Public service is part of the history of Woodside's new mayor Ned Fluet, who worked as a deputy attorney general in California and as an assistant U.S. attorney, among other government positions, before moving to private practice.
So, he said, it was a natural progression for him to run for the Woodside Town Council in 2018 after four years of living in the town.
He currently works for the firm of Lakin Spears in Palo Alto, specializing in trust and estate, elder abuse, and commercial litigation.
"After I went back (to private practice) I wanted to support my community and give back," Fluet said in an interview with The Almanac.
Although four out of the seven council seats were open in 2018, the town has district elections and Fluet was in the only contested race – the contest for the District 7 seat. He defeated Frank Rosenblum for the post and said he enjoyed the campaigning.
"I knocked on a lot of doors, and that was the fun part, meeting people face to face," Fluet said.
Daniel Yost, Woodside's mayor in 2019, said he nominated Fluet for mayor pro tem in his first year on the council, which is usually the first step to becoming mayor, in part because he was the one candidate who had to run a campaign.
A main priority of the council in 2020, Fluet said, will be to finalize the development plans for the Glens neighborhood that are taking smaller parcels out of the nonconforming category, revising rules that were limiting homeowners' ability to expand their properties.
Woodside will be looking to take the same action in another area of town, most likely his own district, which includes the areas on and near La Honda and Old La Honda roads, and neighborhoods west of Portola Road.
The council will also be looking to publicize a subsidy program for vegetation management and "home hardening" to help protect homes against wildfires, Fluet said.
"We want to get the word out as much as possible about the defensible space program, with financial help up to $3,000 for home hardening, clearing brush and trees, and fireproof vents," he said.
As a hills resident, Fluet said that he and his neighbors are constantly reminded of the wildfire threat: He and his family lost power twice in the PG&E electricity shutoffs in October, once for four days.
He said that he is in favor of any steps that could reduce the threat of fire, with one caveat: "I want (PG&E) to provide ample notice so that towns and cities can try to accommodate older and vulnerable populations who would need power for air conditioning and medical devices," he said.
Fluet, 42, grew up in the small town of Mount Prospect, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He received a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles and a J.D. degree from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.
His wife, Katy Fluet, is also an attorney, and the couple have two daughters.