From Big Dogs to Big Decisions: Securing Mountain View’s Future

Mayor Emilie Mitcham

The other night, a big dog was roaming the neighborhood unattended. He shuffled down the sidewalk, and then slowly wandered into the street without looking both ways. Concerned for his safety, I called Jeffcom’s non-emergency line. The operator informed me that Animal Control wouldn’t be available until the morning, due to after-hours. Could I hold onto the dog until then?

Dear readers – this dog was the size of a horse, and I am only exaggerating a little. The other dog in our household was not crazy about the idea of the sleepover. In all other parts of the Denver Metro Area, I think I would have been up a creek, as they say. But because I live in Mountain View, I replied that I thought our officers could handle it, and asked if they could dispatch a Mountain View officer to consider the situation. “Sure,” said the operator. And five minutes later, Officer Colman pulled up smiling and graciously solved the problem. This is what we mean when we say Mountain View is special. It’s a perfect example of something we never want to lose. 

It was not that long ago—and many of us remember—when the town was struggling financially and portrayed in the local media as unprofessional and poorly managed. We were at the mercy of some very difficult winds in those days, and I never want us to go back. 

Since taking office, one of my most fundamental goals has been to ensure Mountain View’s financial stability and professional management. No single person can do this. It must be built into the governance structure so that it lasts from generation to generation, regardless of who is elected to lead and what our financial fortunes may or may not be that year.

As we approach November’s ballot, I urge you to engage with me and your Council Members to make an informed decision about the Charter questions Council has placed on our ballot. This decision will shape Mountain View’s future, and it could not be more consequential.

Transitioning to a ‘Council-Manager’ government (the gold-standard for municipal management) is crucial for ensuring our ongoing stability. Our diverse Town Council unanimously supports this shift, because they know it is vital for our long-term security.

As long as we are a town, we will always have a Mayor who lives here – someone who knows our community inside and out and advocates for us at Town Hall. We will always work to build bridges between us, when so many other places find themselves divided. We will always find joy and purpose in working and playing together. We will always protect our eclectic spunky, small-town charm. And we will always look to hire officers who are not above coming to escort a big friendly dog home, even though it might not be the fanciest police work they’ve ever done.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also have professional management. At its core, that’s what this potential move from a “Strong Mayor” to a “Council-Manager” form of government is – professional management. Let us commit to professional governance and strengthen our town for generations to come.

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