Mountain View is a well-run city with informed and engaged residents, high-quality infrastructure and amenities, and first-rate staff. I will work diligently to continue Mountain View’s tradition of good governance. Below are my positions on a variety of local and regional issues. If you have any questions, or if you would like my position on an issue that is not listed, please contact me at [email protected]ncil.com.
The regional and local jobs/housing imbalance is the root cause of the housing affordability crisis. For decades, cities throughout the Bay Area have fostered job growth but failed to build enough housing to accommodate the ensuing population increase. The long-term solution is to ensure that housing supply meets demand. I support increasing housing supply in the Change Areas designated in our General Plan: San Antonio, El Camino, North Bayshore, East Whisman. The city has adopted, or is working on, precise plans for each of these areas to ensure that development meets the needs of our city. I also support slowing down office development. It is irresponsible to accelerate job growth, which increases the demand for housing, without addressing the existing lack of housing supply.
I oppose rezoning and redeveloping Mountain View’s mobile home parks, especially when housing costs are extraordinarily high. Mobile homes are among the few remaining affordable housing options in our city. Mountain View currently protects mobile home parks with a special zoning designation that prohibits other land uses.
I support the construction of a variety of housing types to meet the needs of all residents at all income levels: young professionals, families, seniors, disabled individuals, veterans. Some of these needs will be met with new or innovative housing types. I support micro-housing, especially near transit, and co-housing opportunities. The key point is to provide a variety of options to meet differing housing needs.
Companion units and "missing middle housing" can help increase the supply and diversity of housing in our city. I support the city’s efforts to make it easier for residents to build second units (also known as "granny units" or "in-law units") on their properties. I also support updating the Zoning Ordinance to encourage the development of “missing middle housing” - duplexes, triplexes, bungalow courts, and other lower-density multi-family housing types.
I strongly support inclusionary zoning - requiring residential developers to include affordable housing in new construction of market rate housing. Onsite affordable housing requirements on market rate development proposals should be reasonable and financially viable. I support the current 15% citywide requirement and more aggressive goals for North Bayshore and East Whisman.
I favor reasonable regulations on short-term rentals operated through platforms like Airbnb. Users, like guests at a conventional hotel, should pay a transient occupancy tax (TOT) to benefit our city. I support a fair cap on the number of days per year an unhosted unit can be rented out. Short-term rentals must not negatively impact neighborhoods, nor should they exacerbate the housing crisis (by "taking units off the market" that would otherwise be rented out long term).
I strongly support ground floor retail requirements in key pedestrian-friendly commercial areas, especially downtown. Small walk-in office uses are also appropriate for these areas. In addition, I support preserving Mountain View’s commercial diversity - neighborhood retail, light industrial areas, and shopping centers. All of these contribute to the desirability of our community, and all are critical to the economic health of our city.
Office development proposals must provide significant public benefits, and housing must be prioritized over office where appropriate.
Land use and transportation policy must be integrated. Transit is most successful when serving “walkable” areas with a mix of land uses (residential and commercial) and sufficient density. Sprawl, separated land uses, and low density reduce the effectiveness of transit. New development should adhere to “smart growth” principles to encourage use of transit and alternative modes of transportation.
I support expanding and increasing impact fees on development to ensure that city infrastructure can accommodate growth. A frequently expressed concern is the impact of new development on existing infrastructure: roads, water, schools, parks, public safety. The California Mitigation Fee Act allows municipalities to impose a fee on developers when there is evidence of a reasonable relationship between the projected impacts of a given development proposal and the use of the fee itself. Mountain View has several such fees, including fees that fund affordable housing, parkland acquisition and improvement, and transportation improvements in North Bayshore. I also strongly support requiring appropriate public benefits and encouraging alternative mitigations in lieu of fees (for example, building out transportation improvements instead of paying a fee to the city).
I support strong, but reasonable, mitigation measures that directly address projected impacts of development. Our General Plan and area-specific precise plans set reasonable and context-appropriate building standards and design guidelines. While building height and density are often used as proxies for certain kinds of negative impacts, setting limits on height and density may not have the desired effect of, for example, reducing traffic congestion and parking demand. (I address aesthetics and design in the next point.) A single family home rented by six young professionals with their own cars will likely have a greater parking impact on a neighborhood than a small apartment complex with adequate onsite parking. Robust transportation demand management (TDM) programs can be more effective at reducing traffic congestion and parking demand than reducing the number of units in a residential development proposal.
