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Election 2018: Meet the candidates for Mountain View City Council

Alison Hicks

Alison Hicks
Hicks

Provide a brief bio.

I have a Master of City Planning from UC Berkeley. My urban planning career includes work on affordable housing, greening schoolyards, homeless transitional housing, planning walkable streets and downtown revitalization. I have lived in Mountain View for almost 20 years, raised my two children here and sent them to our public schools.

Q: Why are you running?

Over the next decade, Mountain View is likely to grow faster than any other city in the Bay Area. We need to take serious steps to ensure that that growth is healthy.

We need to plan schools with forethought, create more parks and green space, and grow our downtown into a walkable destination large enough to serve our larger population. We need not just more housing, but more affordable housing and less displacement. We need transportation that works.

We should become not just a bigger city, but a vital and livable city. We need our neighborhoods and our downtown to be great places to walk, run into friends and get a breath of fresh air.

I am running for council to be a strong voice for a well-planned and thriving city.

Q: What are the three top priority issues for you and why?

• We need a jobs/housing balance. Building housing without balance will not create an adequate amount of affordable housing and will displace our community as we build.

• Create complete communities. We need to build more than offices and housing. We need to grow the things that make our community happy and healthy, including schools, parks, urban trees, walkable streets with small businesses and more.

Q: What is one thing you’d like to accomplish on the council?

I would like the next generation to look back on what I and the rest of council have built in this city with pride. I want Mountain View to be a place people feel happy and healthy living in, working in and visiting.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

I will be the only member of the city council with experience making urban development livable and equitable. Mountain View is growing tremendously and needs a strong voice on the council for good growth. I want to be that voice.
I am endorsed by the Sierra Club as well as many Mountain View leaders and individuals.

For more information, visit alisonhicks4council.com.

John Inks

John Inks
Inks

Provide a brief bio.

See electinks.com/about. Lived in Mountain View since 1975. Age 69. See also electinks.com/community for photos showing my long history of being active in the Mountain View community.

Q: Why are you running?

I decided to come out of retirement because I’m not sure the city is going in the right direction with current planning and development policies and especially all the new fees. Also, the city is proposing a business-license tax update that is really a new, completely different, steeply progressive tax on employers. This could deter new businesses that may want to grow in Mountain View from starting in Mountain View in the first place.

Q: What are the three top priority issues for you and why?

• Increase the supply of housing in Mountain View.
• Streamline development policies, especially precise plans that take years, cost millions and often are overly specific.
• Address development needs in other parts of the community such as Terra Bella and North Rengstorff. San Antonio, El Camino Real, East Whisman and North Bayshore precise plans have taken most staff resources.

Q: What is one thing you’d like to accomplish on the council?

See the first bullet above.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

• Previous service on the council 2009-2016, seven years as Parks and Recreation Commissioner and Planning Commissioner, and volunteer mediator before that.
• Long record supporting fiscal sustainability, balanced budgets and conservative management of the city’s investment portfolio.
• Record of service to residents and businesses that have issues with the city regarding regulations, building requirements, zoning, signage, permits and inspections.

For more information, visit electinks.com.

Ellen Kamei

Ellen Kamei
Kamei

Provide a brief bio.

34 years old.
University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government, M.P.A.; UC Santa Barbara, B.A. in English
District director for California State Assemblyman Marc Berman
Seven years back in Mountain View, third-generation resident

Q: Why are you running?

I am running for city council to ensure that as we change and grow, Mountain View maintains its unique character, diversity and high quality of life. The city needs multi-modal transportation options, solutions for our vehicle dweller population and pragmatic ways to address long-term environmental sustainability. We require access to open space and parks that are walkable and bikeable. I will work with my colleagues to hire more police officers and firefighters, increase housing options for middle-income residents and retain our family-oriented community.

Q: What are the three top priority issues for you and why?

