Well, the past two weeks weren't nearly as "heady" , even though the President visited the Bay Area for another fundraiser, this time flying into San Francisco.
I have never really understood why the Secret Service insists on closing commercial airports when Air Force One flys in given the disruption to the national economy. Heck, the pilots are the best in the world, the plane gets priority handling and airports are supposedly more secure today than ever before. Anyway, I'm rambling...
One of the really exciting activities of being Mayor is conducting corporate visits. There is such a diversity in our business sector. This week I visited a local favorite: Acme Bread. Anyone who has been to our award winning has seen the only real "queue" at the market, and it is always for Acme Bread. Acme has 4 bakeries in the Bay Area, 2 in Berkeley, one is SF and one in Mountain View which serves the whole south bay, Santa Cruz and even SF. They make the bread fresh every day and there are no preservatives. Its great to have a little "low tech" in the center of Silicon Valley. You can get Acme Bread at Ava's Downtown Market and several other stores in town.
Last weeks Council meeting was dominated by the presentation of the City Budget which will be adopted this Tuesday evening. Mountain View has done a great job of controlling costs over the years, even as we have weathered the recession. Our employees have contributed to balancing the budget during these tough times, and Mountain View is far ahead of the game when it comes to having a balanced approach to employee costs and benefits.
The "main event" of the evening was the Rental Housing Impact Fee. Mountain View has had a below market rate housing program for over 10 years. Developers of commercial, industrial and residential projects must contribute to the Cities Housing Fund to help provide housing to lower income residents so that Mountain View remains a diverse community socio-economically, something residents have said is a high priority time after time.
However, a court in Southern California ruled about three years ago that requiring a rental developer to provide a percentage of units at an affordable price violated State laws against rent control. As a result, while every other developer has to pay a fee, rental developers didn't have to do anything as a result of the Court decision. Tuesday night, the Council directed staff to prepare an ordinance that will require rental housing developers to pay a fee when building new apartments. At the desire of the developer, units can be provided in lieu of paying the fee. With over 1200 apartment units in the development pipeline, this should provide needed below market units.
And of course, Tuesday was election day, , which passed by 66%, a great show of support from the community for our schools.
The following morning, Kaiser Permanente and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group held a Health & Wellness conference in Mountain View at Microsoft. Hundreds attended to learn more about the latest advances in employee wellness programs, what is happening with the obesity crisis and its effects on chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Billions are spent each year treating these controllable diseases. If you haven't seen the HBO special, Weight of the Nation, I highly recommend downloading it for free from Amazon. Even fresh squeezed OJ has almost 8 teaspoons of sugar.
The Wellness conference was followed by the 12th Annual Energy Summit where I had the opportunity to welcome the attendees and let them know about the advances Mountain View has made in energy sustainability, including turning landfill methane into electricity, converting to LED traffic lights and a host of other energy (and cost) saving projects.
Saturday saw the Dedication and Opening of our newest neighborhood park, Mariposa Park. We had one of the highest attendance levels for a park opening in a long time. When you get a chance, take a look and be sure to read the story boards to learn about butterflies (Mariposa) and the history of the area. This coming Tuesday, we will be dedicating the new Permanente Creek Bridge and Tunnel over US 101. Finally, west-side bike access to the North Bayshore.
Later Saturday afternoon, I was honored to participate in the 10th Anniversary Celebration of Carnegie Mellon University-Silicon Valley. CMUSV was the first expansion of the renowned Pittsburgh PA based university, and it has been a huge success. Located on the historic Shenandoah Parade Grounds at Moffett Federal Airfield, CMUSV has integrated into Silicon Valley, forming partnerships with NASA, other universities and the community. With the future expansion of University Associates at Moffett, Mountain View is on the way to also being a university town. Congratulations to CMUSV for its first 10 years!
To wrap the week up, I held Mocha with the Mayor today at Grain D'or. Several of the participants spoke highly of Occupy Mountain View, a group of residents working towards positive change in our community. They have worked on reforming the Citizens United Supreme Court decision which allowed superPacs, and are now exploring ways to ensure that big banks meet their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act, and more specifically, to ensure that large organizations such as the City of Mountain View bank with institutions that not only provide the best service and cost structure, but also that are committed to the betterment of the communities they serve. We may see more of this locally as well as around the Country.
The weekend wraps up this evening at the Community Services Agency Annual Spring Fundraiser at the Computer History Museum. CSA is one of the premier social service agencies on the Peninsula, and the Mountain View/Los Altos communities are lucky to have such a dedicated and committed group of people looking out for our neediest citizens and residents.
That about wraps it up. Summer starts in about 2 weeks, though this week should prove to be a good introduction weather wise. Stay cool and re-hydrate!