Midpeninsula Post

(Courtesy Lucas Ramirez)

Lucas Ramirez is running for Mountain View City Council.

Ramirez is the city’s current mayor. He’s served the city, his hometown, for about a decade, first serving on the human relations commission, then the environmental planning commission and now the city council. Ramirez concurrently works as a policy and legislative analyst for San Jose Councilmember Sergio Jiminez. 

“The council, in 2019, created an ambitious work plan as part of a two year goal setting cycle,” Ramirez said. “And in practice, we were not able to fully implement that work plan because of the pandemic.”

Environmental Sustainability

Ramirez said the council has already made a “substantial investment in sustainability,” in serving as a founding partner for the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority.

“The city is participating in the 100% renewable option for municipal power, which is great, so municipal services are powered by 100% renewable sources and the rest of the city is at least carbon free,” he said. 

The next step is transitioning from natural gas infrastructure to electric infrastructure, Ramirez said. 

“Personally, I think if we’re serious about meeting our very aggressive climate change goals and our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, we’re going to have to explore something like an end of life ordinance,” Ramirez said.

An end of life ordinance would require that natural gas infrastructure and appliances are replaced with electric infrastructure and appliances after they reach “the end of their useful lives,” according to Ramirez.

“We’re going to have to be very thoughtful about how we work with property owners to make that possible, and in my opinion, that will mean that the city will have to provide financial assistance or some kind of program that will make sure that property owners don’t get too hard financially by that transition,” Ramirez said.

Housing

Ramirez said the housing element is “of great importance” to him. The housing element will be approved late this year or early next year depending on state feedback.

“That’s the beginning of a long eight year process to affirmatively further fair housing and increase the amount of affordable housing and implement programs to make it easier for people to get housing that they need,” Ramirez said.

In the long term, Ramirez said also he wants to start updating the 2030 general plan and modernize the city charter — the organizing legal document for a charter city — which he said has not been comprehensively updated or reviewed for “quite some time.”

“And we might want to start looking at what are some improvements that can help us achieve our community’s goals a little bit more efficiently,” Ramirez said.

Livability & Community Participation

Ramirez said he thinks that one of the council’s most important accomplishments in ensuring accessibility has been increased investment in cultural engagement programs, which provide translations for non-English speaking residents.

“We want to make sure that our communities that don’t speak English are able to meaningfully participate and also understand what resources may be available to them,” Ramirez said.

He also pointed to the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Mountain View program and the creation of similar programs conducted in Spanish and Chinese.

“These programs have lasting benefit because the folks who graduate I think feel empowered to engage with the city and have a better sense of how the city operates,” he said. “And they can turn back to the community and say hey, here are opportunities for you to make your voice heard, to participate in the public policy making process.”

Along with that, Ramirez said, comes a need for more accessible noticing: informing residents of nearby commercial developments. 

“You read them and you think ‘What does this mean?” Ramirez said. “This is not in an easy to understand, accessible format.”

As an example, he cited the postcard for the R3 zoning district update, which he said is mostly “technobabble,” and difficult for people who don’t have a background in urban planning to understand.

Ramirez said the council also has plans for dramatically improving bicycle safety, which will begin once the state resurfacing program starts next year. He pointed to the “poor” pavement condition on El Camino as one instance where resurfacing is necessary.

“El Camino is an important corridor to Mountain View,” Ramirez said. “ I think once those are connected, we’ll see a much safer and friendlier environment to people who are traveling not in a passenger vehicle.”

To learn more about Ramirez, visit his website here.

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