Almanac

News - November 13, 2013

Derwin on Portola Valley council election: 'Great day for community'

• Candidates Richards, Derwin and Hughes are elected.

by Dave Boyce

The community of Portola Valley was the winner in the outcome of the Nov. 5 Town Council election, said re-elected incumbent Councilwoman Maryann Moise Derwin at a party on election night. "It's a great day in Portola Valley for history, the environment, an inclusive culture and community spirit," Ms. Derwin said in an interview. She credited her supporters, including those at the party, to winning her third four-year term on the council.

Ms. Derwin and fellow incumbent John Richards and challengers Craig Hughes and Bud Eisberg ran for three open seats on the council. The latest results from the San Mateo County Elections Office show the winners were Mr. Richards with 785 votes, Ms. Derwin with 784 and Mr. Hughes with 759. Mr. Eisberg was out of the running with 467 votes.

The town also passed Measure Q, which keeps the utility users tax at 4.5 percent for four years.

To Mayor Richards, who will be starting his second term on the council, the fact that election was contested was a trial. Comments and analysis by voters, either online or in print, made for some uncomfortable reading, and there was the competitive aspect. "I didn't like it," he said. "It naturally puts you in opposition to the other people you're running against."

But he said he heard from constituents who made a special trip to the polls just to vote for him. "That was the upside of it," he said. "People came out and gave you support whether you deserved it or not. Hopefully, we're deserving."

Mr. Hughes interpreted the election results as indicative of voters' preference for the town to continue on its current path: environmental sensitivity, active and efficient government, and a participant in regional affairs. "People made a decision on what they wanted for the town, not who they liked," Mr. Hughes said.

Mr. Hughes had prepared a printed mailer, but it was printed too late to make in into mailboxes by election day. "You couldn't just hit send," he said in an amused comparison to his working world of software development. His remedy: He and some colleagues walked around to the homes of likely voters and others, about 1,000 households, and hand-delivered the mailer.

Asked for comment, Mr. Eisberg replied by email: "I ran a low-key, upfront, self-financed campaign and did not throw any darts at the others."

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