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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election

California State AssemblyCandidate for District 24

Photo of Mike Kasperzak

Mike Kasperzak

Democratic
Council Member, City of Mountain View
11,343 votes (10.4%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Fight for affordable housing and the transportation systems necessary for a growing economy, maintaining a healthy environment, and our high quality of life.
  • Continue the work to better our schools, so that our public school system can once again lead the country.
  • Look for new and smart ways to make our water supply more efficient, so that we can both conserve and maintain a reliable and affordable water supply.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Council Member, City of Mountain View; Mediation Attorney & Trainer; Fmr. Mayor.
Mediator, Silicon Valley Mediation Group (2005–current)
Principal. Co-founder and mediator., Dispute Resolution Specialists (1993–current)
Council Member, City of Mountain View — Elected position (2008–current)
Mayor, City of Mountain View — Elected position (2012–2012)
Vice Mayor, City of Mountain View — Elected position (2011–2012)
Council Member, City of Mountain View — Elected position (1999–2007)
Mayor, City of Mountain View — Elected position (2003–2003)
Partner, Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon (1982–1993)

Education

Lewis & Clark College Bachelor of Arts (not availa)
Hastings College of the Law Juris Doctorate (not availa)

Community Activities

Past President and Board Member, League of California Cities (2012–current)
Board Member, National League of Cities (2012–current)
Member Board of Directors, Los Altos Community Foundation (2013–current)
Member Board of Directors, Acterra (2013–current)
Chairman, California State Government Relations, American Red Cross (2004–2008)

Biography

Mike brings a long and distinguished record of public service to the people of the 24th Assembly District. Mike was first elected to Mountain View City Council in 1998, serving from 1999 to 2007. Having “termed-out” of office in 2007, Mike took a two-year break from City Council and was again elected by the people of Mountain View to City Council in 2008. Now in the sixth year of his current tenure on City Council, Mike has served Mountain View in this role for a total of 14 years. Mike served as Mayor of the City of Mountain View in 2003 and 2012.

During Mike’s public service in Mountain View, he has been a longtime vocal advocate of affordable housing and policies to help ensure Mountain View is a place where everyday people can afford to live. Mike has worked to balance growth in Mountain View, and has advocated for the housing and transportation systems necessary for a growing economy, a healthy environment, and a high quality of life. Mike pursued a review of the city’s transportation policies and worked to find “win-win" solutions to the issues that face Mountain View.

During his service on Mountain View City Council, Mike has also been a champion for fiscal responsibility, infrastructure development, parks and recreation and quality of life. Prior to being elected to City Council, Mike served for five years on Mountain View’s Parks and Recreation Commission and Environmental Planning Commission.

Mike’s service to the 24th Assembly District goes well beyond his work in Mountain View. Mike has served as a board member for both the National League of Cities as well as for the League of California Cities, where he was president in 2012. Mike’s extensive service on these Leagues has given him an unparalleled rapport and collegiality with numerous lawmakers at all levels of government throughout California. During his time on the League of California Cities, Mike has worked to strengthen relationships between local municipalities and the State Legislature.

Mike also has an un-matched expertise and record of public service in an area critical to the State of California: Water. Notably, Mike has served as Vice Chairman and as a board member of the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, which represents 24 municipalities in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. During his service on BAWSCA, Mike has worked hard to ensure citizens have access to high-quality water from a reliable water supply, at an affordable price.

Mike puts his leadership skills to good use in the non-profit sector on various boards of directors. For over 30 years, Mike has been affiliated with the American Red Cross where he has served in numerous roles including Chairman of the California State Government Relations and Chairman of Chapter Network Support. Mike has also served on the boards of directors of Lewis & Clark College, the Community School of Music and Arts, Hiller Aviation Museum, the Los Altos Community Foundation, Acterra, an environmental non-profit serving Silicon Valley, and Avenidas, a non-profit organization providing services to mid-peninsula older adults and caregivers.

Mike has a Bachelor of Arts from Lewis & Clark College and a Juris Doctorate from Hastings College of the Law. For over 20 years, Mike has been a professional mediator at Dispute Resolution Specialists, a firm he founded in 1993. Mike has served as a mediator and arbitrator for the U.S. District Court and the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Mike has also served as a mediation trainer at the Stanford University and Santa Clara University Schools of Law.

Mike has called Mountain View his home since 1977. 

