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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
Local

City of Mountain ViewCandidate for City Council

Photo of Leonard M. "Lenny" Siegel

Leonard M. "Lenny" Siegel

Incumbent
9,929 votes (15.83%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Increase the supply of both affordable and market-rate housing in mixed-use, medium-density car-light neighborhoods complete with parks, schools, and retail
  • Reduce traffic, vehicle miles traveled, and greenhouse gas emissions by building housing near employment centers and transit, improving mass transit, and strengthening the bicycle infrastructure
  • Create sanctioned off-street sanctioned encampments for vehicle dwellers while we build permanent support housing for vehicle dwellers and homeless

Experience

Biography

Lenny Siegel became Mayor of Mountain View on January 9, 2018.

Siegel has resided in Mountain View since June 1972, owning his home in Old Mountain View since August, 1979.

He was married to Jan Rivers in June 1976; his daughter Misha Siegel-Rivers is 35; and his son Abram Siegel-Rivers is 31.

He served on the Mountain View Planning Commission from 1978-1980, and he was elected to the City Council in November, 2014, taking office in January, 2015.

He has been President of the non-profit Pacific Studies Center since 1970, and he has served as Executive Director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight, a PSC project since 2006, since 1994. His many publications include The High Cost of High Tech: The Dark Side of the Chip (Harper & Row, 1985), co-authored with John Markoff. See www.cpeo.org for a compilation of Siegel’s environmental work.

Siegel founded several local non-governmental organizations, including the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View, Mountain View Voices for Peace and Justice, and the Save Hangar One Committee. He is on the Steering Committee of Bayshore Progressive Democrats, and he was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

He was an undergraduate in Physics at Stanford University from 1966 to 1969. At Stanford he was a leading member of numerous activist groups, including the Students for a Democratic Society, the Stanford Anti-Draft Union, and the April Third Movement.

Born on December 7, 1948, Siegel grew up in Culver City, California. He was a valedictorian at Culver City High School in 1966.

 

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I am indeed fortunate to be serving as Mayor of Mountain View in this time of change. It is my hope that we will preserve all of the things we love about Mountain View—our quality of life, our diversity, and our vibrant economy—while we embrace and manage our path into the future.  

 

I’ve been an activist—indeed, a community organizer—most of my life. I moved to Mountain View in 1972. My wife’s family arrived here years earlier. I’ve been working in Mountain View since the mid-1970s. My son and daughter attended our local schools. 

 

As an elected official, I see each issue that we address as an opportunity to engage the public. As my friends and I declared in the 1960s: People have a right to make the decisions that affect their lives. 

 

Our community values our ethnic and cultural diversity. We welcome tech workers, construction workers, and service industry workers from around the world. We enjoy access to a wide range of food, entertainment, and perspectives from a myriad of countries, cultures, and religions.

 

While in many ways we are the envy of cities across the country and around the world, we face the daunting, inseparable twin crises of traffic—local and regional—and housing—costs and availability. 

 

I am proud to say, though, that Mountain View is leading the Bay Area in confronting these problems. By expanding our housing supply in ways that preserve our quality of life and environment, we are setting an example for other cities in our region. We are planning for medium-density, mixed-use, car-light neighborhoods, complete with parks, schools, and retail, near employment and transit. We are increasing the requirements and finding funding to make 15% to 20% of those affordable. 

 

The best way to provide subsidized housing is to approve suitable market-rate developments to increase the overall supply and keep a healthy mix of housing for every type of household. Not every area will look like North Bayshore, but elsewhere in town—with the East Whisman Precise Plan and Terra Bella Visioning Process—we need to pay similar attention to designing new neighborhoods properly and sustainably. These are areas where landowners, developers, and even employers want to plan for housing.

 

We are moving forward with affordable housing developments on Parking Lot 12 and the Pioneer Park-and-Ride property and elsewhere in the community, as well as several private sites.

 

Our list of transportation infrastructure projects is long and expensive. We are improving access to North Bayshore. We are developing a plan to turn our downtown train platform into a vibrant, multi-modal transit center that serves as a gateway to our busy, increasingly walkable downtown. We are working on bike/ped undercrossings all along the Caltrain corridor. Among the many improvements coming to our bicycle infrastructure, I would like to see us move forward with plans for cycle paths along Caltrain, taking advantage of development projects that could be served by such improvements.

 

As we study the proposed automated, elevated guideway that will link downtown with North Bayshore, we are all learning a great deal about both the technological options and potential routes. I have been talking to officials in neighboring communities about having such a system be the starting point for fixed, elevated transit along Highway 85. 

 

In short, I see Mountain View as a progressive, practical, partnering leader.

 

To finance and accelerate such major undertakings, I initiated the proposal (Measure P) to expand our Business License Tax. New transit would serve, among others, some of the richest corporations in the world, and it’s my intent to seek their help in making speedy convenient, advanced transit a reality.

 

The voter-passed Rent Control law and our Tenant Relocation ordinance help prevent additional displacement of people who form an integral part of our community and provide essential services that we, as a community, rely upon. Coupled with our $15-plus minimum wage, these programs help address this region’s extreme income inequality.

 

Much of what we are trying to do in Mountain View in under attack from our federal government. It’s getting harder to fund affordable housing and social services. Immigrant families face a constant threat of forced separation through deportation. Federal policies that helped combat climate change are being rolled back, while programs that have long protected us against pollution are being quietly undermined. Deductions for local taxes have been limited. Efforts to guarantee universal health care are under constant attack. State-permitted marijuana sales are threatened. Even Internet neutrality seems to be on the way out. The list goes on and on.

 

Where relevant to the work of City government, my colleagues and I have adopted policies, sent letters, and even joined in litigation to protect our residents and economy. I am proud that Mountain View has become a center of the resistance to federal actions, with thousands of people taking part in a series of local demonstrations while hundreds have volunteered to help in contested electoral campaigns elsewhere. I expect that the City will continue to challenge unacceptable federal policies where appropriate, and I also expect personally to continue joining my neighbors in the plaza and in the streets.

 

As a Council member, I have enjoyed direct contact with constituents, developers, and employers. As mayor, I have continued my predecessors’ tradition of accessibility, holding regular “Lenny is Listening” chats throughout our city, leading regular bicycle “Rides with Lenny,” and opening up my home to constituents and business representatives.

 

Finally, I will do my best to continue the tradition of collegiality in Mountain View politics. That is, I expect there to be differences, but I expect to continue working with large employers, small businesses, and developers on some projects even while we disagree on other issues. I also anticipate that there will be policy differences among the seven of us on the Council, but it’s my hope that we will approach each issue in its own right, not voting for or against a motion because of who proposed it. 

 

 

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