So what were voters telling us in the wake of the Nov. 6 local election?
• While sometimes wary of it, residents by and large don’t want to micromanage government. That was one message we picked up from the defeat of Los Altos’ Measure C, an initiative that would have required voter approval for any change in city-owned property, be it sale, lease or rezoning. A similar-type measure also was defeated in Sunnyvale.
• Is Los Altos headed for a civil war? Of course not, but precinct results from Measure C show a heavy division between North and South. Measure C passed in the southern precincts, while it was voted down everywhere else except the El Camino Real corridor. One might gather that the “northerners” frequent downtown more and saw the potential for improvements (the Downtown Vision plan) threatened by Measure C. The results also make clear that residents in the southern part of the city need to be heard – the Los Altos City Council’s investment in a new community center while rejecting Grant Park improvements has not sat well with them.
• Incumbents ousted in Los Altos and Mountain View point to clear dissatisfaction with the current councils in both cities. Whether fair or not, Los Altos Mayor Jean Mordo and Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel were seen as not having many residents’ best interests at heart. While we agreed with Mordo’s push to add $10 million to the new community center budget as the best option, others saw it as fiscally irresponsible. Siegel’s open, outspoken support of rent control, along with his tolerance for the city’s proliferation of vehicle dwellers, helped usher his exit. Early results last week showed incumbent Councilwoman Pat Showalter, who shared many of Siegel’s leanings, was also losing in a bid to retain her seat.
• The incumbents have been replaced by people seen as generally more collaborative, less controversial leaders. Neysa Fligor, who stressed collaboration throughout her campaign, led the field in Los Altos by a wide margin, while Anita Enander’s election to the council and her fiscal conservatism signaled a desire for more restraint. Likewise in Mountain View, moderate candidates such as Ellen Kamei and Alison Hicks won favor with voters. The fact that all of the aforementioned candidates are women begs the question: Are women seen as bringing more sanity to leadership? Time will tell.