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and California Counts, a public media collaboration. (6)

Climate changes and the continuing drought worry many in California. What new strategies do you believe would ensure that California is able to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific. 
Answer from Mike Kasperzak:

During my 16 years in elected public service, I have built a strong environmental record.  First, I have taken a leadership role on implementing smart growth and been a staunch advocate of creating more housing, affordable and market rate, along transit corridors, focusing on infill development at much higher densities.  Housing near jobs has multiple positive environmental impacts, can reduce commute lengths and thus reduce transportation related missions. 

I have also been a strong advocate of local policies addressing climate change, and in Mountain View we have done significant planning for sea level rise.  During my four terms on the Mountain View City Council for example, we have fully embraced sustainability and climate action planning.  I have supported these efforts and we have recently adopted a new Climate Action Plan, Climate Action Roadmap, a municipal set of climate action strategies as well as one for the community.  Locally, Mountain View has included solar in new governmental projects, streamlined solar permitting, has adopted a new PACE program, and is aggressively implementing our climate action plan.  In fact, most new office construction in Mountain View is being developed to LEED Platinum standards.  I have also led the effort to preserve and create more park space and open space in Mountain View.  

 Additionally, as a Boardmember of the Institute for Local Government, I have led the effort to ensure that the Beacon Award program rewards local municipalities that implement positive environmental changes.  As a member of the Bay Area Water Conservation and Supply Agency, I have advocated for water saving measures and worked through the non-profit sector to educate smaller localities on how to adapt gray water systems to improve water recycling.  

Many Californians are concerned about the influence of money in politics. What can the state legislature do to ensure that decision-making by elected officials is not swayed by moneyed interests at the expense of constituents?
Answer from Mike Kasperzak:

I support and have endorsed the Disclose Act, and as Mayor, introduced and passed a City Resolution supporting The Move To Amend, a National effort to overturn Citizens United.  Furthermore I have supported local efforts to reduce the influence of money in politics.  Mountain View has a voluntery spending cap which is widely used by candidates and we recently passed sweeping efforts aimed at transparency and disclosure for independent expenditures, including a menu of enforcement options.

The amount of money that is spent on elections shocks the conscience.  However, First Amendment rights must also be observed.  I believe volutnery efforts to control spending, coupled with incentives, as we do in Mountain View could be quite successful.  I also believe the State should further explore the possibility of publicly funded elections.

There are a variety of proposals to raise California's minimum wage. Many of these proposals face opposition from business groups who are concerned that they would kill jobs. Do you support increasing the minimum wage in California?  In your answer please explain your position on the relationship between wages and jobs with specific reference to the situation in your district. 
Answer from Mike Kasperzak:

As a City Councilman in Mountain View, not only did I support being the first City in Santa Clara county to increase the minimum wage by ordinance, I helped lead the successful fight to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018 shortly thereafter, making Mountain View the first city in Santa Clara County to enact such a measure.

What are your top three fiscal priorities, recognizing the need to balance the state’s income with its spending?
Answer from Mike Kasperzak:

As a member of the Mountain View City Council, I only supported Structurally Balanced Budgets.  We avoided wholesale layoffs during the recession and during economic expansions we avoided the temptation of adding long term costs.

I will take these lessons to Sacramento.  I support the Governor's rainy day fund and believe it should be supplemented.  While nobody knows when the next recession will come, every day gets the State one day closer, and we need to be prepared.

Additionally, The State and local governments need to bring our revenue and tax systems into the 21st Century.  Our sales tax is based on face-to-face product sales, but more and more commerce is avoiding sales tax through online sales, downloads and the like.  The State is losing significant revenues to online sales.  The State sales tax should be based on a growing segment of the economy.

Finally, although arguably a transportation issue, our transportation system funding is based on gasoline sales tax, which is declining as cars become more fuel efficient and more and more electric vehicles hit the road.  I support further examination of Vehicle Miles Traveled as a means of paying for our roads.

If elected, what solutions do you propose to deal with the high cost of living in the Bay Area?
Answer from Mike Kasperzak:

California, and the Bay Area in particular, finds itself in the midst of a catastrophic affordable housing crisis.  There can be little doubt that housing costs, especially in the Bay Area, have reached levels that are unaffordable to many.  Our friends, family and neighbors find themselves not simply priced out of neighborhoods but priced out of entire cities and counties.  Young people are being hit especially hard.  Renters and new home buyers are well aware of the problem, but even long time home owners find themselves asking: "Could I buy my house today?" or "Will my children be able to afford living in the same community they grew up in?" 

