I Bike, I Vote. My Beliefs, My 2014 Election Choices

24 Oct

The signs are all over town: it’s election time. In two weeks, three new city council members will be voted into office in Mountain View. Knowing that I’m a regular at city hall, friends have been asking me for my opinion on the candidates. It’s not easy to answer. I’m looking for bold leaders who will make our city more comfortable and convenient for people to walk, bike and take transit so that residents and businesses can thrive.

The problem is there’s a certain “Mom & apple pie” aspect to improving biking and walking. All the candidates say they’re for it, but the truth will come out when projects are proposed that require cars to give up street space or require drivers to slow down. Then there’s sticker shock. Some will balk at $10 million for a bike and walking bridge over a freeway, even if three miles of carpool lanes on the freeway below costs $72 million.

Election Signs

When I first started bicycling to work every day four years ago, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life, and how I saw my city. Over time, my bike became my primary transportation for everything, with Caltrain doing the heavy lifting for longer trips. When you reduce your driving mileage to less than 1,500 miles a year and choose bike routes based on destinations instead of recreation, your point of view changes.

You see that it’s possible to live well with minimal driving, and you see how limited vision and status quo decisions keep people in cars, complaining bitterly about the increased traffic from a booming economy. You see how expensive road “improvements” put people’s lives at risk because they prioritize moving more vehicles at higher speeds, instead of prioritizing moving people. You see how the “build a lane, fill a lane” lessons of induced demand still haven’t been learned 45 years after they were first detailed when I was a little girl.

Hwy 101 from Palo Alto footbridge

Unlike many homeowners, I’m not anti-growth. I believe it’s better to build more new housing within our existing cities than build in distant farmland or hills where people will drive long distance to work. I realize that some people will still choose a bigger home with longer commute, but there are far fewer homes available in closer, more walkable neighborhoods than the number of people interested in buying them.

That’s actually the tradeoff we chose 20 years ago when we bought our townhouse. We could have bought a single family home further away but didn’t. We wanted to be able to walk to downtown Mountain View.

Castro Street

My views stand in sharp contrast to many of the more vocal established residents of Mountain View. If you’re among the 40% of residents who owns a home, there’s no fear of being priced out of the rental market and you have little to gain if new housing is built near your home. Growth means your sleepy suburban city starts to look more like an actual city. You might not be able to hop in your car at any time of day, any day of the week, and drive across town on traffic-free streets and park directly in front of the grocery or drug store anymore.

As in most cities, retirement-age residents have the loudest political voice in Mountain View and they’re the most resistant to changes in housing and transportation. Most own their homes, which insulates them from skyrocketing prices in the housing market. In fact, selling their homes at huge profits could be part of their retirement strategies. And unlike their children or grandchildren, few can imagine raising a family in a townhouse and riding a bike or bus to work or to shop. That’s not the American Dream they grew up with.

Family Biking

Given this presumed profile of the voting majority, it’s no surprise that none of the city council candidates publicly espouses all my beliefs. So I’m looking for candidates who are willing to question the status quo and look for productive solutions to the inevitable growth that will preserve our community’s unique value. By that I don’t mean preserving the city’s current look and feel, but rather preserving it as a community of people of all ages, backgrounds and income levels that’s at the center of Silicon Valley. A city that draws new people to the area with its culture of technology and innovation, and generates economic opportunity for all.

I’m looking for candidates who will to listen to a well-reasoned argument and make the right decision, not the popular one. Like Steve Jobs, I believe that people don’t always know what they’ll like until they experience it. Case in point: when the city gave Castro Street a “road diet” 25 years ago, changing it from four lanes to three, there were cries of protest about traffic. What would they say now that Castro Street is a thriving, lovely place to dine and shop? Yes, there is traffic congestion, but there’s also a healthy stream of new revenue for the city.

Steve Jobs Memorial

So with that long preamble, here’s how I see the city council candidates, starting with ones I endorse:

Pat Showalter: I met Showalter 20 years ago when we were both Girl Scout leaders, but I didn’t know her well until we started rubbing elbows at city planning meetings. She impressed me by asking insightful questions and soliciting my opinion. She listens. Most of her biking experience has been on off-street trails, but she went out of her comfort zone to come on neighborhood tour focused on potential bike and walking improvements.

