Deadline closes for candidates to enter city, school and special district races

BY EMILY MIBACH AND SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writers

We now have a complete look at who will be running for local offices in November. Friday (Aug. 7) was the deadline for candidates to file for the Nov. 3 election in most City Council, school board and special district races. But in races where an eligible incumbent didn’t run, the filing deadline was extended until Wednesday (Aug. 13). Here’s a list of the candidates in each race on the mid-Peninsula.

City Councils

Atherton City Council

The two incumbents, Cary Wiest and Elizabeth Lewis, will face off against newcomers Christine David and Diana Hawkins-Manuelian.

Belmont City Council

Four people have signed up to run for council. They are incumbent Davina Hurt, appointed incumbent Tom McCune, Ken Loo and Pat Cuviello.

East Palo Alto City Council

There are seven people running for the three seats on council. The three incumbents, Lisa Gauthier, Larry Moody and Carlos Romero, will defend their seats from Stewart Hyland, Webster Lincoln, Juan Mendez and Antonio Lopez.

Los Altos City Council

Seven people are pursuing three spots on the Los Altos City Council. Incumbent Lynette Lee Eng is being challenged by Parks and Recreation Chair Jonathan Weinberg, Parks and Recreation Commission Vice Chair Scott Spielman, Planning Commissioner Sally Meadows, Realtor Terri Couture, Realtor Kuljeet Kalkat and Realtor Alex Rubashevsky. Incumbents Jeannie Bruins and Jan Pepper are unable to run again due to term limits.

Los Altos Hills City Council

Three seats are available in November and none of the incumbents, Michelle Wu, Courtenay Corrigan and Roger Spreen, filed for re-election. Running for their seats are Linda G. Swan, Jay T. Sutaria, Stanley Q. Mok, Lisa H. Schmidt and Raj Reddy.

Menlo Park City Council

Incumbent Ray Mueller has no challengers in Council District 5, meaning there will be no election for residents who live in west Menlo, Stanford Hills and Sharon Heights neighborhoods.

In District 3 — which represents the Vintage Oaks, Linfield Oaks and Felton Gables neighborhoods — there’s a three-way race among Jen Wolosin, Max Fennell and Chelsea Nguyen. There is no incumbent in that race.

The city’s other three council districts won’t have elections until 2022. Before the switch to district elections, every Menlo Park resident could vote every two years for any council candidate on the ballot. Now they only get to vote for one candidate every four years.

Mountain View City Council

Four seats are available in November and nine candidates have filed to run. Incumbents Chris Clark and John McAlister are ineligible to run due to term limits. The other two incumbents, Margaret Abe-Koga and Lisa Matichak, are running again. The remaining seven candidates are housing advocate Alex Nunez, former councilman Lenny Siegel, former councilwoman Pat Showalter, former Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, Mountain View Whisman school board member Jose Gutierrez, John Lashlee and Paul Roales.

Palo Alto City Council

Ten candidates are vying for four open seats on the seven-member council. At least two new faces will join the council, with Adrian Fine deciding not to seek re-election and councilwoman Liz Kniss being termed out. Incumbents Greg Tanaka and Lydia Kou are fighting to keep their seats on council.

Also running are: former Mayor Pat Burt, Planning and Transportation commissioners Cari Templeton, and Ed Lauing, lawyer Rebecca Eisenberg, Human Relations Commissioner Steven Lee, Black Lives Matter activist Raven Malone, teacher Greer Stone and product manager Ajit Varma.

Redwood City Council

Four seats are up for grabs because of the city’s switch to district council elections. Now, each council member represents a neighborhood or neighborhoods instead of the entire city. For voters, this means that instead of selecting the entire council, they only get to vote for one person every four years.

Those running for District 1, which represents Redwood Shores, are former Mayor Jeff Gee and longtime planning commissioner Nancy Radcliffe.

It looks like there will be no election for District 4, which represents the Five Points area because only planning commissioner Michael Smith has filed.

In District 3, which encompasses the Friendly Acres neighborhood, Lissette Espinosa-Garnica and Isabella Chu will be running against incumbent Janet Borgens.

In District 7, which represents the Farm Hill Area, incumbent Alicia Aguirre is running against Mark Wolhan and Chris Rasmussen.

San Carlos City Council and Treasurer

Two seats are up for grabs on council and the city also will elect a city treasurer.

For the council race, incumbent Mark Olbert isn’t running for re-election while Mayor Ron Collins is. Also running are planning commissioner John Dugan and newcomers Joseph Eden and David Tom.

San Carlos Treasurer Mike Galvin, who has held the seat since 1988, did not file for re-election. Only former councilwoman Inge Tiegel Doherty is running for that position, which means the election will likely be canceled and Doherty declared the winner.

Portola Valley Town Council

Longtime councilwoman Ann Wengert is not seeking re-election. There are four people facing off for two seats on the council — incumbent Jeff Aalfs, Sarah Wernikoff, Mary Page Hufty and Angela Hey.

Special Districts

El Camino Health Care District Board

There are six people running for three spots on the El Camino Health Care District board, which is associated with El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. Incumbents Julia Miller, John Zoglin and Gary Kalbach are up against Dr. Carol Somersille, Medical Director Jane Chen Lombard and psychologist Meghan Fraley.

