properties as a means to increase affordable housing.

Council member John McAlister at the Mountain View City Council Meeting on March 15, 2016. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Clark, currently serving on the city's Environmental Planning Commission, focused his application on the need for "thoughtful planning" of affordable housing that gets buy-in from the community. He added that sustainability and climate resiliency are "top of mind," and that these goals should drive the city to create "safer, more comprehensive multimodal transportation infrastructure."

Chris Clark

Among those who have not already sat on the council dais, Emily Ann Ramos has applied. Ramos has served on Mountain View's Rental Housing Committee since its inception following the passage of rent control, and has served as a housing advocate and volunteer in the world of tenant protections.

A familiar face in the audience at council meetings, Ramos emphasized the need to fight climate change through transportation demand management and a "biodiversity" strategy. She wrote in her application that the city needs a three-pronged approach to housing: production of new units, preservation of existing affordable homes and protections for those facing displacement.

Rental-housing committee member Emily Ramos at her apartment complex on April 17, 2017. Photo by Michelle Le

After coming up short in the November City Council race last year, resident Li Zhang has applied. Zhang, a 20-year resident and Tesla employee, has said she was previously unfamiliar with how local government worked, and has been a passionate participant over the last six months thanks to participating in the city's Chinese Language Civic Leadership Academy.

She spoke on the campaign trail about the need to slow down the city's growth trajectory, and strongly opposed zoning that paves the way for shopping centers to redevelop into housing. Zhang's application argues that developers should provide their "fair share" in building out city infrastructure and complete neighborhoods, and underscored the importance of sustainability and climate resiliency goals.

Li Zhang in Palo Alto on Sept. 9, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Newcomers competing for the vacant council seat include Brandon Gessert, a practicing chiropractor at the Stanford Chiropractic Center. Gessert, 28, has been a lifelong Mountain View resident, and wrote that the city should strive to support its downtown and local businesses "as much as we can," and that the lack of affordable housing remains a top issue. He said the city has to strike a balance when it comes to residential growth, loosening zoning laws to get housing over the finish line without "overrunning" single-family neighborhoods.

Michael Ralston, a 21-year resident, is a retired firefighter who previously worked for the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. Now a co-founder and chief operating officer for the company Qwake Technologies, Ralston touts his credentials as a long-time community leader in the city, putting in volunteer hours with organizations like Project Sentinel and MV Reads. He made a pitch in his application for more "medium density" housing and zoning that promotes mixed-use development, but made clear that his vision for the city includes "significantly more housing" than it currently has. He also flagged xenophobia and racist behavior as serious social issues that should be addressed.

Applicant Anita Rosen describes her deep experience in the business world -- with decades working at high tech companies including IBM and AT&T -- as an asset for the council. Locally, she describes experience and familiarity with the council's actions, but has been more active in schools. She served on the board of the site council at Graham Middle School, attended school board meetings and served on the board of the Los Altos-Mountain View PTA council.

Rosen said she believes it's important to maintain the city's economic and cultural diversity, and that growth should be accompanied by parks, an expanded tree canopy and walkable, bikeable streets. She said her goal to ensure neighborhoods aren't "siloed" by new buildings and roads.

Also throwing his hat in the ring is Steve Goldstein, a 15-year resident who has worked in IT security. A frequent commenter at city meetings and online forums, Goldstein write in his application that he wants to accelerate pending development, expand rental assistance launched during the COVID-19 pandemic and reinstate an eviction moratorium. In short answers to application questions, Goldstein writes that the council has an obligation only to city residents and should ignore private interests.

The City Council is scheduled to convene on Tuesday, Jan. 24, to review its interview questions, and plans to conduct interviews with the applicants on Monday, Jan. 30, when the council could make a final decision. Swearing in the new council member is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 14.

The full list of applicants, along with copies of the applications, are available on the city website.

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Kevin Forestieri
Kevin Forestieri is an assistant editor with the Mountain View Voice and The Almanac. He joined the Voice in 2014 and has reported on schools, housing, crime and health. Read more >>

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In last-minute surge of applications, 10 people seek a spot on the Mountain View City Council

Applicants include four former mayors, a Rental Housing Committee member and a runner up in the last council election

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Jan 19, 2023, 1:49 pm

Following a surge in last-minute applications, a total of 10 residents are now vying for a spot on the Mountain View City Council as the city looks to appoint a replacement for Council member Sally Lieber later this month.

