As of The Almanac's July 21 press deadline, incumbents Andy Cohen and Kelly Fergusson were the only ones to announce plans to run in November. They're also the only people so far to take out nomination papers, suggesting that a city infamous for its election politics might be in for a quiet campaign season. The deadline for candidates to file for the election is Aug. 8.
"It's been quiet," said Planning Commissioner Henry Riggs, who has been floated by some residents as a potential challenger to council members Cohen and Fergusson. "Personally, I don't know if I'd ever want to wear the big target of councilman on my back," he said. "I think most people view running for council as a daunting task because it can get so political."
Councilman John Boyle, often the minority vote on what is often considered a 4-1 council, said he hasn't heard much from anyone interested in running.
"I periodically hear names, but to be honest, I don't know of anybody that's entertaining the idea of actually running," Mr. Boyle told The Almanac.
"For the good of Menlo Park, I hope we have some competition this election season," said former council member Lee Duboc, who has repeatedly stated she has no interest in making another run at a four-year term. "If there's no competitive election, then there's no discussion or debate about important issues."
Council members Cohen and Fergusson declared support for one another's re-election bids in separate interviews with The Almanac.
"[Mr. Cohen and I] don't always agree on everything, but the City Council has really accomplished a lot, and continuity on the council would be beneficial for the community," Ms. Fergusson said.
Bohannon's new group
One question heading into election season is what life a new group created by Menlo Park resident and developer David Bohannon will take on as the election nears.
The group, called "Sustainable Menlo Park," is aimed at increasing public awareness about local land decisions — such as efforts to revamp properties along El Camino Real and Mr. Bohannon's own plans to build a hotel and office complex near U.S. 101 — according to Mr. Bohannon.
"This is not a political group," Mr. Bohannon said. "It's not designed to influence the election." He stressed that the goal of the group is to "add input and debate around important land-use issues."
Resident Mike Gullard, one of some 40 people to attend a recent Sustainable Menlo Park meeting, said he thinks Mr. Bohannon's pledge to stay out of election politics is genuine, but the group could still create some controversy.
"I think it's clear that this is not a political organization that's going to support candidates, but I think [Mr. Bohannon] is trying to mobilize some support for development as kind of a counterbalance to ... some of the non-development groups," Mr. Gullard said.
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