Menlo Park Fire Protection District

Four candidates are running for two seats. Incumbents Virginia Chang Kiraly and Rob Silano are running again along with former fire board member Peter Carpenter and Sean Ballard, who sought a seat on the board in 2018.

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

The district is divided up into seven geographic wards, and the three current board members are facing no opponents in the November election.

In Ward 3 (Sunnyvale), incumbent Jed Cyr of Sunnyvale will be facing off with retired business owner Ed Riffle.

In Ward 4 (Mountain View-Los Altos), incumbent Curtis Ray Riffle of Los Altos is unopposed.

In Ward 7 (Redwood City, coastside), appointed incumbent Zoe Kersteen-Tucker of Moss Beach is unopposed.

Mid-Peninsula Water District

With two seats up for grabs, the only two candidates to sign up to run this November are the incumbents, Matthew Zucca and Louis Vella. That election will be canceled.

Purissima Hills Water District

The Los Altos Hills-based district has a five-member board. Three of the seats are up for grabs in November, but it appears that only the incumbents have filed to run. The incumbents are Steve Jordan, Brian Holtz and appointed incumbent Kathleen Knopoff. There is a two-year seat available this November and only one candidate filed for that opening, Essy Stone.

San Mateo County Harbor District

In District 5, which spans from Pescadero to East Palo Alto and includes Menlo Park, incumbent Virginia Chang Kiraly will face former Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith.

In District 4, which spans from Half Moon Bay and El Granada to Redwood City, three candidates are running: Incumbent Tom Mattusch, El Granada resident Dawn Korth and retired Half Moon Bay resident Lemoine “Lee” Fernandez.

In District 1, which encompasses South San Francisco, former South City planning commissioner Bill Zemke is running unopposed.

Woodside Fire Protection District

Two seats are up for grabs but only one candidate had filed, incumbent Pat Cain.

School and College Districts

Belmont-Redwood Shores School District

Appointed incumbents Jim Howard and Sam Leinbach drew no opposition and will go uncontested. That election will be canceled.

Las Lomitas Elementary School District

Three newcomers are vying for two seats on the board because incumbents William Steinmetz and Diane Honda didn’t file for re-election. Running are parents Jason Morimoto, Molly Finn and Jody Leng.

Menlo Park City Elementary School District

Incumbent David Ackerman will run again along with parents Francesca Segre and Robert Maclay for two seats on the board.

Mountain View Los Altos High School District

Incumbents Sanjay Shashi Dave and Phil Faillace are trying to hold on to their seats against Laura Teksler, who is vice-chair of the Los Altos Environmental Commission and vice president of the Los Altos High School PTSA.

Mountain View Whisman School District

There are five people running for three seats on the Mountain View Whisman school board. Incumbent Laura Blakely is being challenged by engineer Patrick Neschleba, Principal Laura Ramirez Berman, small business owner Manny Velasco and former trustee Christopher Kent Chiang. Trustee Jose Gutierrez is running for the Mountain View City Council.

Palo Alto School Board

Two incumbents and four newcomers are hoping to nab a spot on Palo Alto’s school board amid controversies over COVID-19 distance learning. Lawyer Karna Nisewaner, Jesse Fletcher Ladomirak, who works for housing improvement firm Teevan, former Juana Briones Elementary Principal Matt Nagle and nonprofit fundraiser Katie Causey are running along with incumbents Jennifer DiBrienza and Todd Collins.

Portola Valley Elementary School District

Three seats are available for the school board. Incumbent Jeff Klugman and appointed incumbent Kimberley Morris Rosen have filed to run this November. Incumbent Karyn Bechtel isn’t running for re-election. The only other candidate who entered the race is Gary Hanning.

Ravenswood City School District

Seven candidates are running for two seats in the district that serves East Palo Alto and Menlo Park’s Belle Haven neighborhood. Incumbent Marilena Goana-Mendoza will be facing teacher Brownlyn Alexander, construction manager Joel Riveria and newcomers Mele K. Latu, Jenny Varghese Bloom, Julian Alberto Garcia and Zeb Feldman. Longtime incumbent Sharifa Wilson did not file for re-election.

Sequoia Union High School District

There will be elections for two of the three seats on the high school board.

Incumbent Georgia Jack will be running against former TIDE Academy principal Shamar Edwards and parent Richard Ginn for the seat that spans from Emerald Hills to Portola Valley.

Menlo Park resident and teacher Jacqui Cebrian and East Palo Alto resident and social worker Shawneece Stevenson will be facing off for the currently un-represented seat for North Fair Oaks and East Palo Alto.

Incumbent Carrie Du Bois, who represents the San Carlos area, faces no opposition.

Santa Clara County Board of Education

In Area 1, which includes Palo Alto, Los Altos and Mountain View, incumbent Grace Mah will be challenged by Palo Alto school district Trustee Melissa Baten Caswell.

San Mateo County Board of Education

The county is divided into seven areas and seats for four of the areas are up for grabs in November. Only one of the four races is competitive.