Lieber was elected to the state's Board of Equalization in November and had planned to continue serving on the Mountain View City Council at the same time. She later found that being on the state board constituted a conflict of interest, compelling her to resign her council seat with almost two years left in her term.

But as of Tuesday, Jan. 17, the city told the Voice that nobody had applied for Lieber's spot. And with the 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline fast approaching, only two had stepped forward. Mountain View did not release applications until after the deadline closed, despite the Voice's request that they be made public as they were submitted.

The now-crowded field has a mix of both familiar and new names in local politics, with four former council members seeking to finish out Lieber's term. Mike Kasperzak, who termed out in 2016 after serving on the council for a combined 16 years, was the first to apply. Mountain View's term limits prevent anyone from serving more than two consecutive terms on the City Council.

In his application, Kasperzak said housing and affordable housing are "extremely important" and remains the highest priority for the council, but that growth must be balanced.

"I believe Mountain View needs to continue its aggressive stance on increasing housing supply and to address the jobs-housing imbalance," he wrote. "As more jobs are created, more housing should be developed."

Ronit Bryant, who served on the council from 2006 to 2014, has also applied. In her application, she emphasized the importance of livability and quality of life, which she believes can be improved by the concept of a "15-minute city," in which you don't need a car to get to between housing, jobs and services. Livability also means access to parks and green spaces, and a tree canopy that shades the streets, she wrote.

After terming out in 2020, John McAlister and Chris Clark both filed applications to replace Lieber.

Consistent with his views while previously on the council, McAlister said Mountain View needs to find ways to create a more robust transit network and reduce traffic, and that the city should be buying residential properties as a means to increase affordable housing.

Clark, currently serving on the city's Environmental Planning Commission, focused his application on the need for "thoughtful planning" of affordable housing that gets buy-in from the community. He added that sustainability and climate resiliency are "top of mind," and that these goals should drive the city to create "safer, more comprehensive multimodal transportation infrastructure."

Among those who have not already sat on the council dais, Emily Ann Ramos has applied. Ramos has served on Mountain View's Rental Housing Committee since its inception following the passage of rent control, and has served as a housing advocate and volunteer in the world of tenant protections.

A familiar face in the audience at council meetings, Ramos emphasized the need to fight climate change through transportation demand management and a "biodiversity" strategy. She wrote in her application that the city needs a three-pronged approach to housing: production of new units, preservation of existing affordable homes and protections for those facing displacement.

After coming up short in the November City Council race last year, resident Li Zhang has applied. Zhang, a 20-year resident and Tesla employee, has said she was previously unfamiliar with how local government worked, and has been a passionate participant over the last six months thanks to participating in the city's Chinese Language Civic Leadership Academy.

She spoke on the campaign trail about the need to slow down the city's growth trajectory, and strongly opposed zoning that paves the way for shopping centers to redevelop into housing. Zhang's application argues that developers should provide their "fair share" in building out city infrastructure and complete neighborhoods, and underscored the importance of sustainability and climate resiliency goals.

Newcomers competing for the vacant council seat include Brandon Gessert, a practicing chiropractor at the Stanford Chiropractic Center. Gessert, 28, has been a lifelong Mountain View resident, and wrote that the city should strive to support its downtown and local businesses "as much as we can," and that the lack of affordable housing remains a top issue. He said the city has to strike a balance when it comes to residential growth, loosening zoning laws to get housing over the finish line without "overrunning" single-family neighborhoods.

Michael Ralston, a 21-year resident, is a retired firefighter who previously worked for the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. Now a co-founder and chief operating officer for the company Qwake Technologies, Ralston touts his credentials as a long-time community leader in the city, putting in volunteer hours with organizations like Project Sentinel and MV Reads. He made a pitch in his application for more "medium density" housing and zoning that promotes mixed-use development, but made clear that his vision for the city includes "significantly more housing" than it currently has. He also flagged xenophobia and racist behavior as serious social issues that should be addressed.

Applicant Anita Rosen describes her deep experience in the business world -- with decades working at high tech companies including IBM and AT&T -- as an asset for the council. Locally, she describes experience and familiarity with the council's actions, but has been more active in schools. She served on the board of the site council at Graham Middle School, attended school board meetings and served on the board of the Los Altos-Mountain View PTA council.

