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The Steering Committee of Livable Mountain View is pleased to announce our endorsed candidates in the 2022 Mountain View City Council Election.

Li Zhang

Our first choice is newcomer Li Zhang. Li Zhang stands out among the other candidates because she advocates for maintaining quality of life for Mountain View residents while our city grows. This means providing for the infrastructure our city needs including new parks. Beyond that , Li supports Livable Mountain View’s position that the retail in village centers must not simply be replaced with new housing, it must be retained so that as our city grows our residents have places where they can buy groceries, get local services, and socialize with one another without having to drive to other cities. By retaining local goods and services, we help support our ecology and combat climate change.  Li’s website is

Furthermore, Li has been clear in her opposition to the current proposal to rezone all R3 (multifamily residential) areas in our city in one single action next year. While Li supports fulfilling our obligation to zone for the 11,135 new units which Sacramento requires of Mountain View over the next eight years, she questions that we should go beyond this amount at this time. Li supports looking for new precise plan areas in our city if there is a need to rezone for more housing. Mountain View’s requirement from Sacramento is the highest in the Bay Area. Li understands that building housing for the Bay Area is a regional obligation. Read her long form answers here: PDF.

Alison Hicks
Alison Hicks

We have also chosen to endorse incumbents Alison Hicks and Ellen Kamei. Alison has been a consistent advocate for the preservation of our city’s historic core. As the city updates its Downtown Precise Plan, we will be looking for Alison’s continued support in making our downtown a vibrant and engaging place. Read her long form answers here: PDF.

Alison’s website is

Ellen Kamei
Ellen Kamei

Ellen respects our city’s general and precise plans and takes them seriously when evaluating development decisions. The city faces some important development choices in the near future, and we will be looking for Ellen’s support in supporting project proposals that enhance our city and respectfully transition to the surrounding neighborhoods. Ellen’s website is

On the other hand, Alison and Ellen have been less forthcoming than Li on how they will vote on other key issues that will come up in the next council session, particularly the R3 upzoning proposal. We urge the voters to stay engaged with them on this and other issues. Read the long form answers here: PDF.

Lucas Ramirez

We have chosen not to endorse Lucas Ramirez, as he is the council’s leading advocate for R3 upzoning. Lucas has also stated that after a brief pilot program, the residents must bear the full cost of residential parking permits if and when they are needed. With the legislature passing Assembly Bill 2097, which ends Mountain View’s ability to require parking in new residential developments in our city, parking permits may be in higher demand. We at Livable Mountain do not believe that the residents should bear the full cost of parking permits which may be required due to policies imposed upon them. Having said this, we do look forward to working with Lucas on issues of common concern, including providing wider and more understandable outreach to the community when new developments are proposed. Lucas’s website is Read his long form answers here: PDF.

We are also not endorsing Justin Cohen, who declined to participate in our endorsement process.

For those interested in more information on the candidate’s positions, we have included the candidates’ questionnaires. You may also refer to the diagram below where we have rated candidates’ responses on a scale from Least Livable (Red) to Most Livable (Dark Green).

LivMV Endorsement Council 2022

Above all make sure to cast your ballot and make your views known!

Robert Cox, Louise Katz, Mary Hodder, Hala Alshahwany, Lorraine Wormald, and Leslie Friedman

For the Steering Committee of Livable Mountain View

Weilheimer / Chez TJ and Air Base Laundry / Tied House Preserved

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For now.. the developers may be back! (watch this space for updates..)

Livable Mountain View is pleased to announce the eligibility of Mountain View’s Weilheimer House (939 Villa, currently Chez TJ) and the Air Base Laundry (954 Villa, currently Tied House) for the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historic Resources. 

These historical buildings link Mountain View’s history from the Gold Rush to today’s Silicon Valley.  

How did this come about?  The State Historical Resources Commission (SHRC), a nine-member state board which identifies, registers and preserves California’s cultural heritage, reviewed our nominations which included written documentation of the historical and architectural significance of these two buildings. The owners (who opposed historical designation) presented their chosen documents. A public hearing was held in Sacramento on February 2, 2019. Both sides were allotted time for oral and visual presentations.  Public discussion and deliberation followed.

