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Next Menlo Park Mayor? Fergusson continues to campaign

Original post made by who knows? on Nov 16, 2010

Over in the City's e-mail log, Fergusson has posited again a rant condemning Lee DuBoc:

Web Link

Behind the scenes she is trying to rally support to become appointed the next mayor.

Broken promises to her supporters on many development issues, steep raises in garbage rates because of her support of union workers and her almost alone attempt to defeat Measure L, should be much more than enough to make sure the next council will not make her mayor.

In two years, if not before, she should wander off the public stage. One can't help but wonder, what her partner, Heyward Robinson, thinks now, since he lost his seat because of Measure L, when he also opposed.

Time to move on Kelly. Take you seat just as one of 5 council persons, certainly not as a mayor, who is out of touch with the voters of Menlo Park.

Comments (40)

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 16, 2010 at 6:29 am

Why not the top vote getter and someone who has proven that he can provide leadership by his tenure as President of the Fire Board - Peter Ohtaki as the next Mayor??

Posted by looking on, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 16, 2010 at 8:28 am

One might wonder where Ohtaki's leadership would take us. The average firefighter with benefits costs almost $200,000 a year. That is real fiscal conservatism I would say.

In any case, he should have at least a year on council before becoming Mayor. In any case, it should not be Fergusson.

Posted by experience counts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 16, 2010 at 8:34 am

The issues of the city are vastly more complex than the Fire District, and experience on the council would be very helpful to whomever is mayor next.
Although a clear winner in this election, Peter did not earn the vote of even 50% of the ballots cast. He should be vice mayor now and mayor in a year.
What if Cline were to continue as Mayor, to see through to completion the El Camino planning process and retain his leadership on high speed rail?

Tradition suggests that otherwise the mayor should be Fergusson or Cohen who were elected and re-elected at the same time and are equally eligible to become mayor again.

The written policy seems to be discarded whenever convenient and should be described as guidelines to not mislead.

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 9:32 am

Other than the responsibility to chair the council meetings, and the opportunity to get more "face time" with the public to promote their views or themselves, I don't believe that Menlo Park's structure provides any more authority to the Mayor than rests with each individual council member. Assuming this is correct, then I ask, why does/should experience on council matter? The council should select the person whom they believe can best foster collaborative interaction among the council (role of the Chair) and run efficient meetings. Using this criteria the next mayor should definitely not be Kelly or Andy, but it likely could be any of the other three. I've observed them all in action in meetings (PC, MPFPDB,CC) and found each of them to be quite effective.

Posted by experience counts, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 16, 2010 at 9:41 am

I think council experience does matter. The council agenda is largely driven by staff. A knowledgeable mayor can and should modify that agenda.

Posted by Mayor Bosco, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Nov 16, 2010 at 11:41 am

The current mayor is a pushover for the staff's agenda. So is Kelly, the union shill.

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Experience Counts-you peaked my interest, and I am always open to learn more about process. Could you provide more detail in terms of how the agenda is "largely" driven by Staff? I was under the impression that the agenda had a combination of three drivers--(1) established law and municipal charter (i.e. public comment,contract approvals,etc.), 2. applications received requiring council approval (i.e. use permits, development projects, etc.) and (3) council member sponsorship (i.e. Green Ribbon TF, Downtown visioning, etc.). Can you give me some examples of items that Staff dictates go on the agenda? Thanks. Also, I always understood that any member of council could suggest an agenda topic and that each member of council had a vote on whether or not to put it on the agenda. Your comment seems to indicate that the mayor has extra authority or veto power in this regard. Is this true?

Posted by Henry Riggs, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm

The mayor is selected by vote of the council as a whole at the first meeting in December, and the policy for selection is essentially a guideline; this year, the "preferred" rotation is not possible with the vice mayor leaving, and then all current members have served - so its fair to say the selection is at the discretion of the council in this case.

The council agenda is recommended by staff based on decisions needed to keep the departments running - remember, council is part time and essentially volunteer.

The mayor meets with staff prior to each council meeting to review the suggested agenda, and it is the mayor who sets the final version.

The outstanding concern of the voters would be that the mayor NOT be Ms Fergusson, the council person who vigorously opposed Measure L city pension reform, which passed with 72.2% of the vote in spite of well funded (and programmed) opposition. Again, the mayor sets the final agenda - and the most critical issue in sight for 2011 is the control of pension costs in our city.

Ms Fergusson's experience will still be present and I know will contribute importantly and appropriately as a member of our council.

Posted by more input, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Well the fur is really flying between ex Mayors DuBoc and Fergusson.