Rosen said she believes it's important to maintain the city's economic and cultural diversity, and that growth should be accompanied by parks, an expanded tree canopy and walkable, bikeable streets. She said her goal to ensure neighborhoods aren't "siloed" by new buildings and roads.

Also throwing his hat in the ring is Steve Goldstein, a 15-year resident who has worked in IT security. A frequent commenter at city meetings and online forums, Goldstein write in his application that he wants to accelerate pending development, expand rental assistance launched during the COVID-19 pandemic and reinstate an eviction moratorium. In short answers to application questions, Goldstein writes that the council has an obligation only to city residents and should ignore private interests.

The City Council is scheduled to convene on Tuesday, Jan. 24, to review its interview questions, and plans to conduct interviews with the applicants on Monday, Jan. 30, when the council could make a final decision. Swearing in the new council member is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 14.

The full list of applicants, along with copies of the applications, are available on the city website.

Comments

Concerned
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Jan 19, 2023 at 2:27 pm
Concerned, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2023 at 2:27 pm

I hope the council takes a balanced approach and excludes single issue candidates. Also candidates who can work within budget parameters with realistic expectations.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2023 at 3:22 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2023 at 3:22 pm

Just an Observation,

WHAT CONSTITUTES A BALANCED APPROACH?

Does that approach means that anyone's interests from outside the city is EQUAL to those inside the city?

That is not what the City Charter says, nor the oath of office of the City.

I hop no matter who is there, they work to uphold STRICTLY the letter of the laws that protect the residents of Mountain View.

But many applicants so far have bent over backwards for PRIVATE interests in the city.

Especially DELAYING the CSFRA RENT ROLLBACKS illegally. Eventually the City had to reverse that.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 19, 2023 at 4:13 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2023 at 4:13 pm

Decision to pursue “appointment” route instead of a special election was made 2 wks ago - Web Link

Much time devoted to concerns about a special election, less time to concerns about appointment process.

A KEY ISSUE RAISED: The appointment route will create an incumbent who will have a distinct and UNEARNED advantage in 2024. This is truly horrific, explicitly against the wishes of Lisa Matichak and now-Mayor Alison Hicks (at least at the time).

Matichak (~1.18.05) Web Link : “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.”

Immediately after both Matichak and Margaret Abe-Koga had expressed support for a special election, Hicks said (~1.25.40): “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.”

A review of the answers to the question, “Are you thinking of/planning to run for City Council in 2024?” shows that 8 applicants answered UNDECIDED. Michael Kasperzak answered NO (note that this is not even a promise not to run). Li Zhang left it blank, God bless her.

Low voter turnout election is not fair.

Handing distinct political advantages to someone hand-picked by existing incumbents IS fair.

Good to know.


MV neighbor
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2023 at 5:08 pm
MV neighbor, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2023 at 5:08 pm

No one is going to be happy with this appointment process, but I can see some value in picking one of the former council members if they pledge not to run in 2024. Of the four, two are sort of middle of road and might work with all factions. Two have fairly strong opinions and might not be the best choices for appointed positions (as opposed to running on their views and getting elected). I am not going to say which ones fall in those categories since it is all in the eye of the beholder, but people who have watched city council over the years will be able to guess!


MV Resident
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2023 at 5:57 pm
MV Resident, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2023 at 5:57 pm

Why not pick the candidate that most closely aligns to the platform that Sally Lieber campaigned on and won (and who can be trusted to maintain that alignment)? That would seem most representative of what voters wanted to see for four years in that specific council seat.


JustAWorkingStiff
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2023 at 7:22 pm
JustAWorkingStiff, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2023 at 7:22 pm

Good to see several middle of the road candidates. I hope they provide some balance.
There are a few who I think will do a good job.

