News


Update: 29 apply for Menlo Park district advisory committee

 

The applications may have come in last-minute, but they came in.

As of a 5 p.m. Jan. 8 deadline, the city had received 29 applications to serve on a committee to help draw Menlo Park's first voting district boundaries, according to Menlo Park Interim City Clerk Clay Curtin.

Two days earlier, the city had received only four applications, he said.

The city of Menlo Park must decide how to split the city's population up into voting districts before the next election or may face a lawsuit. The city received a letter in August threatening a suit, alleging the city violates the California Voting Rights Act because its at-large voting system makes it harder for minority candidates to be elected.

The applicants are: Carolyn Bowsher, Charles "CJ" Jameson, Honor Huntington, Horace Nash, J. Michael Gullard, Jennifer Michel, Joan Westley, John Wallace, Karen Barrett Moore, Karen Zak, Katie Cage, Ken Doninger, Lorri Holzberg, Mark Heim, Michael Hoff, Michael Perez, Michael Paul Cohen, Nancy Collins, Nicholas Corsano, Nicholas Taylor, Noria Zasslow, R. Todd Johnson, Sam Wright, Stephen Walter, Sylvia Smullin, Tim Rochte, Valerie Bellofatto-Ambwani, William Nack and Yvonne Murray.

Selecting the committee

Next, the applicants will be vetted for eligibility. They must meet a number of state-mandated requirements and city-imposed rules intended to promote impartiality and discourage gerrymandering in the district boundary-drawing process.

To be eligible for the committee, an applicant must be a current resident of Menlo Park and have lived in Menlo Park for at least the past five years; must be a registered voter; and must have voted in two of the last three Menlo Park City Council elections – unless the person was not eligible to vote because of age or citizenship.

Applicants cannot have served in or run for an elective office in the city, or been an officer, paid consultant or donor of more than $500 to a City Council campaign in the past eight years.

While serving on the committee, members may not campaign for or run for office, and for four years afterward, cannot accept an appointment to be on a city board, committee or commission, among other restrictions.

To create a committee that's both fair and representative of the community, three vetted applicants will be chosen randomly and tasked with choosing the other six members of the committee from among the other applicants, with a focus on getting a range of people with geographic, racial and age diversity on the committee.

A meeting to appoint committee members has been tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20.

Others who wish to participate in the process can submit their own district boundary recommendations by drawing a map on paper or online. Go to menlopark.org/districtelections for more information.

Belle Haven branch library advisory committee

The city also recruited applicants for an advisory committee to help guide a needs assessment underway for the Belle Haven branch library. The city is planning to build a new main library and a new Belle Haven branch library. The applicants for that committee are LJ Anderson, Michelle Boire, Pushpinder Lubana, Tiffanie Kok Cheoung Lai and Veronica Gonzalez.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story indicated that there had been 33 applications for the district advisory committee. City staff later clarified that 28 applications were received for the district advisory committee and five were received for the Belle Haven Library advisory committee. Later, another application was found that was not counted with the original 28.

Previous Coverage:

● Nov. 27, 2017:

Menlo Park starts process to change system for electing council members

● Oct. 31, 2017:

Menlo Park council moves ahead with district-election plan

● Oct. 9, 2017:

Menlo Park: Election reformers recommend ranked-choice voting system

● Aug. 17, 2017:

Menlo Park: Move to district elections or face lawsuit, law firm says

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by lookup
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 12, 2018 at 2:16 am

This group contains one Republican, six No-Party, and the rest are Democrats. There are no applicants from Belle Haven or Sharon Height in this list.


1 person likes this
Posted by henry fox
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 14, 2018 at 10:01 pm

henry fox is a registered user.

Hope the Almanac reporters can find the local person who contacted Shenkman--the lawyer who threatened to sue the city if we didn't redistrict to get minority representation on City Council. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


Like this comment
Posted by Rube
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jan 18, 2018 at 3:31 pm

The name of the anonymous plaintiff should be made public before any apartments to the Shenkman Shakedown.
How does the public know that the plaintiff isn’t on the districting board or city employee?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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