DuBoc just posted this on the City's email log:

Web Link


I believe the people of Menlo Park deserve elected officials who do not hide behind the letter of the law when defending their lack of ethics. All it takes is a bit of common sense to realize that you have been using your city email account as a means to promote and support political candidates and issues as well as campaign against election issues you want to see defeated. You have clearly used your position of power and your taxpayer financed city email for political reasons, plain and simple.

Lee Duboc

From my vantage, DuBoc has plenty that could be exposed, particularly, how she gleaned her large email list from the City's email logs.

Nevertheless, Fergusson, should not become Mayor, as I agree her position on Measure L puts her completely out of Menlo Park mainstream thinking. Go with Cohen or Cline

Posted by stick with the policy, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm

The only council that's disregarded the mayoral policy was the Jellins/Duboc/Winkler council, and that was because they knew when push came to shove, they had the three votes to do what they wanted. This council looks a lot more fluid- really doubt Ohatki and Keith would risk antagonizing any colleagues, given how alliances are likely to shift depending on what the issue is. Besides, the position isn't all that important as others have noted. No need to get caught up in Lee's weird personality grudges.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 16, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I find it very interesting that Lee would take Fergusson to task for being disengenous. When I replied to one of her eamils blasts where she was trying to tie the fire departments retirement benefits to the city retirements and called her on her disenginous behavior she became insensed and accused me of "bad form." Funny. I guess it's just who's ox is being gored.

Posted by The Rule of Recusal, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 16, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Neither AC nor KF should be mayor.
AC because his house is adj. Caltrain tracks and can't do or say squat about HSR, where Cline has shown leadership.
KF because her hubby works for Stanford, so she can't say or do squat about the vacant ECR car dealership lands owned by Stanford , and a big component of the ECR visioning plan.
More importantly, she can't participate in the monstrous Stanford Med Ctr expansion proposal about to hit the council public hearing circuit, where its traffic impact on MP will make our ECR evening gridlock look like a slight inconvenience by comparison.
Stanford Management knows of this conflict of interest and would love to have KF be a disappearing act.
Why would MP be served well by either of these 2 as mayor when we need leadership on these big issues that threaten the character of MP as we know it?
Continue with Cline for mayor, Ohtaki as top vote getter as Vice Mayor.

Posted by Fergusson Fan,, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 18, 2010 at 10:01 am

Kelly Fergusson should be elected the next mayor of Menlo Park because she sticks up for the rights of the City employees. City employees don't get social security so they have to live on their modest pensions. Ms. Fergusson is just trying to allow them to eke out an existence in retirement.

Kelly Fergusson was thinking outside the box when she proposed the Kim Lemieux's Menlo Park property be converted into a park. We residents cherish our trees and if Ms. Fergusson uses eminent domain for the greater good what is the harm in that. For too long we have been selfishly championing the rights of the individual against the greater good of society. We need to put society first. Ms. Fergusson sees the wisdom in doing that.

[Portion removed. Stick to topic.]

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Kelly... "modest?" Really?

Posted by Fergusson Fan, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 18, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Ms Fergusson is the most humble and modest person I have ever met. She is always shy about taking credit for her accomplishments and would never take credit for other people's work.

She is also very focused and gets to the point quickly without meandering and is very respectful of other people's time.

Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiņa, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiņa is a registered user.

I will use Kelly's own words as to why she should NOT be Mayor:

"Menlo Park Deserves Better"

Menlo Park and it's residents deserve a better mayor than Kelly. She is OUT OF TOUCH with 73% of the residents of Menlo Park who supported Measure L. She is out of touch with the residents who are looking for "Smaller" government. This is a council member who never met a spending program she didn't like.

So I think Kelly said it best "Menlo Park Deserves Better"

Roy Thiele-Sardina

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 18, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I was referring to your "modest pensions" sentence. There is nothing modest about those pensions/salaries at all.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Hey ferguson fan:

they live on their modest pensions instead of social security because they get to opt out of the social security system in lieu of a far better retirement system. I've been there and done that. I was a civil service employee. The social security system would have gladly taken my money. Instead it went into a retirement system that would have paid me 3% per year of my ending salary. Assuming I didn't take a promotion and I retired at thirty years I would have recieved $90,000 per year, at least, plus free health care. Sorry fan, there's nothing "modest" about civil service pensions. I think social security is paying about $1800 per month. Who would choose to go that route with the opportunity to have a civil service pension?

