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Chris Clark Next in Line to be Mayor!

Original post made by Jim Neal, Old Mountain View, on Jan 2, 2014

As of the time that I am writing this, today's edition of the MV Voice is not yet posted online (or at least I can't find it yet). One of the stories on the front page is the Chris Clark is in line to be the next Mayor of Mountain View.

I happen to think that Chris will be an excellent Mayor and will prove himself ready to handle the duties and responsibilities that come with it. At this time last year, I attended the first City Council meeting of the year and gave my unequivocal endorsement for him to be elected Vice Mayor. I had run against Chris in the campaign for City Council, and while I did not always agree with his ideas, he struck me as someone who would bring good energy and serious thought and consideration to everything that the Council would be asked to consider.

I was a bit surprised though to see that some emphasis was put on the fact the Chris is openly gay. To me, this is a non sequitur because the Bay Area is quite progressive and forward thinking; and whether one is gay or not has no bearing on one's ability to do any particular job.

Last year, no one mentioned that I was the first "openly Black man" to ever run for City Council here and if they had it should not have mattered, because what matters are ideas and not what category people want you to fit into. If I am elected to the City Council this year, I admit that it would be nice to be listed in the history books as the first Black person ever elected to City Council here, but that won't matter to me if after I am there, and if I were to become Mayor, if my legacy was one of one failed policy decision after another. I would much rather be remembered as someone who was effective, got the job done, and move the city forward.

I think that when you look at the things that Chris has been able to accomplish in his first year, no one can argue with his dedication, his drive and his willingness to take on such an awesome responsibility and in the end, I think those are some of the most important things he should be evaluated on. Anything that has to do with his personal life is irrelevant.
I intend to speak again during the Council Meeting and endorse Chris Clark as the next Mayor of Mountain View and John McAlister for Vice Mayor.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Comments (14)

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Posted by Moffett Resident
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 3, 2014 at 9:25 am

Chris Clark's record as a member of the City Council has been disappointing to me; he's turned out to be pretty much pro-developer. We need to do better at the next election.

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Posted by konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 3, 2014 at 11:42 am

@ Jim Neal,

Chris Clark's believes that What is good for developers is good for Mountain View. He has totally ignored the needs and desires of the residents of Mountain View and only listens to outside developers.

Jim,. I had supported you in the past. However, I can no longer do so and will work hard to defeat you in any election that your name appears.

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Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 3, 2014 at 5:43 pm

People like Clark and Neal are pro-people because they support human rights to own, trade and utilize private property. It is the no-growthers that put their rights above others and dont care about violating the rights of others. They dont want others to enjoy the benefits of free exchange. IN essense they hate other people who are different because they are afraid they might be enjoying themselves too much rather than trying to live a happier life.

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Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 4, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

I think it is necessary for me to make my comments here a bit more clear since it seems that some have mistaken my support for Chris Clark to be our next Mayor, with me supporting all of Clark's council decisions. I supported Clark for Vice Mayor last year, but anyone who was been to or watched video of me at the City Council meetings will tell you that I am in no way in the pocket of the developers. I have spoken out vociferously on behalf of the restaurant owners in North Bayshore, for preservation of the Milk Pail, and against the apartments at 801 Castro street unless they included the existing shops that are the cornerstone of that part of the Cuesta Park Community.

My support of Mr. Clark is primarily based on the fact that he and I both work in the technical community and I understand very well how difficult it is to have a full time tech job and to attend every City Council meeting. I also stand by my statement that he will be able to handle the responsibilities that come with being the Mayor. Mr. Clark was elected last year and so he will be on the council next year regardless of what happens in this year's elections. The only difference will be whether or not he will be the Mayor or a regular member of the Council; and although I may not agree with all of the votes he has cast, I see no reason that he should be disqualified from his turn at being Mayor (which rotates annually and is usually given to the person who received the most popular votes and has not yet held the position).

As for me, I would suggest that people look very carefully at my comments from the scores of articles that I have written here and the comments that I have made during the City Council sessions before making any snap decisions as to how they will vote next year. We have a lot of very important issues coming up both before and after next year's elections and I think people should very carefully consider where the candidates stand on the issues.

Anyone who serves on the Council will have to get along well with all the other members. I already have good relationships with the current members of Council not because I always agree with them, but because I don't take the disagreements personally. I would not be afraid to be the only Council member to vote "no" on an issue if I thought it was the right thing to do, and anyone who thinks differently does not know me.

