Menlo Park Councilwoman Kelly Fergusson says she'll run for re-election


Menlo Park City Councilwoman Kelly Fergusson announced July 15 that she plans to run for re-election to the Menlo Park City Council.

"I'm proud of my record, and I hope to continue to serve the residents of this diverse and delightful city," Ms. Fergusson said in a statement e-mailed to The Almanac.

She joins Mayor Andy Cohen as the only people to publicly declare plans to run for the two council seats up for election on Nov. 4. Mayor Cohen announced his intent to seek re-election in a May 22 interview with The Almanac.

Ms. Fergusson has taken out her council papers, but Mayor Cohen has not, said Interim City Clerk Sherry Kelly. No other people have taken out council papers, Ms. Kelly said. The candidate filing period opened July 14 and will close Aug. 8.

Ms. Fergusson and Mr. Cohen campaigned together and were elected in 2004.

Ms. Fergusson has pushed the council to address global warming at the local level. The council approved the creation of the Green Ribbon Citizens Committee when Ms. Fergusson was mayor in 2007.

She played a behind-the-scenes role in the 2005 reopening of Kepler's bookstore, and originally floated the idea of the city holding downtown block parties.

Ms. Fergusson was also a driving force behind the controversial proposal to use public funds to restore the Park Theatre.

  • Read Kelly Fergusson press release (PDF).

  • Comments

    Like this comment
    Posted by No, Please, No
    a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
    on Jul 15, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Oh, please, No!
    I would much prefer if Kelly Fergusson got a job working at Foster's Freeze.
    But then she would be out of a job when the Derry Project mows down the old Foster's Freeze.

    Like this comment
    Posted by Joanna
    a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
    on Jul 16, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    That's some audacity. This is the author of the Park Theater Handout Scheme... which would have resulted in use of public funds for private matters, to summarize the the deal.

    Does she think we won't remember or care?

    Like this comment
    Posted by I don' t forget
    a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
    on Jul 16, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    At least Kelly backed off when the analysis came back. Let's give her credit for that. And let's not forget that the previous council approved a no-bid sweetheart deal regarding the pool whereby a private operator got to use a multi-million facility rent-free and charge private club rates in a public facility. Yeh, I like the pool, too, but it was a bad deal for the taxpayers.

    Like this comment
    Posted by follow the money
    a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
    on Jul 29, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    A few people around here seem convinced that the Park Theater project of Fergusson is comparable to the Burgess Pool Deal. They are comparable only in so far that there was only one bidder for each. But they differ in so many ways, they shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence. The pool deal is subject to review every few years. If the public complains, the operator loses the contract. The Park was a 70 year lease! The Pool deal is an operating agreement of a public facility, not a multi-million public investment in a private land.

    I suppose the fact that there was only one bidder for Burgess and it was accepted by a council that was hated by some leads a few to detect a whiff of corruption. It’s more likely political gamesmanship. As a user of the Pool, I like what the operator has done and I can say his staff is nicer than when the city operated the pool. As to the relative lack of bidders, I’m inclined to believe that it’s just not that profitable. Also, anything that reduces the city’s high cost payroll is a good thing.

    All I can say is that after the Park episode, I can never ever trust Fergusson again.

    Like this comment
    Posted by Observer
    a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
    on Jul 29, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    The pool deal was different from the Park near-disaster in another important way: Winkler/Duboc/Jellins rushed the entire matter through a process that was shocking in its lack of honest scrutiny, public participation and examination of alternatives that could have been a much better deal for the city. It was a devious maneuver on the council majority's part and a betrayal of the public's trust.

    Kelly, on the other hand, was scary in her pursuit of the Park Theater folly, but the public was given a chance to weigh in and the case is now closed. Maybe she learned something from it all.

    Like this comment
    Posted by I don't forget
    a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Let's review these two: the pool was not put to bid at all. There is no chance to modify the contract until the term is up. I think that is 5 years. The rates are supposed to be comparable to other public pools but these are self-described as "country club". The city charges NO RENT for a $7 million new facility the taxpayers must pay for years to come. I also like the pool and staff and have no issue with outsourcing its operation in a competitively bid situation.
    The Park Theater was a deal that was vetted with the public. Fergusson followed a public process and backed off. That's admirable. I didn't like what had been proposed but trust her for the future because she followed a good public process, and she listened.

    Like this comment
    Posted by annaoj
    a resident of Menlo Park: other
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 10:38 am

    7 days to file for council.
    any rumors from the city clerk?

    Like this comment
    Posted by Truth to Power
    a resident of another community
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Self-serving priorities superceded interest in the welfare of the city. Of course, Greening is a serious global and national issue. However, leading the city and shaping its policies is a local issue and that should have been a higher priority. The city was not well served. She was elected by those who oppose growth. She promoted growth. Many in the city feel let down and abandoned. The Park Theatre was a misconceived concept from the start. Supporting it was an attempt to create a personal legacy, along with Greening, which was orchestrated by someone else with political ambitions. Not leading the creation of a strategy for development and obliging the administration to adhere to that strategy was negligent. Personal political ambitions played too large a role. Perhaps we’ll do better next time.