Posted by Another Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 18, 2010 at 10:40 pm

To Peter Carpenter's point, the highest vote getter in Menlo Park history is Kelly Fergusson with over 8900 votes in 2008. Results page here:

Web Link

Ms. Fergusson should be mayor this year whether you personally agree with all her views or not. Just because she supported a different position on the pension reform measure, I am sure you can find several issues on which you agree. Measure T, for example. She supported that along with the majority of the city, so using Roy's logic, she is very much "in touch" with Menlo Park voters.

Posted by Fergusson Fan, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 19, 2010 at 6:37 am

Ms. Fergusson should be mayor because she has displayed mature judgment, has always put the interests of the residents first, and benefits from the wise counsel of former mayor Slocum. Menlo Park has drifted too far to the right with pension reform and Ms. Fergusson and Ms Slocum have valiantly protected the rights of city employees. With Fergusson as mayor and Slocum as her consigliere we can push this council from the far right back to the center again.

Posted by Joan, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 19, 2010 at 7:53 am

Fergusson fan, your ruse is getting a little tired. I guess you're afraid to use your real name (that you, Hank?) because you think we can't figure out your agenda if you hide behind a pseudonym intended to deceive. Why not give it a rest?

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 19, 2010 at 7:54 am

The Menlo Council "far right?" You've got to be kidding. Isn't this the council that voted to increase, retroactively all employee pensions? Fergusson doesn't deserve to be on the council, let alone mayor. She's a union stooge.

Posted by terry, a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm

It doesn't matter who is Mayor. Each council member has equal footing in agenda setting, the discussions and votes. The mayor may go to more ribbon cuttings. But, being Mayor is not the honor you crack it up to be. The Mayor holds no special powers.

Posted by Fergusson Fan, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Ms. Fergusson has done more for the City of Menlo Park tha any other mayor in Menlo Park history. She has earned this right to be mayor. The other council members pale in comparison to Ms. Fergusson's considerable accomplishments.

Posted by terry, a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 19, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Let me reinterate. This is not the city and county of SF. Mayors have NO special powers!

Posted by pragmatic, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Someone new to the Council really shouldn't be Mayor during his or her first year.

It is a very steep ramp-up on a breathtakingly wide array of issues -- and that's just to be a Councilmember, let alone all the added duries of Mayor. Being a Councilmember is harder than one thinks until one gets there.

There is a reason for the longstanding policy that someone have a year on the Council first before becoming Mayor.

Posted by Mayor Bosco, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Nov 19, 2010 at 1:14 pm

If not special powers, then it is the illusion of special powers, that once MP mayors get the taste their egos inflate to the point they want more. This is why Heyward and Rich ran again. Primping and preening Nicholas Jellins was the textbook example.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 19, 2010 at 1:53 pm

To 'Fergusson Fan' -- that's a pretty bold statement to assert that Ms. Fergusson "has done more for the City of Menlo Park than any other mayor in Menlo Park history" and that other current members "pale in comparison".

Evidently, you and I see a very different person; I'd like to know how you arrived at this summary determination.

Posted by count the votes, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 19, 2010 at 3:55 pm

You need three votes to become Mayor. Just where is Kelly gong to get those. If either, Keith or Ohtaki vote for her, their supporters will be out to recall them. Maybe she could get a vote from Cline. When she lost Robinson and his vote, she lost any chance the way I see it.

So will Cohen vote for her. Why should he? She went off on her own, behind his back and made a deal for the Bohannon project. If Cohen were to vote for her, he would not only be giving up all respect for himself and from others who have supported him.

She is a self promoting, very politically ambitious (note her short lived attempt to run for supervisor a few years ago) and now now longer anything but a supporter for union members and running deficit budget. If the meek founders of the "Recall Fergie" site had any guts they would have started a recall effort years ago.

Posted by Brielle Johnck, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 19, 2010 at 9:18 pm

This topic has become toxic. Mr. Sardinia's logic is questionable if we apply his theory to Council member Fergusson's being quite in step with the city as a supporter of the Bohannon project which won with numbers somewhere in the 70th percentile. So, what is it? Kelly is out of sync on one issue and in sync with another issue. Mr. Sardinia's candidate, Chuck Bernstein did not seem to be in sync with the city although he supported Measure L. This was an odd year that found people voting for only one or two candidates based on each candidate's positions on the 2 major issues. Others disregarded those positions and voted for the person or persons who might add needed gravitas to the job of governing.

Two years ago, Mr. Sardinia could have run for council or found a candidate to run but chose not to. Kelly Fergusson did run and won. The tradition holds that Fergusson's turn to be mayor is in December of this year. Case closed.

