After nine very successful and productive year as a council member, including three years as 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, particularly with regards to housing, 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 moved to Los Altos and returned Atherton twenty-two years ago to raise my children. My two sons, Alex and Ben, both attended Menlo School. Ben now works as a civil rights attorney, managing his own law firm in Denver, and Alex is an economist and environmental specialist responsible for state climate-related legislative and regulatory affairs for the Environmental Defense Fund. 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 Limerick Lane Cellars in Sonoma County and on several public and private boards. 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.
Over the past four 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. I believe that over the past nine years, 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. This was the Atherton resident committee responsible for advising the City Council with respect to the design and construction of the new Town Center. 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 2013, I won 62% of the vote and in 2014 I was re-elected with a large number of votes. I have been honored to serve as a City Council member for nine years, as Mayor for three terms and as 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 each of the ad hoc Aircraft Noise Committee and the ad hoc Technology Committee. Finally, I have been the Atherton Council liaison and Governing Board member on the San Mateo County Library Governing Board and on Peninsula Clean Energy’s Board, where I’ve been the Board Chair of this 23 member Board for the past two years. Peninsula Clean Energy is a game changer in the electricity generation business. PCE provides 98% of the electricity used in San Mateo County, representing $350M of electricity delivered to 300,000 customers and 100% of the annual energy is clean, ie it is not fossil-fuel generated.