Alison Hicks and Pat Showalter were unanimously elected Mountain View mayor and vice mayor, respectively, at Tuesday’s city council meeting. Former mayor Lucas Ramirez, Hicks and Ellen Kamei were all sworn in for their second term on council.
Tuesday’s meeting marked the council’s first in-person meeting in nearly three years. The council’s next meeting on Jan. 24 is also set to take place in-person, although the status of future meetings are still tentative.
Former councilmember Sally Lieber, who is leaving after serving two terms on council, gave a brief speech at the meeting thanking her colleagues and the community. Lieber resigned in December after her election to the California State Board of Equalization, citing a conflict of interest the city attorney informed her of in December.
Lieber was expected to serve as vice mayor this year, as the council typically rotates positions according to seniority, Lieber said. Due to her resignation, however, Showalter — who was next in line — got the job.
During the meeting, Lieber’s colleagues and Mountain View residents commended her on her years of service.
“She has been underestimated pretty much at every point in [her] career,” Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian said. “She is absolutely indefatigable. … She was the member who always was pushing the envelope.”
The now vacant seat will be filled by appointment, as decided during a special meeting on Jan. 5. The council had two options: fill the seat by appointment or hold a special election. Councilmembers Lisa Matichak, Margaret Abe-Koga and Hicks initially favored holding an election, citing that it was important for residents to “select their representative,” Matichak wrote on CivicBell. Ramirez, Showalter and Kamei favored deciding by appointment, as special elections have low voter turnout and would cost the city roughly $2 million. After some debate, Hicks expressed support for both options — rather than just the option to hold a special election — breaking the tie. Any Mountain View resident registered to vote may apply to fill the vacancy. The application period closes Jan. 18.
At Tuesday’s meeting, councilmembers and residents also thanked Ramirez for his service as mayor and praised his achievements in pushing for more affordable housing, increasing pedestrian safety and creating community outreach opportunities, among other accomplishments.
“Over the past year, I’ve learned that the mayor is not empowered to achieve policy goals, not unilaterally at least,” Ramirez said. “The power of the mayor is to convene the mayorship. … This great and subtle power will leave behind a legacy of lasting and profound impact.”