Our community values good urban design, appealing building architecture and aesthetics, proper integration of new development in existing neighborhoods, and incorporation of green space and tree canopy in development. The General Plan reflects these values. I support the goals and implementation strategies articulated in the General Plan.
Caltrain is extremely important to the economic vitality of the region. I strongly support the Caltrain modernization program and capital improvements that will dramatically improve service and the fiscal health of Caltrain. Electrification, grade separation, and platform extensions will improve safety, capacity, frequency, and environmental sustainability of Caltrain.
The City Council will be making major decisions regarding the Downtown Transit Center. Capital improvements must improve safety, circulation, and capacity, but should be financially pragmatic and achievable in time for increased train frequency and ensuing impacts. I support developing the Caltrain parking lot (replacing parking appropriately) to help pay for these improvements.
I support extending the bicycle/pedestrian tunnel under the San Antonio Caltrain station to the former Mayfield Mall site, providing more convenient access to the station for residents of the Monta Loma neighborhood and the employees in the vicinity.
In November 2000, Santa Clara County voters passed Measure A, a 30-year sales tax dedicated to improving public transit. One of the programs funded by Measure A is "improving bus service in major bus corridors," specifically calling out VTA Line 22 on El Camino Real. To achieve this objective, VTA studied 7 alternatives for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, including varying lengths of a dedicated bus lane, a "mixed-flow" project with no dedicated lane, and "no project."
After significant public input revealed little community support for the project, the VTA terminated the proposal in early 2018 and has ceased working on El Camino BRT entirely.
Although I do not support resuming work on the BRT proposal, I do believe that significant investment in El Camino Real transit is warranted. In December 2014, the City Council approved the El Camino Real Precise Plan, which calls for transforming the area into a walkable, mixed-use, higher-density corridor with significantly more housing. Lines 22 and 522, which serve El Camino, represent approximately 20% of total VTA bus boardings. There is a clear market for transit service on El Camino Real, and it makes sense to invest where a market already exists, rather than invest speculatively. I support capital improvements that increase the speed and reliability of buses, including signal priority, all-door boarding with proof of payment systems, and level boarding. I also support increasing bus frequency. Transit must be time-competitive with private vehicle use in order to attract ridership and improve farebox recovery. Measure A, passed by the voters in 2000, is a primary source of funding for bus and other transit capital improvements.
I support the “blended system” concept - HSR sharing tracks with Caltrain, as opposed to the original four-track plan. HSR absolutely must benefit Caltrain and Mountain View as it develops. HSR already supports Caltrain by partially funding the Caltrain electrification project, but as the number and frequency of trains increase, the safety and traffic impacts to at-grade rail crossings will become severe. Therefore, it is appropriate for HSR also to help pay for grade separation. Ultimately, the blended system must enable Caltrain to have higher capacity and a reliable schedule.
A safe and convenient bicycle/pedestrian network is essential. Walking and bicycling can offer healthy and enjoyable transportation options for many people of all ages - if we provide safe infrastructure. Safe infrastructure allows children to walk or bike to school instead of having their parents drive them. Bike/ped infrastructure also helps address the first- and last-mile challenge (getting to and from transit centers and destination points).
Stevens Creek Trail and Permanente Creek Trail are important not only for recreational purposes but also as transportation infrastructure. Both trails allow easy and safe commutes to the jobs-rich North Bayshore area. I support the expansion of both trails. The major redevelopment that will occur in North Bayshore over the next several years may serve as a key source of funding for trail expansion, along with other bike/ped infrastructure improvements.
I strongly support evaluating the feasibility of a bicycle/pedestrian trail along the Caltrain corridor. This would greatly supplement the existing trail network with a much-needed East-West connection. It is crucial that ongoing design work for Caltrain corridor capital improvements (especially grade separations) allow for the possibility of a bicycle/pedestrian trail.
I strongly support the city’s efforts to implement the Residential Parking Permit Program. This will provide relief to parking-impacted areas where employees and commuters take advantage of free neighborhood parking near transit centers or their place of employment. The program must be flexible so any impacted area can take advantage of it, and it must be enforced. New development may serve as a source of funding for enforcement - it would be more cost effective for developers to pay for parking permit enforcement that to provide extra onsite parking.
