Mike Kasperzak Plans Smart Growth
As the Republican Party steps away from traditional conservatism, we see more Republicans taking a look at their other options. Prudence, foresight, and an eye for economic growth are today characteristics more emblematic of the Democratic Party. Our DMO of the Month made the switch to become a Democratic after seeing then Senator Obama speak at the DMO National Breakfast. Meet Mike Kasperzak, Councilman and past Mayor of Mountain View, CA and our DMO of the Month this October.
Mountain View might ring a bell as the main headquarters of Google. The tech behemoth moved into town in 1999, and now employs 10% of the city’s residents. Other familiar Silicon Valley icons also have a presence in Mountain View, including Microsoft, Intuit, and LinkedIn. Hosting these companies gives Mountain View a few atypical challenges. For instance, Kasperzak notes that Google does not have to pay local taxes on their online ad sales like a traditional business would. High turnover in the tech field also means that employees are less likely to form lasting relationships with the community. Mike Kasperzak has spent his time in office deftly striking a balance between the technology industry and the rest of the city.
Kasperzak takes a deliberate smart growth approach to Mountain View's future. Like other Bay Area communities, the city faces the question of how to maintain affordable housing in a competitive market. Kasperzak has called for higher affordable housing fees, so that the expanding city would not push out low income residents. These fees would be paid by developers and renters who could afford it, supplementing support for those who could not. Kasperzak also backed a rent control ordinance, despite his traditional opposition to rent control, saying that it would provide a more responsive government solution than the competing charter amendment on November's ballot. Mike Kasperzak also takes the smart growth approach to development projects. He passed the North Bayshore Precise Plan, which includes a tiered density system that spurs heavier development near the highway and lighter construction closer to the city’s regional park. This plan adds impact fees into new construction, promotes green building design, and details infrastructure ready for rising sea levels. Kasperzak's forward-thinking approach to growth builds a Mountain View that deals with potential problems before they even arise.
Commuting is another major issue in Mountain View. The local tech boom has put more drivers on the roads and increased the number of accidents. One plan to reduce congestion is the Transit Management Authority, which unifies transportation efforts among the major technology companies. Kasperzak also supports a Bus Rapid Transit plan that would add dedicated bus lanes and encourage mass commuting. In addition to reducing traffic fatalities, the new bus system would also cut commute time for residents.
Mike Kasperzak sits on the Mountain View City Council, having held the position of both mayor and vice mayor. He previously served as President of the League of California Cities, and continues to serve on the Board of the National League of Cities. However his wealth of experience and record of service are about to be squandered by term limits that prevent Kasperzak from seeking reelection to a another consecutive term. His commitment to smart growth and deliberate planning has been a boon to Mountain View. Kasperzak's focus on holistic development and a healthy relationship between business and the public make him our DMO of the Month for October.
Join the DMO California Chapter for their LCC Breakfast, Friday, October 7th at 7:30am