What does this mean?  As stated in the attached qualifying letters, historic status does not restrict the owner from normal use of the property but any project that would cause “substantial adverse changes in the significance of a registered property may require compliances with local ordinances or the California Environmental Quality Act.”

Weilheimer House circa 1894

Why these buildings?  Weilheimer House was built in 1894 by Julius Weilheimer, son of Seligman Weilheimer, a German-Jewish immigrant who, with his brother, settled in the hamlet of Mountain View in 1853.  The town was located at the stage coach stop near Grant Road and El Camino. The Seligman’s general store was followed by many other family businesses including a hotel, livery, and additional general stores.

In 1865 the “new” Mountain View was laid out along the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks. Known as “Villa Lands” this is the Mountain View we know today. It included Castro, Hope, Villa, Dana, Franklin and Oak Streets. Julius Weilheimer, born in Mountain View in 1860, eventually ran many of the family businesses which by then were located on and around Castro Street. He served as trustee, mayor (holding city council meetings in Weilheimer House), vice-president of the local bank (now Red Rock Coffee) and led the effort to rebuild the downtown after much of it was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. The Weilheimer’s Farmers’ Store built in 1874 (now the site of Oren’s Hummus)  is believed to be the oldest building in Mountain View and possibly the Peninsula.  (See more on the history of Castro Street here.)

The Weilheimer House -- or Chez TJ, as it's been known the past 30 years -- was built in the 1890s by early Mountain View settlers and features Queen Anne architecture.
The Weilheimer House — or Chez TJ, as it’s been known the past 30 years — was built in the 1890s by early Mountain View settlers and features Queen Anne architecture.

Weilheimer House is also significant as it is an excellent, well preserved example of the Queen Anne style of architecture. This includes a street façade and many original windows which retain their historic integrity. Reused as a restaurant since 1982, the interior has many original features and materials.

Although Julius Weilheimer moved in 1910, the historic significance of his house did not end because the next occupants, Arthur Free and his family, moved in. Arthur Free, a Stanford graduate, was the only Congressional Representative from Mountain View. He served five terms representing Santa Clara County.

What is significant about Arthur Free and Weilheimer House? In the midst of the Great Depression cities across the state competed to be the site of a new airfield to house the massive dirigibles being developed to protect the west coast. Through the efforts of Free and local leaders, Santa Clara County was awarded the airbase in 1930.  Congressman Free introduced the “Free Bill” to establish the base and authorize $5 million for construction of what we now know as Moffett Field/Ames Research. President Hoover (who had attended Stanford and knew the area) signed the Free Bill on Feb. 20, 1931 giving control of the site to the Navy who named it after Admiral William Moffett. Thirty Spanish Revival style buildings, a power plant and a laundry were recorded as being built in 1931-1932.

As dirigibles became obsolete, the base was transferred to the Army in 1935 where it became a training facility for the Army Air Corps (U.S. Air Force).  In 1939 Congress allotted $10 million for aeronautical research (Ames Research).  Pilot training continued at Moffett during World War II. Trainees, including actor Jimmy Steward (It’s a Wonderful Life), frequented Castro Street.  We will never know if he was a customer of the Air Base Laundry as well.  

Thus, Weilheimer House directly links Gold Rush pioneers to the research and development of technology which is Silicon Valley.  

1931 Air Base Laundry Announcement in Register-Leader
1931 Air Base Laundry Announcement in Register-Leader
Tied House - today
Tied House – today

Why Preserve Air Base Laundry/Tied House?  Built in 1931, at the same time as the Air Base, this building served the Base and was clearly built to match the thirty beautiful Spanish Revival Buildings  which are on the National Register of Historic Places. It retains its stucco finish, red roof, original upper story windows and corbels below the roof line.  Although updated since 1931, the materials and scale of the doors and windows are consistent with that of the original building. 

