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Almanac

News - August 8, 2012

Menlo Park election: Carlton pulls papers [JUMP PAGE PULLQUOTE]

Catherine Carlton joins five other likely candidates.

Photo file: Carlton......

Menlo Park election: Carlton pulls papers

By Sandy Brundage

As the deadline to file draws near, another candidate seems ready to jump into the Menlo Park City Council race. Catherine Carlton, currently serving as vice chair on the Parks and Recreation Commission, pulled papers on Aug. 2, according to the city clerk's office.

Ms. Carlton's background includes an MBA with international business management experience.

"As a businesswoman, I started and managed successful companies, balanced a budget, created jobs, met a payroll, paid taxes, and understand employee issues," she said. "I offer voters both my financial management and business skills, and my desire to work collaboratively to bring the highest quality services for the best value to Menlo Park residents."

She said she's running because she's passionate about helping Menlo Park be a vibrant, outstanding community with a fiscally responsible council. "As a mother, I care that these valuable community assets, which belong to all Menlo Park residents, are here for children to enjoy."

Her community involvement includes volunteering with the Junior League and the Sharon Heights Homeowners Association, in addition to serving on the city commission, which she was appointed to in 2010. Ms. Carlton said she also volunteers with programs such as HIP Housing, Vista Center for the Blind, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula.

She joins five other likely candidates: incumbents Kelly Fergusson and Andy Cohen; firefighter Dave Bragg; Housing Commissioner Carolyn Clarke; and Transportation Commissioner Ray Mueller.

"Catherine has many strengths, and I am really excited about all the perspectives and the experience base of the candidates in this field, and the conversation that will occur during this election as a result," Mr. Mueller said.

She will have a ways to go to catch up with Mr. Mueller's endorsements, as he seems to announce a new supporter almost on a daily basis. His list now includes the entire county Board of Supervisors; all seven Menlo Park planning commissioners; Mayor Kirsten Keith; Councilman Rich Cline; and Assemblyman Jerry Hill.

Meanwhile Mr. Bragg's campaign had a slight setback as news of a bankruptcy filing in 2010 surfaced. He said his second job running Thor Construction came about as an attempt to recoup investment losses in 2008. "Unfortunately for our personal finances it was too little too late and we lost our home and several rental properties," he said. By 2010 he and his wife's assets trailed their debt by $800,000, and the couple is still working to pay the remaining balance. They sold their Menlo Park home and rented a house four doors down in the same neighborhood.

"This whole experience has been very humbling for us and I get a daily reminder driving by our old house," Mr. Bragg said, noting that he's become a much more cautious investor as a result. "I cannot express enough about how much more I learned when we lost everything than when we were making it. This experience has been extremely educational and an expensive one at that."

The filing period remains open until Aug. 10, with a five-day extension if one of the incumbents decides not to run.

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