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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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City of SunnyvaleCandidate for Mayor

Photo of Michael S. Goldman

Michael S. Goldman

Sunnyvale Councilmember
15,461 votes (30.23%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • The $373 Million (including $93 million interest on $150 million borrowed) for a new city hall and small public safety add-on is not justified in this time of economic crisis.
  • Sunnyvale's revenues are projected to decline 20% over the next two years. We need to maintain services and do our best to avoid layoffs, but hard choices will need to be made. I will maintain public safety at the current levels..
  • There is a high risk of sea level rise affecting property in North Sunnyvale by the Bay. I oppose building new housing there.



Profession:Software Engineer, Math Teacher
City Councilmember, City Council of Sunnyvale — Elected position (2017–current)
Software engineering consultant. Taught High School Math for a few years, Self (1979–2010)


University of Wisconsin - Madison and Michigan State University MA Math, BSc Physics, Physics, Engineering, Computers, Chemistry (1977)

Community Activities

Soccer player, coach, referee, soccer club president, Sunnyvale Alliance Soccer Club (1997–2010)


At age 19, serving with US forces in Vietnam, one of my tasks was to log the death count for the day.  That burned into my mind that the world needed to be healed and it was my responsibility along with everyone else to contribute to that healing.


When I left the service and went to college on the GI Bill, I tutored kids in ghettos and on Indian reservations because I believe a nation's only natural resource is the intelligence, creativity, and dedications of its people.  I worked in political campaigns for candidates who I thought could move the world to a better place. I continued this work as an undergraduate at a small state school in central Wisconsin where I got my BSc in Physics, and later when I went to graduate school in Madison to get my MA in Math.


When I moved to the Bay Area nearly 40 years ago, I was so impressed with the natural beauty and the wide diversity of the people I felt like I had arrived at the perfect place. It is suffering in many ways now. In a sense it is being "loved to death" with overdevelopment and attempts to turn it into a cheap knock of New York City. I grew up in New York. It is a great place in its own way. Our area is also a great place in its own way. Our area should be true to itself and preserve nature and its own way of life.


While at a picnic on Angel Island, I met my 'angel'. She is Japanese by birth but a fully American citizen for decades now. We moved to Sunnyvale when it was time to start a family because we love the parks and the lovely old part of downtown. As a dad I made sure my kids learned the traditions and moral foundations of their heritage.  I coached-refereed soccer becoming club president - adding on Spring and Summer Soccer seasons so kids could run around and play with their friends all year around.


I joined Sunnyvale Public Pension Reform group to get the City Council to put aside money for a funding crisis that will hit all cities in California in the coming years. By presenting data on the history and probable future of pension funding I motivated a large number of people to ask the city council to put aside money for the future pension. This pension fund will enable Sunnyvale to honor its opbligations to its employees without compromising city services.


When I learned of plans to let a developer take over 2/3rds of the Civic Center I co-founded a group to stop it.  We joined another group fighting the sale of the Raynor Park Activity Center. That Activity Center was a place where for many years so many kids, including mine, had learned gymnastics, or taken dance classes, or been in child care. We started what became "Measure M" to try to make sure that Sunnyvale residents had the final say in the future of their parks and open spaces. I ran for city council to make sure Measure M would have a voice speaking in favor of it. I was the only one speaking for Measure M at the many candidate forums - all other candidates opposed it, wanting to leave decisions on our parks to only the city council. As a result of your support, I was able to defeat a much better funded candidate and join the council. With that support of the voters, the city council joined me in enacting a measure to protect parks and public lands. But there is more to be done. WE need to make it so that a vote of teh people is necessary to sell any more parks or public open space.


I have always been an independent thinker, fighting for the little guy and greater democracy. In our current health and financial crises Sunnyvale, we need the city to serve its citizens more than ever. I ask for your vote so I can continue to fight for you from a position of greater influence.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California and Elect Justice CA (2)

Does your office have any plans to include currently or formerly incarcerated people in your decision-making process as it relates to criminal justice issues? What would that look like?
Answer from Michael S. Goldman:


With 8,000 people eligible for release from CA prisons to help stem the transmission of COVID-19, how, if at all, would your office aid these Californians and their families in navigating reentry?
Answer from Michael S. Goldman:

Work with local social service agencies.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

My political philosophy is that "the Will of the People" is the governing principle, while protecting the individual rights and welfare of everyone.


In politics, we need to compromise and find common ground so that we can accomplish what people want. We need to be open to others' views, and maintain a deep humility about ourselves. We need to collaborate with others and foster the strengths that everyone can bring to work towards shared goals.


Here are a few thoughts from others that guide my thinking:


"The function of leadership is to produce more Leaders, not more Followers."


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

- Margaret Mead


"A leader is best when people barely know he exists - when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say 'We did this ourselves'"

- Lao Tzu (5th century Chinese thinker)


Position Papers

1. “Sunnyvale Civic Center Modernization” – how much money and what should be the scope?


The current plans are to spend nearly $400 million for an elaborate new city hall, demolition of the existing city hall, and an add-on to the public safety building are too extravagant.  In the current economic and health crisis, we need to postpone this and resize it to avoid drastic cutbacks to city services.

