As outgoing Mountain View City Council Members Chris Clark and John McAlister said their heartfelt goodbyes to a teary-eyed council, they were anticlimactically moved to the attendees box on Zoom while elected Council Members Margaret Abe-Koga, Sally Lieber, Lisa Matichak and Pat Showalter were sworn in by pre-recorded video oaths and designated panelists by the click of a button.
Tonight, the new city council took office and unanimously elected Ellen Kamei as mayor and Lucas Ramirez as vice mayor.
Kamei served as vice mayor under former Mayor Abe-Koga, making them the first Japanese American mayor-vice-mayor pair in the mainland United States. Abe-Koga said she was more than happy to be handing the position of mayor down to Kamei’s “capable hands.”
Finding inspiration for her public service in the compassion and perseverance of the Mountain View community, Kamei said she hopes that it will build a better future for everyone.
McAlister echoed this appreciation for public service that being a council member provided him during his terms.
“You’d be amazed at the connections you’ve made and the impact you have during public service,” McAlister said. “Working with these people day in and day out was tremendous.”
And despite the profound sadness for McAlister and Clark leaving the council, it was quickly replaced by an excitement to greet new Council Members Lieber and Showalter.
With State Senator Josh Becker calling her a “true champion for social justice” — highlighting her work in providing secure and affordable housing for the city — Lieber said that while on the council she will strive to bring empathy and respect to all encounters with the community.
“Everybody is in, and no one is left out,” Lieber said.
Similarly, Showalter said she is an advocate for environmental sustainability and housing security for all Mountain View residents, especially those in motor homes. She also said that among the multiple city councils she’s been on, Mountain View’s shows a civility across divides in opinion that is rare in today’s political climate.
In all of the remarks throughout the evening, the council members expressed great pride in their city and a fervor to build a stronger community.
“In the words of outgoing Council Member John McAlister, there are only two types of people in this world: The people who live in Mountain View and the people who wish they did,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian.