Midpeninsula Post

(Courtesy Alison Hicks)

Alison Hicks is running for Mountain View City Council.

Hicks currently serves as vice mayor and is a retired city planner. She received her master’s degree in city planning from UC Berkeley with a focus on housing and project development.

Environmental Sustainability

Hicks is chair of the council’s Sustainability Committee. Under Hicks’s leadership, the committee has gone from meeting once every other year to multiple times each year. 

“I think the good news in this arena is that there are ambitious yet practical steps that we can take to combat the climate crisis,” Hicks said. “And a good number of them can be taken at the city level. So this is really something that we have to make a priority.”

As chair, Hicks said she promotes electrification, planting trees for carbon sequestration and increasing the availability of plant based foods.

“Ideally, what you want is that you order a plant based option and maybe your friend orders the chicken and they’re like ‘Ooh, yours is better,’” Hicks said. “You want those plant based options to be exciting. And so I think we can just step that up a little bit.”

Housing

Hicks is on the Notice of Funding Availability Committee — the council housing committee — which reviews funding for affordable housing developments. 

“I’ve worked for an affordable housing developer in the past that did everything from transitional housing for homeless people [and] affordable rental housing all the way up to affordable ownership housing for lower income people,” she said. “So I have a lot of opinions and experience regarding how to do that.”

Hicks promotes live-work housing, which would allow store owners to live alongside their businesses.

“You kind of get a picture of the way people lived in say the 1920s, kind of pre-car, when there were a lot of people living above … whatever small business they had downtown,” Hicks said. “That’s something that I think is coming back in a lot of places and that we could put on some of our streets.”

Hicks said that in Mountain View, the issue isn’t space, it’s the price of the land. In order to create more housing, Hicks said the city must have adequate funding streams. The Bay Area Housing Finance Authority is in the planning stages of a large regional housing bond, which Hicks said will help the city buy more land and create housing. 

“In the short term, I think we’re going to use the sites we already own and then hopefully apply some of that subsidy money from the regional bond,” Hicks said.

Livability & Community Participation

One of Hicks’s top priorities is ensuring livability, which she defines as making sure the city has enough school sites and parks, implementing tree lined streets and creating better bike paths, though she did not specify what those would look like.

“We’re definitely going to be growing over the next decade or so,” she said. “And I want to make sure that Mountain View is still a place that feels like home.”

One way Hicks wants to ensure this is through the new parks and recreation plan. Hicks said the council has received suggestions from residents who want everything from more tennis and pickleball courts to off-leash dog parks.

“There’s a lot of conflicting needs and we’ll have to sort those out and think what goes where,” she said.

Hicks is also a proponent of the downtown precise plan, which has made three blocks of downtown Mountain View along Castro Street car free, and said she looks forward to transforming the area into a better public space.

“It’s very popular right now, but I think there’s a lot more we can do with it to make it an even better public space, you know, put in more green space and benches and clean it up and little bit and ask the public what they want from that space,” Hicks said.

To learn more about Hicks, visit her website here.

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