As the political insider said I am "pro-people" and I will always put the people of Mountain View first.

@ Konrad -- I will extend my common invitation to you or anyone else that wants to discuss anything related to City policy with me. You can email me or you can find me at almost every City Council or EPC meeting. I'm not hard to find. I'll be the guy in the cowboy hat.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

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Posted by Moffett Resident
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 4, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Jim, since you are planning on running for City Council again, perhaps you would be willing to answer a few questions:

1) Do you think that all in all, Planning and the present council members have done a good job or a poor job of balancing growth with quality of life?

2) On many recent development questions, the council has split 5-2, with only Siegel and McAlister willing to take a stand in favor of growth that is more balanced. Let’s be clear - no one is proposing “no growth.” The other five seem to rubber-stamp anything that Planning sends them - and Planning rarely says no to what developers propose. If you had been on the council this last year, would you generally have been one of the five or one of the two? Specific instances?

3) What do you think of the San Antonio Phase 1 development so far?

4) What do you think would be a reasonable FAR along El Camino?

5) What do you think of the City’s “Model Parking Standard” of one parking space per bedroom in new developments?

6) What did you think of the “Madera Report”?

Thanks in advance.

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Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 6, 2014 at 12:17 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@MoffettResident -- With regard to your questions here are my thoughts:

I will say that as far as the current Council, they have all voted their consciences with regard to growth. That being said, I have seen a noticeable decline in the quality of life in Mountain View in the last few years for both myself and a number of my friends who live here. My rent has increased 20% just in the last year while my income has not seen a net increase in about 4 years. I see how the prices at the local stores are also rapidly increasing and wonder how long those of use who are firmly entrenched in the lower and middle classes will be able to continue to call Mountain View home if these trends continue.

As far as development goes, I agree that we do need to have some new development here in Mountain View, but I am strongly against the practice of displacing successful businesses in favor of 'assembling parcels' for PC zoning; especially if that zoning is intended to override or exceed the current zoning standards or will have a significant negative impact within the affected community.

In my personal opinion, San Antonio Phase 1 is a collection of very ugly pieces of cement. I sincerely hope that Phase II will be an improvement and will include a solution that allows the Milk Pail to remain where it is and to operate as it currently exists.

As to the question of FAR along El Camino, I can't answer that because there are many different structures, zones, and neighborhoods that run along El Camino Real so the FARs would have to be determined on a case by case basis.

As far as the Model Parking Standard, I think it is flawed and I would like to see additional parking spaces required for new developments.

As far as the Madera report, that relates back to your fifth question regarding parking if I am not mistaken. Madera (as of now) is a unique situation in that most of the apartments are used for Google corporate-paid housing. As many Google employees come from outside of California and many do not own cars when they arrive, I believe that any assumptions regarding parking using that development as a sole basis is inherently flawed. However, if that will be the model for new developments going forward, I find that to be problematic as well insofar as it means that new housing will be coming online to primarily serve corporate interests and will continue to put upward pressure on rents here in Mountain View.

If you have additional questions or would like further clarification on my remarks here, please send an email to my personal account and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for your interest.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

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Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I hope residents who are concerned about the apparent development frenzy in Mountain View, and more specifically the current proposed development at 801 el Camino Real (corner of El Camino Real & Castro Street) will consider signing the following petition:

Web Link

One development at a time, the residents of Mountain View are being forced to watch as developers profit at the expense of the community as a whole.

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Posted by Moffett Resident
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Jim, thanks for your response to my questions. I realize that it’s tricky when you are asked to take a side on issues that are controversial. Here’s my take on your answers (the numbers relate to questions asked in my comment, above):

1) You didn’t really answer this one as it concerns the present council majoriy/minority. You did state that rent costs are a primary area of concern for you. You’re right, but I’d add that the type of development that we are seeing (“luxury” apartments that rent for $8,000/month, 2-BR) doesn’t help the situation. Other “quality of life” questions, that you didn’t address, are traffic congestion and parking.

2) Although you gave a good general statement about development and “assembling parcels,” you didn’t really answer my questions about how you would have voted on recent projects. I can understand that you would not want to label yourself in a way that would offend anyone - however, I was hoping to get a better idea of where you stand.

