A familiar name has popped on to the list of contenders for the 2014 Menlo Park City Council election: Kelly Fergusson, who lost a bid for a third council term in 2012, has announced that she's running again.
"I am running because current council members are poised to turn El Camino Real into a monolithic office park," Ms. Fergusson told the Almanac on Aug. 7. "Residents need a responsive voice on City Council, and a council member that will stand up to profit-hungry developers."
Save Menlo, the grassroots coalition backing the November ballot initiative that would change the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan approved in 2012, has given Ms. Fergusson its blessing. The initiative would, among other things, restrict the amount of office space per project and require a city-wide vote to change the regulations or for projects that would exceed the cap.
At the time the specific plan was crafted and approved, Ms. Fergusson was on the council; she argued for requiring developers to provide public benefits in exchange for a smaller increase in floor area ratio than the plan being considered called for, a fight she lost.
She was recused from voting on portions of the plan related to Stanford University, which owns property in the area regulated by the specific plan, because her husband worked for Stanford. Stanford now plans to develop its 500 El Camino Real site into a mixed-use complex of office, housing and retail.
Her two terms on the council were not without controversy, including a Brown Act violation that led to her resignation as mayor in 2010.
As of Friday morning, Environmental Quality Commissioner Kristin Duriseti, Planning Commissioner Drew Combs and incumbent Kirsten Keith have filed their nomination papers.
Incumbents Rich Cline and Peter Ohtaki have taken out papers. The deadline for filing is the close of business today.
Mr. Combs said that he plans to keep an open mind during the campaign season, but right now feels inclined to vote for the initiative. So far Ms. Duriseti has declined to comment on where she stands on the initiative.
All three council incumbents have indicated that they do not support the initiative, for reasons that include the inflexibility of requiring a city-wide vote to make changes.