Keith steps into mayoral spotlight in Menlo Park

Ohtaki chosen as vice mayor

It would be hard to surpass last year's mayoral selection mayhem in Menlo Park, but this year's selection was particularly dry by comparison.

The Dec. 6 council meeting sparked no debate about who would succeed Rich Cline. Nominated by Kelly Fergusson, Kirsten Keith found herself facing zero opposition for taking over as mayor. Colleague Peter Ohtaki then likewise breezed into the vice mayor's slot after Mr. Cline offered him up for consideration.

Ms. Keith and Mr. Ohtaki, as the newest members of the council, were first in line for those positions, since the council's non-binding policy states that those who have yet to hold the offices have priority.

Mayor Keith thanked everyone from her extended family watching in the audience to city staff to Menlo Park's residents before Vice Mayor Ohtaki gave his own brief thanks. The council moved on to recognizing Mr. Cline's two years of service as mayor, presenting him with a proclamation that recognized his dedication to transparent government and fiscal responsibility, and his "quirky sense of humor."

Those applauding Mr. Cline included State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) as well as representatives for Assemblymen Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and Rich Gordon's (D-Menlo Park).

"Anyone who has spent two years working on high speed rail at the local level deserves a lifetime achievement award," Sen. Simitian quipped.

Mr. Cline compared living in Menlo Park to winning the lottery, saying he was honored to have served as mayor. He thanked staff for "making me and the council look smarter," and commented that the city was going to keep moving forward under the new leadership.

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Like this comment
Posted by frugal
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm

At least we don't have to live with another year with Mayor Kelly.

[Portion deleted.]

Like this comment
Posted by perspective
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

After all said and done, I think this council has really raised the level of maturity and the interaction is about issues. Mayor Cline, you did a great job holding the line. Good luck Mayor Keith, keep it up guys and we may have to find a new city and council to smirk about.

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