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Menlo Park council member Ray Mueller and residents speak out against delaying the appointment of his successor

Original post made on Dec 28, 2022

Residents and Menlo Park City Council Member Ray Mueller are pushing back against the decision to delay the appointment of a new council member to represent District 5, saying that excluding Mueller from the vote in not acceptable.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 27, 2022, 1:05 PM

Comments (20)

Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Dec 28, 2022 at 11:25 am

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

Once again Betsy Nash shows her disdain for the residents of Menlo Park. It’s a shame she was re-elected.

Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 28, 2022 at 12:34 pm

dana hendrickson is a registered user.

I believe Cat Carlton is clearly the most qualified candidate to represent District 5 and cannot imagine any council member has a sound reason to not support her selection.

Posted by Brian Cutcliffe
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 28, 2022 at 12:42 pm

Brian Cutcliffe is a registered user.

Didn’t Cat Carlton previously represent that district? If they previously selected her represent them, then seems like the natural choice. Of course that assumes the goal is to have a council member who represents District 5 interests and not those of the other districts.

Posted by Iris
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 28, 2022 at 3:18 pm

Iris is a registered user.

District elections began after Carlton left office so she never represented just district 5.
Similarly Mueller only represented district 5 for 1 of his terms.
My hope has been that every councilmemember makes good decisions for the entire city while also communicates well the interests of the district where they live.
I am curious how Mueller thinks he represents the desires of his district. My friends who live there haven't heard from him .

Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 28, 2022 at 4:12 pm

Long Time Resident is a registered user.

Mueller's choice for a replacement should have greater weight than Nash or Taylor. Wolosin, Combs and Mueller are a quorum and should proceed without the other two if necessary. Cat Carlton's experience will allow her 'hit the ground running'. She is a great choice if Ray supports her.

Posted by MenloDad
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 28, 2022 at 5:12 pm

MenloDad is a registered user.

I completely agree with "Long Time Resident." Ray Mueller's point of view on his successor is more relevant than that of any of the other council members from other districts. Since Mayor Wolosin and Councilmember Combs are available and represent a quorum, they should have a session including Councilmember Mueller to select the District 5 successor to Councilmember Mueller. That is the best way to proceed with our district-based city council representation. If councilmembers Nash and Taylor can attend that session, great, but if not then the 3 other councilmembers should vote and decide. And to Iris' comment, I am a district 5 resident and have found Councilmember Mueller to be very engaged with residents of the district and informed about the perspectives, goals, and priorities specifically for the district as well as the broader goals and opportunities for the city. Not including him in selecting his successor is a clear violation of a process that strives to ensure the district is represented by those who know the district best. I strongly encourage Mayor Wolosin, Councilmember Combs, and Councilmember Mueller to schedule a session before Councilmember Mueller leaves office to select the next district 5 councilmember. That is the only thing that is fair to district 5 residents.

Posted by MP Father
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 28, 2022 at 6:48 pm

MP Father is a registered user.

I agree with Long Term Resident and MenloDad. The trust level with Nash, Wolosin, and Taylor is already unacceptablly low. This latest news is perpetuating that mistrust. Council Member Mueller's input needs to be heard and weighted appropriately. Is there legal action available to District 5?

Posted by Dagwood
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 28, 2022 at 9:32 pm

Dagwood is a registered user.

Nash and Taylor could attend by phone or Zoom if they are not in town. That’s standard. A candidate not supported by Ray may raise concerns of credibility and bias for Council lasting for the appointee’s two years of service. Given the current Council faction a unanimous vote would seem essential. That looks like a bridge too far.

Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 29, 2022 at 11:34 am

dana hendrickson is a registered user.

Conducting a fast-track, e.g., three-week, council appointment process for any district council position - especially during the holiday season - was an incredibly bad idea. It effectively minimizes the input of district voters who will be represented by the selected individual and makes the position explicitly appear a political football controlled by the existing council members. Council appointments are an extraordinary event that must be guided by voters. This does NOT mean the city needs to hold a special election. Rather, the city council should proactively solicit District 5 voter preferences BEFORE making their appointment decision.

Posted by Nicole
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Dec 29, 2022 at 12:48 pm

Nicole is a registered user.

The claim made by Cat Carlson and her supporters that she is the natural or obvious choice to fill the council vacancy in District 5 because she was elected previously is a preposterous misrepresentation of the democratic process. Most residents will immediately see through. It either shows Ms. Carlson has a weak grasp on the basics of our democracy, or she understands perfectly well how absurd that is, but believes the residents of Menlo Park will fall for the argument. Either way, it's very concerning.

Posted by Heather Hopkins
a resident of Las Lomitas School
on Dec 29, 2022 at 3:01 pm

Heather Hopkins is a registered user.

The discussion to postpone the vote and get Mueller’s input (via public comment) was very amicable at the December 21 meeting, so his subsequent outrage strikes me as odd. Below is a link to an audio clip of his response to delaying the vote. He notes, “I don’t think this is catastrophic. I actually think that the opinion I express on that day [of a future January meeting when he is no longer on council] may be given a little more weight.” Earlier in the meeting (starting at 3:32:39) he said, “I’m not sure the substantive outcome [of waiting until January to take the vote] would be different…I respect you guys’ opinion on that and, candidly, it’s an environment where you’re picking someone who’s going to be up here with you guys for two years, so if you just need some time be comfortable with that I accept that.”

