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Atherton: No council election in November

 

It's official: Atherton will not hold a City Council election in November.

The council voted unanimously on Aug. 24 to appoint incumbents Elizabeth Lewis and Cary Wiest, the only candidates who filed for their two open seats, to new four-year council terms. The terms will begin in December.


Cary Wiest (Almanac file photo)

Elizabeth Lewis (Photo courtesy Elizabeth Lewis)
Councilman Bill Widmer was not at the meeting, but he wrote a letter saying he fully supports the appointments, which will save the town the cost of holding the election. "I believe our team has been working well together," he wrote.

The town had budged $15,000 for the election.

State law allows a council to cancel an election and appoint candidates when there is no contest for a seat. The council could have also chosen to go ahead with the election, which would have allowed write-in candidates to register as write-ins between Sept. 12 and Oct. 25.

Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Larson told the council members that the two who were up for appointment were allowed to vote on their own appointments. "There's no financial conflict of interest," Ms. Larson said. "It's well within your rights as an existing council member to vote on this."

Councilman Mike Lempres said that no one had expressed any interest in running as a write-in candidate and that the town had left the vote on the appointments until the last day allowed under the law. (If the town had not voted to cancel the election and appoint the candidates the election would automatically have taken place.)

"It's important to me that we kept the door open as long as we did," he said. "It's not something we would do lightly."

Mayor Elizabeth Lewis said she thinks Atherton residents will be happy to not have a contested election. "I think the residents of Atherton are going to be relieved that lawn signs are not cluttering up the town," she said.

The meeting lasted only 11 minutes, which council members said set a new record for meeting brevity.

See related story: Lewis and Wiest say they will run for re-election

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