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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sunnyvale City Council Campaign - 2018 - Henry Alexander III

(Transcript of interview with Henry Alexander III.  The other post in this series on Josh Grossman is here:

Henry Alexander III's Website

(Full disclosure:  I endorse Josh Grossman, Henry Alexander III and John Cordes for City Council and have contributed to their campaigns. - Michael Goldman)

Link to this post:

Link to interview with candidate Josh Grossman:

Link to interview with candidate John Cordes:

<HOST>: Hi @Henry Alexander III  thank you for spending time with us tonight [the question list is here:  Background on Henry:, and our final conversation will be put there as well]


Henry Alexander III :Hi Everyone!  My name is Henry Alexander and I am running on behalf of the citizens and families of Sunnyvale.

As a Bay Area native and 13 year resident in Sunnyvale, my wife of 21 years and I have raised our family, educated our 3 children in the public school system and have volunteered for countless community centered causes and events.

My 6 year parks commission and multi-year Ray-Nor Park neighborhood association leadership has equipped me to know how important connection to community truly is.

I’ve committed to a lean campaign financed 100% by individuals committing to 50% of the average Sunnyvale City Council campaign council spending.

<HOST>: Before we ask any questions, I would like to get an official approval from you, that everything we talk here, will be made public, without any material edition. Would you like to approve it?

Henry Alexander III: Yes I approve
<HOST>: Great, thanks Henry, we are off to the first question:

Sunnyvale City Council Chambers
Question 1: Why are you running for Sunnyvale City Council?

Henry Alexander III: I have a goal which is to make Sunnyvale its best.  My goals of reducing traffic, calming office development approvals, improving a flawed infrastructure and open space are my highest priorities.  What also very important to me is to provide a "resident-first" approach.  One that is not questioned by who has financed my campaign.  I'd like to bring Sunnyvale into a more "resident-first" city and that includes the many concerns that the council has frankly failed to adequately address.

<HOST>: Great, I like your "resident-first" approach and hope it one day becomes true.  And the independence is invaluable, this is the only thing that cannot be bought by money.

Question 2: What have you done for the community before?

Henry Alexander III: I have served on the Parks & Recreation commission for 6 years.  3 of the years of which I was voted unanimously as chair and twice voted unanimously as Vice Chair.  In addition I am heavily involved in the Raynor Park Neighborhood association where we lead many community events and outreach such as a trash cleanup day, Easter Egg Hunts which bring out about 200 kids and other community building activities as well.

I have also led an initiative to save Raynor park against the city when open space was being sold.

Additionally I was heavily involved in Measure M

<HOST>: For folks who do not understand what is Measure M, can you please briefly describe it a bit?

Henry Alexander III : Sure.  Measure M was an initiative that was intended to give residents of Sunnyvale the ability to vote to determine who has the final say on public land transactions.  We passionately tried to get the measure passed and were even able to gather over 1200 petition signatures in the midst of the El Nino rain that happened that year.  It really allowed me to be an outspoken leader in an effort to give control to residents.

2012 Plan to Chop up Civic Center and 99-Year Lease To Developers
While it narrowly was defeated, the message that Sunnyvale residents want to slow development was made very clear as two incumbents who were 100% growth were voted out of office.  My opponent and Mayor Hendricks were the last two who are on council who can be voted out.  It's my hope we can finish the job!

My apologies but I was extremely passionate about this cause.

(for a short video of City Council debating leasing away 65% of the Civic Center, see: - Michael Goldman )

<HOST>: Thanks Henry, it's always good to be passionate.  Appreciate your explanations, let's quickly move to the 3# question

How Dense is Too Dense?
Question 3: What is your view on the housing and development in Sunnyvale? What is your view about sensible development? What is the difference between you and your opponent?

Henry Alexander III :I believe that we start solving our housing issues by scaling back on office developments.  Sensible development to me means making sure that there is a real plan when developments are approved.  How developments affect school overcrowding and public safety should always be priority.

