Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

City of Mountain View

Ellen Kamei

Mountain View is a community for all. It has been a welcoming place for me and my family for three generations. As I raise my eight-month-old, I want to ensure the City remains that welcoming place for all of our children and families. I am passionate about high quality education, and want to make it more accessible and inclusive for every child.

  1. In a recent poll by Choose Children 2022 of likely general election voters, more than half of parents with children under age 18 say they are likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how will you make our region a place where all families can thrive?

    The top three issues are:
    ● Access to stable and secure housing
    ● Affordability and public safety
    ● High quality, affordable early childhood developmental and educational experiences
    Our entire community thrives when vulnerable children and families have access to resources to a good quality of life: neighborhoods are safer, the workforce is better prepared, and our economy is more stable. As a lifelong public servant, I have worked hard to increase our affordable housing stock. As a new mother, I know firsthand the challenges of searching for age appropriate, high quality child care. We know that the
    first 5 years in any child’s life are important.

  2. As we have learned over the past three years, without quality, affordable, childcare, parents can’t go to work. What will you do to address challenges accessing childcare and preschool programs in our diverse communities?

    The child care crisis is three pronged with an overlay of inequities. First, there are not enough slots that are accessible to working class families. Families have to make the hard choice of either paying for child care or paying a high amount for rent or mortgage. Second, there is a dearth in the ECE workforce. Many people - particularly those who owned and operated family child care homes - had to close down because of the pandemic, despite being classified as essential workers. Third, there needs to be facilities co-located where families and working parents are. We need to provide incentives for affordable housing developments to include co-location options for child care facilities.

  3. Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the opportunity gap that children in low-income families and children of color confront (e.g., lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors, and enrichment activities). If elected, what will you do to increase equity of opportunity?

    Since June 2020, I have been the Chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Race Equity and Inclusion, prioritizing equity and equality in the City. I prioritized equity based budgeting and this fiscal year, the City implemented our budget process through an equity lens. The City of Mountain View is also fortunate to have community partnerships with the County as well as our non-profit community such as the Community Services Agency of Mountain View-Los Altos, Mountain View Education Foundation, and Mountain View Los Altos Mentor Tutor Connection to try and meet the variety of needs of our families. The City collaborates on food distribution with our local schools and provides social services.

  4. What steps will you take to support inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities and their families to be fully included in our community?

    An inclusive approach begins with outreach to ensure all perspectives and voices are at the table. In addition to outreach, it also is broadening the conversation on what academic success means to include all students. I support robust special needs programs and options for the
    neurologically diverse in our schools. As Councilmember, I have sought a strong ally for the community and be attentive to issues that arise, such as ensuring that city property is ADA-compliant.

  5. There is a mental health crisis among children, youth, and those who care for and educate them. If elected, how will you use the resources of your new role to improve access to mental and behavioral health services?

    I am fortunate to Chair our City’s Youth Services Subcommittee. We spent a year interviewing schools, non-profit partners, and stakeholders. We learned that words matter and as such, we started with reframing the work as promoting “Youth Wellness” to create a healthy environment. Both of our MV school districts have now hired wellness coordinators and we are so grateful to the County Office of Education and the Board of Supervisors for committing resources - monetary and technical assistance behind wellness centers on our campuses. I also have served on the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Board for the last 3 years.