Results from the 2020 presidential election this year paint a clear picture of Mountain View as a progressive city even by Bay Area standards, largely backing criminal justice reform, tax increases and blue candidates up and down the ticket.
Yet many of the statewide propositions supported by Mountain View residents fell short elsewhere across Santa Clara County and the state. And when it comes to revising statewide restrictions on rent control, Mountain View rejected the idea despite voting in favor of strong local renter protections.
Election results as of Nov. 8 show 83% of Mountain View voters supported President-elect Joe Biden, while 14.9% supported President Donald Trump's 2020 reelection bid. Biden received a higher percentage of the city's votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Trump received more votes than he did during his first run, showing residents were far less likely to cast a vote in favor of a third-party candidate this year. Close to one-third of all voters in California voted for Trump.
Though the presidential race was a nail-biter through early Saturday, local races had clear winners in the first round of results Tuesday night. Mountain View voters supported Measure C, the city's prohibition on RV parking, with 57.1% in favor of the ordinance. The measure won a majority in all but one precinct in Mountain View, with two-thirds support from the single-family neighborhoods south of El Camino Real -- particularly Waverly Park, Cuesta Park and Blossom Valley.
The only precinct to dip below 50% support included a portion of Shoreline West and the neighborhood around Rengstorff Park, where 50.8% of the residents voted against Measure C.
The city voted uniformly in the City Council race as well, with Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga winning the most votes in all but one precinct to take a commanding lead on election night. The same precinct that voted to reject Measure C supported former Assemblywoman Sally Lieber as its top candidate.
On rent control, Mountain View voters were wary of expanding the ability of California cities to expand local renter protections through Proposition 21. The measure would have allowed rental units built between 1995 and 2005 to be subject to rent control, which are currently exempt from any local measures through the state's Costa-Hawkins Act. Not only was the measure crushed by California voters -- with 59.9% voting against it -- but it was also rejected locally as well.
Election results show 47.6% of the city voted in favor of Proposition 21, with most precincts at a nearly even 50-50 split. The proposition was strongly rejected by single-family neighborhoods south of El Camino Real, however, where close to two-thirds of voters opposed the measure.
Proposition 21 was written to be a softer version of Proposition 10 in 2018, which proposed an outright repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act, but it did little to move the needle among voters. Proposition 21 won roughly the same support in Mountain View, Santa Clara County and the rest of the state as Proposition 10 did two years prior. If passed, Proposition 21 would not have immediately changed which units are covered by rent control under the city's Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA), which exempts all units built since 1995.
Proposition 15, which would have ended tax protections for commercial properties, fell short of passing in California with just 48.1% of the vote in support of the measure. But the proposition fared well in Mountain View and won two-thirds of the city's vote, with the highest support coming from the Shoreline West and Rengstorff Park area (73.6%) and voters in Old Mountain View (70.4%). Supported for Proposition 15 waned to about 58% south of El Camino Real.
When it comes to the the trio of criminal justice propositions on the ballot, Mountain View again leaned progressive. As of Nov. 8, 62.7% of city voters supported ending cash bail (Proposition 25), 74.7% supported the restoration of voting rights after prison terms (Proposition 17) and just 25.7% vote in favor of a law enforcement-backed effort to crack down on property crime (Proposition 20). Proposition 17 passed, while propositions 20 and 25 fell short.
Proposition 22, which proposed reclassifying app-based drivers as contractors rather than employees, succeeded in California with 58.50% of the vote after a long and expensive campaign, with ride-sharing and delivery app companies spending in excess of $200 million in support of the measure. Though many gig economy workers received more rights to employer benefits and other perks under the recent state law AB 5, drivers for app-based companies including Uber, Lyft and DoorDash will be exempt under the newly passed proposition.
Though Proposition 22 prevailed across the state and even won a majority in Santa Clara County, Mountain View bucked the trend. Only 44.1% of the city's voters backed the measure, and the proposition did not lead in a single precinct.
Mountain View also set itself apart in supporting Proposition 16, which proposed the repeal of a law that prevented affirmative action based on race, sex, color or ethnicity by government agencies. Proposition 16 did not pass and failed to gain a majority in Santa Clara County, yet won 54.8% of the vote in Mountain View. Precincts roughly encompassing the Shoreline West, Gemello and Cuesta Park neighborhoods backed the measure with the highest margin at over 57%, while Blossom Valley was the only neighborhood to reject the measure with 49.28% in support of Proposition 16.
The city was united in supporting a sales tax to keep Caltrain's finances afloat. Measure RR won a resounding victory in Mountain View with 74.7% of the vote in favor, well above the required two-thirds majority needed to pass. Voters in the Old Mountain View area showed the highest support for Measure RR with just over 80% in favor.
Though the county had previously chopped Mountain View into dozens of precincts in past years -- giving deep insight into how each individual neighborhood voted -- it now only divides the city into 11 voting areas. Many of the precincts now jut across major thoroughfares and split neighborhood boundaries.