Since some Activists chose to make negative comments about Kazperzak, I will add my negative views of the Activists which dominate City Council:
1. Acting against wishes of the majority of people in the City on the RV issue
57 % of the voters voted for the Oversize Vehicle Ordinance
Activists were against this.
2. Activists Tried to prevent a city wide vote
I thought their tone of voice directed against the city council was inappropriate and rude
and in fact bullying in their attempts to stop a city wide vote. Fortunately, the council
supported a city wide vote. This is reasonable given the level of disagreement between
different groups.
3. Disrespect and Disregard for the residents of impacted Neighborhoods
Some neighborhood were overrun by RVs. These residents were disregarded and disrespected
by the Activists who dominate our city council. These residents have a right to voice their
opinion but were ignored. Worst, for example, is when they complained about water being taken
from their spigots they were yelled at and disparaged.
4. False Compassion and sloppy governance
Unlimited RVs with no sewage, garbage, water, social services support? That is really bad.
A proposal/budget for say 2000 RV fully supported should have been proposed, with all details
fully disclosed, for a city wide vote. Instead, it was rammed down the throats of certain
neighborhoods in a sloppy, disorganized manner
5. Activists told the RV people not to answer questions from city employees.
Getting the data to diagnosing the problems the RV people need solved is is management 101.
Yet, the Activists got in the way


Another MV Resident
Registered user
Willowgate
on Jan 19, 2023 at 7:31 pm
Another MV Resident, Willowgate
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2023 at 7:31 pm

Those dang activists. But you’re definitely a neutral party who isn’t vigorously campaigning to get what you personally want done because that would be activism.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2023 at 9:27 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2023 at 9:27 pm

Just an Observation,

It is so easy to attack "ACTIVISTS" because they are actually TRYING to fix problems.

In the opposite side the VOCAL CRITICS of activists are CONSERVATIVES, which love to watch others suffering, do nothing about it except use it as an OPPROTUNITY to exploit them.

What I hate most is that problems are metastasizing like wildfire. High interest rates are crushing real estate. The unstable land in the city is being ignored because seismic retrofitting has not been enforced. The FAKE model of making only luxury housing depends on market recycling, which is not happening now. Especially the so called short term rentals and flipping businesses. AirBnB and Zues and WeWork are a failure.

The approach of stalling action to hope for a MIRACLE solution is NOT a way forward. I keep seeing the systems falling apart.


SWAN song
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Jan 20, 2023 at 8:03 am
SWAN song, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2023 at 8:03 am

Wow, this will be a touch choice for people. I like the idea of picking one of the former council members -- they've clearly been elected by the people, and I think MV's system is that if you've been a mayor, you've probably been the #1 vote getter. So that endorses the fact that "the people have chosen." But with 4 of them -- and everybody at least somewhat friends -- how do you choose? "MV resident" had a great comment above. Quoting:

Why not pick the candidate that most closely aligns to the platform that Sally Lieber campaigned on and won (and who can be trusted to maintain that alignment)? That would seem most representative of what voters wanted to see for four years in that specific council seat.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 20, 2023 at 2:28 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2023 at 2:28 pm

“No one is going to be happy with this appointment process”

Then WHY are we moving forward with a process that will hand distinct political advantages to someone hand-picked by the existing incumbents, the folks that saddled us with this monstrosity of a process in the first place?

When turnout in a special election is low, it is because of voter choice. Voters CHOOSE not to turn out, nobody PREVENTS them from voting. Unlike our fine City Council members, who are actively PREVENTING VOTERS FROM VOTING by going down the appointment route.

In this case, the CURE is worse than the DISEASE.

“if they pledge not to run in 2024”

On Jan 5, staff advised that such a pledge is not legally binding. And we recently learned that for items that are not required by law, staff says fuggedaboudit.

“It is so easy to attack "ACTIVISTS" because they are actually TRYING to fix problems.”

One person's FIX is another person's POISON. Defunding schools in a vain attempt to lower the cost of housing? No thank you. Making the lives of low-income people even more difficult by increasing the cost of car-ownership for them (by taking away parking where they live)? No thank you. Spreading false propaganda that building tons of market-rate housing is going to “lift all boats”? No thank you.

The elephant in the room is that there are now two different and competing constituencies in MV. Is the City Council supposed to do what is best for the community as a whole, or what is best for Google and Google workers?

Some of us believe that the Council is supposed to represent THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE. I have lost faith in a Council that is more eager to COMPLY with unjust State mandates than to fight for the people who actually live here.

The ONLY "fair" solution is to hold a special election. Would it be perfect? No. But it is the ONLY OPTION that actually respects the WILL OF THE PEOPLE to choose who to hand great power.


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2023 at 3:23 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2023 at 3:23 pm

Just an observation: a post that starts with a question in all caps is not an "observation."


