Town Square

Should Menlo Park change council elections?

Original post made on Aug 27, 2013

Menlo Park, like most cities of similar size, elects at-large council members -- in this case, five -- that represent the entire city. But Vice Mayor Ray Mueller, serving his first term on the council, is wondering whether that leaves some areas of the community under-represented.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 8:26 AM


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Posted by reality
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 27, 2013 at 10:54 am

If the city was broken up into three districts, Flood Triangle and the Willows would likely be in the same district as Belle Haven. If the most recent election was by district, Fergusson would have been elected over Clarke and Bragg. Encouraging and supporting three candidates from Belle Haven to run for the Ravenswood School Board could have a much greater impact on the Belle Haven community.

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Posted by long time resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Menlo Park is not so big that this is necessary. I want all of the council members to have an interest in the entire community. I worry that district elections would result in balkanization that would be bad for everyone.

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Posted by Former Resident
a resident of another community
on Aug 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm

When I grew up in Menlo Park, the five councilmembers were very similar, running the city well but at the same time heavily tied to the business community.

Where I live now, we have six districts plus an at-large mayor. more interests are represented, and I think that it works far, far better. I hope we never change.

While Menlo Park is far different than where I am now, I think something like we have would be good for Menlo Park, either five districts electing a mayor, or four districts with an at-large mayor.

By the way, even though he is long gone, Mike Belangie was one of those five at-large councilmembers, he is still a hero to me, and I still think of him often. Just because seats are at-large does not mean that there will not be good councilmembers.

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Posted by Redistrict!
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Aug 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm

We rarely see a council member from one of the neighborhoods bordering El Camino (Allied Arts, Linfield Oaks, Felton Gables) yet those areas are typically the most affected by city decisions. Council members who live in Sharon Heights may be clueless about the concerns of residents living in the middle of Menlo Park.

Seven council members, five by district and two at large. Problem solved.

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Posted by Gov't Out of Control
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 28, 2013 at 12:42 am

I would prefer no at large council members. The mayor can be elected at large. So each council member would represent a district of voters, and the number of voters in each district is as equal as possible to ensure one voter, one vote.

I don't like the at large approach because the candidates can be bankrolled and controlled by the developer interests, and the unions.

The needs of the different neighborhoods are diverging more and more, and the more populous neighborhoods need voices and council members beholden to them.