MV council members eye Gordon's Assembly seat | News | Mountain View Online |


MV council members eye Gordon's Assembly seat

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When state Assembly member Rich Gordon terms out of office in 2016, Mountain View City Council members Mike Kasperzak and Margaret Abe-Koga are among those who could take his place.

Gordon, a Menlo Park Democrat, was elected to the seat before district lines were redrawn to include Mountain View and much of northern Santa Clara County. His district encompasses Mountain View, Sunnyvale, a portion of Cupertino, Woodside, Portola Valley, Atherton, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills,and the San Mateo County coast.

"As far as I know nobody has been as forthright as I am about their intent to run," said Kasperzak, a lawyer and mediator. "My plan is to file the paperwork after the beginning of the new year and get together an exploratory committee."

"I have been urged by many people to run for the 24th Assembly District seat in 2016 so I am exploring the possibility," Abe-Koga said in an email. She said she needs to consider impacts to her family, among other things.

Palo Alto council member Marc Berman has reportedly filed papers to allow himself to raise funds to campaign for the seat.

Abe-Koga terms off the council at the end of this year, after eight years on the council. By the end of 2016, Kasperzak will finish his second eight-year term on council.

Elected on a wave of anti-growth sentiment in 2006, Abe-Koga has supported labor unions and VTA transportation projects (she is a former chair of the VTA board) and has opposed some housing projects, such as housing in North Bayshore, putting her at odds with progressives in the city. Abe-Koga lost a bid for a seat on the El Camino Healthcare District board this year and had also considered a run for county supervisor at one point.

Kasperzak and Abe-Koga are Democrats, but Kasperzak has more consistently advocated for business interests than nearly anyone on the council, except perhaps Libertarian John Inks. He's also interested in pushing for potable reuse of water, reversing the Palmer court decision that limits the amount of affordable housing that can be required in new apartment projects, and reforming state environmental laws to make housing development less financially risky. He's familiarized himself with city issues at the state level for years as a board member of the League of California Cities

"I believe my work on the Mountain View City Council and on regional boards such as VTA, the Cities Association of Santa Clara County, the Silicon Valley Regional Interoperability Agency as well as work on such boards as the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley would be pertinent to the work conducted at the State level," Abe-Koga said. "I would like to bring to Sacramento the perspective of local government as it is often at the local government level where the rubber meets the road."

She said "technology, transportation, housing, the environment and education" would be her priorities.

Kasperzak ran for a state Assembly seat in 2007, then withdrew to support Santa Clara Democrat Dominic Caserta.

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5 people like this
Posted by Max
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Professor Tom Means formed an exploratory committee last Summer and will be announcing his candidacy for the Assembly seat on New Years Eve.

3 people like this
Posted by Larry
a resident of Gemello
on Dec 25, 2014 at 12:58 am

It appears we will have a large field in the Democratic primary for this seat; we may even have two democrats facing each other in November. Just from listening to Margaret Abe-Koga and Mike Kasperzak personally, I am of the impression that I am listening to a real person when Abe-Koga speaks, but am listening to a politician when Kasperzak speaks. That could be because he is a lawyer… It will be interesting to watch the campaign for this seat with what promises to be a crowded field of candidates.

3 people like this
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Dec 25, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I'm delighted at the chance to vote for Abe-Koga for CA assembly. Margaret is a blessing in MV politics and one of the smartest most grounded people in the field. I welcome the opportunity to vote for her and for her to represent our community' needs in Sacramento.

3 people like this
Posted by council watcher
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 25, 2014 at 6:41 pm

"...Kasperzak has more consistently advocated for business interests than nearly anyone on the council..."

That's kind of an understatement. We are not talking about small businesses here, either.

"Abe-Koga has consistently supported labor unions and VTA transportation projects (she is a former chair of the VTA board) and opposed housing in North Bayshore, putting her at odds with progressives in the city."

PROGRESSIVES? I really can't let that one slide. Daniel DeBolt's use of the word "progressives" to describe those who favor turning MV over to housing developers is absolutely Orwellian. Freedom is slavery, you know?

Note: I'm not sure I'd vote for Abe-Koga...unless Kasperzak was her only opponent.

8 people like this
Posted by Smartest?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 25, 2014 at 7:51 pm

"Margaret is a blessing in MV politics and one of the smartest most grounded people in the field"

Smartest? Oh, lord...

5 people like this
Posted by What exactly
a resident of Slater
on Dec 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm

I will want to know WHAT EXACTLY elected officials seeking higher office have done (or failed to do) in lower offices. For example, tell us about unfunded or not-fully-funded pensions and promised life-time medical care for retired employees.

3 people like this
Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2015 at 10:25 am

As to Palo Alto Councilmember Marc Berman, he already has campaign websites boasting about his extensive accomplishments. But he has only been on the City Council for 2 years and just signed up to work for a " non- profit" 6 months ago! Does anyone else want to run?

5 people like this
Posted by Jayne
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 3, 2015 at 11:47 am

This Marc Berman from Palo Alto also ran for State Assembly in 2010 before he had even been elected to any other office. Ambitious guy.

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