I was disappointed that this article didn’t point out the dramatic change in Mueller’s tune from what he said on the 21st, when he participated in a very congenial conversation about the desire of council members Taylor, Combs and Nash to have more time to thoughtfully consider the candidates. “I don’t want the last thing that I do in the city to be like a fight,” he said that evening. Then the next day, he came out swinging about this “terrible mistake.”

What changed?

Audio clip referenced above: Web Link
Video of meeting (Mueller’s substantive comments on the topic are at 3:32:39 and 3:51:41): Web Link

Posted by Kobayashi Maru
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 29, 2022 at 3:34 pm

Kobayashi Maru is a registered user.

Hopkins ignores that Combs, Wolosin and Mueller all agreed to make themselves available for a meeting to reconsider the item almost immediately, and that Nash and Taylor have refused to meet to discuss a reconsideration motion since December 22. Reconsideration is normal in public process. Mueller responding to residents concerned about him not voting, and asking for reconsideration, representing residents in D5 interests makes sense.

Posted by Dagwood
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 31, 2022 at 5:47 am

Dagwood is a registered user.

With four sitting Council members voting, and Ray somehow indicating his preferences but as a resident - unanimity is still possible, and should be a desired outcome. Or at least consistency with Ray’s choice. Anything else will raise concerns and risk severe damage to CC credibility for the next two years. Lacking clear D-5 support, the new District 5 council member could be placed under considerable stress, in addition to a very steep learning curve.

Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 31, 2022 at 1:24 pm

dana hendrickson is a registered user.

The city council SHOULD provide all District 5 voters a reasonable opportunity to express their preferences re: the existing candidates for the open council position BEFORE making their appointment decision, and this cannot be accomplished by January 9. It could be completed in a few weeks if the Council assigns the selection process the high priority it deserves. There is NO good reason to ignore voter input.

Posted by Iris
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 2, 2023 at 7:35 am

Iris is a registered user.

I deeply hope the Council decides to appoint a good person who would make good decisions for the good of the entire city. Such a person should also communicate well within district 5, of course.

We are all in trouble when a council member only cares about their own district.

Posted by PH
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jan 2, 2023 at 10:42 am

PH is a registered user.

@Heather Hopkins "What changed?"

His mind. It doesn't mean anything, nor does it automatically discredit those who do it.

For the truly curious, (rather than the knee-jerk critical), we won't know if he has rethought some of his initial logic until and unless we have this meeting.

I think he now sees more clearly how important it is to have his choice formally on the record through a voting process. I'm sure he expects to lose the vote but wants a record of who he supports. Nothing wrong with that.

The formalism of Robert's Rules may be a lost art. Public officials speak with Public Voice. To silence the official is to silence that Public Voice. Ray Mueller IS the public voice of District 5.

I was often on the losing side of many issues, but I would make motions to substitute changes into the main motion, to create a record of what I was willing to support and why I otherwise voted against a measure. Even if a substitute motion is not seconded, the fact of the motion is put into the minutes.

Once, a Daily Post reporter asked me why my 4-1 council majority tolerated the long-winded shenanigans of the one, even when it was clear the individual was trying to delay or obstruct meetings. I said he was an elected official who spoke for members of our community. That entitled him to public air time and some amount of extra patience.

For their sake, Nash and Taylor should Zoom into this meeting to enable the public record Ray may be trying to create.

Posted by MenloDad
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 4, 2023 at 11:20 pm

MenloDad is a registered user.

Councilmember Mueller has provided his recommendations on who should be considered as his successor for the remainder of his term and the rationale for those recommendations. I hope the rest of the city council will give significant consideration to his input in selecting the next district 5 councilmember. See his recommendation here: Web Link

Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 5, 2023 at 2:58 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

I agree with Ray on this one. Catherine is more than qualified to fill the position and quite frankly brings more experience to the position that any other candidate.

That Nash, Woolsin and Taylor are their usual obstructionists is as always deplorable. Their conduct is unbecoming of an elected public official, and we can ONLY hope they will be ousted in the next election cycle.

Roy Thiele-Sardina

Posted by Long Time Atherton Reaident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 6, 2023 at 6:40 pm

Long Time Atherton Reaident is a registered user.

I agree 100% with Heather Hopkins. I was not present at the meeting, but I do know Ray personally. I have never heard of anyone picking their successor. That would be like me resigning from my job - which is what Ray did when he ran for Supervisor in the middle of his Council term - and then my handpicking who should take my place at the company. A totally ridiculous idea!

I also know Catherine Carlton personally, and think the world of her. A bright and caring person, who is approachable and listens to her constituents. To me she is the natural and by far the best choice for the Council.

Posted by Kobayashi Maru
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 7, 2023 at 5:12 pm

Kobayashi Maru is a registered user.

Ray didn’t ask to pick his replacement, he asked to be able to participate in the vote for his replacement, so District 5 had a representative voting in the process who will represent it, which state law allows. Two Councilmembers refused to make themselves available to allow a vote on reconsideration to let Ray vote in the process. Ray actually has already emailed the Council his support for Cat Carlton to finish his term. We will see what the council decides.

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