Mayor makes an embarrassing email mistake

Mountain View Mayor Lisa Matichak

BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer

Mountain View Mayor Lisa Matichak made a digital faux pas yesterday (March 7) when she accidentally hit “reply all” on an email, appearing to say that she wants to “thwart” former Mayor Lenny Siegel’s advocacy for building housing in the North Bayshore area.

It all began at 12:38 a.m. yesterday when Siegel wrote a mass email to the members of the pro-housing group Balanced Mountain View, inviting them to a meeting Tuesday evening to strategize about “getting the North Bayshore job done.”

Plans for Google and Sy-West to develop the area around Century Cinema 16 with housing, office, hotel and entertainment have stalled,

and Siegel is concerned that the so-called “gateway” area to North Bayshore won’t see much housing.

Later in the morning, Matichak responded from her personal Gmail account to the whole email list with one sentence: “How are we going to thwart him?”

The email appeared to be in direct response to Siegel’s message because his was the most recent email listed underneath hers.

North Whisman neighborhood resident Barry Burr responded with the word “Yuck” and asked whether the issue needed to be so divisive.

“I’m no (former Mayor) Mike Kasperzak, but I’m sure we can all agree that the first part of solving where parties have their differences is to grant that other side’s view is just as legitimate to them as our views are to ourselves,” Burr wrote at 1:01 p.m. “However distasteful the opposing opinions may be, let’s get the show on the road to get the plan built. OK?”

‘Honest mistake’

At 1:19 p.m., Matichak responded to the Balanced Mountain View list, explaining that the email was an accident.

“I made an honest mistake this morning and thought I was responding to a different email on a different topic,” Matichak said. “We have a precise plan in place for North Bayshore and we are working with the property owners in North Bayshore to implement the plan.”

Matichak declined to say who she was hoping to thwart, if not Siegel and his housing advocacy in North Bayshore.

“That was my personal email that that was sent to, and it had nothing to do with city business, so I’m not going to say,” Matichak told the Post. “I kind of feel like I’m surprised that my email error would cause such an uproar.”

Lurking suspected

Siegel removed Matichak from the Balanced Mountain View email list yesterday because it appeared that she had been “lurking” on it “to kind of keep an eye on what her political adversaries were doing.”

But he said he wanted to “let the dust settle” before he took a position on whether Matichak was telling the truth about the email.

“People make mistakes, but her disclaimer would be more credible if she would say who she was trying to thwart. That’s not a word that I use,” Siegel told the Post. “If I were to write that, I would be able to explain who it was about, so either she’s hiding something else that she’s uncomfortable about or she’s not telling the truth.”

And Siegel said it was suspicious that Matichak waited several hours to send a followup email explaining that the “thwart” email was sent in error.

It wouldn’t be out of character for Matichak to want to weaken housing in North Bayshore, Siegel noted. He said she was “weak” on housing, though not totally against it.

In Palo Alto, both Matichak and Vice Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga would be considered pro-development, but in Mountain View, where elected officials tend to support more housing, both are on the slow-growth side, Siegel said.

Matichak’s record on housing

In June 2017, Matichak, Abe-Koga and Councilman John McAlister voted to slash a plan for 9,850 units to between 1,500 and 3,000.

Matichak later voted to strengthen housing in North Bayshore when it was clear that the pro-housing council members had secured the majority, Siegel said.

On Feb. 26, both Matichak and Abe-Koga saw Sy-West’s proposal for developing the “gateway” area of North Bayshore as the starting point for the area’s master plan.

Siegel said he disagrees with that idea because Sy-West’s plan was “very out of balance” with between 517 and 742 housing units for 885,000 square feet of new office space, 330 hotel rooms, 285,000 square feet of retail, entertainment and services, including a movie theater complex.

But, Siegel pointed out, Matichak worked constructively as a planning commissioner on housing in North Bayshore before she was elected to council.

Ultimately, Siegel said, everyone has sent an email to the wrong person. But it remains unclear whether Matichak meant to send an email about “thwarting” Siegel to someone off-list, or whether she was really referring to something unrelated.

“We all make this kind of mistake. I do,” Siegel said. “It’s clear she made a mistake. The question is: What mistake was it?”

4 Comments

  1. First, it’s a disgrace that the Mayor of Mountain View is planning to “thwart” the former Major.

    Second, I recall running against her in the 2016 city council race and her sponsors continue to play an important role in her position as Mayor. The city needs more affordable housing and if not the current plan, there will only be more traffic jams on the Bayshore.

    Third, people of Mountain View. Stand up for your community before it’s too late! I suggest getting groups of people to attend the city council meetings, protest and ask for transparency and accountability.

    This is such a disgrace. The deciet and dishonesty of the Mayor of Mountain View.

    • How can you say it’s a disgrace that she tried to do what you imagined? Lisa explained the email was meant for someone else. For all you know she could have been replying to a friend wanting to stop a husband from divorcing a good friend of Lisa’s. She does have many since she is a great person. Point is, you do not know! It could have been any number of things! She wrote it on her personal account and she does have a personal life! Lenny is the one who broadcast it! He regularly stirs things up (and always has) for free publicity. (Check him out in his college days, and since!) And with this, by sheer assumption people are so willing to make these days, he can smear his better rival.
      It is truly disgraceful to react as if you actually know the facts when they are totally lacking. It is simply sensationalism that the Voice would slap this liabelous piece of guesswork on their front page. They must need to pump up readership after years of their consistently one sided coverage of all things Mountain View. That’s why I always prefer the so much more professional Palo Alto Daily Post!

  2. My reference to former Mayor Mike Kasperzak, is based on Mike being a highly regarded professional mediator. I’m saying that it should be obvious in general that we have a dispute here, and that we all need to keep emotion and character attacks out of it, stick to the issues, and respect where the other side is coming from.
    However, and that I didn’t bring up explicitly in my comment, if the other side is coming from a purely financially motivated position, such as a councilmember being under strong financial influence of a party that stands to greatly profit from the council member taking a position, to the detriment of a large mass of the city’s population, then the councilmember is clearly acting in a conflict of interest.

    Indeed, can any council member who votes in favor of an issue that will clearly increase their own property value versus other alternatives, be in a position where they must recuse themself because of that inherent financial gain they stand to realize?

    • How can you say it’s a disgrace that she tried to do what you imagined? Lisa explained the email was meant for someone else. For all you know she could have been replying to a friend wanting to stop a husband from divorcing a good friend of Lisa’s. She does have many since she is a great person. Point is, you do not know! It could have been any number of things! She wrote it on her personal account and she does have a personal life! Lenny is the one who broadcast it! He regularly stirs things up (and always has) for free publicity. (Check him out in his college days, and since!) And with this, by sheer assumption people are so willing to make these days, he can smear his better rival.
      It is truly disgraceful to react as if you actually know the facts when they are totally lacking. It is simply sensationalism that the Voice would slap this liabelous piece of guesswork on their front page. They must need to pump up readership after years of their consistently one sided coverage of all things Mountain View. That’s why I always prefer the so much more professional Palo Alto Daily Post!

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