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  • Jeffrey Siegel

Three Great 2020 Candidates for Town Council

Change is Coming

It’s time for a change. A change that will bring Los Gatos a town council who actually cares about the issues that matter to the residents of our historic neighborhoods, and are responsive to issues as they arise. In contrast, our current town council sets their priorities at the beginning of the year and puts all other matters, regardless of importance or urgency, on the back burner, as if life was static. We need a town council who cares deeply about the issues affecting our town, have the desire and capacity to listen well, and to direct our town staff to seriously focus on those issues and others as they arise.

Los Gatos Historical Society is proud to endorse the three candidates that are certain to drive these needed changes. All three of these candidates, in meetings with us, have demonstrated a deep understanding of the issues, and a strong conviction to take the steps needed to create a safer and more cultural and economically prosperous community.

We are proud to endorse candidates Matthew Hudes, Mary Badame, and Michael Kane for Town Council.

All three of these candidates have extensive experience with town leadership having served on the Los Gatos Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Committee, and many other areas of service. They care deeply about our community and rightly so, share a concern for how the current town council has come up woefully short. Los Gatos Historical Society has witnessed these candidates in action, as they have served in various capacities of responsibility. What makes Los Gatos distinctive from all other towns in the state is special, and these candidates are collectively committed to bringing their energy and attention to this overlooked opportunity.

Here is a brief overview of our three endorsed candidates, with far more detail available through their candidacy web sites:

Matthew Hudes:

Matthew Hudes had brought tremendous candor, intellectual insights, and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge that wisely informs his decisions with great deliberation. His thoughtful questioning, and contributions to rich discussion before arriving at decisions has been noted and appreciated by others serving alongside him and by the community members who have realized the benefits of his service. His long background as a partner at Ernst & Young has grounded him in disciplined, objective-minded decision making and an understanding for how innovation can enable transformational impact. Matthew lives in the Glen Ridge neighborhood and is intimately familiar with the unique aspects of this micro climate and our historic neighborhoods overall. He shares a deep respect and love for our cultural and historical heritage and is committed to incorporating these unique assets into the future plans of our town.

Mary Badame:

Mary Bedame is a lifelong Los Gatos resident, and operates a local business right in downtown Los Gatos. She has served for eight years on the Planning Commission, serves on the Historic Preservation Committee, and the Conceptual Development Advisory Committee. Having grown up here, she has a deep love for our town, and is driven by a desire to preserve our town’s rich cultural and historic legacy while making it the best possible place for our residents to enjoy a great quality of life. Mary is familiar with the defining issues for our town, including seeing firsthand how many residents have lost their homeowners insurance as those companies have abandoned residents due the proximity of their homes in our historic neighborhoods to wildfires. Mary is smart, thoughtful, collaborative, and dialed in to the issues our new town council needs to immediately address.

Michael Kane:

Michael Kane is a local business owner, and has devoted twenty-five years of his service to the town of Los Gatos, one of those rare gems who gives so much back to his community, and deserving of a special commendation for all that he has already done for our town. Michael has served as Chairman of the Planning Commission twice, Historic Preservation Committee for eight years, has served with the Los Gatos Rotary including being Captain of the Claws for a Cause program that all of us are familiar with, Governing Board for our community hospital, and so much more. Most importantly, Michael serves from his heart, and it shows in all the great work he has done. He is also a great listener and makes time to hear the concerns of our residents, which is so important and yet has eluded our current mayor and several other town council members. Michael says it best “I’ve talked with hundreds of people and gained a clear insight for what people want managed in Los Gatos: business vitality, land use and development, traffic and maintaining the welfare of our residents.” Having Michael on our town council would assure our town moves in the right direction, of having someone who cares and listens, will more seriously address the wildfire safety issues we can no longer afford to pay lip service to, and to supporting economic vitality initiatives that have been overlooked by our current town council.

Michael has scheduled three ‘Meet the Candidate’ events that you are invited to as follows: - Thursday, September 24th 6pm at Flights restaurant outdoor patio (wine will be served) - Monday, September 28th 6pm at LG Coffee Roasting Company Parkette - Friday, October 2nd 5pm Gardino’s restaurant parkette

A final note about one other Candidate – Maria Ristow:

While we will not be formally assessing the other candidates for office, it is important to note that we have talked with them as well, and at least one candidate, has shown a complete disregard for some of the major issues facing our historic neighborhoods.

If you are considering voting for Maria Ristow, it’s important to first understand her past opposition to cultural and historic preservation, as well as economic vitality, standing firmly together with Mayor Jensen in turning down the tens of millions of dollars of economic funding provided by the state’s historic preservation act due to personal ideological bias. It’s no surprise that Mayor Jensen is supporting Maria’s candidacy because as her proxy, she would act in a similar fashion, the opposite of what our town now needs. In the famous words of John Steinbeck “How do we know who we are without our past”. This from the man that while living in Los Gatos wrote the great American literary work ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.

A vote for Maria Ristow is a vote to re-elect mayor Jensen, for maintaining the dysfunctional status quo, and a big step backwards for our town. Our cultural heritage is what makes us distinctive and creates the special character of our historic neighborhoods and downtown. Caring about the growing wildfire safety issues specific to this part of town, closest to the surrounding mountains, and to tapping into the economic funding that over one hundred other towns throughout the state are already enjoying, from Palo Alto to Campbell and Saratoga, from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose and San Diego, would be a huge boost for our future economic and cultural vitality, and to fire hardening many homes in our historic neighborhoods. Los Gatos stands to benefit greatly from an influx of tens of millions of dollars, but only with a supportive town council that sees the wisdom of accessing the same benefits these other cities and towns already enjoy, and that the state has bestowed on us. Please make your vote count by understanding the candidate’s positions and past history on these issues that matter so much to the welfare of our historic community.

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Sep 28, 2020

Mr. Jeffrey Siegel,

While Los Gatos must change as the state is forcing our hand with ever-increasing regulations on housing and zoning, our five historical districts provide a critical defense against state interference. I believe we must increase density across Los Gatos to meet our obligation for newly constructed units. However, it is absolutely critical that we leave our historical areas untouched. It is impossible to build a historical downtown, such as ours. We must maintain the historical and small-town charm as much as possible, while also increasing housing supply across the remainder of the Town.

Barbara Spector came to Los Gatos Rotary a few months ago and gave a talk entitled, "Things Change". She talked about the North Fort…

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