Housing, climate issues top priorities for new Mountain View mayor

Housing, climate issues top priorities for new Mountain View mayor

Mountain View’s newly elected mayor, Pat Showalter, has identified addressing the effects of climate change locally and advancing affordable housing programs as her top priorities for 2024.

“My focus is on advancing our housing program, homeless assistance program, and sea level rise initiatives,” said Showalter, who was unanimously elected by the City Council during its annual reorganization meeting on Tuesday night, in an interview with Mercury News.

The City Council votes for its mayor and vice mayor to serve a one year term. Neighboring Palo Alto also chose a new mayor and vice mayor earlier this week.

A study cited on Mountain View’s official website showed that the city’s low-lying areas adjacent to the San Francisco Bay are especially vulnerable to sea level rise.

“According to current projections documented in the City’s Shoreline Sea Level Rise Study Update, the Bay could rise between 23 and 42 inches by 2070, potentially flooding a large portion of northern Mountain View,” the study said.

“We have a 14-project plan for sea level rise protection, and we are actively implementing those projects,” said Showalter, who served as vice mayor in 2023.

Showalter takes over the post from Alison Hicks, who served as mayor in 2023. This is Showalter’s second run as mayor, having previously held the post of the largely affluent city — home to global tech giants such as Google — in 2016.

The city, which is also home to NASA’s Ames research center, is not without its social challenges, however.

“We value innovation but not just scientific innovation we also value social innovation and you can see that in our program,” Showalter said in her address to the Council. “We have programs to assist unsheltered residents and our extensive affordable housing program among other things.”

According to data from home listing site Zillow, the average home price in Mountain View is about $1.8 million as of November 2023.

A longtime civil engineer, Showalter said she would continue to support affordable housing projects already in the pipeline, as well as new ones that may be on the horizon.

“And then in affordable housing, we have a number of projects in the pipeline, and we have to make sure that they get the funding that they need and work through any design issues,” Showalter said in an interview.  “So I just want to be available and ready to help if there are any issues that need to be worked through.”

Recently, Mountain View, under the leadership of former Mayor Hicks, supported a housing project to convert the former Crestview Motel at 901 East El Camino Real into a 49-unit affordable housing project expected to open this summer.

Councilmember Lisa Matichak, a retired tech executive, who previously served as mayor in 2019, was chosen unanimously to become the vice mayor in 2024.