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 20, 2023 at 3:29 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 20, 2023 at 3:29 pm

Just an Observation,

Amazing, it is POISON to fix a problem right? You assume that any fix will be POISONOUS.

If anything Leslie you an I AGREE that PARITY INCLUSIONARY MANDATES are NECCESSARY. That means only about 25% of the future projects can be MARKET RATE.

Time to fix this unsustainable theory that just BUILDING more units makes them affordable.

IT DOESN'T


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 21, 2023 at 4:23 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2023 at 4:23 pm

@Steven, let me put this another way. Every voter sees things from the own vantage point. Every one of us believes our views are the "right" ones, or else we would change them.

YIMBYs advocate for a number of actions that many (of them) believe will lower the cost of housing:
1) Reduce or eliminate certain developer fees
2) Reduce or eliminate parking spot requirements in new developments, especially low-income housing projects
3) Allow developers to build, baby, build, because "every unit helps!", even market-rate units

I don't assume that "any fix will be POISONOUS", shame on you for saying so. But I do believe that the three specific "fixes" above are in fact "poison":

* developer fees – are used to add capacity to schools and parks when the population grows. Cutting these fees is the same as DEFUNDING schools and parks. <-ILOVEKIDS

* parking spots – until we have better transportation alternatives, taking parking spots away just pits neighbor against neighbor. And forcing low-income households (some of whom earn their livings as gardners, or uber drivers) in particular to live without cars just adds to their already high list of burdens <- CRUEL

* “every unit helps” - we are not building enough AFFORDABLE housing, because for-profit developers don't PROFIT from it. The vast majority of units built (~90%) are NOT AFFORDABLE to over half the population. Building at this same rate will not help low-income people in any significant way. However, it will enable more highly-paid workers to live here, which is good for GOOGLE. <- GENTRIFICATION

All three alternatives will increase profits for developers. Is there a GUARANTEE that much or any cost savings will be passed on to renters/buyers? No, there is not. God bless America. Furthermore, even if savings were passed on, I have seen nothing to quantify "how much" the cost of rent would come down as a result. 1%? 2%? Even less?

I want fixes that are actually FIXES when it comes to affordable housing.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2023 at 12:01 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 22, 2023 at 12:01 pm

Just an Observation,

Well if you want affordable housing, INCLUSIONARY HOUSING REGULATIONS have proven to be the ONLY solution.

Tax credits don't work, subsidies don't work, and even direct payments made by taxpayers don't work.

Here is some evidence

Web Link

And in fact this report indicated that it worked but the PALMER case cut off the process resulting in even less affordable housing. The Palmer case though does not apply if the STATE laws decide to EXPAND inclusionary housing because the Palmer case was of a LOCAL INCLUSIONARY HOUSING law.

Iyt also stated:

"However, the evidence in this paper may cast doubt on the strength of that relationship. Indeed, if developers CONSISTENTLY AND AGGRESSIVELY INCREASED PRICES IN RESPONSE TO AN INCLUSIONARY POLICY, and the rental market is assumed to be competitive, THEN THEY WOULD ALMOST CERTAINLY LOWER THOSE PRICES IN RESPONSE TO A REDUCTION IN THESE REQUIREMENTS. Given that no effect of Palmer on upper quartile rents was found, it may cautiously be inferred that these results run counter to the claim that inclusionary policies lead to higher prices among market-rate units. BY CONTRAST, WITH LOWER QUARTILE RENTS, THE PALMER DECISION IS ASSOCIATED WITH AN INCREASE OF RENTS BY ABOUT 3 PERCENT. From these estimates, it may be the case that inclusionary housing policies do have the potential to keep housing more affordable."

It appears they ONLY tool that works for affordable housing is MANDATORY INCLUSION REQUIREMENTS, and thus the STATE must take over, and make it MANDATORY for ALL PROJECTS in CA


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2023 at 12:04 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2023 at 12:04 pm

1) We already have INCLUSIONARY HOUSING REGULATIONS in MV, we've had them for years. Web Link

2) "thus the STATE must take over"

??? MV is a progressive little community, we didn't need the state to force us to take an action that seemed to make sense. Younger people who are relatively new to the area might not be aware of this fact, and/or the history of MV?