Thus, by history, function and design the Air Base Laundry is our link to the earliest air and space technology and the events which brought us today’s technological world.

Susan Kirsch, Founder of Livable California sends this message to take action around SB50.

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Susan Kirsch, Founder of Livable California sends this message to take action around SB50.

Note that Livable Mountain View was formed before the other Livable orgs, and while we have different views on issues facing California, and want to promote building housing with planning for schools, parks, transit and infrastructure like sewers and water systems to support this new housing.

Mountain View put in 18% of housing built in Santa Clara County last year, and yet we are less than 1% of the land mass. We cannot ask people to live in density without parks, or provide schools for kids etc. So we must plan it locally, and the state bills that will remove local zoning are “one sized fits all”. But Mountain View isn’t like Modesto or even Fremont. We are different, and are managing getting a lot of housing in quickly without the State of California handcuffing our city and ruining our historic downtown.

Therefore we oppose these bills and suggest the state find other ways to encourage communities not putting in dense housing to do so, because MV is building in excess of the State standards for adding new housing.

Hi All –

We’ve had inquiries about advocacy, priorities and action during the next few weeks.  Here’s a guide.   

You’re not expected to do everything; only that you do one or two things–the ones that you’re good at! 

Resource for all bills:

ADVOCACY.  Livable CA, working closely with Coalition to Preserve LA, is focusing on legislative advocacy, especially opposing SB 50, SB 330, and AB 1487.

SB-50 (Wiener) Planning and zoning: housing development: incentives.

Schedule, Actions, Contacts 

Now –  Make calls, send email to Senate Governance & Finance Committee, recruit others to call and send emails

4/17 –  Deadline to email comments to  Subject line: OPPOSE SB 50.

4/17 –  Deadline to email letters to the full committee:

4/23 –  Livable CA, Coalition to Preserve LA Lobby Day.  Contact Rick Hall: Rick@LivableCA.

4/24 –  Governance & Finance Committee Hearing, Sacramento.  9:00 am, Room 112.  Get a sticker.

Resource: Please Share this Stop SB50 Link – Click Here

SENATE Governance & Finance Committee

Mike McGuire, Chair   (916) 651-4002  

John Moorlach, VC      (916) 651-4037 

Jim Beall                      (916) 651-4015  

Robert Hertzberg        (916) 651-4018 

Melissa Hurtado         (916) 651-4014 

Jim Nielsen                  (916) 651-4004 

Scott Wiener               (916) 651-4011 

SB-330 (Skinner) Housing Crisis Act of 2019.

Schedule, Actions, Contacts 

Now –  Make calls, send email to Senate Housing Committee, recruit others to call and send emails.  

Noon: Deadline to email comments to   Subject line: OPPOSE SB 330.  Sample:  Livable California letter attached

4/17 –  Deadline to email letters to the full committee:

4/22 –  Housing Committee Hearing, 3:00 pm, Room 112. 

Issues with SB 330:  1) Restricts a local jurisdiction or ballot measure or initiative from downsizing or imposing building moratoria on land where housing is an allowable use; 2) Prohibits a city or county from conducting more than three hearings on an application for a housing development project; and 3) Prevails as a ten-year emergency statute.

Script:  I’m calling re: SB 330.  Me and my voting neighbors and friends OPPOSE this bill and urge Senator ___ to vote “No.”

SENATE Housing Committee

Scott Wiener, Chair     (916) 651-4011

Mike Morrell, VC          (916) 651-4023

Anna Caballero            (916) 651-4012

Maria Durazo               (916) 651-4024

Shannon Grove            (916) 651-4016

Mike McGuire            (916) 651-4002

John Moorlach             (916) 651-4037

Richard Roth                (916) 651-4031

Nancy Skinner             (916) 651-4009

Thomas Umberg          (916) 651-4034

Bob Wieckowski          (916) 651-4010

AB-1487 (Chiu) San Francisco Bay area: housing development: financing.

Schedule, Actions, Contacts 

Now –  Make calls, send email to Assembly Committee on Local Government, recruit others to call and send emails. 

