This November, there will be some competition for a seat on the Atherton City Council. After three uncontested elections since 2012, this year there are two openings and so far, three candidates are running.
The 2020 race includes two incumbents, Vice Mayor Elizabeth Lewis (12 years on the council) and Councilman Cary Wiest (8 years on the council). The challenger is Christine David, a former Park and Recreation Committee vice chair and longtime Atherton resident.
Atherton City Clerk Anthony Suber confirmed that all three candidates have taken out nomination papers and were deemed qualified as of July 28, meaning the county has verified at least 20 signatures on their nomination forms.
In 2019, David and fellow Park and Recreation Committee member John Davey made waves when they both resigned from their committee positions in protest of a City Council decision to turn down the building of a new off-leash dog park near Holbrook-Palmer Park. David and Davey had been longtime advocates of the dog park. In an email, David suggested one of her main policy priorities would be zoning standards that affect the landscape of the town. In particular, she referenced Senate Bill 50, a divisive housing bill that would have relaxed zoning standards for residential developments, but which failed to pass the state Senate in January.
"While SB 50 itself is dead, the legislature could always bring back another SB 50-like bill to override the town's zoning to place high rise apartment buildings within a mile to half mile of the train station," she said. "When this bill failed to pass, the legislature created nine other state bills to replace it. This issue has the greatest potential to change the very character of our town and cities and towns like it across California."
David also said she is concerned about noise levels in Atherton and the need for a "quiet zone," suggesting her approval of the town's recent decision to close the Atherton train station. "The main benefit Atherton residents have said they want is the townwide quiet zone," she said. "Right now, Caltrain can use its horns southbound right after the Fair Oaks Lane rail crossing and northbound until it passes Watkins."
David is an independent marketing consultant with experience working at local tech startups and public relations firms and has lived in Atherton for 16 years.
Suber said that there's still time for more interested candidates to file nomination papers. The deadline for the Nov. 3 election is Friday, Aug. 7.