Viewpoint - December 8, 2010

Letter: Critical decision for Menlo Park mayor

On Tuesday evening, Dec. 7, the Menlo Park City Council will select the mayor for 2011, and whatever the result, it will be controversial — this year nothing is quite "normal." (The mayor sets the weekly council agenda, and also represents the city to myriad neighboring agencies.)

The city "policy" for mayor selection is not so helpful this year as the vice mayor didn't run for re-election and none of the five members meets the initial test of selection. The bottom line is, council will have to make this selection outside of its normal "policy."

But something is clear to the 72 percent of voters who approved Measure L pension reform: the one council member who opposed the initiative — she even co-lead the opposition — should not be setting the council agenda. Pension reform remains the single most important fiscal issue in our city, and the council must carry it forward with commitment, or we will have accomplished little.

Meanwhile, our city is in the throws of hugely important transportation and planning efforts, in one of which the residents have had up to three years of input; for once, we need rational continuity, not disruption. With due respect to "policy" guidelines, council members this year need to look at qualifications for continued city leadership. This may not sit well with some, but I believe Rich Cline is that leader, with election winner Peter Ohtaki vice mayor.

It will be a critical decision — I wish all our leaders the best.

Henry Riggs, Callie Lane, Menlo Park

The writer is a member of the Menlo Park Planning Commission and was co-chair of the Measure L pension reform campaign.


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