3) Thanks for this straight answer.

4) You kind of finessed this question, but I’d like to remind you that the 2030 General Plan allows for up to FAR 3.0 in the “El Camino Change Area.” I’m no expert, but that sounds like a 7- or 8-story building. I was hoping that you would question the wisdom of a 3.0 FAR anywhere along El Camino and say something like, “How in the world did this get into the General Plan?” (For any reader who may not know, FAR is “floor area ratio,” a measurement of density.)

5) Thanks for this straight answer.

6) If you are not sure about the Madera Report, ask Planning for a copy, or check the City website for the staff report for the Dec. 3, 2013 council meeting. The rest of your answer was well thought out.

I hope you don’t mind answering these sorts of questions publicly, rather than in private emails. I think we all need to be fully informed at the next election. Thanks again.

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Posted by Moffett Resident
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Oops - majority/minority remark in #1 above should be in #2. Instead, it should read "You were being diplomatic, but didn't really answer my question..."

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Posted by Cowboy Poet
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm

You guys are all making a Mountain View out of a molehill.

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Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 9, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@Moffett Resident -- I was at City Hall the last two nights for the Council Election and the EPC Meeting regarding the North Bayshore. So I have had two busy nights in addition to my full time job. That being said, I will try to give you a more full reply, although I will say only that I ask people to email me directly so that I know with whom I am speaking. People here frequently use pseudonyms (not quite sure why). I always use my real name and give my opinions.

I agree that traffic congestion and parking are issues 2 and 3, but rent/community preservation is definitely number 1! I think that dedicated bus lanes are a very bad idea and I have been against them from the beginning because buses are the second most expensive method of local transportation behind only cabs/limos. The buses also do not serve enough of Mountain View or run during the hours needed to make them a viable alternative. As far as parking, I think that any new developments should have to provide sufficient parking so that they do not impact the local area/neighborhood. I would generally look for 1.5 per bedroom.

As far as whether I would be in the majority or minority; I would have been in the minority most of the time because the majority of projects that I saw were displacing local successful businesses. Specific projects that come to mind are 801 El Camino, Rengstoff & Old Middlefield (former home of La Bamba & La Castegna), 100 Moffett, the proposed "movie theatre" project for north bayshore, San Antonio Phase II (unless the Milk Pail is reasonably accommodated), etc.

El Camino does allow up to 3.0 FAR and up to 8 stories, but it is as I said, the FAR is determined on a project by project basis even along El Camino Real. The only building over 4 stories that I would even consider would be a hotel and it would have to be at least two blocks from the nearest housing on all four sides and would have to prove that parking and traffic would not be impacted.

I read the Madera Report and it does go into detail about parking for the Madera Project which is what I though you were referring to, so I stand by my original remarks in that regard. I am planning to have a few town-hall style meetings (assuming I can find an adequate space) and/or scheduled Cowboy Coffee sessions at a local coffee shop. I will publish the details shortly and I hope that you will be there and introduce yourself to me.



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Posted by konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm

@Political Insider

Your argument, as usual, is flawed.

First, those of us who want responsible growth are not “no-growthers.” We want r-e-s-p-o-n-s-I-b-l-e growth.

Second, and most important, the current residents of Mountain View have rights! You are concerned about developer’s rights and private property owners’ rights but totally ignore residents’ rights. The 2030 General Plan, in the Quality of Life section, states the goal of preserving the land uses within most neighborhoods and establishing policies to help enhance and support their distinct characters.

However, there is hope! John McAlister, who listens to, and appreciates the residents of Mountain View, will be Mayor next year. Margaret Abe-Koga Ronit Bryant, along with Jac Siegel are terming out at the end of this year. We need to identify, support, and elect three new councilmembers like John and Jack.

Yes, we can, and will, take Mountain View back!
Clark does not [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] about the rights of any other than developers.

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Posted by Moffett Resident
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 9, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Jim, thanks for the straight answers. I do think an 8-story hotel or apartment building anywhere on El Camino in Mountain View is an idea that should have gone into the trash before it made it into the General Plan. Why it didn't is...a good question.

Like this comment
Posted by MtnViewless
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jan 11, 2014 at 11:19 am

Mountain View. The only way residents are going too see a mountain is from the window of a penthouse in a high rise.

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