Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mountain View City Council 2012 Election Forum

There are 4 slots and 6 candidates running for City Council in Mountain View, CA.  I went to a Q&A session with the candidates on 4 Oct 2012.

Overall impressions: (this is the only part of the post where I'm injecting my own opinions)

  • McAllister: "the politician" experienced political speaker, some buzzwords and self promotion
  • Inks: "the moderate". Moderately libertarian approach, government experience.
  • Neal: "the libertarian".  Strongly libertarian; limited government
  • Capriles: "the green candidate".  Said the most about environmental concerns.
  • Clark: "the economist".  Seems smart
  • Kasperzak: "the incumbent".  Current mayor.  Supports programs like plastic bag ban, narrowing El Camino Real.

Mike Kasperzak: incumbent Mayor.

  • Affordable housing
  • Transit & parking
  • Fiscal sustainability

Jim Neal: sysadmin

  • Limited government
  • Responsiveness to residents

Chris Clark: incumbent Planning Commission member, Planning Commission

  • Maintain fiscal prudence
  • Transportation infrastructure

John Inks: incumbent vice-Mayor.

  • Balanced budgets
  • Avoiding increased fees & taxes

John McAllister: incumbent Planning Commission member.

  • Financially strong city government
  • Strong negotiation
  • Effective transportation network

Margaret Capriles: data quality consultant at HP

  • Integrated solutions across neighborhoods
  • Transportation infrastructure
  • Fiscal responsibility

Dealing with traffic on N. Bayshore
  • Kasperzak: paid parking, discouraging people from driving, personal rapid transit
  • Neal: Encourage housing in N. Bayshore, increase parking
  • Clark: Improved stoplights, bike & pedestrian overpasses, personal rapid transit
  • Capriles: There's a study in progress.  Can we get to 0 cars in MV?
  • McAllister: Ask local employees. Increased access points into N. Bayshore.  MV / Google / VTA collaboration.
  • Inks: There's a study in progress.  Increased access points into N. Bayshore
High speed rail.  For or against?
  • Inks: Against.  Too politicized, focused on "bookend" cities.
  • McAllister: Support in theory.  Lots of issues in practice
  • Capriles: Conceptually good.  Devil is in the details.  Current state "has me questioning"
  • Clark: Initially interested.  It has become a mess.  Let's take advantage of the electrification funds for VTA.
  • Neal: No brainer: against.  We can't afford it.  Report just came out showing it's ridiculously too expensive.
  • Kasperzak: Voted for it, California needs it.  Shot themselves in the foot with it.  Issue has already been decided; how will we deal with it in Mountain View?  Tries to be optimistic: people complained about Boston's Big Dig, but appreciate it now.
Stevens Creek bridge connecting Shoreline Business Park & Moffett Field?
  • Kasperzak: We need a bridge.
  • Neal: Haven't looked a lot at it; I'd need to research it.
  • Clark: Agrees with Kasperzak.  We need a bridge for public safety reasons.
  • Capriles: How and where we put a bridge are important.  Need to consider environmental concerns.
  • McAllister: Could help with N. Bayshore access issues.
  • Inks: Maybe a bridge, maybe not.
How would you create a more environmentally sustainable city?
  • Inks: We're on a path to sustainability.  Bike paths, reducing auto traffic.
  • McAllister: Need to make sure we can fund things.  In recent general plan we did recycling, public transit, got input from people.
  • Capriles: We're working toward zero waste.  Can we remodel buildings instead of tearing them down?
  • Clark: MV is on the right path, need to implement general plan.  Building near transit routes, green building standards, improving transportation infrastructure.
  • Neal: Getting traffic lights and public transit right would go a long way.  Took the bus to get to the event -- took 2 hours and $8.  Recycling pickups to once a week.
  • Kasperzak: Energy upgrade Mountain View program.  Lost a great opportunity by not including housing in N. Bayshore
Plastic bag ban
  • Kasperzak: I'll probably support it when the report comes out.  We need to change our habits.
  • Neal: Opposes "police state" mandates like this.
  • Clark: Negative externalities exist and we should compensate for them.  We'll look back in 50 years and marvel at how lazy we were.  Outright ban may be unnecessary; maybe something phased in.
  • Capriles: What's good for the whole?  We need to sacrifice and suffer for our children.
  • McAllister: My business uses paper bags.  Supports the ban.
  • Inks: Uses canvas bags himself, opposes the ban.  Plastic bags don't even show up on the list of major waste projects.
Google wants to build housing E of 101, city council voted it down.  Your opinion?
  • Inks: Housing proposal was generic, not google-specific.  Housing should have been considered, got sidelined.  Ultimately planners will decide.
  • McAllister: Voted against.  Lack of services would cause a lot of travel over the freeway.
  • Capriles: Opposed.  Saw no compelling reasons.  Environmental impact was unclear.
  • Clark: Supported it while on the commission.  Goes to work daily, services weekly.  Strongly opposed that the 20-year plan didn't include housing N of 101.
  • Neal: Supports it.  Google has services on-campus, what's the deal about lack of services?  Let people live close to work.
  • Kasperzak: Supported it, wanted it as part of public transit commitments.
Affordable housing?
  • Kasperzak: Supports subsidized housing.  
  • Neal: Would work with developers.  Would avoid bureaucracy where developers get stuck in government approvals process.
  • Clark: Overall housing supply needs to increase.  We had no new rental complexes for 10 years.  Look for long-term solution.  Truly "affordable" housing is pretty tough here.
  • Capriles: Need developers, employers and citizens to work together.
  • McAllister: Has employees who need affordable housing.  Need increased density, but we don't have enough density to support affordable housing.  If the community wants it, the community should support it, perhaps through tax.
  • Inks: Affordable housing is subsidized housing.  Public survey didn't support parcel tax.  Unfair to force developers to bear the costs.
Narrowing El Camino Real to 4 lanes?
  • Inks: Opposes. VTA proposal didn't make sense.
  • McAllister: Opposes.  VTA proposal is nonsense.
  • Capriles: Opposes.  Where would the cars go?  Good idea in theory.
  • Clark: Opposes.  Issue seems to be off the table.  We have other approaches in progress.
  • Neal: Opposes.  It'd create a huge mess.  Existing express buses aren't getting used. Opposes efforts by county and state to consolidate things; keep Mountain View unique.
  • Kasperzak: Lone supporter.
How would you use the Shoreline Community Fund?
  • Kasperzak: Supports sharing excess property tax income with local schools.
  • Neal: Complex issue, doesn't have a personal position.  Fund created in 1969 to redevelop this area.  Send it to the citizens for a vote.
  • Clark: Wants a longer term solution.  Supported the short term stopgap measure.  Make sure funds are first used for redevelopment, also schools secondarily.
  • Capriles: Supports the schools, but also important to consider whole picture.
  • McAllister: Supports sharing with schools after other budgetary concerns are considered.
  • Inks: Send it to the voters, agrees with Neal.  
Closing statements:
  • Inks: Solid record of protecting taxpayer dollars.  Constituent support.
  • McAllister: Residents first.
  • Capriles: cited HP experience, community service accolates.  Commitment to the community.
  • Clark: Represents young workers.  
  • Neal: Cares about representing local citizens, getting issues in front of voters.
  • Kasperzak: Has experience as the incumbent.  

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