Unfortunately, the answer to both of these question is no.  Housing has become so expensive that long-time residents have had to move away, leaving friends and family behind. Yet, many of these same people still work in the communities they once lived in and now have to spend hours driving to and from work.  This worsens traffic, reduces the quality of life for those who have to commute, and significantly increases carbon emissions.  It is also having profound economic impacts on businesses throughout the State who find it difficult if not impossible to recruit employees to California out of fear that they will not be able to afford housing.   

As an Assemblyman, I will support legislation and measures that:

  • Create incentives for local governments to create more affordable housing within their communities;
  • Develop incentives for developers and investors who build more affordable housing and transit-oriented development.
  • Enable more creative and effective regional planning and governance across the state to deal with transportation and affordable housing issues.  
  • Create funds for public-private partnerships that enable the development of affordable housing.
  • Increase the California Low Income Housing Tax Credit.
  • Establish a state housing trust fund to develop affordable housing.
  • Codify the California Supreme Court’s recent decision affirming the constitutionality of inclusionary housing ordinances.  
  • Ensure that affordable housing is integrated into larger housing developments in order to ensure diversity and inclusivity.  
  • Encourage the development of more rental housing.  
What steps are needed to improve region-wide transportation planning and the growing traffic congestion?
Answer from Mike Kasperzak:

The importance of transportation policy cannot be underestimated.  It is intrinsically linked to both our economy and our environment as well as quality of life.  Without good transportation infrastructure and services in place and active government investment, our economy, environment, and quality of life overall suffer.  

As a State Assemblyman, I will support measures that:

  • Make our roadways more efficient including development of multi-modal transit corridors to include freeway lanes, mass transit rail, dedicated bus lanes, and bike paths.
  • Improve and expand our commuter and inner urban heavy rail systems.
  • Update the gas tax and other transportation revenues to ensure that our transportation system has the financial resources necessary to maintain and improve our roads, bridges, highways, rail and aviation corridors to ensure that Californians can move quickly, efficiently and safely throughout the State.
  • Complete the high speed rail project and ensure that it links all major population centers of California.
  • High Speed Rail will enable CalTrain to electrify its system, which, once completed, will greatly increase the capacity and efficiency of CalTrain – taking more people off our roads and freeways.
  • I support the Dumbarton Rail Corridor study that is examining the reopening of the Dumbarton Rail line with capacity for Bus Rapid Transit, bike and pedestrian access relieving traffic pressure in the Menlo Park and East Palo Alto communities from Dumbarton Bridge traffic.
  • Give local communities more resources to develop alternative transportation networks such as people movers and personal rapid transit systems.

My Transportation Record:

Although there is often a great outcry for solutions to traffic problems at the local level, local governments are often extremely limited in enacting transportation policies. Under my leadership, Mountain View instituted innovative policies designed to relieve the city’s traffic problems.

These solutions included:

  • Requiring the city’s largest employers to reduce employee single occupant car trips, and shift employees to mass transit and shuttles, and set strict “trip caps” as a pre-condition to the issuance of building permits to expand.
  • Implementing innovative parking models to reduce local congestion and making parking easier to find.
  • Rewarding developers for building pedestrian friendly mix-used developments near light rail that encouraged usage of the city’s light rail system.

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $316,452

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Employees of KASPERZAK JR., R. MICHAEL
$172,000
2
Employees of Broadreach Capital Partners
$11,600
3
Sares-Regis Group and employees
$11,481
4
Prometheus Real Estate Group
$8,400
5
Alliance Manufactured Homes
$4,200
5
Employees of Apple
$4,200
5
BLAI L.P.
$4,200
5
De Anza Building & Maintenance
$4,200
5
MGP Ix Reit
$4,200
5
ROEM Corporation
$4,200
5
Employees of Spieker Investments
$4,200

More information about contributions

By State:

California 97.50%
Missouri 1.02%
Michigan 0.40%
New York 0.35%
Other 0.73%
97.50%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.20%)
Small contributions (0.80%)
99.20%

By Type:

From organizations (16.63%)
From individuals (83.37%)
16.63%83.37%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I take pride in the work that I’ve done to help tackle some of the most important issues of our day: from improving our transportation infrastructure, expanding the availability of affordable housing, working to better our schools, and looking for new and smart ways to make our water supply more efficient. 

I believe that to solve these problems we must foster positive working relationships. Consensus building is the key to effective governance, and I have modeled this behavior throughout my professional career as an attorney, mediator, and public servant. I would be honored if you would allow me to bring what I’ve learned to the State Assembly to continue working on your behalf.

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