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Aaron Jabbari: A Fresh Face

by Robert Cox and Carter Coleman

I wanted to beat Carter for once, so I sprinted the last half block through a complex that looked like a much larger version of Wild Orchid, and then raced up to Aaron Jabbari’s front door and rang the doorbell.

A young man came to the door. “Is your father home?” I asked.

The young man looked confused and said, “My father lives in Laguna Niguel.”

“How can your father run for Council if he lives in Laguna Niguel?”

It turned out that I was talking to Aaron Jabbari, candidate for Mountain View City Council.

Aaron is so skinny, I found myself unconsciously looking in my pocket for a chocolate bar for him. Just then another young, attractive individual joined us, and Aaron introduced us to his girlfriend Katelin.

Aaron is one of the two Google guys running for a Council seat, recently hired as Account Manager for the Online Sales group, focusing on the High Tech Industry.

Development

It was Aaron’s exposure to the North Bayshore from his job that initially got him interested in running for office. Why wasn’t there housing in this neighborhood of plentiful jobs?

With a nod of recognition to some of the problems with building housing in the North Bayshore, Aaron believes that building in the North Bayshore makes sense. In Aaron’s vision for the North Bayshore, he sees housing interspersed with businesses and services, and thinks that apartments in that area are probably what the younger workforce would want.

Aaron is definitely a growth guy and feels that the city needs more housing so that there’s a better balance between jobs and housing. “You have to use market pricing signals to tell you if there’s enough housing, and the prices of housing in Mountain View tell us there’s not.”

I pointed out that Mountain View already ranks third in the Peninsula in population per acre, and that beyond jobs, housing prices are also due to other factors such as schools, location, quality of life, and access to public transportation, to name a few.

We debated the issue of the balance between jobs and housing. While certainly putting more housing closer to the plentiful jobs in the North Bayshore made sense to us, did a balance between jobs and housing necessarily have to exist? (According to the bayareacensus.ca.gov, there’s about 40,000 workers in Mountain View, and 77% commute out of Mountain View, so should other cities build housing for our 30,000 commuting residents?)

“Maybe we should shut down the Mountain View borders,” suggested Carter, “and make Google hire all of us. Sunnyvale should keep their stinking workers within their own borders.” (Sunnyvale is sending us 6,185 of their people.)

Parking

Carter started talking about establishing a militia and using the CERT walkie-talkies to coordinate maneuvers, and so I tactfully turned the conversation to another topic hotly debated by OMVNA community—parking—pointing out that Councilman Kasperzak advocated making Mountain View car-unfriendly.

“Kasperzak may have the right motivation, but I think he’s taking the wrong approach,” Aaron said.  “The goal is Mountain View should not do what they did to Berkeley. In communities like Palo Alto, Santa Monica and San Francisco, it’s so car unfriendly, it’s tough to live and do business. A good public transportation won’t develop overnight; we still need to consider quality of life in our transition.”

The idea is to have appealing public transportation that people want to use that positively motivates them. “An example of that would be viable public transportation between North Bayshore and the downtown. “

Balancing the Budget

We talked about the challenges of balancing the city budget, and Aaron had a few ideas that were in line with Candidate Dan Waylonis.

“Let the City employees have 401(K)s and manage their own risk like the rest of us. The city shouldn’t be in the business of assuming and managing the risk of their employees.”

Although he’s a golfer, Aaron is against subsidizing the city golf course. “We shouldn’t be subsidizing a small group of people, many of who live outside the city of Mountain View, to the detriment of the city budget to the tune of $1 million.”

Without a doubt, Aaron’s age will come up as an issue (he’s turning drinking age in October), as well as his short residency in Mountain View, having just moved here 6 months ago. When I asked him about that, he said that he felt that he could bring a fresh perspective to Council.

I must admit that I admire someone who has the desire and energy to jump in, and I think that Aaron would bring to Council the concerns and perspective of the younger high-tech residents—an important constituency to be sure.

As we left, I commented, “My, what a nice young couple.”

“And so skinny,” said Carter. “Robert, we need to get skinny too.”

“Great idea!” I said, but noted that it was $1-a-beer night at the Tied House.

As we rode off on our bikes to the Tied House, we agreed that we would  definitely start our skinny program. Tomorrow.

Robert Cox is the Secretary and Carter Coleman is the Treasurer of OMVNA, but the views expressed here are Carter’s and Robert’s own and do not reflect the opinion of OMVNA.

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