The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

2020 Election: Sunnyvale Mayor and City Council Candidates

For Sunnyvale the 2020 election will be a first in two ways. Voters will vote for the City’s first directly elected Mayor and its first district Councilmembers.

 

Mayor  

Michael Goldman

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A software engineer, Goldman was elected to the Council on 2016. A Vietnam Veteran, Goldman has taught high school mathematics, tutored disadvantaged students and served in executive roles for the Sunnyvale Alliance Soccer Club. He represents the City on the Grand Boulevard Task Force.

 

Larry Klein

Currently Sunnyvale’s appointed Mayor, Klein was first elected to the Council in 2016 and appointed Mayor by his Council colleagues in 2019. A software engineer,

Klein represents Sunnyvale on Santa Clara County Cities Association Board, Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

Prior to election to City Council, Klein was Planning Commission Chair and served on the Joint Cities Stevens Creek Trail Extension Citizens Group and Sunnyvale’s 2007 Charter Review Committee.

Klein has also served on the Sunnyvale’s Community Gardens Board, Centennial Parade and Celebration Planning Committee, Historical Society and Museum Association and was Founding Member of Charles Street Community Gardens.

 

Nancy Smith

Currently Sunnyvale’s Vice Mayor, Smith, a program manager, was elected to the Council in 2016. She represents the City on the California League of Cities Women’s Caucus (President), Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority Board (Vice-Chair, Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission (Vice-Chair), Santa Clara Valley Water Commission and Caltrain Modernization Local Policy Maker Group.

Smith also represents Sunnyvale on the National League of Cities’ Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources Committee; Housing, Economic and Community Development Policy Committee; and Community Services Policy Committee.

Smith also is Board President of the California Native Garden Foundation and a Founding Sponsor of the Sunnyvale Youth Public Policy Institute. She has served on the Sunnyvale Housing and Community Services Commission, Silicon Valley Leadership Group Transportation and Housing committees, Santa Clara Valley Water District Environmental and Water Resources board, and Santa Clara County’s Housing and Community Development Advisory Committee. 

 

District 2 

Alysa Cisneros

A Sunnyvale native and a research consultant for California non-profits, Cisneros has worked as a policy analyst and program manager for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the ACLU of Northern California, De Anza College, the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy In Action, My Vote Our Future and Groundworks Campaigns.

Cisneros has worked as a Teaching Assistant and as a Research Fellow at De Anza College. She also serves on the De Anza Commission, the Sunnyvale Library Board of Trustees, and on the Cupertino For All Steering Committee. As a student, Cisneros was editor in chief for a college graduate school public policy magazine.

 

Josh Grossman

An attorney and technology infrastructure product manager, Grossman served on Sunnyvale’s Housing and Human Services Commission — including as vice chair — and is serving as chair of the building appeals board.

Before moving to Sunnyvale, Grossman served on the Board of Trustees of a Sonoma County school district.

 

Hina Siddiqui

Siddiqui is a data and analytics lead. She has volunteered with Second Harvest Food Bank and assisted veterans in up-skilling and resume-building.

Before moving to Sunnyvale, Siddiqui worked as an Integration/Systems Analyst for a non-profit cancer research center and mentored at-risk High School students.

 

District 4 

Paul Lesevic

An environmental and biomaterials engineer, Lesevic won a 2005 Sunnyvale Community Award for Contribution to the Arts. As a student he participated in a poverty alleviation project in Tijuana, and was named a 2005 National Hispanic Scholar.

 

Russell Melton

A retired credit union EVP and COO, Melton was elected to the Council in 2016 and has served as Vice Mayor.

He represents the City on the Moffett Field Restoration Advisory Board, Santa Clara County Expressway 2040 Policy Advisory Board, Santa Clara Valley Water Recycled Water committee, and Silicon Valley Regional Interoperability Authority, Santa Clara County Emergency Operational Area Council, County Local Agency Formation Commission, and the League of California Cities Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee.

Before his election to Council, Melton served on Sunnyvale’s Planning Commission, the Community Interview Panel for the City Manager recruitment, and the Lawrence Station Area Plan Citizen Advisory Group and liaison committees with the City’s four school districts. Melton is a Navy Veteran.

 

District 6

Omar Din

A Finance Fellow for a startup with a degree in Public Policy, Din has served on the Sunnyvale Parks and Recreation Commission.

