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Bias in the Voice

Original post made by Old Mountain View Resident, Old Mountain View, on Sep 11, 2014

Amazing bias, On page one of Town Square all the stories are 2014 except for the one about Lenny Siegel which goes back to 2011.
Please try to be less obvious in your support.

I think someone needs to look into his organization. He is the president of the board and also the executive director. He is taking taxpayer money and needs to be open about this.

Comments (19)

Posted by Get_A_Clue
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 11, 2014 at 9:13 am

Not clear what this poster's problem is (or who's the intended "you" of "your support") -- only that the post above is seriously confused.

1. Anyone can post comments to Town Sq. at any time to any past story. That moves it up to the top of the Town Sq. page display. This happens constantly, as all regular readers know.

2. TWO (not one) T S stories from past years appear on the first page at this moment, the second is titled "What was Mountain View like in the '70s." Shall we expect dark suggestions about the motives there too??

3. Since anyone can post a comment to any past story, it's unclear what "Old Mountain View Resident's" point is in posting here; however the lack of clarity, and vague accusatory tone, do say something about the poster.

(You're welcome.)


Posted by A Lenny Supporter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 11, 2014 at 9:03 pm

To Get_A_Clue,
You are so correct. There are so many whispers and rumors around town about Lenny, The Voice, CPEO and Pacific Studies Center and Prometheus.

I do not want to believe any of it. So I hope Lenny will answer any and all questions like he did about Prometheus in the Voice article:

When it comes to raising money for his campaign, Siegel says he isn't totally opposed to taking money from real estate interests. He mentioned that Prometheus Real Estate Group, the large Mountain View landlord and apartment developer, recently attended a Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View meeting.


Posted by Beth
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2014 at 8:13 am

To Lenny Supporter.

Guess Lenny isn't interested in answering any questions right now, at least publicly for now.






Posted by Danny Boy
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Bias? Hmm, I don't think the Voice is biased in covering the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View. This is a real concern that has been a long time brewing. And, how do you explain KTVU and KNTV? They covered it big time. Do you chalk that up to bias?

I've seen some people who decry the idea of adding housing to the North Bayshore area think this was a recent folly. Recently the issue was revisited, yes. But the Mountain View city council made this unwise decision back in the early 1990's. There had been housing up there since forever. They wanted more sales tax revenue back when manufacturing companies were up there, when SGI produced most of its hardware products up there, when 3com had nationwide sales up there, when Sun Microsystems was paying loads of sales tax from offices in that area. They wanted more sales tax. But sales tax situations have changed. None of these companies is generating sales tax for the city any more; none to speak of comes from there any longer.

It comes up over and over because the decision makes no sense....


Posted by Not a Lenny supporter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2014 at 12:52 am

@Danny Boy - The poster of this article was unfortunately off-target in citing the ranking of the forum subjects as some sort of evidence. But the charge of bias in coverage is not at all misplaced. The Voice's promotion of Siegel's cause and candidacy has been as plain as day.

You do have some good points about sales tax and city revenue, but IMO the arguments against additional housing in North Bayshore are persuasive.

The most powerful argument is that any sort of community that could be established there would be separated physically and psychologically from the rest of Mountain View. It would be a company town: Googleville. There are better places for new housing in MV.




Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:04 am

Sparty is a registered user.

Even on Lenny's own street he only has 2 yards with his campaign sign up. He doesn't even have one in his own yard.


Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:04 am

Sparty is a registered user.

Even on Lenny's own street he only has 2 yards with his campaign sign up. He doesn't even have one in his own yard.


Posted by Not a Lenny Supporter Either
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:56 am

Did anyone notice Ken Rosenberg had his lawn signs out first.

Lenny's looks almost the same. Couldn't he come up with his own design?


Posted by resident
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

@Not a Lenny supporter,

"The most powerful argument is that any sort of community that could be established there would be separated physically and psychologically from the rest of Mountain View. It would be a company town: Googleville. There are better places for new housing in MV."

I don't understand why "separated physically and psychologically" would be a problem. The Sylvan park, Americana, and (to a lesser degree) Slater neighborhoods are physically separated from most of MV. The Varsity Park and other MV neighborhoods are part of the Los Altos elementary school district. What's the problem with having housing on the other side of 101? Would it really be *only* Google employees living there, and even if that were the case, what's the problem with that?

I'm trying to understand the arguments for and against North Bayshore housing so appreciate your elaborating on this.


Posted by Get_A_Clue
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2014 at 10:04 am

Sparty is (as usual) careless with facts. I just passed by and counted at least six Lenny Siegel signs on lawns of nearby homes on his own street. Including his own lawn, where a sign has been since the Siegel campaign officially started in August.


Posted by Beth
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm

To Resident:
I thought it would be called Google View!

Just some questions:

Does anyone know about rules of non-profits? Are they required to have public records?

Can the Executive Director also be the president of the board?


Posted by Not a Lenny supporter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

@resident -

None of the neighborhoods you mention - Sylvan, Americana, Slater (Whisman) - are physically separated from the rest of MV to the degree that North Bayshore would be. All are closer to the existing housing and commercial areas of the city. None is dominated by a single company that provides meals, laundry services, and recreation on-site for its employees.

If 1000-5000 units of housing were built in North Bayshore, it would of course not be possible to limit residents to employees of Google and adjacent corporations. But yet, that’s the basic idea, isn’t it - to provide housing for employees near their jobs, thus discouraging car use?