The difference between me and my opponent is that he has proven that he is pro-development by his voting record.  While development is not a bad thing in all cases, it's difficult to trust a vote that is a project that has financed his campaign.  That is how we differ since I am 100% individually financed.

Question 4: What should we do to alleviate traffic? Gustav Larsson mentioned city implements state of the art intelligent traffic lights to improve traffic. Does it work?

Question 5: I am concerned about the urban sprawl in Sunnyvale, with no additional capacity added to the roads or other transit infrastructure, which is causing significant traffic congestion. How do you address the issue?

Henry Alexander III :I think intelligent traffic signals are a great start but I have seen recently that we still are having traffic light issues.  We will need to go further in the process and look at 5G technology to better control traffic flow.  My opponent speaks of different percentages of improvements but I don't think that residents are feeling any less congestion.

Working with transit to create free shuttles, incentivizing carpooling, and more demands for business to increase ride sharing are a good start in my opinion.  I intend to work on this issue since it is now a public safety concern.

Emergency Vehicles - stuck in traffic like any other vehicle
Question 6: Please explain your concerns about emergency vehicles?

Henry Alexander III :I have seen so many vehicles who are fighting through traffic to get to their intended destination.  When minutes and seconds mean life or death, something needs to change.

I think that the improvements will come when we better educate drivers as to proper road rules.  We have to calm the traffic first.  That's not an answer that any one person can solve.  It will take a lot of work to clean up the mess that poor decisions have created.  What is clear, if we expect something different from my opponent, it will not happen.  Continued growth + additional mass = more traffic.

Question 7: What is your action plan on reducing airplane noise in Sunnyvale?

Henry Alexander III: I want to be clear that this is a personal issue for me.  I have neighbors who suffer from PTSD and the flight path causes episodes.  I have learned a lot about the airplane noise issue from Save Sunny Sky.  I'm fully in favor of Josh Grossman's 5 point plan.  We really do need citizen input and most important, revisiting the City's current round-table.  When we are elected, please know that you will have two strong advocates that will work hard to correct the issue of airplane noise.

Raynor Park in red box with building sold to Stratford School in yellow box
Question 9: We heard you are the chair of Raynor Park Neighborhood Association and held many activities for neighbors . Could you tell us more regarding the stories of saving Raynor Park & Measure M?

Henry Alexander III: Saving Ray-Nor Park allowed me to see how important community, family and open space is to residents.  Seeing people so passionate to only be let down by their elected officials was heartbreaking.  But these are the same individuals who have helped my campaign. I'm excited that they remember and are willing to support the same way I served and supported them.
(see also: )

Question 10: California Apartment Association sent mailers to promote Gustav Larsson. The mailer mentioned Gustav champions "smart housing" solutions while protecting existing neighborhoods and preserving the small town community feel the residents of Sunnyvale value. What does smart housing mean ? Is it possible to have "smart housing" and preserve the small town feeling together?

Henry Alexander III: I think that high density housing is a flawed solution.  These are small spaces and when more families are created as time passes, where do these children go to school?  How does it affect traffic?  The term "smart" only applies when every aspect is considered.  Sunnyvale does not want to become San Francisco.  It will lose what makes it special.

Public Housing in FL
Question 11: Both of you mentioned affordable housing will be your goals. What is the difference between you and your opponent regarding affordable housing? What is the definition of affordable housing?

Henry Alexander III : No offense to my friend in SF!  Affordable housing to my opponent means creating more supply as the assumption is that it will decrease demand.  Again, this is not the answer.  I am in favor of affordable housing options but not at the expense of taxpayers.  There should also be limits in some cases so that there is a time limit for those able to improve their financial means.  Too many take advantage and this is why there is such a divide.

<HOST>: Two questions that are closely related:

Question 12: What is your plan to improve our city's transparency? 

Question 13: Actually, every city council meeting is very important. However most of us are busy.  How can city inform us those important decisions before they make a decision and after a decision?

