Ramirez ran in 2016 amid a crowded field of candidates, and he came up just short of winning one of the four open seats.
Ramirez said he wasn't planning on running again, since it appeared any newcomer would be at a considerable disadvantage. The three City Council seats open for this year's election are all held by incumbents in their first term: Mayor Lenny Siegel, Pat Showalter and Rosenberg.
But then Rosenberg declared he wouldn't run for re-election, and he encouraged Ramirez to go for it.
"Even through I wasn't planning at all to run this year, I feel strongly enough about several of the key issues that will likely dominate this campaign," Ramirez said in an interview with the Voice. "I've been to every City Council meeting since 2012, and I've absorbed a lot through osmosis, so I'll be able to hit the ground running."
Much like his last run for office, Ramirez expects the big issues in this election to be housing and transportation. He supports "aggressive" housing growth centered in certain neighborhoods, including North Bayshore, East Whisman and possibly the Terra Bella area. But he is more cautious about similar housing growth in other areas of town, such as south of El Camino Real or the downtown.
He remains supportive of Mountain View's rent control program, but he emphasizes that it should be considered a short-term measure to prevent displacement. A true remedy for the long-term has to be housing growth, he said.
"Fundamentally, I don't believe (rent control) is going to address the root cause of the housing crisis," he said.
Rent control is already shaping up to be a dominant issue in this year's election. In recent weeks, an opposition media campaign was launched by a group that appears to be laying the groundwork for a November ballot measure to repeal rent control.
Ramirez, 29, has worn a lot of hats in local civics around Silicon Valley. He also regularly volunteers with the local chapter of the League of Women Voters and he served on Mountain View's Human Relations Committee and the Valley Transportation Authority's Citizens Advisory Committee.
Last year, he was appointed to Mountain View's Environmental Planning Commission and began working as a legislative analyst in the office of San Jose Councilman Sergio Jimenez. He has previously worked as a campaign volunteer for state Sen. Jerry Hill and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, both of whom are endorsing him.
Rosenberg told the Voice that Ramirez would be an excellent candidate to fill his seat.
"I would only want to vacate my position if there was someone I trust who would replace me," Rosenberg said. "I know Lucas well and I trust him ... and we share a lot of the same values."
Rosenberg said his decision to leave his seat at the end of his term was based primarily on the huge time demands of local public office. He wanted to devote more time to his family and his job, as well as work on a project to create an international institute for human rights. As mayor last year, Rosenberg championed that project and pushed the city to support it.
As for the other council members up for re-election, Mayor Siegel and Councilwoman Showalter both told the Voice they intend to run again.
It remains to be seen whether other challengers will run in the 2018 City Council race. Former candidates Thida Cornes and Ellen Kamei both have updated campaign committees on file with the city, although they have not formally declared candidacy. Kamei said she is still exploring her options. Cornes did not respond to requests for comment by the Voice's press deadline.
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