City Council candidate Orrin Mahoney thought his political career was over. After serving on the council for nine years and serving another two terms as mayor, Mahoney had no other aspirations for office. But the current situation of Cupertino has inspired him to run once again with the hope of fixing the city he has resided in for 49 years.
“There’s a lot of conflict on the council and the community,” Mahoney said. “And I thought it was important enough to come back and run again to bring back some civil discourse to the council.”
Before entering public service, Mahoney worked at Hewlett Packard in the early ‘90s. He accepted an offer to represent HP on a citizens’ goals committee, which eventually lead him to serving on the Planning Commission for eight years. Afterwards, he ran for council twice and was elected on his third try. According to Mahoney, his experience is a significant part of what makes him the ideal candidate.
“I think I’d do a good job and it’s important for me that Cupertino goes in the right direction,” Mahoney said. “I’m willing to put my time to do it.”
If elected, Mahoney’s plans for the city involve solving the housing crisis, implementing more public transit and preserving and enhancing parks and open space. He hopes to work with other council members to create solutions from a variety of perspectives.
“When I was on the council before … I worked with a lot of different council people and we had different viewpoints and approaches, but we got together,” Mahoney said. “We could compromise ... [to] make good things happen in the city. I want to bring that back if I can.”
According to Mahoney, the lack of compromise is mainly due to the differences between two groups running for city council. Mahoney is running alongside Savita Vaidhyanathan and Hung Wei to implement more progressive and pro-business ideas. They are opposed by candidates running as representatives of the Better Cupertino group: Liang Chao and John Willey. Currently, Better Cupertino is represented on the council by councilman Steven Scharf.
To illustrate the group’s different viewpoints, Mahoney references his proudest achievement as city councilman – the approval of Apple Park. At the time, Better Cupertino believed conflict existed between Apple and the residents. Mahoney responded by explaining the reasoning behind the council’s decision.
“We did it because it was a great economic benefit for the city, direct and indirect benefits,” Mahoney said. “Those are the decisions we make all the time. I want to bring back that level of discussion and compromise. It would be worse if another Better Cupertino person gets elected.”
Overall, Mahoney understands the importance of acknowledging and respecting all sides of an issue when coming to a decision, a trait that he deems important for every public servant.
“If you’re on the council, people say you didn’t listen to [them], and what they really mean is you didn’t do what [they] wanted,” he said. “In the end, this is what we think is the right thing for the city.”