Here’s how I would expect development to be handled:

Housing would be mainly high-priced 1-BR and 2-BR rentals, along the lines of Madera or 801 El Camino. Why? Because that is where the maximum profits lie for developers. This is what they want to build. A few “below market rate” units would be part of the deals, at the rate of 3 or 4 BMR units per 100 full priced units, provided by developers in exchange for a density bonus.

Parking would be meager, probably along the lines of the city’s current policy of one space or less per bedroom. Why? Because this is current policy, and because this policy benefits developers. This policy would also function to filter out commuters from North Bayshore housing.

There is a faction that believes that if we make auto ownership difficult or unpleasant enough, people will be persuaded to go carless. An often-cited rationalization is that “millennials” are a sort of new breed of people, who generally prefer to ride bikes anyway. I’ve heard this line from Chris Clark, Ken Rosenberg, and Rachel Grossman (former EPC member, now working for Google). Developers love this argument, since it means they don’t have to devote as much development space to parking. I don’t buy it. People grow up, raise families, get cars.

So, I expect that new housing in North Bayshore would be built with intentionally meager parking. It would be aimed specifically at young, single Google employees. They would have little reason to participate in the larger community. This proposed neighborhood would be insular, psychologically separated from the rest of MV. That’s not a healthy way to build a city.

There are some important environmental reasons to limit development in North Bayshore too, but I’ll leave that for others to discuss.


Posted by Lilly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Speaking of not having his own design and ideas, I read this article (Web Link where Neal talks about a "Smart and Balanced approach to growth" and it sounds like Siegel copied that as well!


Posted by resident
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

@Not a Lenny supporter,

I'm still not understanding what is problematic about what you are describing.

Don't you think there are lots of people who would love to walk or ride to work if they could? Residents (including families with children) in downtown MV love being able to walk to Castro Street, Eagle Park, the library, Farmers' Market, etc and are happy that they sometimes don't need to use their cars on weekends.

About little reason to participate, insular, don't we already have a lot of that in our society? The renters who live in my single-family home neighborhood tend to not come to block parties, but it's not a problem. Seniors hang out with each other at the senior center, young moms gather at park playgrounds, etc. Lots of people who pack Castro Street every night certainly must live in apartments, and likely come from all around the area.

I think that Sylvan and Americana are definitely cut off from the rest of MV, on the other side of 85, it's practically considered Sunnyvale.

Would apartment or condo housing in North Bayshore in some ways be similar to college dorms? Lots of dorm residents don't have cars and get around town via bike or bus. They patronize local restaurants, stores and services. They spend a lot of time at school but they certainly participate in the larger community and contribute to the local economy. Ditto with retirement communities and gated neighborhoods and the isolated neighborhoods far up in the hills such as Los Altos Hills and Portola Valley. Single-family home neighborhoods can feel pretty isolated, with residents coming and going through garages attached to the front of their house. Centrally-located neighborhoods in which both parents work all day can feel like ghost towns. There are houses on my street where we have no idea who lives there because we've never seen them.

Agree, environmental considerations and traffic are different topics, but I"m still not seeing how a new neighborhood on the other side of 101 would be "psychologically isolated" and how people who keep to themselves is even a problem.


Posted by Not a Lenny supporter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:32 pm

@resident - Apparently we just plain disagree on the question of whether a mini company town in North Bayshore would be a good idea or not.

One last comment, though, in answer to your question, "Would apartment or condo housing in North Bayshore in some ways be similar to college dorms?"

The answer to that is: Yes. That is my point.

In my first year as an undergraduate, I lived in a dorm, on-campus. The college was in a new city for me. I ate in the cafeteria, did my laundry in the dorm, and socialized on campus. Studying kept me busy. It was a very insular life, as it was for the other dorm residents. I did not get off-campus much, and certainly had no depth of knowledge about community issues in the surrounding city.

The following year, I moved to off-campus housing. My horizons broadened considerably.

North Bayshore will certainly be developed in some way. In a perfect world, we'd get a freeze on new office space, and some more dedicated park land. I don't like the idea of 3.4 million square feet of new office space, as proposed for the NB precise plan. That figure was not arrived at in a rational way, and needs to be reduced drastically. But a company town in NB is an even worse idea.


Posted by Obrserver
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:32 am

Lenny would make a great politician. He's been living off tax-payer money for years as a community activist.


Posted by Beth
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:34 am

To Observer.
I'm still trying to figure out Lenny's non-profit.

Is it legal for an executive director to also be the president of the board?

Isn't this a conflict of interest?


Posted by Beth
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 17, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Thank you Ken for supporting the Democratic process.

If you change your stance on more housing in NB, I will definitely vote for you.

To Probably A: Can't you wait to get full information before passing judgement. That's not the democratic process.

To the Voice: I think Probably A's comment is objectionable.


Posted by Old Mountain View Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:54 am

@Get_A_Clue

I guess old stories can be manipulated to stay current?

Anyone who looks at the pictures of some other council candidates the voice has chosen to publish, can clearly see a bias.

Here is my question: is it legal for one person to be both executive director and president of the board of a non-profit. Is there a conflict of interest?

Some long time residents remember the Vietnam era, and will never forget the SDS tactics. Veterans will not forget.

To the Voice: I hope you will look into this.


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