Din has worked in the offices of Assemblyman Evan Low and former Congressional Representative Mike Honda, and as a legislative analyst for the South Bay office of the civil rights organization Council on American-Islamic Relations. As a student, Din managed a student association budget.

 

Leia Mehlman  

A registered nurse and a pharmaceutical safety manager, Mehlman serves on the Sunnyvale Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission. She has also volunteered in a free clinic, providing primary healthcare and health education to economically disadvantaged patients.

 

Editor’s Note: Bios of Grossman and Cisneros have been updated.

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36 Comments
  1. Richard Mehlinger 3 months ago
    Reply

    As a note, Josh Grossman no longer serves on the Housing and Human Services Commission. City Council declined to appoint him to a second term in June, and instead left the seat vacant.

    • Judy 3 months ago
      Reply

      The reason the council would not approve Josh is because he didn’t agree with their decisions on Housing. Specifically rent control for mobile home parks. What happened to freedom of speech. If they don’t agree with you get them off the committee?

      • Richard Mehlinger 3 months ago
        Reply

        Hi Judy,
        I was correcting an inaccuracy in the originally published text of the article. I can’t speak to why Council declined to reappoint Josh, though it’s my understanding that he failed to turn in his reappointment papers on time.

        Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Council. Displease the Council too much, lose your seat. It takes a lot of work to displease Council that much, though. I’ve *certainly* pushed things from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission that Council didn’t agree with. Heck, I wrote an op-ed criticizing them for weakening Vision Zero (https://www.svvoice.com/sunnyvale-must-protect-childrens-future/). And yet I was reappointed unanimously.

        But Josh has spent the past two and a half years deliberately antagonizing Council, including attacking their personal integrity and their commitment to the well-being of the City. I know that if I were on Council, I would be extremely disinclined to reappoint a man who had used his perch to trash me and my colleagues. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.

        Anyway, are we any closer to achieving Mobile Home Park rent stabilization thanks to Josh’s efforts? No. If anything, his deliberate antagonism of City Council has set that cause back.

        Just my two cents, and speaking for myself only.

        • Dave Levin 1 month ago
          Reply

          Exactly the reason to vote for Josh, fight the corruption of the council. Josh thank you for standing up for the citizens.

  2. Andy Frazer 3 months ago
    Reply

    Joshua Grossman would make a fantastic council member. He wants to preserve the character of existing neighborhoods because he understands that massive construction of huge high density housing will overload our roads and schools. And he understands we can’t force everyone out of their cars into public transportation.

  3. Paul Brunemeier 3 months ago
    Reply

    I know Josh Grossman well and have campaigned for him and with him on a number of occasions. He is an honest person who wants the best for ordinary residents of Sunnyvale.

    Note that Josh takes no campaign contributions from PACs or property developers who are driving high-density development in Sunnyvale because it makes them a lot of money–heedless of negative impacts on the quality of life of our residents. His outspoken slow-growth position on Sunnyvale development did not win him friends among the City Council establishment.

    If you care about preserving Sunnyvale’s character, vote for Josh.

    • SC Resident 3 months ago
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing your view of Mr. Grossman. I will let my friends in Sunnyvale District 2 know! His opponent certainly seems like she’s cultivated relationships with more of the old special interests (business-backed Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Cupertino “for all”, etc.), so we know where her alliances lay.

  4. Fred Kameda 3 months ago
    Reply

    Nancy Smith has been a strong supporter of the people in Sunnyvale. She is not beholding to
    donors to her campaign. When Nancy says she supports your cause and needs she does not
    falter. Honest and hard working is her strengths.

    • Jeremie 3 months ago
      Reply

      I love Nancy Smith too. I volunteer and mentor at the Youth Public Policy Institute. She’s such an inspiring leader and community builder.

    • Dave Levin 1 month ago
      Reply

      Read her mailer Densify the city, low income housing, public transit, and sustainability BS (see our garbage service). Please do not make make Sunnyvale a woke city. Keep our city nice suburban city.

  5. Jeremie 3 months ago
    Reply

    Alysa Cisneros has such a unique background. It’s great to see an educator with social sector experience on the ballot. Thank you all for your commitment to public service!