Lenny Siegel: As the founder of Campaign for Balanced Mountain View, Siegel sees lack of housing available to meet jobs growth as a critical issue. Once a strong supporter of rent control, he is now more focused on building housing and moderating office development. Like Showalter, he attended the neighborhood tour (that’s him on the bike behind Pat) and I’ve seen him riding his bike around town, so he sees the issues first hand.

Pat & Lenny on Bikes

Ken Rosenberg: Rosenberg is a member of the city’s Human Relations Commission who launched the Civility Roundtable series that brings people together to understand and discuss key issues our city faces. He supports a much-needed road diet for California Street to make walking and biking safer in the city’s most dense residential neighborhood. And a friend I trust who has worked with him says he’s a mensch.

Greg Unangst: Unangst is the chair of the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, so it’s no surprise that many of his concerns and goals align with mine. Unangst also shares my view that we need to create walk- and bike-friendly “urban villages” beyond downtown, in places like North Bayshore. He is the only candidate who shares my support of bus lanes on El Camino so that rapid transit buses can truly be rapid.

No Bus Lane

I cannot endorse four candidates. In general, my concern is their limited support for biking, walking and transit and in some cases, anti-growth NIMBY sentiments.

Lisa Matichak: Matichak became involved in city politics after successfully blocking a housing development in 2008 which would have built townhouses on property behind her single family home. That’s textbook NIMBY. Her voting record as a commissioner on the Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) shows her preference for low density development, which she justifies by concerns for increased traffic. She does not share my vision.

Margaret Capriles: Like Matichak, Capriles has cited concerns over increased traffic in voting down higher density in housing and office projects as a commissioner on the EPC. At one meeting, she relayed concerns that some residents of The Crossings, a transit-oriented development, had about Caltrain potentially increasing service to the nearby station. Although the station does not offer car parking, residents were concerned about an increase in bike traffic. My jaw dropped when Capriles expressed she thought it was a legitimate concern.

Boarding Caltrain

Jim Neal: I tip my hat to Neal for his perfect attendance at city council and EPC meetings. Often he would speak up for things like building Vegas-style elevated walkways across El Camino, or preserving underutilized street parking, or for not restricting drive-thrus. Then I would speak up for the exact opposite. You’d think I’d have more in common with someone who rides transit instead of driving, but he consistently shows cars-first thinking. Then there was the time he called bikes and trains “19th century transportation solutions.”

Mercedes Salem. Salem is the only candidate I’ve never seen at any city council, EPC, BPAC or other planning meeting. Given I average three such meetings a month, I’m not impressed by her lack of participation. It didn’t help that when she showed up late for a candidate’s forum she blamed driving in rush hour traffic and pledged to fix it. I suspect we have very different ideas on how to improve mobility.

Cars on Central Expwy

The final candidate, Ellen Kamei, was tough to pin down. While I’ve attended several Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) meetings where she serves as a commissioner, I have not gotten a clear understanding of her perspective. When I received a fear-mongering flyer with headline “San Francisco traffic is coming to Mountain View” and her name and photo, I was disturbed by the focus on cars with no mention of walking, biking or transit. The traffic solution cited was “new technology” and the driverless car.

It turns out the flyer was paid for by the Neighborhood Empowerment Coalition (NEC) of Long Beach, not the Kamei campaign. Ellen is quoted in the Mountain View Voice saying she received the mail from NEC at the same time as Mountain View residents and is not familiar with NEC at all. Putting that aside, I can’t endorse her at this time because I don’t have a clear picture of where she stands and why.

I Walk. I Bike. I Vote has compiled candidate’s responses to a short survey. Seven of the nine All nine candidates have responded, which tells me Mountain View is taking a hard look at these issues. That’s a great sign. [updated 10/26] 

Finally, I’ve never made public endorsements for political candidates before. Like discussions on religion, it’s something that I’m careful about in social settings. But these issues matter. I’m sure I’ll have readers who question my beliefs and my choices. As always, I will accept your comments. Please keep them civil.

