News

Sally Lieber resigns from Mountain View City Council, citing conflict with new state position

The newly elected member of state Board of Equalization had planned to serve in both offices

Sally Lieber. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Sally Lieber will resign from the Mountain View City Council at the end of this year, citing a conflict of interest with her new position as a member of the state Board of Equalization.

Lieber made the announcement while holding back tears at the end of a Dec. 13 council meeting. Her resignation will be effective Dec. 30, the day she anticipates accepting her oath of office as the District 2 representative on the state Board of Equalization.

“While the election of state constitutional officers has not yet been certified, I do believe that, by receiving close to 70% of the votes across the 19 counties that comprise District 2, that I will win the election,” Lieber said. “I wanted to say that it’s been an honor to work with each of you, and to work with our excellent staff … and to have the opportunity to serve people in Mountain View.”

The Board of Equalization is charged by the California Constitution with regulating county property assessment practices across the state.

"It also hears appeals of the taxes that are levied by the state, the privately owned utilities," such as PG&E, "and privately owned railroads," Lieber told the Voice in an interview earlier this year.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

Throughout Lieber’s campaign, she said her intention was to continue serving on the council simultaneously if elected for the state office. But after what Lieber called “a good faith effort to examine that,” she said the city attorney discovered a conflict of interest a couple days ago.

“While there is no direct incompatibility between the offices, there is a conflict based on a piece of telecom equipment that exists in Mountain View,” which the Board of Equalization assesses a tax on, Lieber said during the council meeting. The telecom company is in North Bayshore, Lieber told the Voice.

“So it is not possible for me to continue on council,” she said during the council meeting. “I have to pick and choose between two offices, and that’s really an embarrassment of riches.”

Following Lieber’s announcement, City Manager Kimbra McCarthy thanked Lieber for her service to the city, which spans multiple decades. Lieber served on the council from 1998 to 2002 before a six-year stint in the state Assembly. She returned to the council after winning a seat in the 2020 election.

“I would just like to thank you for your service to the residents of Mountain View and for all of your support of city staff over these last few years,” McCarthy said to Lieber. “It’s been a tremendous support for staff always having the encouraging words and really understanding, I think, where some of the push and pull is with the desire to do a lot of great work and then not necessarily always having the resources.”

Lieber told the Voice that while serving on both council and the board would have been "a huge amount of work, ... it was something that I was very willing to do."

"So I'm hopeful that the community will step up and find somebody who's eager to do it, and I'm hopeful that it will be someone who shares my views on the environment and housing and all those good things," Lieber said.

Looking forward to her new position on the Board of Equalization, Lieber said she's excited to get to work.

"When I was in the state Assembly I served all three terms on the Revenue and Taxation Committee," Lieber said. "While a lot of people think that taxes are a really boring area of policy, they're actually quite interesting. So I'm looking forward to that."

According to a city statement, the council will hold a special meeting on Jan. 5, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. to determine the next steps for filling the vacant seat. Per the City Charter, the council can fill the vacancy by appointment or by calling a special election, the statement said.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Malea Martin
Malea Martin covers the city hall beat in Mountain View. Before joining the Mountain View Voice in 2022, she covered local politics and education for New Times San Luis Obispo, a weekly newspaper on the Central Coast of California. Read more >>

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Your support is vital to us continuing to bring you city government news. Become a member today.

Sally Lieber resigns from Mountain View City Council, citing conflict with new state position

The newly elected member of state Board of Equalization had planned to serve in both offices

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Dec 14, 2022, 9:32 am
Updated: Wed, Dec 14, 2022, 11:32 am

Sally Lieber will resign from the Mountain View City Council at the end of this year, citing a conflict of interest with her new position as a member of the state Board of Equalization.

Lieber made the announcement while holding back tears at the end of a Dec. 13 council meeting. Her resignation will be effective Dec. 30, the day she anticipates accepting her oath of office as the District 2 representative on the state Board of Equalization.

“While the election of state constitutional officers has not yet been certified, I do believe that, by receiving close to 70% of the votes across the 19 counties that comprise District 2, that I will win the election,” Lieber said. “I wanted to say that it’s been an honor to work with each of you, and to work with our excellent staff … and to have the opportunity to serve people in Mountain View.”