3) In my research, it appears that MV's "requirement" that 15% - 20% of units in some new market-rate development be affordable is really more of a "guideline". The City Council approves MANY projects where less than 15% of the units are affordable. In fact, since I've been paying close attention (a year or two), I've NEVER seen a project approved where 15% of the units were affordable.

FYI, over the past 8-year RHNA cycle, data shows that only about 12% of housing units created were targeted for income categories OTHER than "highest wage earners". Web Link . 12% is obviously less than 15%. 88% of housing units (that is ~90%) were targeted at "highest wage earners").

What seems to be motivating for-profit developers to create affordable housing is the state "density bonus law" For example: Web Link

"The project will provide 11% of the project's base density for units affordable to very low-income households, making it eligible for a 35% density bonus and up to two concessions under the state density bonus law, plus development waivers."

We are simply not building very much AFFORDABLE housing in MV. Why? I think that is a matter worth pondering. IMHO, the biggest reason is we are primarily relying on for-profit developers to build affordable housing, and they aren't really interested in doing that because there is not enough profit in it for them. The only reason they build it is when financial incentives are provided, because otherwise they would take a loss. When people say "the funding is the problem", that's what they mean.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2023 at 12:40 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2023 at 12:40 pm

Just an Observation,

Again it seems the only path that actually works is STRICT INCLUSIONARY MANDATES.

In the end that is what I will require in order to approve any development.

Given that you criticize about the lack of affordability, you would think you might want someone like me there.

If developers complain, we can find others that can do better.

I remember the movie A Bugs Life where the scene was:

Hopper : You piece of dirt! No, I'm wrong. You're lower than dirt. You're an ANT! Let this be a lesson to all you ants! Ideas are very dangerous things! You are mindless, soil-shoving losers, put on this Earth to serve us!

Flik : You're wrong, Hopper. Ants are not meant to serve grasshoppers! I've seen these ants do great things, and year after year they somehow manage to pick food for themselves *and* you. So-so who is the weaker species? Ants don't serve grasshoppers! It's *you* who need *us*! We're a lot stronger than you say we are... And you know it, don't you?"

The Developers and Landlords are Grasshoppers, and the City are the Ants. Time for the City to stop being manipulated by the grasshoppers.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2023 at 3:04 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2023 at 3:04 pm

It is 'an interesting' view / (I'm thinking, I'm thinking)/ that this appointment should go to a person used to working in MV City Council. I've actively worked to help elect Mike and John in the past. Maybe neither my 'favorite' now - but both easily acceptable.
= complain; complain about appointed now, shoo-in later: I do not get the logic (although 'a good argument' is made :). Same for 'take an oath on my first and last born' about not running'! seems 'not logical' if it's 'not legal'.

Former Mayors of MV / ah / if their informal system of rotation is working, and it usually DOES / everyone on council that has shown themselves 'reasonable' makes it (eventually). EVEN libertarians like John Inks! There was (expected) backroom bargaining (I think) to prevent him from being picked 'in rotation' but he did just fine (IMO) as a neutral chair when it eventually became 'his (traditional) turn'. If Vote # or percents matter in this / surely an 'appointee to the seat' has no real 'vote #s for election' and could be majority-vote excluded from a quick Mayor "rotation". NO PROBLEM!

The single issue (seems to me) residentialist should not be selected. Even though "I Like Emily on the List" maybe she is more one-issued also.

The Council will decide / they are our "representative" body. It will be interesting how the cycles of selection go, and how Mayor Hicks masters the 'chairing challenges' of any process like this.

/ been there /done that/MVWSD appointment of Hon. J. Gutierrez


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2023 at 9:22 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2023 at 9:22 pm

[Post removed due to being off-topic]


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 24, 2023 at 11:22 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 24, 2023 at 11:22 am

@Steven Nelson – at least two sitting Council Members (who I quoted) understand that incumbents have distinct advantages. I believe Margaret Abe-Koa stands with them, but she did not make an explicit comment about it at the Jan 5 meeting, so the number I used was TWO. A YIMBY mocking these advantages? Not surprising, really.

“The single issue (seems to me) residentialist should not be selected”.