In Area 4, which covers the San Mateo-Foster City area, incumbent Rod Hsiao is facing a challenge from Chelsea Bonini.

In Area 5, covering Burlingame, Hillsborough, Millbrae and part of San Mateo, Jim Cannon faces no opposition.

In Area 6, representing Redwood City and San Carlos, Ted Lempert is running unopposed.

And in Area 7, covering Menlo Park, Portola Valley, East Palo Alto and Woodside, Joe Ross is unopposed.

Foothill-DeAnza Community College District

There are three seats open for the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District, software engineer Govind Tatachari will be facing off against incumbents Gilbert Wong, Laura Casas and Peter Landsberger. The three are running as a slate, and upon announcing their re-election, their supporters, who include the other two board members, issued a statement saying that now is not the time for new blood on the board because of the looming recession due to COVID-19.

San Mateo County Community College District

The district that runs the county’s three community colleges — Skyline, College of San Mateo and Canada — has a board of five directors. Each director serves a different district in the county. Longtime Chancellor Ron Galatolo was removed last year amid an investigation by the district attorney over harassment and the use of funds from bond measures.

For District 1, which encompasses the coastside, San Carlos and part of Menlo Park, former district employee and current head of HR for UC-Berkeley Eugene Whitlock will be facing nonprofit CEO Lisa Petrides.

In District 3, which covers western South San Francisco to Hillsborough, incumbents Dave Mandelkern and Maurice Goodman are facing off.

In District 5, which covers Redwood City, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, longtime San Mateo County Community College Board member Karen Schwarz did not file to run. Running to replace her are Menlo Park resident John Pimentel, Redwood City resident Lisa Hicks-Dumanske and North Fair Oaks Community Council Member Blair Whitney.

6 Comments

  1. Two corrections to your account of the Mountain View City Council race. Four of 7 seats are up. Two incumbents (Chris Clark and John McAlister) are ineligible to run (having served two successive 4-year terms). The other 2 incumbents up did run. The field of candidates is closed.

  2. My name is John Pimentel. Community College changed my life. I am running for SMCCCD to ensure affordable access to high-quality post-secondary education for more San Mateo County residents, especially those from disadvantaged communities and first-generation college families. About 1/3 of San Mateo County graduating seniors don’t take the opportunity to attend our community colleges. I will make sure SMCCCD recruits more local transfer students and supports them to complete college. I will also push SMCCCD to improve career training programs and job placement to help more County residents prepare for higher-paying 21st Century jobs. Thank you.
    https://www.johnpimentel.com/

  3. A correction to your description of the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD): “Longtime Chancellor Ron Galatolo was removed last year amid an investigation by the district attorney over harassment and the use of funds from bond measures.”

    Chancellor Galatolo was not removed “amid an investigation.” The Board of Trustees cut a deal with him in advance of the DA’s search warrant for reasons still unknown (“An arrangement to conceal,” Sept 4, 2019, Emily Mibach, Daily Post). He neither resigned nor retired from his position; instead, the Board allowed him to “transition” into a newly created job to work solely off-campus with the title of “Chancellor Emeritus,” in violation of Board policy 2.17, with a sweetheart deal. After all, $1.2M + benefits to do a factious job from which he cannot be fired by his boss (the Board) to create CSU-Cañada might be called a quid pro quo (Galatolo has a non-disclosure agreement).

    The face-off between Mandelkorn and Goodman is interesting in this regard. As Board President, Goodman signed Galatolo’s new agreement and contract. Mandelkorn? One does not know how trustees vote in “Closed Session.”

    Isn’t this a public institution? “An arrangement to conceal?” That implies there was something to conceal. For shame on current Board members.

  4. Michael, you’re wrong about the timing of Galatolo’s exit. The DA’s investigation began weeks before Galatolo’s “mutual understanding” agreement, transitioning him to emeritus status, was made public on August 12, 2019.

    • Thanks Bob P for the clarification of the timing. Of course, I was being somewhat sarcastic. If the Board removed him because of the investigation, they denied him due process. An investigation does not mean guilty. Typically, in academia, the Board announces the issue and puts the administrator on “paid administrative leave.” The Board did neither. They were hush on the cause for his “transition” to a new job and actually made up a story. Of course, that process in and of itself was highly unusual for a public institution of higher education. Kinda fishy. The Board should be held accountable. Instead, as far as the public knows to date, Galatolo will sit in limbo and be paid $39K a month until March 2022. The Board is powerless to fire him. The Board abdicated their responsibility to a third party mediator whose decision is final…. Kinda hypocritical, as the Board has denied the faculty union binding arbitration for years, but used it in this case to serve their purposes. This Board doesn’t even know their own policies, as BP 2.17 precludes Galatolo getting the title of emeritus. Sounds like an arbitrary and capricious decision to me. What are they hiding?

      Michael B. Reiner, PhD, is a higher education consultant and educational researcher. Previously, he was a professor of psychology and college administrator at City University of New York (CUNY), Miami Dade College, the Riverside Community College District, and the San Mateo County Community College District. mreiner32205@gmail.com  LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-b-reiner-phd-14057551/

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