4/18 – Letters due by 5 pm:   Go to “Submit Position Letter.”  Sample:  Livable California letter attached

4/24 –  Local Government Committee Hearing at 1:30, Room 127

Issues with AB 1487 (comes out of the flawed CASA Compact):  1) Establishes the Housing Alliance for the Bay Area (HABA), a new regional entity serving the 9-county Bay Area to fund affordable housing, preservation and tenant protection programs; 2) Authority to place unspecified revenue measures on the ballot, issue bonds, allocate funds, etc.;  3) Governed by a Board composed of members of MTC (9) and ABAG (9) and staffed by MTC; 4) A trial Trojan Horse rolled out in the Bay Area, and with success is likely to be rolled out around the state.

Script:  “I’m calling re: AB 1487.  Me and my voting neighbors and friends OPPOSE this bill and urge Assembly member ___ to vote “No.”

ASSEMBLY Committee on Local Government  

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Chair       (916) 319-2004

Tom Lackey, VC                        (916) 319-2036

Richard Bloom                           (916) 319-2050

Tasha Boerner Horvath          (916) 319-2076

James Ramos                           (916) 319-2040

Luz Rivas                                  (916) 319-2039

Robert Rivas                             (916) 319-2030

Randy Voepel                           (916) 319-2071

Don’t give up!!   This is a long-haul effort to stop SB 50 and the other bills that threaten communities. Sen. Wiener and his colleagues have had over a year to build momentum, relying on MTC, CASA, Bay Area Council network, Silicon Valley Leadership power, etc.  We are the David in this battle with Goliath.  Here’s what happens next.  

  1. April 11-April 21 -Legislators are on Spring Recess. They’re likely home.  Make an appointment for you and 1-2 others to meet with your local representatives. If you can’t get a face-to-face meeting, convey your concerns by phone.
  2. May 31 – Last day for bills to pass on their floor of origin (Senate Bills on the Senate Floor; Assembly Bills on the Assembly Floor.  We’ll continue to lobby between 4/24 and 5/31 with a goal to defeat the bills.
  3. July 12 –  If SB 50 and SB 330 are still alive, they will be heard in Assembly Committee before 7/12.  We’ll lobby to defeat and are told our chances might be better in the Assembly
  4. August 6 – Last day for Assembly to make amendments on the floor.
  5. September 13 – Last day or any bill to be passed to go to the Governor
  6. October 13 – Last day for governor to sign or veto SB 50 and all other bills

What does your imagination and creativity nudge you to do?  

THANKS for all your efforts! Sometimes success comes from the most unlikely source, strategy, person or idea.  

Hold the vision: SB 50, SB 330, AB 1487 and others – go down to defeat!  We change the narrative.  

Best wishes, 


Susan Kirsch, Founder

Livable California

Historic Mountain View: Weilheimer History

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Update Aug 12, 2017:  One of twho historical treasures that were slated to be destroyed . . .

The Weilheimer House — or Chez TJ, as it’s been known the past 30 years — was built in the 1890s by early Mountain View settlers and features Queen Anne architecture.

THE WEILHEIMER HOUSE or CHEZ TJ as it’s known today:

A walk along Mountain View’s Villa Street reveals a perfect example of Victorian Architecture from the late 1800’s. The Weilheimer House at 938 Villa Street remains at it’s original location on a grassy knoll with large Heritage Trees in front. Built in 1894, and having survived the 1906 Earthquake, it is one of the oldest buildings on the Peninsula. The Weilheimer House has a rich chronicle of Owners and is rooted in Mountain View’s Living History.

The Weilheimer House is on land that was originally part of Castro’s farm. When Castro died (around 1856), his sons hired the Lawyer Houghton to defend them against squatters and secure the land.

Weilheimer House circa 1894

From the State of California National Resources Agency:

“As payment for representing the Castro’s in court, Houghton was given land. A portion of the land Houghton received included the property. It was part of what he named “Villa Lands.” Circa 1869, Houghton sold a good portion of his land in Mountain View to Doctor Bowling (D.B) Bailey for $3,500 (he was not a medical doctor; his first name was Doctor). Over the next twenty years Bailey began developing Villa Lands and by 1887 had recorded a subdivision map.”