I presume you mean Li Zhang? When did running a campaign to fight for “quality of life issues” for residents (such as schools, parks, traffic, parking, etc.) become a bad thing? Rhetorical question, I think it must have happened when Google and it's workers decided that THEIR NEEDS were vastly more important than the quality of life for an ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

And using the word “residentialist” as if it were an insult (it implies fighting for residents is bad), that's a neat trick. Can you tell me which of the applicants will publicly state that Google's needs (and the needs of Google's workers) are more important than the quality of life for everyone else who lives here?

I think you've got it backwards. The single issue candidates are the ones fighting for YIMBYs, constituents who truly only care about the cost of housing, period. As long as there is a GLIMMER OF POSSIBILITY that rents will drop, they don't really care about the PAIN inflicted on the rest of community.

“The Council will decide / they are our "representative" body.”

Such “logic” is awfully convenient when it means the growing momentum of “the residentialist” was snuffed out because of it. Did you know MV YIMBY endorsed Former Mayor Lucas Ramirez over all others in Nov 2022? Web Link Ramirez pulled a rabbit out of a hat when he managed to kill the special election option (in the spirit of compromise, lol). He truly came through for the YIMBYs.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2023 at 5:52 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 24, 2023 at 5:52 pm

[Post removed due to being off-topic]


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 25, 2023 at 10:02 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2023 at 10:02 am

@Leslie et. al. Using nomenclature is generally not considered a "trick" when discussion is about political trends/allies and their forever changing alliances. In Palo Alto the nomenclature I used is very well understood - and is in quite common use (Yes?). I believe you or I could search and find several Embarcadero Publishing articles where that term is used.

- Just as at the turn on the 21st century, the term "neo-con" was apt for the particular blend of conservative Republican, that had started to advocate for forein interventions to "nation build" / and other stuff.

I don't know how an independent commentator would classify Emily (did U get the Emily's List joke?)

Leslie / I would and do appreciate you as classifying me as "YIMBY" although I do not claim membership in such affiliated formal organizations. I do not think you are doing this as "a trick". :)

Peace and Love


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 25, 2023 at 12:02 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2023 at 12:02 pm

Just an Observation,

Given that the City of Mountain View is about to lose its only major asset, GOOGLE, due to the fact that 35% of the office in Mountain View just got told they are being laid off.

The City for more than 10 years was relying on Google to keep it from having to correct values regarding commercial and residential properties. They kept dangling the new campus that was going to be built with 5,000 plus residential units.

But I think that Google is on the way to closing its operations in Mountain View. It cannot make the cost/benefits balance out where you have more than a third of the workers removed. 35 out of 100 offices are going to be empty.

And there is NO NEED to operate in Mountain View until the properties correct.

The City Council has to start operating as if Google is gone, and NEVER coming back. As a PROFESSIONAL RISK MANAGER by profession, this is the only course of action that the City can take in order to prepare for the new reality.

I can imagine also a lot of new construction is going to either be completed but vacant, or the building will be stopped in mid production. Again the City Council has to make plans for this too. 68% of builder contracts are getting cancelled in a lot of reports from home buyers to home builders.

When will this city start adjusting, and reforming itself so that when the dust settles, the city will be more prepared to deal with the future? So far it is HOPING on things that simply do not exist YET.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 25, 2023 at 12:30 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2023 at 12:30 pm

"Leslie / I would and do appreciate you as classifying me as "YIMBY" although I do not claim membership in such affiliated formal organizations."

It is one thing to use a term by which someone self-identifies, or a known political organization. It is quite another to use a term as a form of political insult.

I am aware that you self-identify as a YIMBY, which is why I used the term. The YIMBY movement has turned the practice of name-calling and hate-mongering against those who disagree with them into a fine art, and DESERVES to be called out for it. Used to be that those who disagreed were openly called NIMBYs. Now we are called "residents"??? I understand the shame associated with the concept of NIMBY, now that shame is extended to RESIDENTS? Seriously? But it kind of proves my point, that there are two factions in MV: 1) The RESIDENTS, and 2) this other group of people that despise residents so much that they think it appropriate to use the word "resident" as an insulting POLITICAL LABEL. And their goal is to BE RESIDENTS! We are truly living in crazy land.

"In Palo Alto the nomenclature I used is very well understood."

You and I both live in MV, do we not? I have not seen this term before, ever. And a claim of "everyone else is doing it" never makes something right. Demonizing the other, in order to silence their voices ("don't listen to a word they say, they care about RESIDENTS!"), is a DESPICABLE practice. Good and virtuous people should know that in the year 2023. Why can't we keep discussion to the issues, period?

