Now that filing deadlines have passed, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View residents will have the opportunity to vote on five local measures and more than 30 candidates in the Nov. 6 general election.
The most high-profile and controversial among the ballot measures is Los Altos’ Protect Our Parks and Public Lands Initiative, Measure C. The measure, which needs a majority vote to pass, would require voter approval of any new sale, lease or rezoning of parks/open space or other public land larger than 7,500 square feet. Proponents claim that the initiative ensures that residents get a say in any major transaction involving public land. Opponents contend that the real intention, because no parkland has been sold, is to undermine any development or new use of city property, such as the downtown public parking plazas.
Los Altos voters also will weigh in on Measure D, a proposal to raise the transient occupancy tax – a tax on hotel visits – from the current 11 percent to 14 percent. The measure needs a two-thirds majority vote to pass. The city is looking for additional funding sources in the wake of a major fiscal investment in rebuilding Hillview Community Center.
In south Los Altos, residents will consider Measure CC, a $275 million bond for the Fremont Union High School District. The measure needs a majority vote to pass.
Mountain View voters will face a controversial ballot initiative of their own in Measure P. The measure, requiring a simple majority vote to pass, would restructure business-license fees, resulting in an overall annual increase for city coffers from $260,000 to approximately $6 million, with the largest firms, such as Google Inc., paying the most. The city’s Chamber of Commerce opposes the proposal, arguing that Google should not bear such a high proportion of the tax.
Voters in Mountain View also will cast ballots for or against Measure Q, a simple-majority proposal that would tax gross receipts of cannabis businesses up to 9 percent, generating approximately $1 million for the city’s general budget.
Local residents will have a full slate of races to weigh in on, as even normally noncompetitive board elections such as those in the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District (MVLA) and the El Camino Healthcare District have multiple candidates this time around.
In the MVLA race, incumbents Debbie Torok and Fiona Walter face competition from challengers Catherine Vonnegut and Steve Nelson in the race for three seats on the five-member board. Incumbent Joe Mitchner is not seeking re-election. Nelson is a former Mountain View Whisman School District trustee, and Vonnegut is former president of the Los Altos Mountain View PTA Council.
In the Mountain View Whisman district, four candidates are running for two seats on the five-member board: incumbents Greg Coladonato and Ellen Wheeler, and challengers Tamara Becher Patterson and Devon Conley.
In the Los Altos School District, incumbents Bryan Johnson and Vladimir Ivanovic are challenged by Vaishali Sirkay and Ying Liu for three open seats on the five-member board. Incumbent Sangeeth Peruri is not seeking re-election.
South Los Altos residents will be voting in the Cupertino Union School District (which includes Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos) and Fremont Union High School District board races. Cupertino has two open seats, Fremont three. Six candidates are running in Fremont: incumbent William Wilson and challengers Don Sun, Rosa Kim, Benaifer Dastoor, Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto (who served in 2015-2016 as executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council) and Meena Juttukonda-Gajula. The four candidates for the two Cupertino seats include Los Altos resident Lorien Cunningham, Jerry Liu, Wil Fluewelling and Satheesh Kumar Madhathil.
There will be no competitive race in the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, where two candidates, incumbent Pearl Cheng and challenger Patrick Ahrens, will assume the two open seats.
Councils, assembly, healthcare district
The Los Altos City Council race features five candidates running for two open seats on the five-member council. Mayor Jean Mordo is seeking re-election, but incumbent Councilwoman Mary Prochnow is not. Challengers include city Planning Commissioner Anita Enander, Nancy Bremeau, Neysa Fligor and Teresa Morris.
Three candidates are running for two open seats on the five-member Los Altos Hills City Council. Contenders include newcomers George Tyson, Kavita Tankha and Neil Ferrari. Tyson is president of the Los Altos Hills County Fire District, Tankha is a former Hills Planning Commissioner and Ferrari is project manager for a Newark engineering and demolition company.
In Mountain View, six candidates are running for three seats on the seven-member city council. Incumbents Lenny Siegel and Pat Showalter are seeking re-election, while Ken Rosenberg is not. Challengers include former Councilman John Inks, Environmental Planning Commission members Ellen Kamei and Lucas Ramirez, and activist Alison Hicks.
Los Altos resident Alex Glew, who has run for city council in the past, is challenging incumbent Marc Berman for the 24th District California Assembly seat.
The board race for the El Camino Healthcare District, which runs Mountain View’s El Camino Hospital, has three seats open and one incumbent on the ballot, Dr. Peter Fung of Los Altos Hills. Former Mountain View City Councilman Mike Kasperzak is among the challengers, which also include George Ting and James Davis. Incumbent David Reeder of Los Altos is not seeking re-election after 20 years on the board. Los Altos resident Gary Kalbach is running for a “short-term” seat on the board.