  6. Frank 3 months ago
    Reply

    I am voting for Alysa Cisneros. Excellent background. In District 2 we need some one to advocate for the mobile home residents, the last decent and affordable place to live: Very family friendly. AND are need rent control with the median house costing $1.6 Million. We need another attorney like we need another hole in the head

    • Judy 3 months ago
      Reply

      As the founder of the Sunnyvale Mobile Home Park Alliance and advocate for Mobile Home Parks in Sunnyvale and at the state level, I am wondering how all of a sudden Mobile Home Parks have become the poster child for the Sunnyvale elections. In 2017 the city council shoved the request for mobile home park rent stabilization into a “study” along with 3 other housing issues. What happened with the study? Nothing. So I am wondering what the plans are to advocate for mobile home parks? There are no parks in District 2. Josh Grossman and the whole Housing Committee stood up and tried to help the parks in 2015-2017 get rent stabilization. So what happened? Josh doesn’t get to be on the housing committee any more.

      • Dave Levin 1 month ago
        Reply

        Thank you Judy

  7. Pat Licurse 3 months ago
    Reply

    How do you know what district you are in? I live over by Las Palmas Park on Tartarian Way.

    Thanks much,
    Pat Licurse

    • Richard Mehlinger 3 months ago
      Reply

      Hi Pat,
      You can plug your address into https://ndcresearch.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=536c80f22af94fa8ad57ad9c4ed23d8c and it’ll tell you which district you’re in. Based on the static map (https://sunnyvaleelections.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Preferred-District-Map-and-Sequencing.pdf) I think you’re in District 2.

      Best,
      Richard

  8. Galen Kim Davis 3 months ago
    Reply

    I am really excited that the changes in the electoral system brought about by Measure B have enabled persons like Alysa to run. For those who don’t know, Josh Grossman, was a major opponent of Measure B, the ballot proposition that brought Sunnyvale into compliance with voting rights laws and moved us to district elections. He literally campaigned against equal voting rights.

    Alysa believes in progress for Sunnyvale – for all families. The South Bay is rapidly changing, and unless working families have a voice in how Sunnyvale reacts to those changes, families will get left behind, struggle, and risk having to move. Sunnyvale has historically been a great place to raise a family and I chose to live here for that very reason. Without people like Alysa on council, my children will not be able to afford to raise their children in Sunnyvale. Sunnyvale may preserve its land use, but it will lose what truly makes the city great — the innovative and involved people who think beyond their own personal interest. Take it from a Little League and soccer coach — if we want Sunnyvale to remain a great place for people of various backgrounds, ages, and economic situations — we must elect people with a positive vision for the future. In District 2, Alysa Cisneros is that person.

    • Carlene Nakagawa 3 months ago
      Reply

      Galen,
      What do you mean by the term “persons like Alysa”? And, how has Measure B “enabled” persons like Alysa to run for Sunnyvale City Council? Nothing was preventing her from running prior to the passage of Measure B. Please explain.

      Carlene Nakagawa

      • Galen Kim Davis 3 months ago
        Reply

        Mrs. Nakagawa,

        A minor choice of words from an outside supporter is not relevant. Neither of us lives in District 2. This is not about us. I stated clearly why I support Alysa. I will not engage in hypotheticals about how the world would be different if a measure that passed in an overwhelming landslide somehow failed.

        Sincerely,

        Galen Kim Davis

        • Carlene Nakagawa 3 months ago
          Reply

          Galen,

          I’m disappointed that you won’t answer my simple questions.

          Carlene Nakagawa

          • Galen Kim Davis 3 months ago

            I am sorry you’re disappointed. That is your choice. I hope you have a very pleasant day.

          • Melinda Hamilton 2 months ago

            I can’t speak for Galen, but I believe he’s referring to the fact that creating districts makes campaigns much more manageable because the areas to be covered and the associated costs are much lower. As someone who has run a citywide campaign twice, and talked to many others about it, it’s really hard to campaign in a city of 150,000 people. But a district is much smaller and much more manageable. That means that many other people who might consider running but are intimidated by the costs and effort required by a larger campaign may now be open to running. I’ve actually heard that from several people, both current candidates and people who are considering running in the future.

          • Melinda Hamilton 2 months ago

            And I do live in District 2 and I will be voting for Alysa.

    • Janice Cherrier 3 months ago
      Reply

      Galen Kim Davis,
      People who were against Measure B were NOT against equal voting rights. We were against diluting the districts by only having 6 instead of 7, and we were against lumping in the directly elected mayor decision. These were completely separate issues and should have been voted on separately. I am not acquainted with Josh Grossman, and I’m not sure why you are attacking him here. I was one of many who were against the directly elected mayor and 6 districts. And I certainly favor equal voting rights for Sunnyvale.
      Janice Cherrier

  9. Andy Frazer 3 months ago
    Reply

    Galen,

    I think you’re being very disingenuous to claim that Joshua Grossman “campaigned against equal voting rights”. Joshua was a huge supporter of district elections and voting rights laws. You failed to mention he only campaigned against the directly elected mayor component of Measure B.

