Menlo Park: Belle Haven's Cecilia Taylor to challenge council incumbents


Days before the deadline to declare candidacy for the Menlo Park City Council election in November, Belle Haven resident Cecilia Taylor has announced she will be vying for one of the council's two open seats.

She will likely be running against council incumbents Ray Mueller and Catherine Carlton, who have also pulled papers to run.

"There needs to be a new voice on the council, one who is living with the reality of how Menlo Park is changing," she said.

She said she would bring a "different perspective" to the council, as a renter and as a resident of Belle Haven, "where the majority of construction is happening."

Pointing to developments in eastern Menlo Park, such as Facebook's proposed expansion and Bohannon Development Co.'s hotel (under construction) and planned office buildings, she said increases in property tax revenue can be positive for the city "but benefits from development come with a price: increased traffic, bigger classroom size, need for more public parks and (an) increasing demand for housing."

"There needs to be an innovative approach to reducing the impacts to this side of Menlo Park," she said.

When asked what her qualifications are to be a member of the Menlo Park City Council, she said, "I love this city ... I'm a resident, I'm a voter … I talk to my neighbors. I listen to them. I try to address their concerns."

Deep roots

Ms. Taylor is a third-generation Belle Haven resident. She was born at Stanford Hospital, educated in the Ravenswood City School District, and earned a certificate in early childhood education from Canada College and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from San Francisco State University. Now, she teaches sixth- and eighth-grade math in Redwood City and lives in her childhood home in Belle Haven with her husband, Alfred. She moved back a little over a year ago after living in San Bruno for nine years.

"The roots run deep here, definitely," she said of her family ties to the community.

When she moved back to Belle Haven, Ms. Taylor said she noticed some frustrating changes. In particular, she was bothered by the constant noise and declining air quality from increased construction and traffic in the neighborhood.

"The quality of life has changed so much," she said. Over the last year, she said, she began attending City Council meetings and encouraging neighbors to speak at meetings.

Ms. Taylor's grandfather, who lived on the same street in Belle Haven as she did, often gave her advice. He told her: "Don't get mad. Do something about it."

In September 2015, Ms. Taylor said her grandfather passed away. Since then, she's taken his message to heart.

"Part of why I'm running has to do with my grandfather," she said. "I asked myself, how can I be the most effective?"

According to the Menlo Park City Clerk's office, as of the morning of Aug. 9, papers have been pulled by Cecilia Taylor, Ray Mueller and Catherine Carlton. All candidates must file their paperwork before the deadline on Friday, Aug. 12.

Ms. Taylor invites those who want more information to contact her at her campaign email address:

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2 people like this
Posted by V. Michael
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 10, 2016 at 7:54 pm

Never heard of her, and not particularly optimistic of her chances with not being on any city committee, and also only moving back a year ago, but hey- at least it's a race now! Incumbents do better with someone challenging them, even if it's a long shot like this.

11 people like this
Posted by Equity, Try it
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 12, 2016 at 2:08 pm

and has anyone heard of you, v. michael?
I've seen Cecilia Taylor at many meetings, beginning with city council, housing commission, connectmenlo meetings, planning commission. She speaks, she submits letters and comments. If you live in Belle Haven, you would see her at community meetings. at her church, with her family. Cecilia's mother and grandfather have been active in Menlo Park for many years.
The residents in Belle Haven are largely invisible to the west side of Menlo Park but that is not their fault. You will have several opportunities to get to know Cecilia. Make an effort to learn about Cecilia even if t's your opinion that she's what you believe is a "long shot."
Could it be time to bring Belle Haven into the City of Menlo Park? The east side of the city has absorbed industry, toxic businesses that have left the land poisoned, bad schools, traffic from development and Bayfront Park that the city refused to care for. 30 years is long enough without representation.
Welcome to another election. Be active. Be positive.

3 people like this
Posted by Menlo
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 15, 2016 at 11:12 am

Welcome got my vote!

10 people like this
Posted by Marjorie Z
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm

I'll vote for her! We need wider representation on City Council. Areas of the city without a member on the Council do not receive fair consideration. I hope some day Council members will be elected from five defined areas of Menlo Park in order to balance influence. Until then at lesst we can start by supporting a candidate from Belle Haven.

3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Has Cecelia Taylor every been on a Menlo Park Commission? Going to meetings means interest in the community. Serving on a commission means commitment to the community. Ray Mueller was a Transportation Commissioner and Catherine Carlton was a Parks and Recreation Commissioner. In their jobs, both as commissioners and city council members they have been focused on the entire city of Menlo Park and how Menlo Park interacts with neighboring cities.

Ceclia Taylor's experience is in Belle Haven and she is obviously a strong advocate for he neighborhood. Belle Haven is an important part of the city. But her experience is lacking outside of Belle Haven. She should join a commission and get the much need experience before running for city council.

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