    Like this comment
    Posted by follow the money
    a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
    on Jul 31, 2008 at 10:58 am

    "Observer" just can't get seem to absorb that the pool deal is financially insignificant and is up in about 2yrs compared to the other which is a 70 year deal financed by tax dollars. Perhaps the former was less transparent, at least in the initial stages, but the contract is now a public document. Perhaps it's too bad we didn't get ten bids, but that simply suggests that it's not terribly profitable. If we were to offer Fremont Park to bid, i.e. maintain the Park, but you can charge for its use, how many people would bid? Probably none. There are certain PUBLIC amenities that aren't profitable to operate and we subsidize them because it's what we collectively decided for what makes for a good community. This includes parks, libraries, and yes, community pools.

    Observer should get over it. The public is happy with the pool. It is entirely conceivable that the last council, did in fact make a good decision. I'm more than happy to state that Fergusson made good decisions. But her enthusiasm to open the public wallet, e.g. the Park deal and her handing $10 million to top off the employee pensions sure outweighs the good stuff.

    Like this comment
    Posted by Power to the People
    a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
    on Jul 31, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Whew -- follow the money's post gave me a bad case of vertigo, what with its inconsistancies and non sequitors. Weren't previous posters, including observer, talking about the public process rather than how financially viable the pool may or may not be?

    The pool privatization project didn't get ten bids because it wouldn't be very profitable? How about another possible reason: a legitimate and responsible bidding process never happened?

    Then there's this: "There are certain PUBLIC amenities that aren't profitable to operate and we subsidize them because it's what we collectively decided for what makes for a good community. This includes parks, libraries, and yes, community pools." So, FTM, how did the "we collectively decided" part get dropped from the pool privatization equation? The public didn't collectively decide on anything, except FUNDING a multimillion dollar public pool center, NOT putting it into private hands through a fast-track process that thumbed its nose at the public.

    The public may or may not be happy with how the pool is being operated now -- not my concern. The people who haven't "gotten over it" regarding the pool give-away -- and I'm one of them -- are right to compare that council action with the Park Theater matter in terms of how council members listened, or didn't, to their constituents.

    Like this comment
    Posted by PTP
    a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
    on Jul 31, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Power to the People here, just clarifying my residence: Linfield Oaks, not Lindenwood. That'll teach me not to be in such a hurry.

    Like this comment
    Posted by An Owl
    a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
    on Jul 31, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    The website, Web Link is still online with a link to a video from last year.

    The video features Fergusson, along with Robinson and Cline, showing great disrespect to a fellow public servant.

    Like this comment
    Posted by An Owl
    a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
    on Jul 31, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    the website is:

    Like this comment
    Posted by Uncle Sam
    a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
    on Jul 31, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Don't miss this video. Such arrogance. And Robinson, too. The Parks and Recreation commissioner should have been received with respect and her comments heard. Why else have commissions. John Boyle was the only one who had the courtesy to listen. Mr. Kline, as usual, has a firm grip on the unimportant. This Park theatre deal was Fergusson's personal plan to save her daughter's dance school. Plain and Simple.

    Some one quick: Throw your hat in. Seven days to go and the filing period closes.
    We can do better than Fergusson and Cohen.

    Like this comment
    Posted by owl hunting season
    a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
    on Aug 1, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Let's follow this ridiculous post party for a minute.

    The Recall Fergie's are back in time for the election. They are now using Boyle as the example of reason. Check out that guy's inability to stop listening to himself talk. No one is more important to Boyle than Boyle. And if you plan to use him as your example, try another strategy. The guy voted for the tax one year, then talked about being against it. The guy voted for a deficit budget one year, then came out against it the next. The guy urged council to speed up the visioning process and short cut the public participation then claimed to be all about open government.

    And it is all on video.

    And if you are going to desperately try to throw as many council members as you can under the bus for the Park Theatre, get your facts right. Cline and Robinson recommended against privatizing the Park. And Cline was the only one to try to bring some control in this video. Boyle and Cohen just sat there stupefied.

    I am a big supporter of Cline's because he is so unlike all of you political hacks.

    His record stands for itself and the city is lucky to have someone finally try to pry the decision process away from the few and encourage more from the greater public. And he is the only sitting council member with a record of actually running a business.

    Fergusson and Cohen, for the record, are a breath of fresh air compared to the Winkler Cabal.

    Like this comment
    Posted by council watcher
    a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
    on Aug 1, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I agree with ohs that Rich does everything right in that video. He's trying to re-establish some order (even though he's not in charge) while maintaining respect for both sides. As a former p&r commissioner, he understands where Paula is coming from but also doesn't want to send Kelly into hyperspace by challenging her.

    It's just unfortunate that he will not be mayor next year, but maybe he will serve in that role in 2010, when he comes up for re-election. I don't know how he manages council along with his business and his family, but more power to him.

    Kelly, on the other hand, can be an embarrassment (note the video) but she has grown during her tme on the council and is trying to do the right thing, even if she is often misguided.

    Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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