The Board of Equalization is charged by the California Constitution with regulating county property assessment practices across the state.

"It also hears appeals of the taxes that are levied by the state, the privately owned utilities," such as PG&E, "and privately owned railroads," Lieber told the Voice in an interview earlier this year.

Throughout Lieber’s campaign, she said her intention was to continue serving on the council simultaneously if elected for the state office. But after what Lieber called “a good faith effort to examine that,” she said the city attorney discovered a conflict of interest a couple days ago.

“While there is no direct incompatibility between the offices, there is a conflict based on a piece of telecom equipment that exists in Mountain View,” which the Board of Equalization assesses a tax on, Lieber said during the council meeting. The telecom company is in North Bayshore, Lieber told the Voice.

“So it is not possible for me to continue on council,” she said during the council meeting. “I have to pick and choose between two offices, and that’s really an embarrassment of riches.”

Following Lieber’s announcement, City Manager Kimbra McCarthy thanked Lieber for her service to the city, which spans multiple decades. Lieber served on the council from 1998 to 2002 before a six-year stint in the state Assembly. She returned to the council after winning a seat in the 2020 election.

“I would just like to thank you for your service to the residents of Mountain View and for all of your support of city staff over these last few years,” McCarthy said to Lieber. “It’s been a tremendous support for staff always having the encouraging words and really understanding, I think, where some of the push and pull is with the desire to do a lot of great work and then not necessarily always having the resources.”

Lieber told the Voice that while serving on both council and the board would have been "a huge amount of work, ... it was something that I was very willing to do."

"So I'm hopeful that the community will step up and find somebody who's eager to do it, and I'm hopeful that it will be someone who shares my views on the environment and housing and all those good things," Lieber said.

Looking forward to her new position on the Board of Equalization, Lieber said she's excited to get to work.

"When I was in the state Assembly I served all three terms on the Revenue and Taxation Committee," Lieber said. "While a lot of people think that taxes are a really boring area of policy, they're actually quite interesting. So I'm looking forward to that."

According to a city statement, the council will hold a special meeting on Jan. 5, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. to determine the next steps for filling the vacant seat. Per the City Charter, the council can fill the vacancy by appointment or by calling a special election, the statement said.

Comments

Barbara
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Dec 14, 2022 at 4:32 pm
Barbara, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Dec 14, 2022 at 4:32 pm

The loss of Sally Lieber from the city council will be deeply felt by the citizens of Mountain View. She was a true public servant in every sense of the word. Wishing her well in her new position.


maryhodder
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Dec 14, 2022 at 4:41 pm
maryhodder, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Dec 14, 2022 at 4:41 pm

Dear Council,

The voters spoke in November, giving Li Zhang the 4th number of votes, after Lucas, Ellen and Alison.

Council, if you choose to appoint, you have a responsibility to follow the voter's desire, and not do anything but that. Please allow the voters to make this decision, if you don't hold a special election.

The right person is Li, because the voters said so.

Thank you,
Mary Hodder


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Dec 14, 2022 at 5:09 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Dec 14, 2022 at 5:09 pm

@mary hodder, respectfully. Li Zhang was not running for Sally Lieber's seat -a 2 year term-; so the voters didn't speak on that and I for one did not say so :)

Had Sally Lieber resigned earlier and allowed her seat to be on the ballot in November, I'm sure many other candidates would have run for what would have been an open seat.

I'm sure many candidates will step up and I trust the City Council will choose the best amongst them.


Jeremy Hoffman
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Dec 14, 2022 at 8:10 pm
Jeremy Hoffman, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Dec 14, 2022 at 8:10 pm

The 2022 election results, according to the Mountain View Voice:

Mountain View City Council
(elect three)
Ellen Kamei (i) 8,104 27.13%
Alison Hicks (i) 7,906 26.47%
Lucas Ramirez (i) 7,813 26.16%
Li Zhang 3,690 12.35%
Justin Cohen 2,355 7.88%

If Li Zhang had been close to the top 3 candidates, I think that would be a strong argument in favor of appointing her.

