Growth, like housing, is an issue that cannot be summed up in a simple "sound bite." It is a complex issue that weaves itself into virtually every aspect our community.

The vitality of Mountain View is, to a significant degree, based on the fact that we have had a strong commercial sector. Our manufacturing and retail outlets provide Mountain View with sales tax dollars which help finance the services that the City provides. Additionally, the employees that work in Mountain View add to the vibrancy of our economy through their purchases and dining. Many of our surrounding communities have no economic base to speak of, and as a result, have little or no sales tax revenue and little demand for workforce housing.

However, as with most things in life, there is a downside to a strong business sector, including:
  • Increased housing demands
  • Traffic
  • Environmental issues
  • Economic displacement
  • Diminished "quality of life"
We must ensure that growth is balanced and that it actually enhances our quality of life. To do otherwise is simply irresponsible. 

Contrary to popular belief, new office development doesn't necessarily provide sales tax revenue to the City.  A company must sell something to generate sales tax.  Businesses involved in research and development and search engines are not generating sales taxes.  So, simply adding more office space and more employees does not equate to higher sales tax revenues. 

As for the housing side of the equation, adequate housing not only helps avoid increased traffic congestion but increases the pride the employees feel about the community they work AND live in. Mountain View has unique and wonderful neighborhoods, and we MUST avoid overcrowding and other actions that might have a negative impact on the character of these communities. However, there are many areas, such as the downtown area and along El Camino Real that are ideally suited for community oriented housing developments which are well built and developed in such a fashion that they enhances the quality of life for the rest of the people who live and work in Mountain View.

And let me be clear, I do not support "high density" housing where ever an opportunity exists.  I have always supported maintaining the unique character of our neighborhoods while working to address both the need for truly affordable housing as well as balancing the high demand for market rate housing created by Mountain View's successful economy.

Therefore, in my Balanced Growth approach, I believe that before the City approves new commercial and office projects, it must ensure that there is or will be adequate housing, effective transportation systems and the appropriate financial resources for enhanced open space and community services. If there isn't, then the office project shouldn't be approved. 

And finally, now that the General Plan update is completed, Mountain View has a fresh and future oriented plan which it must live by.  Future applications to rezone areas of the City in a piecemeal fashion that are inconsistent with the General Plan should be denied.  There is still a lot of work to do updating the many Precise Plans that exist throughout the City, but the Vision is clear and the Plan exists.

By ensuring that there is BALANCED growth, consistent with the General Plan, and that active measures are taken to ensure that any development enhances our quality of life, we can continue to live in a community that flourishes and that we are all proud to call home.



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Mike Kasperzak for City Council
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