The current plans are to spend $280 million for an elaborate new city hall, demolition of the existing city hall, and an add-on to the existing public safety building.  Of that $280 million, $150 million will be borrowed incurring $93 million in interest. 

Total cost will be $373 million (= $130 million "cash on hand" + $150 million debt + $93 million interest on that debt.).


Most buildings in Sunnyvale’s Civic Center are pretty solid.  The few that will not be worth maintaining over the long term can be replaced relatively inexpensively by adding on to the existing city hall as is planned for the public safety building.  Instead the current plans are to build a huge new building and tear down two perfectly solid city office buildings.  This is totally unnecessary.


In addition, with “work from home” possibly the wave of the future, we might not need as much space for employees.  We should wait a year before making a decision both to see how city revenues are impacted and what our space needs are after “work from home” policies solidify.


I am for adding on to the public safety building now because it is a small part of the plans, not costing much money, and we won’t need to go into debt for it.


I favor holding off on further decisions on city hall space considerations until we have more clarity on the economy, and greater understanding of our space needs.  If debt is incurred, it means that any cost over-runs that occur during the project will need to be borrowed.  This will add even more interest to the debt, further reducing money available to provide services to the public.


Sunnyvale's population has been decreasing for a few years now.  With more people leaving to "work from home" in other cities and even other states, revenues and service needs will decrease.  We may not need, or be able to afford more office space.  With city revenues projected to decrease for the next 4 years, this is not the time to go into debt, or spend such a huge amount on a new luxurious city hall, or tear down a perfectly good old city hall.


It is time to rethink this extravagance.


Please see more at:



2. Don't put housing in a flood zone!


Currently the area known as Moffett Park (near Moffett Field) is zoned industrial.  There is a move to zone it for housing.  This is a terrible idea.  The area is former marshland that has been used as landfill.  It will be one of the first areas inundated by Sea Level Rise (SLR).  When it does, it will back up sewers so the flood will be contaminated, groundwater percolating up will bring with it toxic chemicals buried for over 100 years.


Currently the area known as Moffett Park (near Moffett Field) is zoned industrial.  There is a move to zone it for housing.  This is a terrible idea.  The area is former marshland that has been used as landfill.  It will be one of the first areas inundated by Sea Level Rise (SLR).  When it does, it will back up sewers so the flood will be contaminated, groundwater percolating up will bring with it toxic chemicals buried for over 100 years.

By 2050 it will be at least 1 ft. of sea level rise (66% probability) according to California State documents.  With the periodic high tides ("King Tides") and storm surge this will result in 4 feet deep flooding.  The flood waters will be salty and contaminated with sewer waste.  Rising groundwater will bring buried toxins to the surface.  Any cars parked will be ruined.  The flooding will reach parts of highway 237.


By 2100 Sea Level Rise will flooding depth with storm surge will be roughly 7 feet deep.  It will reach well past parts of 237 in Sunnyvale into mobile home parks.according to California State documents.  With the periodic high tides ("King Tides").  




Since there are many, many California state documents predicting the areas and time periods for flooding, anyone who loses their home and possessions will have every good reason to sue Sunnyvale for zoning for housing where they shouldn't.  Settling those lawsuits, and cleaning up the contaminated mess that the flooding will leave will be very, very expensive.  Taxes will need to be raised, or city services cut, or both.


For more information and supporting documents, please see:


Please vote for me by November 3rd, 2020 so I can prevent an expensive disaster which can be easily avoided.


3. Managing Sunnyvale’s decline in population and revenues over the next decade.


Sunnyvale’s population grew for about 15 years since the low point in 2004, but was starting to decline about two years ago.  In addition, with the "work from home" movement resulting in people leaving the area for less expensive housing in other towns we may see a further decline of significant proportions.  Add in the economic fallout from the pandemic, and Sunnyvale will need to be very careful about its budgetary expenditures.

Sunnyvale’s population was 131,826 in 2000, but after the "dot-com" bubble burst, population declined about 4% and with it housing prices and property values.  After reaching a low point in 2004, ppulation grew for about 15, but started to decline about two years ago.  From the 2017 peak through 2019 our population has declined roughly 1%.  Sunnyvale's population decline may be much greater as people decide they can “work from home" in much less expensive environments. 


This has also been true of neighboring cities such as San Jose, Palo Alto, Cupertino and other cities in California.



Sunnyvale’s current budget projects a decline in general fund revenues of about 20% over the next two years. From its current  $207 million, it is projected to decline to about $182 million in two years before it starts rising again.  These are essentially educated guesses.  It could be better, or worse.  With population decline, we may very well see a reduction in property values, sales taxes, and with it a reduction in city revenues.


This will require significant belt tightening.  I will try to preserve jobs, and maintain services.  Public Safety staff will become more important as homelessness and domestic violence from financial stress increase. 


We need to keep up not only public safety staff but also their work hours – unlike Los Angeles where everyone is required to take a 10% unpaid work furlough.


I will work to preserve essential services.  I was the only one to oppose a cut to the Public Safety funding this budget cycle.


Please vote for me by November 3rd so I can work to keep Sunnyvale's finances in good shape so we can preserve services and avoid dangerous cuts to public safety.

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