Henry Alexander III : I have advocated for Data Transparency and have presented low cost options that will allow the City to better communicate to its residents.  I believe that the City is several years behind from even our neighboring cities in this effort.  I'd like to free up resources that are manual by making the data universally available to all residents.  That includes spend and campaign finance.

Here is a link to my thoughts on that:

Question 14: If the subject of marijuana stores in Sunnyvale ever shows up on the Sunnyvale council meeting, what would be your vote? Yes or No?

Henry Alexander III: No.  Dispensaries don't belong in Sunnyvale.  The residents have also been very clear that they are against it as well.

Question 15: What is your school safety plan?

Henry Alexander III: Kids should never fear going to school.  My children were affected by lock downs several years back.  I think that we really need to focus on mental health and equipping parents with tools to better control their kids screen time.  The pressure and over stimulation I think have created a larger issue.  I have attended several school board meetings and hope to work along side PTA to look at increasing the education of of kids to make the right decisions.  That's where it really starts.

Question 15: What is your opinion about rent control?

Henry Alexander III: This is close to home.  I have been a renter for 13 years in Sunnyvale.  While this is the case I am not convinced that rent control is the complete answer.  In some cases rent control can hurt supply as an unintended consequence.  I am in favor of rent stabilization for mobile home parks.

A large concern is how do we as a City and community help address the cost of rents while implementing Sensible Growth to maintain and grow our affordable housing options?

Once elected, I will make it a priority to seek additional community input and a solution that will help manage this very real issue.  One in which we can collectively agree upon, for the betterment of all in Sunnyvale.

<HOST>: Again, I would like to point out the rent control on SF has result a disaster for both home owners and tenants.  That is the last city that Sunnyvale would want to model with.

Henry Alexander III : Agreed

<HOST>: Great thank you Henry for all the typing!  Let's get to free chat and new questions.

Question 16: What will be your biggest challenge if you are elected? What is the first thing you want to focus on when you are elected?

Henry Alexander III: The biggest challenge is to solve the division.  We all want the same which is a great city to live and raise our families.  I believe that I can get along well with both sides to work towards better solutions.  I've always been complimented on being approachable and a good communicator.

Question 17: What are your hobbies during casual time?

Henry Alexander III :My hobbies have centered mostly around my family.  My kids run competitive track so my weekend time is with them.  I do enjoy the beach and collected vinyl records.  I have a large collection of Jazz records.

<HOST>:πŸ””πŸ””πŸ””Free Chatting time with Henry Now, wake up!

GCN: How many new parks open recently?
Seven Seas Park, Sunnyvale
Henry Alexander III :In 2013 Swegles Park was opened at 1.0 acres, in 2014 Seven Seas park was open at 5.3 acres and Wiser park opens November 3rd which will be 0.8 acres.  I voted for each of these parks to be approved by Council as a recommendation on the Parks Commission.

lisaN: What can we do to keep our park from being sold?

Henry Alexander III: Parks being sold would be suicide for a council to approve.  The prevention of this would be the residents being vocal and passionate as we were with saving Raynor Park.

Henry Alexander III :The next 20 years are the most crucial.  I was taught by my parents to remember, everything takes time and you have to accept that if you want to do great things with your life.

The good news is that humans are living longer and technology has allowed us to have more jobs and opportunities to make a difference.

The better news is that Sunnyvale can start this November, look back at ourselves in the future, and appreciate all of the work we’ve put in to tell our story.

GCN:  You had a video regarding Butcher's corner.  Could you talk about what you learn about Butcher corner's development?  Were you a Chair of the Park Commission at that time?

Henry Alexander III:  I learned that the City made many exceptions to the code with Butcher's Corner.  I also learned that this council puts developer's interests first instead of residents.
A U-Turn at a busy intersection is necessary to leave towards Wolf Rd.
More here:

XLN:“When we are elected, please know that you will have two strong advocates that will work hard to correct the issue of airplane noise.” Henry, with your statement above, you drove me in tears! This is such a stark contrast to the current city council. We’ve been working with them, especially the current mayor, for the last couple of years. Let’s just put it this way - it hasn’t been easy. I sincerely pray that all 3 grassroots candidates will win and bring fresh air to the city council this November. It’s about time!

