Portola Valley council candidate sees budget, housing as top issues | August 28, 2020 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

Almanac

News - August 28, 2020

Portola Valley council candidate sees budget, housing as top issues

Angela Hey is one of four people running for two seats in November

by Julia Brown

If you boiled Angela Hey's campaign for a Portola Valley Town Council seat down to three things, they would be risk management, residences and relationships.

Hey, a 29-year resident and management consultant who has served on the town's Bicycle, Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee since 2013, is running for one of two council seats. The other candidates are Mayor Jeff Aalfs, a sustainability professional who was appointed to the council in 2011; Sarah Wernikoff, a Portola Valley School District volunteer with a background in e-commerce and nonprofit management; and Mary Hufty, an environmentalist, former town committee member and retired family physician.

Hey grew up in Menston, a village in the UK that she said in an interview Monday is similar in size to Portola Valley and has many of the same issues, including "how to keep the edge of the town rural while you've also got commuters living in it."

She got to know Portola Valley when a friend of hers began building a house in the Portola Valley Ranch neighborhood in 1984. Hey and her husband, computer scientist and entrepreneur John Mashey, bought their home in town several years later and found out after the fact that it had been designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.

This is her first time running for an elected office.

"I feel that as an outsider having come from another country, I can look objectively at town problems," Hey said. "I'm a problem solver, I like to get things done and I like to communicate with people."

Hey added that as a current committee member (she previously served on the town's Sustainability Committee), she knows town staff and "I can bridge the council with town staff and listen to what people want and then come up with solutions."

As a council member, she said she would focus on risk management, relationships and residences.

"We've analyzed the risks really well by and large; we want to have some really good management of our risks," Hey said.

On relationships, she said she wants to bridge communication between different age groups and help the town "create meaningful events that help (people) build relationships." The Sequoias retirement community does a great job with seniors, Hey said, but there are also those who live on their own in town.

"I don't want people to be left out because they don't feel they belong here," she said. "There are also a lot of people who work here who need to be made to feel welcome."

As far as housing is concerned, she said the town should balance the need for additional housing with what people want it to look like, adding that Portola Valley's rural character should be retained. On her website, angelahey.com, she lays out her thoughts on a number of issues, housing among them, and says, "If we need to build very many dwellings by unavoidable state mandate, and we cannot encourage residents to build ADUs (accessory dwelling units), then the town should consider all options to prevent urban sprawl, which might even mean building higher than usual, or allowing existing homes to be divided into two or even three, providing the house doesn't look any different from its original plan from the road, and cars can be hidden." She sees no need for street lights that could ruin views of the night sky, and said views of the hills off Portola Road should be maintained.

Hey believes concerns about fire danger with the Stanford Wedge housing project — a proposal by the university to build single-family homes and rental units on open space it owns along Alpine Road — could be mitigated with proper fire breaks.

"I would love for that land to go back to grassland with cows on it, but it's too far gone," she said. "I'm not against Stanford building on land they own, provided that it's done very safely."

Hey believes more people could participate in local wildfire prevention training programs and suggested they could be run online. She said the Woodside Fire Protection District has "done what they can" to mitigate risks, adding that it would be nice to have a grant to help low-income residents wanting to create a defensible space around their property.

She said the budget is the top issue, and that the town needs to use its money wisely given the coronavirus pandemic. The council in June adopted an interim budget using 2019-20 figures, and it plans to review and adopt a final fiscal year budget in September.

Asked about the formation and work of the Race and Equity Subcommittee, Hey said "We have people in Portola Valley who are in the position to hire, invest in and encourage people of color or the disadvantaged." She added that companies should consider someone who "may not be the most obvious candidate" or who may need some job training.

If elected Nov. 3, Hey said she would bring "a spirit of exploration" to the council.

"Exploring ideas is a very good idea when you're looking for solutions to problems," she said. "I can help people get together and have town debates and discussions on issues so that people can really fully explore them."

Hey is the founder of Techviser, a boutique consulting firm that works with technology firms and investors, and previously worked for Bell Laboratories, AT&T and Palantir, among other companies, according to her LinkedIn. She also wrote a monthly technology column and ran a related blog for The Almanac's sister paper, the Mountain View Voice, from 2006 to 2013. As a volunteer, she also chairs the board of SpiritCare Ministry to Seniors, a Burlingame-based nonprofit serving the spiritual and emotional needs of seniors, and serves as vice president of the Imperial College Foundation.

Hey has a Ph.D. in management science from Imperial College (which was part of the University of London), a master's in mathematics from the University of Waterloo and a master's in mathematics from the University of Cambridge.

Email Julia Brown at [email protected]

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