The Weilheimer House was built in the 1894 to be the residence of Julius Weilheimer and his young bride, Fanny. Julius was the son of Seligman Weilheimer, an early Mountain View pioneer who arrived in the city with his brother, Samual, during the California gold rush. The brothers owned a general store located on Castro St., which Julius would later operate.

The younger Weilheimer would go on to serve two terms as mayor of Mountain View.  He was a merchant, bank officer and member of the first Town Board.


“938 Villa Street, now Chez TJ, was built for Julius Weilheimer, one of Mountain View’s most prominent pioneer families. A property survey states that the Weilheimer home was built in 1894. According to the City’s 2003 Survey, “the house is an excellent example of a Queen Anne style cottage.”

It was built in an elaborate style for early Mountain View with Palladian windows, an ample porch, an open balustrade and sawtooth shingles on one of the gables. Julius was the son of Seligman Weilheimer a Jewish immigrant from Dossenheim, Baden, Germany, who built Mountain View’s first big general merchandise store in 1856. The Weilheimers also had established a general store in Old Mountain View on El Camino Real during the 1850s stagecoach era. They set up a new shop on Castro Street when the railroad opened.

“The building still stands today as one of the oldest commercial buildings in the North County. The family also ran a hotel, livery, and other businesses near the first block of Castro. Julius was very prominent in a critical era in the city’s history, when it voted to incorporate. Julius was one of our first City Council members, although the body was called the Board of Trustees at the time.  He was also Vice President of the Mountain View Farmers and Merchant’s Bank. The Weilheimer family moved to San Francisco in 1907 whereupon Arthur Free, city attorney and later Congressman had the house until 1914. The Chez TJ Restaurant, now run out of the house has long been advertised as “a contemporary French cuisine restaurant that is uniquely located in one of the most historic Victorian homes in Mountain View.”

The Weilheimer House has a rich chronicle of owners and is rooted in Mountain View’s living history.

The house is on land that had been part of the Mexican land grant of Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas.  This land grant was later passed on to Mariano Castro, who managed a farm on the land that is now Mountain View. When Castro died, around 1856, his sons hired Mr. Houghton, a lawyer, to defend them against squatters and secure the land.


“As payment for representing the Castros in court, Houghton was given land. A portion of the land Houghton received included the property. It was part of what he named “Villa Lands.” Circa 1869, Houghton sold a good portion of his land in Mountain View to Doctor Bowling (D.B.) Bailey for $3,500.  (He was not a medical doctor; his first name was Doctor.)  Over the next twenty years Bailey began developing Villa Lands and by 1887 had recorded a subdivision map.”

The Weilheimer House was built in the 1894 to be the residence of Julius Weilheimer and his young bride, Fanny.  Julius was the son of Seligman Weilheimer, an early Mountain View pioneer who arrived in the city with his brother, Samual, during the California gold rush.  The brothers owned a general store located on Castro St., which Julius would later operate.

The younger Weilheimer would go on to serve two terms as mayor of Mountain View. He was a merchant, bank officer and member of the first Town Board of Trustees. His father and brother owned a general store on El Camino and another downtown, which still stands at 124-8 Castro.

The home’s other notable past residents include Arthur M. Free, Mountain View’s postmaster and city attorney, who went on to become the only U.S. Congressman from Mountain View.

Congressman Arthur Monroe Free

Arthur Monroe Free (January 15, 1879 – April 1, 1953) was a United States Representative from California. He was born in San Jose, California. His birthplace at 66 South 14th Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Santa Clara County. He graduated from the Stanford University law department in 1903 and commenced practice in San Jose. Free moved to Mountain View and was a city attorney from 1904 to 1910. He was the District Attorney of Santa Clara County from 1907 to 1919. He voluntarily retired and resumed the practice of law at San Jose.