Have you decided how you will cast your votes this election season? What do you look for in a candidate? Which issues matter most to you this year?

Ballot at Polling Station


Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Issues & Infrastructure


33 responses to “I Bike, I Vote. My Beliefs, My 2014 Election Choices

  1. Tian

    October 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I see a lot of Jim Neil signs walking around downtown. Some are clearly okay, but some are places no candidate has any business putting a sign. I’d say he has a bit less respect for the commons than I’d like.

    • ladyfleur

      October 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      You mean like the banner on the construction fence at Central & Moffett?

    • Jim Neal

      October 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      If you mean Jim Neal signs, perhaps you can let e know where they are? All of my signs were placed with explicit permission from the store owners. I also have my signs on posts where free speech (including political speech) is permitted. Maybe the fact that some people don’t like it is why over half my signs have been stolen?

  2. Russ

    October 24, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Janet. Thanks for the well-reasoned endorsements. It’s always good to know where a fellow long time MV resident and bike commuter stands. More room for cars is not the answer.

    • ladyfleur

      October 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks. I’ve read that politicians assume voters are more conservative than they actually are. Let’s hope enough people who think like we do get out and vote.

  3. humofthecity

    October 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    This is a great post! I kind of wish we were voting in the same local elections now, but at least I have the SFBC endorsements.

    • ladyfleur

      October 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks. It wasn’t an easy post to write but given that at least five people asked me what I thought, I felt it was the right thing to do. I think the so many of us are experiencing the same issues in different cities. We’re at a cultural shift and it’s painful.

  4. annoyedcyclist

    October 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Well reasoned Janet. Thanks for the effort you put into this.

  5. Christine Holmes

    October 24, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    All I can say is Amen, Sister.

  6. Madame Walkowiak

    October 24, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Janet, thanks for posting this!! It’s nice to know how others with similar concerns view the candidates. You’ve confirmed my feelings on many them.

  7. Bex

    October 25, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Thanks so much for this. I’m glad you posted the reasons for NOT supporting candidates too. Having grown up in Portland, I know the “build it and they will come” philosophy works. It can work here too. We need better biking and walking infrastructure and people will use them.

  8. Pat Moore

    October 25, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Thanks for this clear statement. For me, I was interested in Ken and Pat until it became clear that they were the corporate favorites. What I find particularly disturbing about Ken was that he actually solicited money from PG&E – he seems sort of proud that PG&E turned him down for direct corporate backing because he is “in favor of CCA”. Yet PG&E is sponsoring Ken indirectly, so Ken invited corporate influence into the Mountain View elections – and then blames the Supreme Court.

    Any decision he would make, I now just don’t think I will know the true complete reason. The amount of money flooding in with the mailers for Ken, Pat and Ellen must be stopped. The only way I know to stop this is to make the corporate money a kiss of death.

    Personally, I like Lenny, Greg, Mercedes. I wish I could have supported Pat and Ken – but now it is clear that they have corporate masters; I can’t do so.

    Wrt Mercedes attendance at the meetings: I do find that a cause for concern – but less than corporate sponsorship of candidates.

    • ladyfleur

      October 25, 2014 at 11:35 am

      I know a lot of people are very concerned about corporate influence in local campaigns. I get that, but I’m less concerned about who else supports a candidate than I am that the elected official will take my input and vote for the best interest of the city.

      I have no idea what PG&E’s goals for Mountain View are. In contrast, I know the goals of many of the other Mountain View residents that are opposed to mine: prevent development that would help solve our housing crisis and halt safe street projects if they dare take space from cars.

      I did not hear anything from Mercedes that leads me to believe she would be for a road diet or protected bike lane that requires parking removal. She didn’t fill out the I Walk, I Bike, I Vote survey which would have at least given a taste of her views. And by not filling it out, it says that unlike six of the other candidates, she doesn’t think biking and walking are priorities.

      • Mercedes Salem

        October 26, 2014 at 1:50 pm

        Hi Janet,

        Firstly, I am so happy to see such a high level of civic engagement in our local politics – to me, it’s one of the reasons I love Mountain View.

