After a very successful and protective year as a council member and Vice Mayor, I have decided to run for re-election to the Atherton City Council. I am doing this because our council has important work in the next year and I believe that I can make a material contribution to both the substantive issues and the manner in which the council conducts its business.
I am a fifth generation Californian. My g-g-grandfather came into San Francisco in May 1850 and immediately went to the gold fields. He didn’t find gold, but he did launch the first newspaper in the gold country (the Placerville Democrat). He and his family moved to Oakland in 1872 to enable his children to go to college.
I grew up in Southern California, and my relationship with Atherton began in the early 1950’s, when visiting my grandparents, who lived for forty-three years on Catalpa Dr. in Lindenwood. I have fond memories of running through their garden and helping my grandfather with his berries and his compost. After receiving a BA from Cal and a JD from Harvard, I returned here thirteen years ago to raise my children. My two sons, Alex and Ben, both attended Menlo School. Ben now works in the legal department at Google in Mountain View, and Alex is a PhD student at the Bren School at UCSB, where he is studying Environmental Policy. My role as their Dad has always been my most important and most rewarding job. I spent a summer hiking the John Muir Trail with Alex when he was 16. It was one of my best experiences. My wife, Karen, is the CEO of a echnology company based in Menlo Park. We enjoy cooking, skiing, hiking, playing golf and traveling together. In addition, I love to garden, make wine, backpack and fish in the Sierra Nevada. I am an avid Giants and 49ers fan.
Over the past three decades on the Peninsula, I have worked as a business lawyer at Wilson, Sonsini in Palo Alto and a software executive at Genesys Telecommunications and other Silicon Valley companies. In addition to my executive experience, I have served on many Boards of Directors, mostly for technology companies, but also for several non-profits. I believe that these Board experiences translate extremely well with respect to understanding and helping to manage the relationship between Council members and the Town Staff. This professional experience has also taught me that communication is critical to being able to effectively represent others. These experiences have taught me how to approach difficult strategic issues and negotiate reasonable solutions that respect the needs of very different stakeholders. Although I am relatively new to Atherton politics, I am not new to representing people or creatively developing solutions to challenging problems. I believe that over the past year, my professional experience has proven to be extremely valuable to the Council and to my effort to improve the process of the council and its interaction with the community.
During 2013, I served as the Vice Chair of the newly formed Civic Center Advisory Committee and Chair of its Library Subcommittee. When Jerry Carlson resigned from the Council in July 2013, I was encouraged by many residents to put in my name to run for the remaining one year left on Jerry’s term. In November, I won 62% of the vote and in December I was appointed to be Vice Mayor of Atherton. I have been honored to serve as a City Council member and as Vice Mayor over the past year. During this time, I have been a council liaison to the Civic Center Advisory Committee, the Finance and Audit Committee and the Park and Recreation Committee. I have also helped establish and served as a Council liaison to the newly created ad hoc Aircraft Noise Committee and the ad hoc Technology Committee. Finally, I am the Atherton Council liason and Governing Board member on the San Mateo County Library Governing Board.