I support unbundled parking, which decouples the cost of a parking space from the cost of housing, in areas well served by transit. Housing costs are lower because there is less demand for housing with no assigned parking spaces. A resident who chooses not to own a car should not be required to pay for a parking space. Conversely, a tenant who requires additional parking spaces would be free to rent them. To prevent cheating, unbundled parking must be implemented in areas protected by the Residential Parking Permit Program or in areas with no free neighborhood parking, like North Bayshore.
Shoreline Park is one of our city’s treasures, providing wonderful recreational opportunities and public access to nature. However, preserving and expanding sensitive habitat areas is a top priority. I support the development of a comprehensive recreational needs and habitat preservation master plan, which will be especially important as housing is built in North Bayshore and potentially thousands of new residents move to the area. The master plan will ensure that the recreational needs of new residents are met without degrading habitat or disrupting wildlife.
The Parkland Dedication ordinance requires developers to set aside onsite parkland in eligible projects or pay an in-lieu fee to fund parkland acquisition and improvement. Additionally, public benefit requirements in eligible projects can increase parks and open space. I strongly support opportunities to increase the number of parks, especially in areas with insufficient open space. Even pocket parks improve the quality of life.
I support providing a diverse mix of parks and open space: dog parks, passive parks, community and demonstration gardens, playgrounds, linear parks and trails. Appropriate locations for each of these types of parks and open spaces would best be identified with substantial public input.
I strongly support the city’s efforts to expand tree canopy through aggressive tree replacement ratios in redevelopment, shade goals in parking lots, and outreach efforts to increase the number of trees on private property. Additionally, when redevelopment occurs, the city must work with developers to preserve as many existing trees as possible.
I support reviewing city tree-planting policy to reduce the number of allergenic trees planted (and increase the number of hypoallergenic trees).
Community Choice Energy (also called Community Choice Aggregation) is among the most powerful tools local governments have to address climate change. Under CCE, participating cities pool their electricity demand and purchase power, increasing supply of electricity from renewable sources while maintaining competitive rates. Mountain View is a member of the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority, which runs the local CCE program. I wholly support the program.
Our city must prepare for the inevitability of sea level rise, which will affect North Bayshore most directly. I support flood protection projects and especially wetlands restoration. As North Bayshore redevelops, we must incorporate resilience into future building and infrastructure design to mitigate the impacts of sea level rise.
“Smart growth” policies that decrease dependence on cars and increase use of alternative modes of transportation are long-term strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation accounts for nearly 60% of all community-wide greenhouse gas emissions, according to an inventory prepared for the Mountain View Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program. Smart land use decisions and transportation demand management are key local strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In November 2016, Mountain View voters approved Measure V, the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act. Measure V establishes a robust rent stabilization program and protects renters from evictions without cause. I supported Measure V in 2016, continue to support Measure V, and oppose repealing Measure V.
The jobs/housing imbalance is the root cause of the housing affordability crisis. The long-term solution is to increase housing supply to meet demand. However, the affordability crisis is hurting and displacing residents right now. Policies that address short-term needs are appropriate and urgent. Measure V provides relief to renters who otherwise would be at risk of displacement.
While rent stabilization policies provide short-term relief for tenants, such policies must be fair and ensure a reasonable rate of return on the investment of property owners. State law exempts single family homes, condos, and new construction (certificate of occupancy issued after February 1, 1995) from rent stabilization measures and requires vacancy decontrol (which means landlords can set the rent at market rates when a tenant voluntarily leaves a rent-stabilized unit).
Additionally, I support strong measures that protect tenants from discrimination and retaliation.
I support emergency rental assistance for tenants at immediate risk of displacement or homelessness. The city is funding a program, administered by CSA, to provide such assistance. This will provide short-term relief while tenants search for a new place to live. The primary goal is homelessness prevention.
During tight rental housing markets, my preference would be to limit the redevelopment of existing and occupied “naturally affordable” housing to curtail displacement. However, when redevelopment does occur, ample tenant relocation assistance must be provided. I support Mountain View’s tenant relocation assistance ordinance and the relocation assistance provisions in Measure V. For redevelopment proposals that proceed at the discretion of the City Council, I would support working with the developer to provide more generous relocation assistance than what would be required under the existing ordinance.