        I just want to set the record straight on a few things:

        1. I was the only candidate at the Transportation and Housing Forum at the Recreation Center that stated that I was for the Great Streets proposal of a road diet on California Street. The forum was recorded so anyone can go back and view it. You are absolutely right that I was a few minutes late due to traffic. I am a person who lived with out a car for almost 5 years and only took public transportation or walked to get around. I don’t do that in Mountain View because it’s not safe and I want to get our city to a place where we make it safe for bikes and pedestrians to get out of their cars.

        2. You are right that I do not attend a majority of the City Council meetings. I have also gone on record in the KMVT forum as stating that I watch most of the Council meetings online on the city’s website. I also stated that I generally attend Council meetings where I want to address the Council and say something to them. Recently, I have done this to advocate for a living wage for workers and other occasions.

        3. I did answer the I Walk, I Bike, I Vote survey and it is on their website.


      • ladyfleur

        October 26, 2014 at 11:26 pm

        Hi Mercedes,

        Thank you so much for taking the time offer more on your background and your positions. I knew nothing about you before the Transportation & Housing candidate’s forum, and it was hard to keep all the details straight. That’s why the I Walk, I Bike, I Vote survey is so helpful. Thanks for filling it out. I’ve updated the story above to reflect your participation.

        Thank you for your stated support for a road diet on California Street, which I believe will make the street safer for everyone, whether on foot, on bike or in a car. In particular, I believe the center turn lane will make left turns safer and keep other cars from whipping around to pass to the drivers currently waiting in the left hand lane.

        Thanks again,


    • Ken Rosenberg

      October 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Pat Moore writes: “For me, I was interested in Ken and Pat until it became clear that they were the corporate favorites. What I find particularly disturbing about Ken was that he actually solicited money from PG&E – he seems sort of proud that PG&E turned him down for direct corporate backing because he is “in favor of CCA”. ”

      I don’t think there is anything I can say that might reverse the thinking of anyone who believes this, but here are the facts:
      – PG&E did not have an endorsement process, and even if they had, I would not have turned in a response
      – A PG&E representative contacted me for an address to send me a check
      – When they later saw that I supported CCA, they decided NOT to send me a check
      – Had they sent me a check, I would have returned it
      – The mysterious NEC independent expenditure seems to have been funded by a large variety of entities, including PG&E, which may or may not have gone to fund mailers for the Mountain View City Council race (no way to determine).

      Pat, you say I’ve “invited corporate influence.” How exactly have I done that? The Supreme Court, in its Citizens United ruling opened up the floodgates of corporate money into ALL politics (local, state, and federal). Why do you have a beef with me over this issue? That makes absolutely no sense. I didn’t ask for these expenditures. I don’t want them. I think I’m a good enough candidate to win without their help, whoever “they” are. Given that there is no way to refuse an independent expenditure (a candidate doesn’t know it’s coming, it’s not coordinated or discussed with the campaign, etc), just what do you propose a person do to make it so they don’t have one done for them? Greg said he was spending all of his own money, and even he had an independent expenditure on his behalf. You say you support him. So, is he tainted too? This makes no sense to me. Either you like a candidate or you don’t. But to assign guilt by association is really unfortunate. I’m the same guy I was (when you were considering me) as before these mailers came out.

      I am in no corporation’s pocket. I have a principled belief system that guides my thinking, but I do not shy away from sitting down with people or organizations that I may not agree with. Communicating is better than not.

      • Pat Moore

        October 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

        @Ken —

        I was left with the “solicited” impression from this from your campaign newsletter:

        “* Independent expenditures have been made to support my campaign (along with other candidates, but I’m the one being targeted). The expenditures have been in the form of two mailers. People are wrongfully accusing me of some kind of malfeasance because I’ve accepted large amount of money from these outside groups. The reality is they made the expenditures without my knowledge because that is the law. It’s called free speech (thank you Supreme Court!) and groups can spend whatever they want supporting their candidates or issues. This appears to be a coordinated attack because the message is popping up online in neighborhood association chat rooms across the city. If you see one, I’m asking that you respond appropriately with the truth about independent expenditures and ensure that people are aware that the money spent does not go to me (or my campaign), is done without my awareness or consent, and that there is no way for me (or any candidate) to prevent it. It most certainly does not mean that my integrity is called into question. I will continue to invite discussion and debate on every issue that comes before me, should I win a seat. If you have questions, please let me know.”