    The directly elected mayor was a huge victory for the “stack-and-pack” crowd who want to up-zone every residential tract in Sunnyvale and fill them with tall, high-density housing. This pro-development crowd fail to appreciate that more density and 33% more population in Sunnyvale will overwhelm our school system and jam up our roads.

    To protect the character of Sunnyvale’s neighborhoods, vote for Joshua Grossman.

    Andy Frazer

    • Galen Kim Davis 3 months ago
      Reply

      “I was for equal voting rights, but I campaigned against it.” Luckily, the voters of Sunnyvale have consistently shown they see through such cynical sophistry.

    • Richard F Mehlinger 3 months ago
      Reply

      Hi Andy,
      So what is this “neighborhood character” that it is so vital we defend? And how exactly would denying Sunnyvale residents the right to choose their own mayor protect it? I’ve never gotten a good, clear answer on this.

    • SC Resident 3 months ago
      Reply

      Thanks for clarifying. “Richard Mehlinger” seems to be here solely to say negative things about Mr. Grossman. He must have a reason or agenda.

      • Richard F Mehlinger 3 months ago
        Reply

        just Google me lol 😂

  10. SC Resident 3 months ago
    Reply

    Michael Goldman has proven to be a thoughtful councilman over the years, advocating for the voice of residents, and does not appear to be tied to special interests (developers and business interests).

    Sunnyvale voters are fortunate to have him as a choice for mayor.

    • Galen Kim Davis 3 months ago
      Reply

      He has consistently used misogynistic, racist, and exclusionary language. He has consistently alienated the other council members. These are facts. Sunnyvale deserves better.

      • Dave Levin 1 month ago
        Reply

        You just crossed the line and showed your real face, Josh is the most humble and nice person to call him “misogynistic, racist, and exclusionary language” is a pure lie stop lying the the voters. No more acceptance to cancel extreme culture, ENOUGH.
        Vote for Josh even if just to counter this horrible culture of lies.

        • Richard F Mehlinger 4 weeks ago
          Reply

          Galen was talking about Goldman, not Grossman, although the two do appear to be joined at the hip.

          Goldman has a long history of making deeply insensitive remarks from the dais. This is one small sampling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP58mrdMYgw&list=LLFuWU9RA0Tb1fIDwJX9wscg&index=3

  11. Richard F Mehlinger 3 months ago
    Reply

    Funny you should mention special interests. Alysa’s not taking any donations from corporations or other profit-funded organizations. She’s running a real, progressive, people-powered campaign, and it’s working. She’s raised over $10,000 from more than a hundred individual contributors. Don’t believe me? Check her 460s.

    As for Cupertino for All… well, I helped found it back in 2018. It’s got about $600 to its name right now, and maybe a couple dozen members, most of whom are up to their eyeballs in student loan debt.

    “Old special interests”, indeed.

  12. Henry Alexander III 2 months ago
    Reply

    Hi Richard

    Had I decided to be in the race I’m confident you would have stated your opinions about me as well but since I’m not…

    1) Can you explain why the negativity towards Josh Grossman?
    2) I’m sure recall our public tête-à-tête about rising crime in Sunnyvale and the association of too much growth in Sunnyvale. Will you still hold on to your stance that Sunnyvale is the “safest city” and that there is no correlation to population density and crime? Here’s a point of reference https://sunnyvale.ca.gov/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=22968

    I think Josh Grossman will be a breath of fresh air to a council that has spent far too long on self interest and over density. If anything that this shelter in place has taught me and many people, luxury apartments aren’t the answer. Call it foresight but Josh Grossman has been championing a more sensible growth plan since 2016. That’s what is really needed in Sunnyvale.

  13. Fred Kameda 6 days ago
    Reply

    Josh has the guts to honestly come out at state how the council has ignored the pleas of mobile home residents needs. Only three of the current council members supported an RSO. Now over 2,000 residents are facing financial disaster and loss of their homes. Yes those who bow to the developers money greed want to shut him up because he cares about the residents and not corporate greed.

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