But with the results being what they were, I do not think a 4th place showing (also a 2nd-to-last showing) is a strong argument in favor of appointing her, in of itself.

The results in 2020 (choose 4) were a nailbiter! Nuñez missed out by 58 votes.

MARGARET ABE-KOGA 17,125 16.67%
SALLY J. LIEBER 14,276 13.90%
LISA MATICHAK 12,955 12.61%
PAT SHOWALTER 12,060 11.74%
ALEX NÚÑEZ 12,002 11.68%
JOSÉ GUTIÉRREZ 10,185 9.91%
LEONARD 'LENNY' SIEGEL 9,972 9.71%
JOHN LASHLEE 7,696 7.49%
PAUL ROALES 6,460 6.29%
Web Link

I wonder how much a special election costs the city.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Dec 14, 2022 at 11:11 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Dec 14, 2022 at 11:11 pm

@maryhodder, thank you for your comment. I agree with you. The Council should either appoint Li Zhang, or hold a special election. Those are the only choices. To fill the position with any other person would be extremely disrespectful to both MV Voters and Li Zhang herself.

This situation is rather sticky. Sally Lieber was apparently unable to ascertain before the election that there would be a CONFLICT OF INTEREST with holding her two political positions prior to the election. That doesn't reflect well on her, frankly. I'd like to better understand the actual conflict, and why she failed to recognize it's existence prior to now. “there is a conflict based on a piece of telecom equipment that exists in Mountain View,” which the Board of Equalization assesses a tax on,” what does that even mean? What piece of equipment? How much tax? What is the moral hazard that is at stake? Why did Lieber not ascertain this hazard herself? What circumstances led to the city attorney only discovering this conflict a few days ago?

It gets stickier. Lieber's misunderstanding about CONFLICT OF INTEREST now provides the Council with an opportunity to fill the vacancy with someone other than Zhang, who was the fourth highest vote-getter in the race held merely ONE MONTH ago? The city charter might grant them that power, but I think the situation stinks to high heaven.

@SRB, I don't understand your comment: “Li Zhang was not running for Sally Lieber's seat.” As I understand the process, candidates don't run for individual seats. There were THREE open seats in November, all candidates were running for those seats. If Lieber had properly understood that she could not hold both jobs, the race would have and SHOULD HAVE involved FOUR open seats, and voters would have been instructed to choose FOUR, the last to only be given if Lieber won her new job.

It is a grueling process to run for office. Li Zhang stepped up and willingly put herself through that experience because she believes in democracy and wanted to fight for a better Mountain View. Most people understand that incumbents have incredible advantages in keeping their seats, and that discourages people from running. Li Zhang chose to run anyway. If the Council chooses to appoint someone other than Zhang, my disgust at politics in Mountain View will have reached a new low.


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Dec 15, 2022 at 2:43 am
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 2:43 am

Just an Observation,

Looks like a special election is in order. I do noty think the City Charter allows for an appointment.

Look at the City Charter

Article IV. - The Elective Officers.

Section 400. - Enumeration.
The elective officers of the city shall consist of a city council composed of seven members.

Section 401. - Elected at large.
The council shall be elected at the general municipal election on a general ticket from the city at large.

Thus we are stuck with a new election.


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Dec 15, 2022 at 7:46 am
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 7:46 am

@leslie bain

Last november there were 3 seats and 3 incumbents running for reelection, hence my no open seat comments. Many possible candidates sat that race out because they either liked the 3 incumbents or didn't like the odds of running against them (incumbents have generally the advantage).

Had Sally Lieber resigned in time, her seat could have been on the ballot in November w/o an incumbent hence an open seat. Because it would have been a 2 year term only -remaining of Sally Lieber's term-, it would have been a separate line on the ballot.

Candidates could then have chosen to run for that 2 year term open seat OR for one of the three 4 year term "incumbered" seat, but not both.

I surmise that many potential candidates would have run for that 2 year term open seat (no incumbents), maybe li zhan would have, but

... since Sally Lieber didn't resign in time, nobody ran for "her" seat.




SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Dec 15, 2022 at 7:54 am
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 7:54 am

@JAFO

Relevant section of City Charter - 504 Vacancies

Web Link

City Council can either appoint or run a special election. Either way, new council member will serve for now less than 2 years.

* Had Sally Lieber resigned earlier, the special election could have coincided with the November 2022 election (separate ballot line from the 3 other "regular" seats).


Me
Registered user
North Whisman
on Dec 15, 2022 at 9:55 am
Me, North Whisman
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 9:55 am

So she destroys our downtown, lies throughout her campaign, then takes off to a new job: real peach that one.


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Dec 15, 2022 at 10:29 am
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 10:29 am

What will a special election cost MV? We just had an election, going with the 4th person is a solution. CC, please weigh your options carefully.


beelia
Registered user
North Bayshore
on Dec 15, 2022 at 11:29 am
beelia, North Bayshore
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 11:29 am

Alex Nunez has been very active in the community for many years, is a skillful member of EPC, understands how Council works, and missed being elected to it in 2020 by just a handful of votes.

He is the obvious choice. Council, please appoint this dedicated public servant to Council in January.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Dec 15, 2022 at 5:02 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 5:02 pm

@SRB, thank you for your explanation. I agree with you on this part: “Had Sally Lieber resigned in time, her seat could have been on the ballot in November w/o an incumbent hence an open seat.”

We need to not gloss over the fact that Lieber has created this messy situation by failing to realize that holding both seats would create a CONFLICT OF INTEREST. That's a pretty major oopsy, IMHO. A cynic could hypothesize that Lieber's failure to resign in time might not have been an innocent mistake, but instead a clever political maneuver to stack membership on the Council by going around voters. Voters DESERVE to be the ones who choose who sits on the Council. Democracy demands it.

For the sake of Lieber's reputation, and also the reputation of the entire MV Council, the best solution is that a special election be called to fill the seat. To avoid that expense, the only possible appointment to fill the opening would be Li Zhang, as the next highest vote-getter in the election held ONE MONTH AGO.

@SRB, I also agree with you that some number of “possible candidates [may have] sat that race out because they either liked the 3 incumbents or didn't like the odds of running against them (incumbents have generally the advantage).” Hence my comment that the best solution is that a special election be called to fill the seat. TBH, those who failed to run because they didn't like the odds of running against incumbents don't merit much sympathy from me, especially when Zhang showed bravery in that regard. As for those who failed to run because they “liked the 3 incumbants” … let's be honest, the primary reason to hold a special election at this point would be as a Hail Mary to keep Zhang out of office.

The Council should either appoint Li Zhang, or hold a special election. Those are the only choices that have any integrity to them. And if a special election is held, all of that $$$ will be spent in order to keep an Asian woman out of office who decided to run because she is “concerned about the quality of life in Mountain View”:

“Mountain View is a great place to live and I am proud to have called it home for over 20 years. As a long-time resident, I want to make sure that as the city grows, we have a good quality of life for all residents. New developments should be compatible with existing neighborhoods, the amount of park land should keep up with population growth, and residents should have easy access to goods and services. I want to represent your voices for a balanced growth of our beloved city.”

It's so sad to me that "quality of life" issues have become so reviled in some quarters. Balanced growth is NOT the same as "no growth".


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Dec 15, 2022 at 5:20 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 5:20 pm

@leslie bain

Although very few politicians ever do (San Mateo, San Jose both have to fill in vacancies via appointments), I personally wish Sally Lieber had resigned earlier (after the primary, when it was clear she'd get elected) so that we could have had a less expensive special election for her seat in November.

A special election in early 2023 would be very costly and would leave a seat vacant for at least a few more months; so an appointment might be better.

I don't think anyone should ever be entitled to an appointment. I look forward to a robust set of candidates and entrust the elected city council to pick the best one for the next 2 years.

re: li zhan, I hope she'll apply for the appointment and maybe she'll be the best of the lot. However, a large majority of MV voters didn't pick her in November. I don't think it'd be fair to go against that majority and de facto appoint her based on her (distant) 4th place.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Dec 15, 2022 at 5:33 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 5:33 pm

"I don't think anyone should ever be entitled to an appointment."