Closing Statement:

Henry Alexander III: Sunnyvale I’m one of you.  I have raised my family and in a sense, been raised as well in Sunnyvale.  What matters to you is what matters to me.  In a time in our society in which we are divided in ways that are close to Civil War times, I ask that you consider the candidate who has demonstrated bringing communities together.

I want to bring a diversity.  A diversity of thought in our council that you no longer need to question.  My campaign and my life have been supported by individuals alone.  My debt to repay is serving the residents of Sunnyvale first.
Diversity on City Council - Mustaches, Beard, Clean-shaven.
What more could you ask for?
My opponent has been consistent in his voting record that development takes a priority to the bigger picture.

Please visit my website to read more about my priorities.  I’m confident that you’ll find more alignment with my goals for Sunnyvale.  I ask that you vote for Henry. And vote to "work for a change".

Henry Alexander's web site is here:

<HOST>: Bye and good night!

Henry Alexander III :Thank you all!

Comparisons Between Henry Alexander III & Gustav Larsson

Source: Part 3: Follow The Money / 2018 Sunnyvale Council Races material (video, slides, summary sheet) published on the website

Out of Control Growth in Sunnyvale - Butcher's Corner

If you want to know the detail and impact of the development of Butchers Corner, please visit Councilman Michael Goldman's blog

I saw a petition from residents surrounding Butcher's Corner regarding the development. Over 600 persons signed. Did our city listen to what residents want or what developers want? If your house is near any potential development site,  Butcher's Corner today is what you will live with tomorrow.


We, the local residents of Sunnyvale and surrounding areas, petition our Sunnyvale City Council Members to accept the Planning Commission’s Recommendations for the Butcher's Corner Project as follow:

1.       Do not certify the proposed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) but instead require that it be updated to include an updated traffic study.  their source.

 2.      If a special Development Permit is considered by the City Council, then accept  the Planning Commission’s Recommendations as follows:

3.      Require that the updated EIR as discussed in 1. (above) be updated to include a more accurate student generation rate because the one used likely does not properly reflect the historical student population generation for the Stocklmeir School. A more accurate rate, based on the actual Stocklmeir ATT rate should be utilized. The updated rate should be used to update both a) the attendance figures for Stocklmeir School and b) provide sufficient reason to revise upward the average 2.61 average occupancy figures. The new occupancy figures should be utilized in the update to the traffic study (above).

4.      Accept the Heritage Preservation Commission’s recommendation to designate all 6 oak trees, the one large 300 year old Valley Oak plus the 5 Coast Live Oak trees near the corner of El Camino Real, as Heritage Resource trees.


One of Sunnyvale's Famous Land Owners

The Vidovich family has a variety of properties he wishes to redevelop in Sunnyvale.  This year John and Stephen Vidovich donated both Hendricks & Larsson $2900. As we know, the butchers corner, at the intersection of El Camino, Wolfe Rd.and Fremont is going to redevelop.  Following by 803 W. El Camino Real, it is a mixed-used project.  And the other two properties are neighborhood shopping centers which Gustav Larsson mentioned in his mailer "with Sunnyvale residents' support, he will upgrade neighborhood shopping centers".

The descriptions of the four properties are as follows:

1.Butchers Corner (871 and 895 E. Fremont Ave.):  This development is approved by the City Council on 12/13/16. Redevelopment of a 5.49-acre site with 138 residential units (39 townhomes and 99 apartments) plus 6,934 square feet of retail/office use with surface and underground parking.  It will be 5 story street and 6 story inside buildings. Enclosed the future plan view for your reference.

2. 803 W. El Camino Real: 49 residential units (40 apartments + 9 single-family homes), 5,662 s.f. of commercial, and a 51 room expansion of the Grand Hotel

3. The shopping plaza at Fremont and Mary

4. The plaza at Pastoria and El Camino