By Khalida Sarwari
Two candidates on opposite sides of the proposed redevelopment of Vallco Shopping Mall are separated by a single vote in the Cupertino City Council race, with 10 percent of ballots still to be counted.
The gap between third- and fourth-place candidates, Jon Willey, a lead organizer of the Better Cupertino a residents group that opposes mixed-use redevelopment of Vallco, and Councilwoman Savita Vaidhyanathan has steadily shriveled since Election Day. Willey leads Vaidhyanathan by one vote.
Willey has 7,168 votes and Vaidhyanathan has 7,167.
If Willey wins, the council majority would shift from one that favors a massive mixed-use redevelopment of the near-vacant shopping mall to one against such a transformation. Election results are expected to be certified in early December.
Willey, a 60-year-old engineer, says he’s concerned about Cupertino’s jobs and housing imbalance and would take a “data driven” approach toward large development projects. “Unfortunately I feel Cupertino has a pro-developer council that is not responding to the residents concerns,” he said.
Vaidhyanathan, 54, has named housing, transportation and the environment as her biggest priorities, noting that she’d like to see the work she started in her first term through to completion. “I recognized early that traffic and pollution don’t respect city boundaries and demand regional solutions,” she has said.
Incumbent Mayor Darcy Paul has kept a steady lead in the contest with 18.05 percent of the vote and Liang-Fang Chao has remained in second place with 16.12 percent.