With Friday's filing deadline rapidly approaching, two local business owners have stepped forward as potential challengers to incumbents Andy Cohen and Kelly Fergusson in the Menlo Park City Council race.
Menlo Park insurance broker Ronald Shepherd -- who has also served on the board of directors of the West Bay Sanitary District since 1999 -- and local landscape architect Richard Ciardella took out nomination papers on Aug. 6, suggesting they may make a run at the two council seats up for election Nov. 4.
Mr. Shepherd and Mr. Ciardella sit on the board of directors of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce, serving as chair emeritus and secretary, respectively.
Candidates have to file paperwork with the Menlo Park city clerk by 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Mr. Shepherd and Mr. Ciardella could not be immediately reached for comment.
The only other non-incumbent to take out nomination papers is Jeff Jahnke, a member of the city's Environmental Quality Commission and a local audio/video consultant. Mr. Jahnke has not responded to The Almanac's repeated interview requests, and had not filed nomination papers as of 11 a.m. on Aug. 7.
Council members Cohen and Fergusson have publicly declared support for one another's re-election bids, and both incumbents filed nomination papers Aug. 7, according to Interim City Clerk Sherry Kelly.
About the challengers
Mr. Shepherd is no stranger to elections, currently serving his third consecutive term on the board of the West Bay Sanitary District, which oversees and treats wastewater in parts of Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, East Palo Alto, Woodside, and unincorporated areas of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
He was last re-elected in November 2007, and currently serves as chairman of the West Bay district.
Mr. Ciardella's Menlo Park firm, Ciardella Associates, helped plan and design the Trees for Menlo project to plant trees along El Camino Real. The firm has also been hired to help design Menlo Square, Willow Oaks Field, and facilities at Menlo-Atherton High School, according to the Ciardella Associates Web site.
Mr. Ciardella also served as chairman of this year's Connoisseur's Marketplace festival. The annual street fair is sponsored by the chamber of commerce.