I support participating in a regional effort to identify appropriate locations, including within Mountain View city limits, for permanent homeless shelters in northern Santa Clara County, funded jointly by the County and northern Santa Clara County cities.
I strongly support rapid re-housing and other homelessness prevention programs. “Housing first” and homelessness prevention initiatives are much more cost-effective than providing services to and addressing the impacts of chronic homelessness.
I support a safe parking program that provides space for vehicle/RV dwellers along with access to basic amenities and services, including case workers who can help transition the vehicle dwellers to permanent supportive housing. Along with the existing Lots of Love program (hosted by local churches), I would support expanding the program to include public land, including potentially the Shoreline Amphitheater parking lots. The safe parking program would provide relief to impacted neighborhoods and some stability for vehicle dwellers.
I support enforcing current laws. If a vehicle dweller is violating the law -- for instance, by dumping hazardous waste onto the street, or engaging in other criminal activity -- then that would be grounds to impound the vehicle.
I support expanding and enhancing homeless prevention and rapid rehousing programs. In addition to helping vehicle dwellers transition to permanent supportive housing, we need to work aggressively to ensure that more people do not fall into homelessness into the first place.
Although I am sympathetic with those who fall into hardship because of the very high cost of housing, I also recognize that many residents have been patient and tolerant. Their patience and tolerance likely will not be infinite, so it is imperative that the city move much more quickly to tackle the problem.
Development proposals that require a legislative act to proceed (like a General Plan Amendment) go through a "gatekeeper" process - the Council must vote to allow the proposal to move forward. I am generally skeptical about gatekeepers, especially if they proceed ahead of a precise plan, because they often do not conform to the community’s vision established in the General Plan or pertinent precise plan. I support enhanced noticing requirements for Gatekeeper proposals, to alert both current tenants and neighboring residents, and a requirement for a community meeting to be held when a proposal would result in the displacement of existing tenants.
The City of Palo Alto releases Council agenda packets 11 days prior to meetings. This allows the public to review materials well in advance of the meeting. I support earlier release of Council agenda packets, with the primary objective of encouraging the Voice to print agendas prior to Council meetings for greater public access and review.
Not every interested resident has the availability to attend City Council meetings. Additional and enhanced opportunities to provide input can be valuable both to the public and to government. The city should facilitate opportunities for online public comment for all public bodies, including City Council and all advisory commissions, committees, and boards. Open City Hall is a well-intentioned but underutilized tool for soliciting public input. It has the capacity to be an important tool to capture ideas and allow residents to support (or challenge) suggestions made by their neighbors. I am particularly interested in expanding the use of Open City Hall for the City Council goal setting session. The Council sets two-year goals and selects specific projects to advance those goals. Open City Hall can make it easier for residents to participate meaningfully in the goal setting process.
The city has a large and comprehensive range of scanned city records available in a centralized location accessible through its website. This is a valuable resource, but the city can go a step further. Mountain View should expand access to city-owned information by releasing data that is 1) freely available to be used, shared, and reused by anyone for any purpose; 2) available in digital, machine-readable formats; 3) available in its entirety and downloadable en masse; and 4) digitally located in a centralized area that is easily found. To achieve this, the city should establish an open data portal. Examples of data sets include key city statistics, business licenses and permits, campaign finance reporting information, development permit data, employee compensation, and city budget. Open data provides a new platform to increase the sharing of information among city departments, improving the city’s ability to deliver services to the community efficiently and effectively. Along with the creation of an open data portal, the city should establish an open data policy to create consistent practices with regard to collecting, maintaining and sharing the city’s data.
Money in politics, especially “dark money” spent by campaign committees with deliberately opaque names to conceal the identities and motives of donors, reduces the trust and confidence of voters in the electoral process and in elected officials. Cities have the authority to require that major contributors to political committees making independent expenditures in local elections be disclosed directly on all campaign communications to voters. Voters have the right to know who is spending money on political campaigns. Easy public access to this information helps voters evaluate the campaign messages they receive. I support robust disclosure provisions, including the prominent disclosure of the top five true contributors to political committees. If more than one-third of funding comes from contributors from outside of Mountain View, a disclaimer such as "Major funding from sources outside of Mountain View" should be required.