The first Tuesday in December sees a shuffling in the ranks of Menlo Park City Council members each year as they choose the new mayor and vice mayor.
The process, in general, is almost always orderly.
"Which I believe the Almanac said is as exciting as a 'PBS woodworking documentary'," outgoing mayor Peter Ohtaki said, laughing, at the Dec. 3 council meeting. "And I like it that way, actually."
The council's non-binding policy is to rotate the position of mayor each year, with those who haven't yet held the title getting preference, and so it was on Dec. 3, with Ray Mueller unanimously selected as mayor. He and Catherine Carlton, chosen unanimously as vice mayor, are finishing out their first year on the council.
Mr. Mueller took a few minutes to thank his family and the city's residents, saying that the neighbors are what makes Menlo Park special.
"Now, do we always agree on what that means? No. We don't. We disagree about the details sometimes. But there's something about Menlo Park that I absolutely love. Everyone has an opinion," he said.
Mr. Ohtaki received a proclamation in recognition of his service as both vice mayor and mayor. He said he hoped he was able to achieve "a balance of process at City Council meetings" where people were comfortable speaking and airing their issues, discussing possible solutions and compromises to shape future of city.
He briefly recapped his recent trip to Galway, Ireland, noting that no Menlo Park taxpayer dollars were spent; he paid for the airfare, and the hotel room and apparently a few pints of Guinness were provided by the hosts.
The two cities signed a friendship agreement in October based on shared history and, Mr. Ohtaki noted, shared aspirations, as both seek to encourage high-tech innovation alongside vibrant communities.