Congressman Arthur Monroe Free

Free was a delegate to the Republican state conventions in 1914 and from 1920 to 1936. He was elected as a Republican to the Sixty-seventh and to the five succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1921 – March 3, 1933).

Lloyd A. Free (29 September 1908 — 11 November 1996) was Arthur Free’s son.  Born in the Weilheimer House, he was a founder of the Institute for International Social Research.  In the war against Hitler, Free joined the Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service. He counted references to specific military units mentioned in propaganda broadcasts and made accurate inferences about enemy offensive movements.

After the war, he assisted UNESCO in their communication operations before continuing similarly with the State Department. He helped establish the Institute for International Social Research which did opinion polling in France, Nigeria, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines, publishing the results, frequently as an Institute publication.  Free was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the World Association for Public Opinion Research.

The Weilheimer House has maintained its handsome Victorian-era character over the years. Technically, it can be classified as a “Painted Lady” because it uses three or more paint colors to highlight its architectural features.





This historic house is currently home to the award-winning restaurant Chez TJ, a Mountain View favorite.  Chez TJ has long been advertised as “a contemporary French cuisine restaurant that is uniquely located in one of the most historic Victorian homes in Mountain View.”


Palo Alto Proposes Limiting Office Development

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The Daily Post reports that Backers of initiative to limit office space growth collect more than enough signatures to make ballot. (PDF)


While the city council in Palo Alto just voted to limit development, if the referendum passes it would mean,

 “The stricter cap would also be permanent: any increase would have to be approved by voters, not City Council. Council has already decided to revisit its 50,000-square-foot annual limit within two to four years. Office cap opponents say it allows commercial landlords to raise rents, scaring away businesses that would bring tax revenue to the city.”

Why are cities considering this?

“The initiative seeks to curb the housing, traffic and parking impacts of new employees.”


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Yes! I performed a mental fist pump just reading the title, People Focused Design: Making Mountain View a Great Place to Live. Thank you, Bruce Liedstrand for bringing up the concept. I applaud the notion that design ought to center on people. It should be a given starting point in any design project, especially one that deals with the public realm.

The public realm is what unifies a city, gives it character and diversity. The design of the public realm is the physical manifestation of how a city prioritizes the shared needs of their community. It includes buildings that house public functions, like schools, libraries, and City Hall, as well as open spaces and parks. Often overlooked as components of the public realm, but having an enormous impact in our experience of a place are the streets, the sidewalks, and to a large degree, the buildings that front those streets. Regardless of whether a building is private or public, regardless of the building’s use, the height and massing of a building, its architecture, the relationship of the ground-floor to a public sidewalk or street, etc.- they all act in tandem to create the experience of our public spaces.

Think about any great city. Though there are iconic structures, I’d bet that your experience walking the boulevards, residential streets, plazas, and parks, and your exposure to the people are a significant, if not the primary reason, that makes that city great in your mind. It is the shared spaces, the public realm, that provide the greatest sense of place.

The same holds true for our city. The public realm is what we collectively know as Mountain View. How these spaces interact with each other and how we interact with those spaces should be the starting point for any project. Perhaps we should consider the design of the city in terms of a weaving of public spaces.

Someone recently posed to me what I thought were excellent questions:

Where do you take your out-of-town family and friends when you want to show them Mountain View? Why there?

In 2009, my husband and I chose to live in Mountain View over other neighboring cities after seeing the downtown, but it was the potential for the downtown to become even better that excited me. I recently learned a bit about the history of Mountain View, and fully appreciate the effort in the late 1980’s to redesign Castro Street, laying the foundation for a wonderful public space.

There’s a lot to be proud of in our city, but lately I have been less excited by the direction of our downtown. I am not alone. I hear grumblings of frustration from neighbors and friends. I’m told several downtown businesses are suffering, the landscaping and sidewalk upkeep too. Many are dismayed that historic buildings have been, and are, slated for removal. A couple of the newest downtown buildings are designed to subtly push the public rather away rather than invite them in. Parking is a grievance. Is this the experience the community wants?