Did you see the news that Google is being sued by the DOJ?

"It alleges Google has "corrupted legitimate competition in the ad tech industry" by seizing control of online advertising systems and inserting "itself into all aspects of the digital advertising marketplace."" - Web Link

Who should the Council serve? The RESIDENTS, or Google?


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 25, 2023 at 2:32 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2023 at 2:32 pm

"Of the four, two are sort of middle of road and might work with all factions. Two have fairly strong opinions and might not be the best choices for appointed positions (as opposed to running on their views and getting elected). I am not going to say which ones ..." (MV neighbor)

It is my choice, as a politico commentator, to use what I consider reasonable terms for Not Middle of The Road. Don't worry Leslie ... and do not shed any tears for me.

I hope "middle of the road" does not mean -Run Over-. I hope, like the poster @MV neighbour, that someone that can bridge almost Any Divide gets appointed. Ronit Bryant is also such a person IMO.

Have you noticed - So Many White People???? (Woke or not)


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 26, 2023 at 9:54 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 26, 2023 at 9:54 am

"It is my choice, as a politico commentator, to use what I consider reasonable terms for Not Middle of The Road. Don't worry Leslie ... and do not shed any tears for me. "

True! It is each and every person's choice about whether or not to use offensive, dog-whistle terms to rally others on their team, or to try to make a legitimate attempt to reach common ground.

I notice you like to leave 'Peace and Love' at the end of some of your posts. When I see those words, I think of some of my heroes: Jesus, Gandhi, Dr. King. I believe hate begets hate, and love begets love. Jesus taught "turn the other cheek", which inspired both Gandhi and King to use peaceful, non-violent methods when fighting injustice. What they achieved was AMAZING. The approach is so non-intuitive, though. Returning love when one receives hate? It's very hard. I try to have empathy for the pain of those trapped by high rents, even as some of them cruelly make scapegoats out of the innocent in their quest for relief.

Blaming existing residents for the high cost of housing is a vile, but useful political tactic to increase profits for developers and Google. We are not to blame. Read this by chance today:

"Thirty-two percent of Silicon Valley households earn $200,000 or more annually.11 This is a larger
share of high-income households than the City and County of San Francisco (31%), California
(14%), or the United States (9%).12 Income inequality in Silicon Valley is more than double that
of the U.S. overall and has increased by 81% since 1990.13 The extreme income disparity between
the highest- and lowest-wage earners drives up housing costs because increased demand by high-
income households creates competition which drives home prices higher.14" - Web Link

The irony is that Google and it's workers have more to do with the high cost of housing in MV today than the existing residents do.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 26, 2023 at 9:05 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 26, 2023 at 9:05 pm

Just an Observation,

The City Council is going to have to address the fact they have allowed illegal apartments for rent in the city.

David Avny when he bought 184 Centre Street KNEW in 2015 that the apartment was in non conformance of the zone it resides. Here is the documents (Web Link

The City website declares the zone an R3.1 which requires 21,000 sq ft for 11 units, there is only 8,000 sqft in this lot (Web Link

The buyer clearly should have seen it.

This record was found from the cases 16CV291570 and 2015-1-CV-288597 I Ohana vs E. Kalvig

"10. One of the material facts about the Property that should have been disclosed to plaintiffs, but which was not disclosed to plaintiffs (either by the sellers or by Alain Pinel), is that the 11 unit apartment building is a nonconforming use under the zoning laws of the City of Mountain View. Under that zoning law, if fifty percent (50%) or more of the apartment building is substantially destroyed or removed, then the owner of the Property will not be able to reconstruct an 11 unit apartment building. Instead, the owner would be allowed to build only two residences on the Property, having a commercial value substantially less than an 11 unit apartment building."

"On October 29, 2015 Plaintiffs learned that the 11 unit apartment building on the Real Property is a non-conforming use under the City of Mountain View zoning laws, with the result that if fifty percent or more of the apartment building is destroyed, the apartment building cannot be rebuilt; instead, only two residential units would be allowed to be built, which would be a significant decrease in the value of the Real Property."

This was prepared by David Avny’s attorney
SHEA & MCINTYRE, A P.C.
2166 The Alameda
San Jose, CA 95126


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