The recent wildfires put a scare into Los Altos Hills residents - some live just a few miles from areas under evacuation warnings as blazes from Santa Cruz County approached.

Naturally, it’s the hot topic in an unusual race that has five candidates – no incumbents – running for three seats, a majority on the five-member council.

Three of the candidates – Stanley Mok, Jay Sutaria and Linda Swan – are running as a slate. Despite the fact that we prefer individual thinkers and not voting blocs, we are endorsing them. Ultimately, they are the best choices.

Swan, a 32-year resident, serves on the town’s History Committee. She has an engineering background and expertise in reviewing contract bids. Her experience suggests that she may team with Mok and Sutaria to revisit a 15-year garbage and recycling contract that has sparked residents’ ire.

Mok, a 23-year resident, also has experience with town governance; he is serving his fourth term on the Finance Committee. The founder of Mok Capital Management will help the town maintain a healthy budget that carries the rare distinction of relatively little pension liability. He emphasizes the need for more residents to create defensible spaces around their homes to reduce fire risk.

Sutaria, a well-spoken engineer and executive, is serving on the town’s emergency communications committee. He brings clear thinking and business smarts. Sutaria believes leaders need to pay more attention to the town’s narrow, winding roads, from both a fire and traffic safety perspective.

Mok, Swan and Sutaria see themselves as resident-focused and exercising good judgment – they’re against spending more than $3 million on a small town hall expansion and another $500,000 for a snack shack at Purissima Park. They see funds better spent on wildfire protection, including undergrounding utilities, and improving broadband services. All three want local control and oppose the proposed consolidation of the Los Altos Hills County Fire District into the county fire department.

We want to thank the other candidates in the race, Lisa Schmidt and Raj Reddy, for their involvement and willingness to serve. But Mok, Swan and Sutaria will get our votes.