Typically, a city evolves slowly over time. Even a single development project can take time. If it has a not-so-great outcome, it usually doesn’t impact the city for a couple years, and even then, not to a great extent. However, we are living at a moment when an enormous push for development is occurring in an incredibly compressed amount of time, stemming from many small and large, and even powerful companies. Collectively, the developments in the pipeline for Mountain View as a whole (maybe 70 or more?) will greatly impact our city for the foreseeable future. These developments can change the entirety of our city, make or break our sense of what Mountain View is. It is imperative that we make incredibly smart and educated decisions.

I do not envy the Council members. The weight of their responsibility is great. I believe they have the best intentions for the city, and have moved the city in a positive way on many fronts. However, we must aim higher.

I know Council is always open to hearing our voices, but there seems to be a disconnect between what the community seeks and values for our shared spaces and what we are getting in terms of new development. If people-focused design starts with understanding what the community wants, it begs the question,“ How we can improve the dialogue?”

When we dig deep into the questions of how to design our public realm with people at the focus, we inevitably get tangled in issues such as parking, retail, infrastructure, safety, transportation, schools, etc. Just as our lives intersect and overlap as citizens of Mountain View, so do all the issues that relate to our daily living. Each is a challenging topic in its own right and requires specific input by experts in each field, but they cannot be addressed in isolation. Similarly, we cannot address each development in isolation without first having a comprehensive plan for the overall design of our city. These all need to be examined in whole in order to provide a framework so we can better address the parts.

We rely on Council to be to be the voice and hand of the community, to ensure that decisions made today are part of a well-planned strategy for the future of our shared city, a future that considers its people at the core. A lot of change is coming fast. We need to do better and we need to do it quickly, even if it means taking a step back to reassess our approach to designing our city.

It is too much to expect the council members to be experts in every field in which they govern. It is my hope that they are humble enough to seek expertise in order to examine what hasn’t worked as well, and then enlist professionals versed in people-focused design to help face the wave of development that seems to be upon us. Designing for the whole is a problem-solving process that requires all our available experts and resources to come together. Mountain View is planted in an area that prides itself as a center for innovation and creative thought. I imagine that if we pool experience, common sense, and creativity, between the will of the city and its people, we could sow some pretty ingenious ways to address these mundane issues.

Joyce Yin,
Concerned Citizen, Architect, and Urban Designer

Historic Mountain View: Airbase Laundry (Tied House)

By | Design, Historic Buildings, Livability, Uncategorized, Walk Appeal | One Comment

The Air Base Laundry or Tied House at 954 Villa St echoes famous Hamburg Warehouse district architecture.

Update Aug 12, 2017:  this is one of two historical treasures that were slated to be destroyed . . .

TIED HOUSE 964 Villa Street was completed in 1931 for the “State of The Art” Air Base Laundry Company.

The Building was typical of 19th century brick warehouse styles that were popular in Europe.  Mountain View had many German immigrants at the time and this building echoes the architecture of the famous Hamburg Warehouse district that was built in the late 1800’s.  It is reasonable to assume that this reinforced concrete structure with its classic brickwork reminded the early settlers of Mountain View of their homeland, while combining it with local materials typically found in Mission style architecture.

The Airbase Laundry opens….

Airbase Laundry announcement in the MV Register-Leader, July 31, 1931

964 Villa Street is still situated on the street in the same manner it was in 1931 as shown in a period photo. A pair of wood doors that are highlighted by a recessed arch provided a distinct entrance.  Iron mullioned windows flank the doorway in the typical warehouse style of this era.  Inside, the double height space was practical for the use of large equipment and ventilation.  The roof is made of durable Spanish tiles that were both functional and beautiful.

This building now houses the Tied House Restaurant that opened in 1987.  The Restaurant is based on the German concept of microbreweries that are “tied” to the restaurant and include serving food.

964 Villa provides Mountain View Residents with a glimpse of the town’s rich history and early immigrants.  It is one of the first brick structures built in Mountain View and is exceptional because it is still standing in its original location.