        The confusion I had was caused by this statement:

        “People are wrongfully accusing me of some kind of malfeasance because I’ve accepted large amount of money from these outside groups.”

        Which to me meant that you had taken large amounts of money, this was further reinforced by other statements from you that indicated that you had contacted/or been contacted by PG&E, about getting a donation from them. The who solicited who was lost in the translation.

        I hope you now understand why I had this confusion.

        I have generally positive feelings toward you.

        Unfortunately, the only way I personally have to stop corporate involvement in politics is to withhold my vote from candidates sponsored by corporations. If by sponsoring a candidate they cause the candidate to lose, maybe corporations will then stay out of elections.

        You maybe a pure and clean candidate – I would like to believe that. However, this large scale meddling in the democratic process must have a penalty. I am sorry you were caught up by this.

        I would definitely have felt differently if:

        * the amount of money wasn’t so large that it was swamping all other spending
        * you had loudly and publicly told the NEC to stop sending mailers with your name on it – you are not allowed to coordinate but you can definitely have made a public call from the MV Voice office demanding that they stop.
        * it didn’t discourage other candidates (greg uganst said that if he knew he was going against corporate america’s billions he wouldn’t have run)
        * if there weren’t 6 different mailers with your name on it
        * PG& E or the California Landlords clearly wants you in the city council : they must have a reason. corporations expect a return on investment

        At the end of the day, you and I are left in bad positions because as a voter I have no way of knowing what happened in those phone calls or emails. If you are elected, I will have no way of knowing that in closed session cc meetings that PG&E or the landlords or whoever wants the influence doesn’t get a more favorable vote from you.

        And you have no way to “prove” anything.

        Sorry – you were one of my top 3 candidates before this happened.

        I am left with two hopes:

        1. You lose
        2. You rerun with no corporate money in the election – and you win.



  9. uzbekcelia

    October 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks, Janet, for articulating this all so clear-headedly. Unfortunately, I already turned in my absentee ballot before I read this (will be out of town), but it turns out I overlapped with you on 2 of the 4 candidates you supported.

    Like you, I do support more/higher density housing, for my FUTURE neighbours/MV residents.

    Like you, we’re a minority with this opinion: I tried to explain this to someone as “Even though we are lucky enough to be homeowners in MV, other people with lower incomes who make our lives possible, i.e. school teachers,cafe barristers, janitors, etc, need to have an affordable place to live in MV, rather than have to spend much time/money to commute to work in MV.

    If folks have to drive long distances to work here in MV, that just adds to the congestion, and ALL of us would be paying to widen roads/freeways. Better they can live closer, so that they might have the option to bike to work, or spend shorter times on transit.

    It absolutely ticks me off when city council candidates pull the NIMBYish “Yes, more housing is needed, but it needs to be in other cities, not MV”

    Growth is inevitable; we need to account for diverse needs. Diversity keeps us real.

    • ladyfleur

      October 25, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      I question whether we’re actually to minority position. Mountain View is 60% renters. It could very well be that the people most concerned about adding new housing are just the noisiest. It could also be that the people OK with adding housing are keeping quiet because they think they’re in a minority.

  10. Jeremy Hoffman

    October 26, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Thank you for this thoughtful and thorough writeup. I share your views on human-friendly city planning to a T. It’s so refreshing to hear them from a homeowner. It’s clear you are a pragmatic, empathetic environmentalist.

    Personally I support all four of Pat, Ken, Lenny, and Greg because I think all of them share the basic vision of smart growth with more housing close to jobs, less car-centric development, and a more inclusive community with more affordable (or as Lenny put it, less-UN-affordable) housing. Choosing three of the four is difficult. I understand there are some concerns about Ken’s support in the business community, but to me, Ken just seems like an extremely smart, pragmatic, popular leader, with experience with residents in Old Mountain View and the Civility Roundtable and with businesses in the Chamber of Commerce, with the right ideas about jobs, traffic, housing supply, and a host of other issues, and it’s not surprising that he’s drawing support from a wide range of sources.

