Sustainability consultant Maria Doerr appointed to council

Maria Doerr

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.


  1. Combs was the one that put a halt to the process with his “speed dating” comment. For Mueller to protest it was “a move by the majority of the council to prevent him from voting on his replacement” is absurd. Mueller’s opponent in the supervisor runoff had the support of her entire city council while Mueller only had Combs. Carlton didn’t even endorse Mueller for Supervisor.

  2. Natural gas is sustainable. In fact they use it to produce electricity. But the neo-authoritarians need to force their opinions on others.

  3. Stanford grad with a history in water rights? Who better to replace Warren Slocum in 2024? Maria Doerr for County Supervisor! She would be a lock!

    • Question isn’t why, but why not Maria Doerr. Towns larger than fifty people don’t install the oldest man standing as mayor, and college-free electeds proliferate our local government ranks. Spanish speaking Stanford grad with some international experience? Doerr’s resume has Warren Slocum’s seat written all over it. Why not a woman? Not only could we do a lot worse, we are currently doing a lot worse in many cities.

  4. Carlton, Combs and 12 other former Menlo Park Mayors endorsed Mueller. He was one of the most endorsed candidates in the history of the County. Check his website. It’s still up. He won in a landslide. Sour grapes over what, exactly?

  5. When Don Horsley ran for the same seat in 2010, he was endorsed by 4 current members of the board of supervisors and 4 current members of Menlo Park City council. [Portion deleted for violation of Terms of Use. No links in the comments section.]

    In this past election, Mueller was endorsed by only two current members of the board of supervisors and only one current member of Menlo Park City council.

    It’s sweet that Fact Check believes Mueller is the most endorsed candidates in the history of the County, but this is also clearly absurd.

  6. Yes, Mueller had some of the best numbers in his county’s history and hopefully he’ll throw his hat in with Joe Simitian for the next open Congress seat and we’ll have a real humdinger. Or better yet Maria Doerr versus Joe Simitian, what a great contrast but would either have a real chance to beat Simitian? Why not a smart young woman?

  7. Santa Clara County office of sustainability says that includes Sustainable Landscape Management,Climate Action Planning,Food Systems Workplan, Fleet Sustainability Group, Registrar of Voters Go Green Campaign. Maria Doerr is turnkey ready for Congress and there is no bar to entry, take a look at AOC or Santos, both will be there for fifty years and there previous jobs were bartender. Anna Eshoo should be replaced by another woman.

  8. Maria Doerr is a sure vote for ripping out our natural gas lines and forcing people to go all electric. I don’t want that on my City Council. We already have three “woke” activists on council, and that’s more than enough.

    If you see her as a shoo-in for Slocum’s seat on the board of supervisors, think again. That seat really belongs to residents in North Fair Oaks and East Palo Alto, who have been underrepresented for years. Doerr needs to get some experience before she runs. Then again, she won’t survive the primary, so I’m not concerned about her.

    • Sure, but isn’t everyone in Menlo a carpetbagger? We all come from different places, bring our own talents, and we make it work. You wouldn’t discount a CEO because you didn’t go to highschool with him or her, would you?

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