Lewis, Wiest take out papers for Atherton council race | July 25, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



News - July 25, 2012

Lewis, Wiest take out papers for Atherton council race

by Renee Batti

Incumbent Elizabeth Lewis and Cary Wiest, who ran for a seat on the Atherton City Council in 2010, are the only two residents to take out papers for the November race for two council seats.

Although Ms. Lewis wouldn't say whether she will file the papers, making her an official candidate, Mr. Wiest said he definitely intends to run.

"I hope to bring in some fresh ideas, and also to go back to the grass roots of what politics should be — to reach out and listen to more of what the public's concerns are," he told the Almanac.

A real estate consultant who has lived in Atherton for about three years, Mr. Wiest was one of four candidates for three council seats two years ago, when Jerry Carlson and Jim Dobbie won re-election and Bill Widmer was elected to his first term.

His civic experience has included membership on the county's Vision 2025 Committee, its Jail Planning Advisory Committee, and its Charter Review Committee.

Voters will choose two council members in November, with the seat of three-term member Kathy McKeithen also open. Ms. McKeithen has not publicly stated whether she will seek another term and could not be reached for comment.

Ms. Lewis is completing her first term on the council, and now serves as vice mayor, which makes it likely that she would be appointed for a one-year term as mayor in December if she wins re-election. She is also on the Town Center Task Force Committee.

She and Councilman Jerry Carlson are often on the short end of 3-2 council votes, and she has been publicly accused of representing the interests of the development community by residents unhappy with her vote to end road impact fees for builders, among other positions.

In 2010, the town launched an in-house investigation on long-simmering accusations that the house she and her husband built a few years earlier was bigger than legally allowed, and that the construction project involved other code violations.

The town attorney at the time, Wynne Furth, conducted the investigation, and concluded that the house exceeds the town's zoning ordinance by about 129 square feet; that Ms. Lewis should not have been allowed to demolish and rebuild the portion of the house that was "nonconforming" because it was too close to the property lines under existing law; and that the blame for those violations of the ordinance lies with the former building official, so no action by the town should be taken in the matter.

The candidate filing period ends on Friday, Aug. 10. It will be extended to Aug. 15 for non-incumbents if either incumbent doesn't file papers by that time.


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