• Housing:
– Increase variety of unit types, exploring options such as microunits and partnering with for-profit and affordable housing developers as well as school districts.
– Create innovative programs for first-time home buyers such as a subsidized down payment/equity share program for middle-income residents.
– Streamline the development approval process for ownership housing on small parcels.
– Expand opportunities for transit-oriented development in areas where it has worked, such as along El Camino Real.
• Quality of life:
– Ensure development projects are aesthetically attractive and positive additions to existing neighborhoods, while also balancing historical preservation.
– Build more parks of all sizes in new developments and neighborhoods.
– Closely align infrastructure and housing development to ensure functional and aesthetic harmony with existing neighborhoods.
• Public safety:
– Empower police, firefighters, and first responders with appropriate policies, resources and training to keep Mountain View safe.
– Support competitive and diverse recruitment for vacancies.
– Rebuild the police and fire administrative building to a state-of-the-art facility.

Q: What is one thing you’d like to accomplish on the council?

My most important goal is to champion policies to increase the variety of types and overall quantity of housing, so that the city can support all residents, including those of moderate income, or the “missing middle.” Mountain View has been at the vanguard of innovation for housing development, and we need to expand our focus to producing additional middle-income housing. Mountain View has historically been a middle-class city, and as a council member, I will lead the fight to ensure our middle-income residents have a place in our city.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

I am an experienced public servant who has worked at the city, county, state and federal levels of government. I have served two-terms as an Environmental Planning Commissioner (including chair and vice chair). Over the last six years on the commission, I am proud to have worked on five critical and comprehensive land-use plans. Public service is my passion, and I have pursued it professionally and academically. My range of experience and my years of building relationships in the community will be essential for securing support and funding at the regional, state and federal levels for critical local initiatives.

For more information, visit ellenkamei.com.

Lucas Ramirez

Lucas Ramirez
Ramirez

Provide a brief bio.

I am a lifelong resident of Mountain View. I graduated from Santa Clara University and currently work for the city of San Jose as a public policy analyst. I serve on the Planning Commission and previously served on the Human Relations Commission and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Citizens Watchdog Committee. For nearly six years, I have been an observer to the Mountain View City Council on behalf of the local League of Women Voters. I am also active in the Mountain View Historical Association, the Mountain View Coalition for Sustainable Planning and other community groups.

Q: Why are you running?

I’m running for city council to help ensure that Mountain View remains a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community. Skyrocketing housing costs are displacing teachers and working families, threatening the health of the city. I will work with the community to identify solutions to the housing crisis to help low- and moderate-income families stay in Mountain View. I am also eager to work to increase the confidence and trust of the public in government by ensuring that residents have timely access to information. Residents should have ample opportunity to provide input on crucial issues.

Q: What are the three top priority issues for you and why?

The housing crisis, severe traffic congestion and climate change are my top three priority issues. To address these challenges, land-use and transportation policy must be integrated. New development must adhere to “smart growth” principles to encourage use of transit and alternative modes of transportation, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I support addressing the jobs/housing imbalance by adding housing in the designated Change Areas in our general plan, especially North Bayshore and East Whisman, to provide opportunities to live near job centers. I support robust affordable housing requirements for new residential development.

Q: What is one thing you’d like to accomplish on the council?

I would like to see substantial progress in the implementation of the North Bayshore Precise Plan. The plan will improve jobs/housing balance, dramatically increase the number of affordable housing units and introduce a variety of transportation improvements to reduce congestion and enhance safety. Successful implementation will transform North Bayshore from a suburban office park into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood, including new parks and schools. It is a key long-term strategy to addressing the impacts of the housing crisis.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

As a member of the city’s Environmental Planning Commission, former chair of the Human Relations Commission and a longtime city council observer on behalf of the League of Women Voters, I have a deep understanding of the unique issues facing our city. I support building housing for all income levels, fair implementation of the city’s rent stabilization program (Measure V) and safe parking areas for RVs. I successfully advocated for increased campaign finance disclosure in local elections in 2016, and I am committed to enhanced transparency in government.

For more information, visit ramirezforcouncil.com.

Pat Showalter, incumbent

Pat Showalter
Showalter

Provide a brief bio.

