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Candidates begin election season journey


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With 103 days until the Nov. 6 election, candidates are slowly emerging to declare their intentions to run for open seats on the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills city councils and local school boards.

Aug. 10 is the deadline for council candidates to submit paperwork to their respective city clerks and for school board candidates to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

The following election snapshot offers an overview of how the races are shaping up.

Los Altos

As of July 20, five Los Altos residents have pulled paperwork to run for three city council seats in November. Two of the open seats result from Councilmen Ron Packard and David Casas being termed out of office.

According to Los Altos Deputy City Clerk Jon Maginot, the list of current candidates consists of Jon Baer, Jeannie Bruins, Jan Pepper, Anabel Pelham and incumbent Councilwoman Megan Satterlee.

Baer and Bruins are former members of the now-defunct Planning Commission, with Baer serving as chairman prior to its dissolution. Baer currently sits on the city’s new Planning and Transportation Commission.

Pelham is a member of the city’s Senior Commission, while Jan Pepper was 2011-2012 president of the League of Women Voters of the Los Altos-Mountain View Area and currently serves the organization in a communications role.

The number of candidates expressing interest in running for a city council seat comes as no surprise to Los Altos Mayor Val Carpenter, who noted that eight candidates emerged the last time the city had three seats up for grabs in 2003. Carpenter added that she expects a few additional candidates to emerge before the Aug. 10 filing deadline.

“It’s early days,” Carpenter said. “I’ve been predicting for over a year now that it would be a field of eight. It’s a good field so far and there will be more.”

Los Altos Hills

Election fever has yet to spread to Los Altos Hills, where three city council seats are up for grabs in the fall election. After eight years of service, Councilman Jean Mordo is termed out of office.

Incumbent Councilmembers Rich Larsen and Ginger Summit have not declared whether they intend to run for re-election.

Two nonincumbent candidates, however, have picked up paperwork from the city clerk and expressed their interest in running for council. Los Altos Hills Pathways Committee member Courtenay Corrigan sent a letter to supporters June 13 announcing her intention to run. John Harpootlian, a member of the town’s Planning Commission, pulled paperwork June 17 but has yet to declare his candidacy.

Councilman John Radford, whose term expires in 2014, said the November election cycle is off to a slow start.

“Two years ago when I ran, two candidates declared by February and a full campaign began in March,” he said.

Radford wants candidates to know that serving in office can be fun, but it “is a real job, with a real set of responsibilities – responsibilities for important decisions on how the city runs.”

School boards

As of Monday, no newcomers had stated their intentions to compete for seats on the three local school boards, but a host of incumbents plan to run again.

Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District incumbents Phil Faillace and Susan Sweeley have pulled paperwork from the county registrar to run for two open seats on the board.

Foothill-De Anza Community College District incumbents Joan Barram, Betsy Bechtel and Laura Casas Frier have obtained paperwork from the registrar to vie for three available seats.

In the race for two seats on the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees, incumbent Steve Taglio has pulled paperwork. The remaining incumbent, Bill Cooper, has yet to declare his candidacy.

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