Where will the candidates spend election night?
The answer depends on whether a candidate backs Measure T. David Bohannon, the developer who hopes to see the ballot measure pass so he can build Menlo Gateway, a nearly 1-million-square-foot office-hotel complex, is hosting an election night party at the Oak City Bar and Grill in Menlo Park.
Expected to attend, according to Mr. Bohannon: Incumbents Rich Cline, who confirmed his plans; and Heyward Robinson, along with candidate Kirsten Keith.
All three support the project, and all three received assistance from the Bohannon camp during the campaign, according to the party invite -- something that hasn't appeared on the campaign finance reports as either a monetary or non-monetary donation.
Mr. Bohannon has thrown $475,000 at last report into funding the campaign to support Measure T, with $14,864 dedicated to a series of mailers attacking one candidate -- Chuck Bernstein, a vocal opponent of Menlo Gateway.
No word yet on where Mr. Bernstein will be on Tuesday night, but the other candidate against the measure, stay-at-home dad and community volunteer Russell Peterson, said he plans to stay home.
"Final plans include getting to sleep at a reasonable hour and re-introducing myself to my family," Mr. Peterson said. "Perhaps I'll hold a private press conference and explain my position on the weighty issues; homework, chores, when do the kids get cellphones, how much Halloween candy can be consumed per day."
Campaign mode vs. council mode
Incumbents running for re-election face several pitfalls during campaign season. Every decision of the past four years returns to haunt them, for example. Then there's the temptation to campaign during council meetings -- technically (and ethically) a no-no.
Competing candidate Chuck Bernstein addressed the City Council at its Oct. 19 meeting on Measure M, a countywide ballot measure that would raise vehicle registration fees $10, describing it as "a regressive tax" that falls more heavily on poor people.
Incumbent Heyward Robinson couldn't resist firing back. "I find it interesting that Mr. Bernstein, who is touting himself as a fiscal conservative, and [Vice Mayor John Boyle, who is touting himself as a fiscal conservative, is not willing to take steps to address well-known subsidies."
Mr. Boyle has not endorsed Mr. Robinson's bid for re-election.
Later, Mr. Robinson told The Almanac he had realized the comment was inappropriate, and had apologized. "I realized 'I'm not in campaign mode here, I'm at a council meeting,' and I blurred the lines a little bit."
He said the issue "pushed one of his buttons."
Every campaign needs a theme song
While you might expect challenger Chuck Bernstein to go for a feisty "Rocky"-type theme song, instead the candidate took a folksy route.
"Chuck, Chuck, save us a buck," goes the refrain of his campaign song. Mr. Bernstein said a music teacher who works with his childcare business composed and sang the tune, with the candidate himself contributing a few verses "to make them as relevant as possible to city politics."
He said the inspiration came from a student-designed fundraising billboard that read, "Give a buck to Chuck."