News - June 28, 2006

Menlo Park: Jellins says time constraints pushed his decision

by Rory Brown

Menlo Park Mayor Nicholas Jellins said he feels good about his recent decision not to run for a third term on the City Council in November.

"I've thought about it a lot and I've made my decision," he said.

The time commitment is a main reason behind his decision, said Mr. Jellins, who was elected to his first four-year council term in 1998 and re-elected in 2002.

"It's no secret my obligation to my job as a council member requires a great amount of time that I'm unable to give to my job, work, family and my personal life," he said.

Mr. Jellins is serving with the title of mayor for the third time, a post that involves chairing council meetings.

He jokingly added that because of the council's Tuesday night meetings, he's "never seen American Idol."

He said he would not rule out a decision "to reconsider or rescind" his statement, but he feels comfortable with it.

He added that he plans to remain involved in the community, specifically looking to provide "better education for the poor and underprivileged in the community."

Running for county, state or federal office has also crossed his mind, he said.

'Process over politics'

Mr. Jellins is one of a three-member council majority that often votes together on major issues, including a recent push to privatize city services.

All three of the seats are up for election in November. The other two — Mickie Winkler and Lee Duboc — have not announced whether they will run.

Mr. Jellins maintains that he values "process over politics."

"I don't make up my mind on an issue based on who proposes it," he said. "I consider how the matter will be resolved on its merits."

He said some of his colleagues on the council — past and present — made decisions based on politics. He declined to name them.

In interviews with the press and in council discussions, Mr. Jellins often avoids taking a definite stance on major issues.

"I'll tell you what I know, and I'll tell you what I think, but not what I believe to be the conclusion," he said. "My personal views are not relevant to the job I was elected to do."

Reaching consensus

Council discussions have been contentious, as the council minority of Kelly Fergusson and Andy Cohen — sometimes referred to as "residentialists" — frequently disagree with the majority on major issues.

Mayor Jellins said the difference of opinions on the council and in the community is "no more exceptional than in prior years."

He did note that when he served his second term as mayor in 2002, the council was usually able to come to consensus and vote unanimously — a practice rarely followed under the current council, although it was unanimous in approving the budget last week.


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