    I’ll be sharing this post on the page of the local advocacy group I cofounded, MV Voters for Housing Diversity. You can follow us at or

    • ladyfleur

      October 26, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Thank you for your support and for sharing this story. I think there are more people like us out there than it would seem by reading the comments in the Voice. 🙂

  11. Mercedes Salem

    October 26, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Janet, I appreciate your viewpoint and I’m glad you are an active participant in our local government.

    Regarding my attendance at City Council meeting, I have gone on record saying that I generally attend meetings where I am going to address the council because I have something to say to them otherwise I watch the council meeting home on my computer because they are live streamed. I said this at the KMVT candidate forum. So you are welcome 2 verify it

  12. Jim Neal

    October 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Ladyfleur, thank you very much for your comments about me. They are accurate, unlike those written by most ‘professional’ reporters. I would however like to add some context.

    It is absolutely true that I said bikes and trains were 19th century solutions and I stand by that. In the 19th century when they were invented, people primarily were born, lived, worked and died within a 50 mile area. That is no longer the case.

    If people want to use bicycles 100% of the time, more power to them and good for them! I intend to buy bicycles for myself and my wife as soon as it is practical for us.

    The problem that I have is with people who talk about ‘getting people out of their cars’. Most of the people who use that phrase mean that they want to make it as expensive and inconvenient to drive as possible, instead of making alternative transportation cheaper, more convenient and more accessible. In my opinion,any alternative to driving must meet all three conditions in order to be successful as an alternative for the majority of people the majority of the time.

    As you know, for the last three years, I have taken public transportation or walked to my destinations over 99.9% of the time so I am an expert on what it costs in time and money to get from point A to point B in the Bay Area. I work in Berkeley and it costs me roughly $400/month for public transportation or about $4800 annually.

    To go 3 miles from my house to North Bayshore for my wife and I is $16 round trip, and that is assuming the buses are still running when we want to return. If we want to have dinner there, then we need to take a cab back which is $15. I could drive there and back for about $1. True, we could bike there, but what if we want to have a few drinks? I wouldn’t want to get pulled over for a BUI (Biking Under the Influence) 🙂 .

    My point is, I don’t want to force people into ANY mode of transportation that is not convenient for them. Especially since some people have disabilities or time constraints that do not allow them to make the same choices that some of us are able to.

    My opinion is that we should make every mode of transportation ( including cars) as convenient as is practical for everyone and let them decide. I am a strong advocate of freedom of choice and the freedom for people to travel whenever, wherever and however is best for them.

    Thanks again for your kind words.

    Jim Neal
    Candidate, Mountain View City Council

  13. Steven Nelson

    October 27, 2014 at 9:31 am

    This is a great civic activist ‘infomercial’. I think I know the owner-occupied complex where the bike-with-kids picture was taken (My family of then 3 owned #202, nice walk to restaurants). I’m going to bullet vote for Lenny and Greg. I think their views on transportation/residential development align with those I’ve studied since 1972. And those views I’ve lived with (substantial bus/bike commuting) in San Diego, Santa Cruz and Mountain View. The phrase “the truth will come out” is correct – votes on commissions matter. I cringe every time I have to bike down Calderon – where NIMBY’s forced abandonment of dual direction bike lanes for ‘yet more street parking’. [classic car-centric] [why not placard resident-only-parking?] The corner of Calderon and W. Dana, with a new [car-centric] development, is closed to reasonable bike lanes for the next 50-60 years. Squeezed out bike lane space – for more units!

    • ladyfleur

      October 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Thanks, Steve. Not putting/keeping bike lanes on Calderon is a big mistake. It’s a key route connecting the Cuesta Park and Grant Road neighborhoods to downtown. But to be precise, they weren’t squeezed out by more units per se, it was by desire to use city streets for more car parking. The units aren’t taking space from the street, reserving space for parked cars is.

