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."
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.