“Harmony” may be the best adjective to describe the current state of politics in Los Altos Hills. The city council voted unanimously to cancel its fall municipal election and appoint the three candidates to the three open seats on the council for the 2012-2016 term. The decision saves the city and councilmembers-elect money and prevents a drawn-out campaign for uncontested seats.
Incumbent and incoming councilmembers speculate that residents are satisfied with the way their elected leaders have managed resources and handled issues in recent years. The reduced number of candidates may be an indicator of the lack of conflict.
“All of us have talked to lots of people to generate enthusiasm,” said Councilmember Jean Mordo at the council’s meeting to discuss the elections. “There’s no big issue in town, nobody’s excited about anything, there’s no big controversy.”
Incumbent Mayor Rich Larsen, who has served on the council since his election in 2008, was reappointed to serve alongside incumbents Gary Waldeck and John Radford and newcomers Courtenay Corrigan and John Harpootlian.
To introduce the councilmembers-elect to the community, the Town Crier will publish profiles. Up this week is Corrigan. Look for a profile of Harpootlian in an upcoming issue.
A businesswomen, wife and active mother of three boys in elementary school, Courtenay Corrigan said she looks forward to representing families on the council.
While managing her own staffing firm and starting a family, Corrigan supported other candidates’ bids for elective office and passionately followed politics from the sidelines.
When she moved to Los Altos Hills seven years ago with her husband, Sean, she searched for opportunities to serve. She sat on the Pathways Committee, which advises the council on issues related to preserving and improving the pedestrian and cycling paths within the structure of the master plan. She participated in the inauguration of the now-annual Los Altos Hills Fourth of July Parade.
Despite her initial inclination to wait a while before running for office, a friend who serves on the San Jose City Council inspired Corrigan to jump in.
“If everybody waits until we have time to run for office, we’ll all be retirees,” said her friend.
Heeding the advice, Corrigan took the plunge. Along with caring for her family, carving out time to serve the community is an investment worth making, she said.
“I want to demonstrate the responsibility we all have to serve our communities for our children,” Corrigan said. “And especially, show my sons that women are capable of so much more than making them dinner.”
In preparation for the race, Corrigan assembled a campaign team, consulted with elected officials and solicited advice from The 2012 Project, a national nonpartisan campaign organized by Rutgers University to increase the number of women in Congress and state legislatures. When the council canceled the election, Corrigan said it was “a victory nonetheless, but without the satisfaction of looking at votes late into the night surrounded by my team of supporters.”
Although she begins her first elected office without a long agenda, she plans to articulate thoughtfulness and purpose in evaluating the issues that arise.
Her immediate priorities include filling vacant committee seats with qualified candidates and shepherding the town’s master plan through the council.
Corrigan is passionate about balancing the privacy of homeowners with the rights of the public. She said she gained perspective on community concerns while listening to residents during her tenure on the Pathways Committee.
During the next four months (the councilmembers-elect will be seated in December), Corrigan plans to study issues and invest as much time as possible in meeting with and discerning the concerns of the community.
“My job is to hear it all and figure out how to manage resources,” she said.
You can read a full listing of Town Crier election coverage here.