BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
A majority of the Menlo Park City Council tonight (Jan. 9) appointed sustainability consultant Maria Doerr — whose priorities include switching buildings from natural gas to electricity — to fill the council seat vacated by Ray Mueller’s election to the county’s board of supervisors.
Council members Jen Wolosin, Betsy Nash and Cecilia Taylor all voted for Doerr in the first round of voting during tonight’s special meeting. Councilman Drew Combs did not cast a vote, saying he would prefer for the residents of District 5 to vote for their representative.
The council had initially met on Dec. 21 to interview and select Mueller’s replacement, but Combs suggested the meeting be put off so council members could weigh the appointment.
Combs said he stands by his initial idea to push off the decision. He said he feels “unease” at selecting Mueller’s replacement instead of the voters of the district, which stretches from the intersection of Santa Cruz Avenue and San Mateo Drive down into Sharon Heights.
Mueller had protested the postponement. It was a move by the majority of the council to prevent him from voting on his replacement. In an email to the city council last week, Mueller said his first choice is for former Mayor Catherine Carlton, and second choice for Complete Streets Commissioner Sally Cole, who ultimately withdrew from consideration.
Doerr said tonight that she plans to do speak with people in the council district one-on-one starting on Wednesday morning, when she will be at Woodside Bakery near Safeway from 8-9 a.m. for an open hours.
Doerr recently moved back to Menlo Park from Boulder, Colo. She lived in Menlo Park while attending Stanford. She graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering. She is currently a sustainability and climate consultant. She points out in her application that she is part of a younger generation of residents which allows her to bring a new perspective of life in the city. The top three immediate issues Doerr says the city is facing are housing, electrifying buildings and “engaging a new generation in civic engagement.”
Doerr grew up in central Missouri before departing for Stanford. She has received fellowships to work on sustainability issues related to energy and water in India and Mexico. Since graduating, she’s been an instructor at the Leeds School of Business and a consultant for Redstone Strategy Group in Colorado. Doerr speaks Spanish.
Doerr was sworn in shortly after her appointment. Mayor Wolosin noted that Doerr is receiving a “trial by fire” as the council has a meeting tomorrow night and Doerr has plenty of homework to do before then.