A Portola Valley Political Action Committee (PAC) aimed at unseating present Town Council members has announced it is endorsing three candidates for council: Planning Commissioner Judith Hasko, former council candidate Mary Hufty and Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair Dale Pfau.
The PAC, which formed in March, mailed residents a flier with the endorsements last week.
"We are looking to vote in new town council members who will actually represent their constituents, the residents of Portola Valley," said PAC member Ellen Vernazza, who lives in the Nathhorst Triangle neighborhood, in an email.
"We want to vote in council members who will go back to listening to the educated town residents who sit on the town safety committees, rather than just relying on outside consultants who are more familiar with urban and suburban safety concerns rather than those towns located in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas."
The PAC's website states that the most important action existing residents can take to better represent their interests is by voting "for a slate of Town Council members who are committed to our shared goals: fulfilling our housing needs while conserving Portola Valley's fragile ecosystems, preserving its unique character, and promoting public safety."
Vernazza said the PAC wants council members who recognize that wildfire safety, earthquake safety, and a strong evacuation plan for the current town residents supersedes all other issues, rather than a council that allegedly "continually denies the fact that Portola Valley is located in a high fire danger area (rolling and steep grassy hills filled with forest and high vegetation) and it located on the active San Andreas Earthquake Fault" with limited evacuation routes.
They say they feel the three will "move quickly in providing better safety measures for the residents of Portola Valley and the surrounding countryside."
There are no names listed on the website but Bruce Roberts and Vernazza are listed as members of the PAC on forms filed to create the PAC on March 30. They were also part of a lawsuit against the town for alleged violations of the Brown Act, the state's open meeting law. The town settled the suit in August.
Hasko said of the endorsement, via email: "I am gratified to be supported by a wide group of Town residents in this critical election. I believe that the endorsement by the PAC demonstrates my ability to find balanced solutions to complex issues, and as a result gather broad support among a diverse base of community members."
Hufty said: "I was pleased and surprised to see the informative and clear endorsement flier from Portola Valley Our Future Together. I consider it a big step towards my campaign goal to bring more voices together for creative solutions to the challenges our town is embracing. We are indeed all in this together for our community's future and the creation of positive change."
The PAC raised around about $11,000, according to a campaign finance report filed with the town on Sept. 29 for the period of July 1 to Sept. 24. Overall, it has raised about $40,000 this year.
It reported spending about $12,000, the largest chunk — about $7,700 — went to Storefront Political Media, a San Francisco-based firm that creates and produces TV and radio advertising, direct mail, websites, email broadcast campaigns and digital advertising — including banner ads, social media advertising and online radio during the filing period.
Storefront Political Media has made ads for PG&E and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, according to its website.
The PAC also paid around $3,800 to Sutton Law Firm, which specializes in political and election law.
It returned a $500 contribution from Pfau, who asked for the money back when he decided to run for Town Council this fall.
The largest contribution — $5,000 — came from Portola Valley resident John Mumford, founding partner of Crosspoint Venture Partners in July.
Rob Younge, a member of the Emergency Preparedness Committee, gave $4,000 in July.
Menloville Country Store on Valparaiso Avenue in Menlo Park contributed about $1,000.
There were smaller donations made by Portola Valley residents: retired resident Michael Rissi gave $250; El Camino Health doctor Mark Wieland gave $300; and retired resident Michael Miller gave $500.