Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Los Altos Hills Mayor Rich Larsen, right, with Los Altos Mayor Val Carpenter, center, attends the annual State of the Cities luncheon.
In an uncontested race, the Los Altos Hills City Council appointed three candidates in August. To introduce the councilmembers-elect to the community, the Town Crier profiled Courtenay Corrigan and John Harpootlian over the past two weeks and introduces returning Councilmember Rich Larsen below.
Rich Larsen signs on for four more years
It is difficult to miss Los Altos Hills Mayor Rich Larsen in a crowd. He’s tall, with an infectious smile. He said he enjoys his role as the town’s mayor and considers his service on the city council an enriching and invaluable life experience.
Larsen began his political journey just over four years ago when Councilmember Jean Mordo encouraged him to run for office after observing Larsen mobilize his unincorporated neighborhood in support of annexation into the town of Los Altos Hills.
“All I really wanted was a sewer,” Larsen said.
Because Larsen’s home and others in his neighborhood did not have access to town sewage pipelines, he successfully rallied support for a $2 million assessment district to support the endeavor. His foray into campaigning and local politics led him to throw his hat in the ring for city council. Larsen received the highest number of votes in the 2008 election.
Larsen said he is confident that his work on the council over the past four years has contributed to the high quality of life in Los Altos Hills.
During his term, the council approved the retrofitting of Westwind Barn, strengthened the town’s emergency response programs, fostered road sharing and safe routes to school and shepherded the new Arastradero Trail project.
Although he enjoys nearly everything about serving in public office, Larsen admitted that there are challenges. When panic spread after mountain lion attacks on pet goats in a residential neighborhood of Los Altos Hills, Larsen, in the name of the city, met with the parents who feared for their children’s safety. Larsen contacted animal control services statewide to find the best solution for calming public safety concerns.
The town subsequently developed a process for collaborating with the Sheriff’s office and the California Department of Fish and Game to manage future confrontations with wild animals.
Larsen said he ran for council again this year because he believes it is good to have experienced members on the council.
He added that he looks forward to working with incumbent and new councilmembers to improve public safety programs, increase the town’s financial reserves and bolster community participation on the town’s 13 committees and with numerous outside agencies.
“There are lots of opportunities that don’t take much time,” he said. “Volunteerism makes this place such a wonderful place to live.”