Wow. Respecting the voice of voters = entititlement? Wow, Just Wow.

The choice is simple.

A) Hold a special election to fill the seat.

B) If you want to avoid that expense, appoint the candidate who earned the next-most highest votes in the election held ONE MONTH AGO.

Voters in MV should decide who sits on our City Council, not existing Council Members, one of whom was apparently not able to properly understand matters of CONFLICT OF INTEREST.


JAFO
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Dec 15, 2022 at 5:41 pm
JAFO, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 5:41 pm

Just an Observation,

SRB you stated:

Section 504. - Vacancies.
“The council shall, within 30 days from the commencement of any vacancy on the council from whatever cause arising, either fill the vacancy by appointment or call a special election to fill the vacancy. If the vacancy is filled by appointment, the person so appointed shall hold office until the first Tuesday following the next general municipal election at which a successor could be elected and until that person's successor qualifies.” At that next general municipal election following any vacancy, a councilmember shall be elected to serve for the remainder of any unexpired term. If the vacancy be filled by election, the person so elected shall hold office for the unexpired term of the former incumbent and until that person's successor qualifies. When any vacancy occurs, if there are two councilmembers at that time serving terms to which they were appointed, then in that event, the vacancy shall be filled solely by election. Notwithstanding the provisions of Charter Section 1302, a special election to fill a council vacancy may be held on any date.

The problem you have here is CONFLICTING parts of the Charter, in that case the entry that comes first has priority, thus Section 401 would hold precedence. And I believe that the City Council may have no choice but choose the election.

And if you think an appointment would be beneficial to you, the current composition of the council does not indicate an appointment would be beneficial. The current roster has a clear supermajority, regarding the interests of Ellen Kamei, Pat Showalter, Allison Hicks and Lucas Ramirez versus the interests of Margarete Abe Koga and Lisa Matichak. If by simple majority rules, the interest of the 4 would override the interests of the 2

It would be far “fairer” to hold a special election so that all the voter’s interest are considered, don’t you think


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Dec 15, 2022 at 6:42 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2022 at 6:42 pm

@leslie bain. Did not mean to wow you :)

Let me try another way.

The voice/will of the majority of the voters was to reject Li Zhan (distant fourth). So how would appointing her be respectful of that will?

@JAFO

A special election would be costly and it's likely to have a low turnout. In any case, it's squarely up the remaining six council members.

Personally -and probably impractically- I think a better system would be for each elected official to officially designate a "standby" to fill in vacancies (akin a running mate).


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Dec 16, 2022 at 12:17 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Dec 16, 2022 at 12:17 pm

@SRB, you have acknowledged that incumbents have such an advantage in elections that it discourages challengers from running. Now you assert that that the majority of voters “rejected” Li Zhang. I respectfully disagree, I think she made a very respectable showing under the circumstances, earning about half the number of votes that each of the incumbents received.

And now you appear to be pressing for the City Council to appoint some candidate that was not willing to engage in the official process, for whatever reasons? A stealth candidate who voters have had NO OPPORTUNITY to vote upon? A candidate who might have received even fewer votes than Zhang?

I'm sorry, but voters should not be expected to blindly trust their elected leaders. The founding fathers tried to put checks and balances into our political system for a reason. As James Madison (aka the “Father of the Constitution”) put it, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition ... In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and then in the next place oblige it to control itself.” Here we have a messy situation where the RIGHT of voters to choose their elected leaders has been subverted, all because a member of the Council showed questionable judgement regarding CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

If we have the money to construct a new pedestrian mall, we have the money to conduct a special election.


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Dec 16, 2022 at 1:13 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Dec 16, 2022 at 1:13 pm

@leslie bain

Fact is that li zhan lost by a wide margin and was rejected by a plurality of the voters.

If the Council decides to go for an appointment, automatically appointing li zhan based on her distant fourth place would actually go against the will of the majority of the voters. In that scenario I'd want an open process, I'm sure there will a robust roster of competent candidates and it's up to the 6 Council Members to pick the best appointment.

I would have favored a special election if it could have coincided with the General election. Running a special election on its own will cost a lot of money that in my opinion could be better spend somewhere else.

