Move over Obama and McCain. You're not the only ones in the spotlight for the November election. Locally, we have three open seats on the Los Altos Hills City Council.
A grassroots political group in town, Hills 2000, is getting an early start in grooming potential candidates. Supporters held a forum recently to discuss town issues and encourage people to step forward. The rival Los Altos Civic Association also joined the act, sending out a newsletter detailing the association's accomplishments. Yes, election season is well upon us.
We know that only incumbent Jean Mordo plans to run for re-election, so the council will have at least two new faces after the election. Potential candidates who have surfaced thus far include Rich Larson, leader of the San Antonio Hills annexation into Los Altos Hills effort, and Eric Clow, currently a town planning commissioner. Former councilwoman Toni Casey, currently civic association president, has stated she plans to run. For Casey, who has already served 12 years on the council, it might be preferable that she groom a new generation of candidates rather than return to town politics herself.
The town has accomplished much in recent years. Leaders built a new town hall to support better functioning staff and services. The council approved an updated and improved map marking town pathways. The town established its own parks and recreation department and is assuming management of Westwind Barn. Through initiatives and incentives for using solar energy, the town has emerged as an environmental leader. The town's staff is excellent.
But there are plenty of issues ahead, including the perennial private property rights versus town building regulations. How much longer can the town and its residents strike a balance between rural fantasy and extravagant housing development with gates and fences that threaten to undermine the rural atmosphere?
That issue alone, we hope, will draw a healthy field of candidates to the November election. Of course, a strong field guarantees a more complete discussion of issues. We encourage more candidates to come forward.