Menlo Park election: What's in a name?
• Menlo Park council candidate endorsements reveal lines of support ... or lack thereof
With about a month to go before the Nov. 6 Menlo Park City Council elections, the five candidates are hitting the campaign trail hard and taking names — in the form of endorsements.
Proclaiming himself the "no strings attached candidate," firefighter Dave Bragg remains coy about naming his supporters, with the exception of the local and county chapters of the firefighters union. "Unfortunately my endorsements are from non-political community leaders (who) cannot list their affiliations due to how their nonprofits are set up," he said.
Mr. Bragg thought that might change after the Nov. 6 election, since after this race people will see him as a politician. "I am also confident that after I have worked with the local politicos, I will earn their respect and gain their endorsement in future races. Until then the only endorsement I am looking for are the citizens of Menlo Park."
Transportation commissioner and attorney Ray Mueller represents the opposite approach — the more endorsements, the better, and preferably in complete sets. He's collected endorsements from the entire Transportation Commission, Planning Commission, the county Board of Supervisors, and the boards of three school districts. Everyone from Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, to the San Mateo County Labor Council to three current council members — Rich Cline, Kirsten Keith and Peter Ohtaki — is lending their support.
That's three more sitting council members than incumbent Kelly Fergusson can claim as she fights for a third term. Although she does have a very long list of endorsements that includes former city officials as well as the labor council and county supervisor Dave Pine, the absence of current council members stands out.
Asked about the support of those she serves with, Ms. Fergusson provided the following statement: "You can see that my endorsements include Sierra Club, Democratic Party, and Police Officers Association, in addition to Assemblymembers Gordon and Fong, as well as over 100 neighbors and local businesses, including prominent members of our venture capital community, as well as strong regional support."
Parks and Recreation Commissioner Catherine Carlton, on the other hand, does have endorsements from five of her six fellow commissioners, as well as Vice Mayor Peter Ohtaki. The Citizens for Fair and Responsible Pension Reform signed on, an endorsement she shares with Mr. Mueller.
Housing Commissioner Carolyn Clarke counts former mayors Steve Schmidt, Gail Slocum and Dee Tolles among her endorsees. Joining them are housing commissioners Sally Cadigan and Yvonne Murray and county supervisor Don Horsley. A stream of Belle Haven neighbors, as well as community leader Bishop Teman Bostic of Mt. Olive Apostolic Original Holy Church of God, also appear on her list.
A League of Women Voters forum for the five candidates will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.