Open Letter from Candidate Steve Hoffman Sunnyvale City Council Seat #2:
Dear Sunnyvale residents – Following are some questions I was asked today by a Sunnyvale resident, together with my answers. Please forward to your friends and neighbors.
1) What are your thoughts about what to do with Butcher’s Corner?
The new owner of Butcher’s Corner is a developer called John Vidovich. He does not live in Sunnyvale. He has spent thousands of dollars to support my opponent Glenn Hendricks ($3,000 so far). To put this amount in perspective, it is about 50% more than my entire campaign has spent. This assumes that the time of my supporters (all of whom are resident and not members of any special interest group) is worth nothing, which of course it is not. Although Mr. Vidovich’s donation to Glenn Hendricks is not illegal in Sunnyvale, if this was a Federal Elections, then it would be illegal. In addition, the Silicon Valley Realtors Association have donated thousands of dollars to his campaign, Sunnyvale real estate lobby has donated thousands, a former mayor whom is a paid consultant to Developers has contributed hundreds, and both the Apartment Owners Association and the National Association of Realtors are spending un-disclosed amounts in advertising my opponent. My estimate is that it is in the tens if not hundreds of thousands when all combined.
Coming back to Butcher’s Corner, the architectural plans John Vidovich presented to the public a few weeks ago calls for multiple buildings along the entire peripheral of the Butcher’s Corner with the highest building/s being 10 story high. After Mr. Vidovich realized the negative effect this was having on the council candidates of his choice, he has stated that he will be happy with a lower building too, but no plans have been submitted yet. The general rule in Real Estate is that the higher the density you can build, the higher the profits. So please read between the lines to understand what Mr. Vidovich really wants.
Considering all the money and help my opponent is getting from all corners of the real estate industry, you can know a head of the elections how he will vote on these matters. Surely, all these real estate experts would not spend the tens of thousands of dollars on a candidate that will not fulfill all or most of their needs from the Sunnyvale Council.
I, on the other hand, have not taken any money from any developer, real estate association or lobby, therefore you can be assured that I am representing only the interests of Sunnyvale residents. Based on my current understanding, the residents of Sunnyvale in whole are outraged by the on going and uncontrolled developments taking place in Sunnyvale. These developments do not account for the fact that our schools are busting at the seems, parks are shrinking, some play grounds are eliminated, traffic is grinding to a grid lock, water supplies are scarce and police and fire services are at the limit. Thus, my opinion as of now is that most Sunnyvale Residents would much prefer Butcher’s Corner to become a park land for children and everyone else to enjoy. It has been farm land for over 100 years and the natural continued use is park land. The City has the money to buy the land and it should use it for this purpose.
John Vidovich also owns other properties in Sunnyvale, most notably the south-east corner of Mary and Fremont where he has directly told me that he would like to develop it similarly to Butcher’s Corner. If Butcher’s Corner is approved as he would like it to be approved, it will then be inevitable that Mary and Fremont will be developed similarly. Finally, one last thing: Mr. Vidovich has provided permission to my opponent to place his election yard signs on his properties to further help him get elected. In contrast, all my yard signs are placed on properties belonging to Sunnyvale Residents only.
2) Are you in favor of reducing the lanes for cars on El Camino in order to have a lane only for buses and another for bikes?
Against. Based on current traffic and the current very low rider-ship on public busses, it would be irresponsible at this time to spend million of dollars to eliminate one lane and install an expensive public line. El Camino must thus remain three lane each way for now. With regard to bike lanes, I am in favor of converting street parking to bike lanes. The cost is practically nothing. Businesses on both sides have plenty off-street parking for their customers, so there will be only gains for this conversion.
3) Do you agree with Meyering’s “style” of behavior in council meetings, or do you think that there might be a better way of affecting change or stating your opinion?
Pat Meyering is Pat Meyering and none of the candidates have a “style” of his behavior (as you put it). I do not speak like him and there are certain things he does that I do not approve of. Unlike my opponent, I keep my lines of communications open with everyone. Not only my supporters. Evidence to this is my ongoing communications on SunnyvalePolitics and my opponent’s complete lack of such communications. As a result of my private communications with Pat, I have earned his trust, which puts me in the best position to have any chance of influencing his ways. My opponent does not communicate with him at all. I have been told that he has never even approached Pat, and thus he will not have any effect on Pat’s ways. How could he have any effect if he does not communicate?
Communications are necessary to earn trust. In doing so, I am able to criticize Pat, which I do in private in a way that does not threaten him, insult him, or cause any escalation. I understand Pat’s total frustration with the council. You can be assured that if Andy Frazer, Tap Merrick and myself are elected, then we will no longer have a bullying council majority and no council member will be isolated, marginalized, and despaired, thus Pat’s concerns will be addressed by the Council and he will change his ways. Mutual respect will be restored.
Candidate for Sunnyvale City Council Seat 2