I am a licensed civil engineer who started my career as a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, served as director for the nonprofit San Francisquito Creek Watershed Council and recently retired after 15 years with the Santa Clara Valley Water District. I earned a master’s in civil engineering from UC Berkeley, a bachelor’s in geology and history from Mount Holyoke College and was a visiting student at Princeton University. I am 66 years old and have lived in Mountain View for 34 years.

Q: Why are you running?

Serving on Mountain View’s City Council is the best job I’ve ever had, so I want to continue for another four years. I have championed the issues that motivated me to run in 2014 –lack of housing, too much traffic and impacts of climate change. I want to put the experience, knowledge and relationships I’ve gained in my first term to work serving you. I want to continue the progress Mountain View has made on housing – we’ve gotten over 2,500 units built. Now we must build housing in the North Bayshore. I want to champion getting the Stevens Creek Trail extended to Mountain View High School.

Q: What are the three top priority issues for you and why?

1. Getting housing built in North Bayshore is job one for me. We desperately need housing. Building near jobs should reduce traffic.
2. The Environmental Sustainability Task Force 2 made thoughtful recommendations. We should take them seriously. Promoting active transportation by improving bike infrastructure and programming is a crucial part of the recommendations. People must feel safe biking and walking, so driving becomes a choice. More activity is also great for our health.
3. Get a neighborhood-serving school built in the San Antonio area so kids can walk to school will reduce traffic, provide park space and serve as the neighborhood’s social hub.

Q: What is one thing you’d like to accomplish on the council?

Get a new neighborhood that includes housing built in the North Bayshore.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

I’ll champion more housing in Mountain View, but particularly in the North Bayshore. As a long-term resident of Mountain View, I understand what people treasure about this community and I will work to protect it. As a civil engineer, I developed a strong technical background that is valuable for infrastructure, land-use and sustainability decisions. If you vote for me, I can put to use all the knowledge and viewpoints shared with me over the last four years. I pledge to continue Mountain View’s tradition of conducting government with civility.

For more information, visit patshowalter.com.

Lenny Siegel (incumbent)

Lenny Siegel
Siegel

Provide a brief bio.

I’ll be 70 years old in December. I’ve lived in Mountain View since June 1972, and my wife and I have owned our home since August 1979. I was an undergraduate in physics at Stanford University. Since 1994, I have been executive director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight.

Q: Why are you running?

Since the 2014 election, Mountain View has become a regional leader in addressing our joint housing/transportation crisis. We have begun projects, such as the plan for building housing in North Bayshore and upgrading our transit center, that are far from complete. By electing me and people who share my vision, voters will be saying “stay the course” to strengthen our economy, preserve our existing neighborhoods, enhance our quality of life, protect the environment and retain our diversity. Finally, I am running for re-election to stand up to a national administration that is essentially attacking our community on many fronts.

Q: What are the three top priority issues for you and why?

• To make housing affordable and protect the fabric of our diverse community: Build the housing that we’re planning plus more, in mixed-use medium-density, car-light neighborhoods, with 15-20 percent being offered at below-market rents or in community land trusts.
• To reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions: Create an advanced transportation link to North Bayshore, expand the free community shuttle, promote ride-sharing pools and improve our bicycle infrastructure.
• To move lived-in vehicles from our streets, without punishing people who can no longer afford the rent: Create sanctioned encampments for vehicle dwellers.

Q: What is one thing you’d like to accomplish on the council?

I have a holistic vision for Mountain View. Housing, transportation, schools, retails, wages, parks, education, environmental protection, innovation, etc., are all interrelated. So I find it impossible to do just “one thing.”

Q: Why should people vote for you?

As a lifelong community organizer, I not only try to solve problems, but I also empower average residents so they can play a key part in addressing those problems. I have proven that I can work with people and institutions on some issues while I oppose them on others. I show respect for my colleagues, city staff, businesses and residents. I am willing to listen to anyone as long as he/she is willing to listen to me. Finally, I do my homework.

For more information, visit facebook.com/lennysiegelforcouncil.

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