Posted by count the votes, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 19, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Indeed it was a strange election. Here was Brielle dropping literature for the No on T group, while husband Steve Schmidt was doing whatever he could to support Bohannon's project. Since Bohannon was willing and did spend about $80 per vote to get his zoning approved, surely has some effect on just how Measure T got approved. It just goes to prove, that even Menlo Park voters can be bought.

Heyward Robinson lost his seat, because he supported Bohannon thereby losing a considerable number of previous supporters. In point of fact, if Boyle had run, he would have won election easily because of the split in the "residentialists". Again where is she going to get 3 votes? Case hardly closed.

Brielle should be congratulated for the right decision on Measure T. Her conclusions on Fergussion becoming Mayor are not by any means the last word.

Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiņa, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiņa is a registered user.

It's not toxic

I stand by my statement. "Menlo Park Deserves Better"

Enough said. She is unqualified for the job, and the maority of the city residents think so.

Roy Thiele-Sardina

Posted by CJ, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 20, 2010 at 5:41 am

Andy Cohen should be considered for mayor. Yes, council meetings would take a bit longer, but the thought of Kelly being mayor again ... anybody would be better!

Cohen in 2011!!!!

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 20, 2010 at 11:04 am

Kelly Fergusson is such a poor choice for mayor that if Gail Slocum were elected to the Menlo Park City Council that even she would be a better choice for mayor than Kelly Fergusson.

Kelly Fergusson ranks at the bottom of the 2010-2012 Council. All the other council members would be far better choices for mayor. The two newly elected council members Peter Ohtaki and Kisten Keith would be better choices than Kelly Fergusson because they honor the will of the people, have significant government experience, and are well thought of and respected throughout San Mateo County.

Ms. Fergusson should give up the ghost. She is very unpopular for opposing measure L which carried every precinct in Menlo Park. How can anyone support Ms. Fergusson for mayor when she was so wrong on Measure L.

Posted by stick with Rich, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 20, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Continuity with HSR would be very helpful. He runs a decent meeting, but needs to be a lot more firm in forcing councilmembers to get to the point, make a motion and discuss the pros and cons. However, he should be more critical of some staff and consultant work, and not just accept what they say if the public and common sense bring these into question.

There is no reason for meetings to go into the wee hours of night, and it really makes city matters inaccessible to most of us. If the issues aren't clear, the staffwork incomplete, just send it back to staff or to a commission to provide input.
Kelly has won the most votes in the past. She seems to have forgotten the issues she ran on, though, like residential guidelines. And she flies solo too much. Her private negotiation with Bohannon was for something SHE wanted, but she failed to push for what many past supporters felt was far more important.

Posted by Fergusson Fan, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 22, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Ms. Fergusson, with her lasr focus and pithy comments has always been on the side of the residents. People unjustly accuse her of being in the pockets of the unions just because she wants them to have modest pensions.

With regard to her so called rants against Lee Duboc-- Lee Duboc is a meanie and is jealous of Ms. Fergusson's superior intellect and accomplishments.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm


you keep trying to characterize city worker pensions as "modest." There is nothing modest about them. Social Security would be a "modest" pension. 3% at 55 is unsustainable.

Posted by count the votes, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Fergusson An: Kelly "has always been on the side of the residents!!" Where have you been living. She promoted buying the ark theater so her kids would have a better dance hall.

She certainly has always been on the side of the Unions, since she sees them as a necessary support group in her quest for higher office.

She is out of touch with the community --- she should not be chosen next mayor. BTW, since she got a full ime job, she hardly has the time to do the job anyway.

Posted by By The Numbers, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Let's see:

*Number of elections Kelly Fergusson has been the absolute top vote getter: 2
*Number of union contracts where Kelly Fergusson has voted differently than Fiscal Conservative Hero John Boyle: 0 (yeah, even the 2007 2.7% giveaway- look it up)
*Ratio of Mayor power compared to regular Council Member power: basically 1:1
*Likelihood of Peter Ohtaki thinking Lee, Henry, Mickie, etc. are political "geniuses" and starting off his time on the Council by disregarding a set policy: hopefully 0%

Posted by glinda, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 24, 2010 at 10:27 pm

The policy does not give any weight to number of votes. In the event there are two or more eligible members having equal seniority, the Council may select any eligible member as mayor. The 2006 council could have picked Cohen (passing over Fergusson) instead of Jellins, without disregarding the policy.

If all eligible members have served as mayor, then the member with the longest elapsed time since serving as mayor shall be selected as mayor. Unfortunately, the 2003 council disregarded this part of the policy by picking Jellins instead of Kinney, but then Kinney disregarded the other part of the policy and served as mayor for the 1998 council.

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