  14. Valerie Bubb Fenwick (@bubbva)

    October 27, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you, Ladyfleur! You’ve helped me fill in some blanks on the candidates!

  15. Lenny

    October 29, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks for this, Janet! From the one candidates forum that I attended, I came away with pretty much the same conclusions that you did. One data point about Ellen Kamei: she, Pat Showalter, and Ken Rosenberg have sent out joint mailers, so presumably her views are closely aligned with Pat and Ken.

  16. Lisa Matichak

    November 3, 2014 at 9:49 am

    The reported ‘facts’ about me and how I became involved in city politics have become distorted over time. I’ve owned a townhouse for the past 7 years, not a single family home. Before that I rented an apartment for as long as I can remember. It is true that I got involved in local politics due to a proposed development in the neighborhood in which I live. However, the proposal was for rowhouses, not townhouses, and the neighborhood was not trying to block the proposed development. The neighborhood wanted the development to be a better fit with the surrounding neighborhood, and the Council agreed 7-0 with the neighborhood. Since that time the developer has run into many issues with the property that have nothing to do with the neighborhood. Recently, the city’s public works department voiced serious concerns about the project due to the tight and inconvenient location of the underground utilities. They said future residents are not going to like the cost and disruption when (not if) repairs and/or replacements are done. Two very large water pipelines and PG&E’s large, high pressure gas line #132 are all running through the property. (Gas line #132 is the same line that has the very tragic explosion in San Bruno.) The neighborhood is supportive of the revised site plan, and is leaving the utility concerns up to the city and the Council.

    Recently, on the EPC I have voted no on a couple of projects. I voted no on one project because there was a 16 foot encroachment into a required 30 foot setback. I voted no on another because of the overhang close to the sidewalk making it less walkable in an area that is a key location, and the use of stackers for parking. If the developers had made suitable changes to these projects, I would have voted yes. I don’t believe it is in the best interest of our residents for me to vote “yes” on every project, regardless of its shortcomings.

  17. Ed Falk

    November 3, 2014 at 10:58 am

    My understanding is that the Long Beach Realtor’s Association spent ~$80k on flyers promoting Mercedes Salem, Ken Rosenberg, and Ellen Kamei. These three candidates did not ask for this nor did they receive any money directly.

    However, clearly the realtors think those three candidates are good for their business, and what’s good for developers is usually not good for Mountain View.

    • falk

      November 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Someone better in touch with what’s going on has sent me a few corrections:

      The realtors are from Chicago and they did an independent expenditure only for Ken Rosenberg.

      The NEC from Long Beach supported Ken Rosenberg, Pat Showalter and Ellen Kamei. One of the contributors to the NEC is the California Apartment Association, along with a bunch of others.

      I don’t know why I confused Mercedes Salem with Pat Showalter. My apologies.

  18. Mercedes Salem

    November 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Hi Ed,

    Thank you for the correction.

    I want everyone to know that all my contributions have come from individuals with the exception of 500.00 from DAWN (Democratic Activists for Women Now) I am a member of DAWN and have also been endorsed by them. They gave me a direct contribution. I took money from DAWN because I am a member and strongly believe in their positions. DAWN is a local Democratic club and I am proud Democrat..

    I made it a point not to take any corporate or PAC money. All this outside money is very troubling. I have raised 33,829.00 to date. This number includes an 8,000.00 I initially gave to myself but have now paid back. So that means I raised a total of 25,829.00 from local individuals – still more than any other candidate. I raised the most out of everyone even if you subtract the money from DAWN.

    None of the other candidates were able to achieve this – I am the only one. Either they took money from many specials interests and/or they loaned themselves money which their campaigns can not pay back.

    I am someone who believes in transparency. I do not like these expenditures in our local politics. That is not what Mountain View is about – that is why I chose to sign the VEL even though I am able to raise and spend more money. I want to keep the race about the issues and not about raising money.

    Even though there has been independent expenditures in the past – they have never been to this magnitude. I am afraid if these outside groups succeed our city will no longer belong to us – the residents that live here.


  19. Cheryl

    November 4, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks Janet! These discussions are fascinating. Best of luck on your new position too!


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