Meet the Mayor

by Deb Keller

Our new mayor, Ronit Bryant, began her climb to power as Newsletter Editor of OMVNA. Might I too aspire to be Mayor someday?

To research this, I walked down to the corner to talk to Ronit. I found out that Council members are compensated $6000 a year, and Ronit estimated that she spent on average about 30 hours a week as Councilperson. Which comes out to about $4/hour.

As Mayor she now earns a whopping $7200.  Outgoing Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga estimated that she spent 40 hours a week as Mayor, so that would  mean that Ronit’s pay is declining to $3.60/hour. (I think I’ll rethink my mayoral aspirations.)

A resident of Old Mountain View for the past 20 years, Ronit lives in the yellowest house in the neighborhood, where she and Cliff raised their three children, now all flown from the nest. Cliff has painted scenes on the doors that represent the dreams and fantasies of the five of them.

Meet the Man behind the Mayor

Husband Cliff is that rare species: a California and Bay Area native. However, Cliff  spent 9 years in the UK, Europe and Israel to diversify his habitat.

Cliff has worked in the computer industry for 30 years, and enjoys searching used bookstores for that odd volume no one needs and going to the Opera House for a performance given by budding young singers.

Meet the Dog behind the Man

So we wondered. Which came first? Obama’s Portuguese water dog or Diego, Ronit and Cliff’s Portuguese water dog? We put the questions to Cliff: “Are you merely Obama dog copycats?” Cliff vehemently denies  this is the case and claimed they had been considering this breed for years, and in fact got their dog before the Obamas.

Vision for Old Mountain View

As a resident of Old Mountain View, what’s Ronit’s vision for the neighborhood?  “Old Mountain View has a small-town feel to it, and I’d like to see that retained. It’s the kind of neighborhood where people stop to chat and neighbors get together for a barbeque in the parks.

“There’s things that we can do to maintain this special feel, including providing services you can walk to. There’s also development details, for example, adding porches so that there’s an outward orientation.”

I asked Ronit about a couple of developments in Old Mountain View.

Where does Ronit stand on the upcoming March vote on the Prometheus development? “When the project comes to Council we’ll see what it looks like. We’ll be looking at questions like, does it fit into the neighborhood? And does it have a pedestrian orientation?”

What did she think of the ROEM affordable housing complex? “We started with a lot of discussion and public input  (even including field trips to view different projects), followed by the choice of a good developer with excellent projects completed. Then we had more discussion and considerable work with the neighbors who were initially very concerned. In December, we had a study session about design options for the project, and the neighbors who came to the meeting were very pleased, feeling that their concerns had been addressed and that the project was going to enhance the neighborhood and our downtown.

“This a great example of the type of win-win solution I look forward to for all developments in Mountain View: a collaborative effort by Council, staff, neighbors, and the developer to come up with a really good solution.”

Meet with Ronit

You can meet with Ronit at the Bean Scene every Thursday from 9 – 10 am. And you can practice your Portuguese, Italian, German, French and Hebrew, with our multilingual mayor. (Slacker husband Cliff speaks only four languages.)

If the Bean Scene doesn’t work for you, what are other avenues? “The best way is email,” said Ronit.

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