In any case, it's up to our six elected city council members.










LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Dec 16, 2022 at 3:40 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Dec 16, 2022 at 3:40 pm

Li Zhang did really well in the recent election and has an inside track on running in a special election. I bet she does and will win. Too bad it costs the city so much for the election costs, but whatever.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Dec 17, 2022 at 9:19 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Dec 17, 2022 at 9:19 am

I agree with you @LongResident, I think that Li Zhang would have an inside track on running in a special election. The voters have spoken, she came in 4th out of a field of five. She earned about 4000 votes as a non-incumbent, whereas the incumbents each received about 8000 votes. To call her finish a "distant 4th" and a "rejection by voters" is nothing but subjective spin-meistering, IMHO. Clearly she earned more votes than ANY OTHER POTENTIAL candidate for the opening that now exists. Who is better qualified to represent voters than that?

If the Council chooses to appoint some candidate other than the one who would be most favored to win in a special election, they will be subverting democracy itself.

Re whether the money required to hold a special election could better be spent elsewhere:

1. I would like to know SPECIFICALLY which other project is more worthwhile then upholding democracy in Mountain View. A pedestrian mall? According to a recent Harvard Study, more than half of young Americans feel democracy in the country is under threat Web Link . If citizens don't fight to keep it, we will most certainly lose it. IMHO, NO OTHER PROJECT on the table is more worthwhile than preserving the RIGHT of voters to choose who represents them on the City Council.

2. The answer to avoiding the cost of a special election AND respecting the will of voters is simple: appoint the 4th place finisher from the November race.

3. Finally, remember that the reason these funds need to be spent is because one of the sitting council members made judgement errors regarding CONFLICT OF INTEREST. This is a shameful moment for our city. For the sake of Lieber's reputation, and also the reputation of the entire MV City Council, the best solution is that a special election be called to fill the seat. Otherwise it looks like the basest of politics is in play.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Dec 17, 2022 at 6:23 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Dec 17, 2022 at 6:23 pm

I too am very curious about this so-called telecom equipment owned by Google in Mountain View with a variable tax decided by the SBE. How valuable can "it" be and why is there only one? Is it the device which tethers Google HQ to the mothership orbiting earth?


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Dec 18, 2022 at 1:22 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2022 at 1:22 pm

@LongResident, where did you learn that the telecom equipment in question is owned by Google? Do you have a link?

So now I'm starting to suss out what the conflict of interest might be ... since Google HQ is in MV, apparently City Council views them as an entity for whom they must "fight for", apparently including lowering their tax burdens?

But as a member of the SBE, Lieber has a responsibility to ensure that imposed taxes are fair for everyone. And since she can't do both at the same time, it creates a conflict.

Is that it?

If so, don't the voters who live in MV deserve transparency about this situation? Have City Council members been fighting to lower tax burdens for Google? Have all of them been doing it, or just Lieber?

If only there were journalists in the vicinity who were motivated to shed some light on this situation. "“there is a conflict based on a piece of telecom equipment that exists in Mountain View,” which the Board of Equalization assesses a tax on,” has been reported, but that is insufficient to help citizens understand what is actually going on, and what the actual conflict of interest is, EXACTLY.

Have to say that if the City Council has been fighting to lower Google's tax bill, and is also considering lowering or waiving developer impact fees (which are used to increase school and park capacity when the population rises), I think that situation stinks. The status of schools and parks are "quality of life" issues that are mocked in some quarters these days. The MV City Council should be fighting for what is best for RESIDENTS, not what is best for GOOGLE. It rather shocks me that I feel forced to say those words out loud for others to hear. Having a City Council that prioritizes Google over MV residents is simply NOT democracy.


Mark Landefeld
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Dec 21, 2022 at 2:14 pm
Mark Landefeld, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Dec 21, 2022 at 2:14 pm

Seems pretty clear to me. Democracy can be inefficient and expensive.

You need a special election and those who feel otherwise need to pursue amending the City Charter to support a different succession model. I would recommend any Council appointment to be limited to 90 days to provide representation prior to the special election.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.