News

What's in a name? Menlo Park City Council candidate endorsements

Endorsements reveal lines of support... or lack thereof

With about a month to go before the Nov. 6 Menlo Park City Council elections, the five candidates are hitting the campaign trail hard and taking names -- in the form of endorsements.

Proclaiming himself the "no strings attached candidate," firefighter Dave Bragg remains coy about naming his supporters, with the exception of the local and county chapters of the firefighters union. "Unfortunately my endorsements are from non-political community leaders (who) cannot list their affiliations due to how their nonprofits are set up," he said.

Mr. Bragg thought that might change after the Nov. 6 election, since after this race people will see him as a politician. "I am also confident that after I have worked with the local politicos, I will earn their respect and gain their endorsement in future races. Until then the only endorsement I am looking for are the citizens of Menlo Park."

Transportation commissioner and attorney Ray Mueller represents the opposite approach -- the more endorsements, the better, and preferably in complete sets. He's collected endorsements from the entire Transportation Commission, Planning Commission, the county Board of Supervisors, and the boards of three school districts. Everyone from Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, to the San Mateo County Labor Council to three current council members -- Rich Cline, Kirsten Keith and Peter Ohtaki -- is lending their support.

That's three more sitting council members than incumbent Kelly Fergusson can claim as she fights for a third term. Although she does have a very long list of endorsements that includes former city officials as well as the labor council and county supervisor Dave Pine, the absence of current council members stands out.

Asked about the support of those she serves with, Ms. Fergusson provided the following statement: "You can see that my endorsements include Sierra Club, Democratic Party, and Police Officers Association, in addition to Assemblymembers Gordon and Fong, as well as over 100 neighbors and local businesses, including prominent members of our venture capital community, as well as strong regional support."

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Catherine Carlton, on the other hand, does have endorsements from five of her six fellow commissioners, as well as Vice Mayor Peter Ohtaki. The Citizens for Fair and Responsible Pension Reform signed on, an endorsement she shares with Mr. Mueller.

Housing Commissioner Carolyn Clarke counts former mayors Steve Schmidt, Gail Slocum and Dee Tolles among her endorsees. Joining them are housing commissioners Sally Cadigan and Yvonne Murray and county supervisor Don Horsley. A stream of Belle Haven neighbors, as well as community leader Bishop Teman Bostic of Mt. Olive Apostolic Original Holy Church of God, also appear on her list.

A League of Women Voters forum for the five candidates will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.

Comments

Posted by game over, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Catherine Carlton and Ray Mueller have now both been endorsed by the Mayor, Vice Mayor and several former mayors of Menlo Park. Both have been endorsed by Senator Joe Simitian, and former Sheriff and current Vice President of the Board of Supervisors Don Horsley. Both have been endorsed by more that a dozen Menlo Park Commissioners.

Kelly Fergusson has been endorsed by the POA, after refusing to be interviewed during a recent criminal investigation. What a joke.

Game over!


Posted by skeptic, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm

My observation is that decent people usually get elected to council, and over time their principles erode and leave them vulnerable to corruption. ("Corruption" = heeding the wishes of big $$$ interests rather than listening to the residents, who seem to have so many problems and never offer free meals.) Our city and its people suffer for the sake of their political careers.

With Carlton and Mueller already plugged into the political framework, sounds as though they'll get up to speed in no time.


Posted by tsunamis, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 7, 2012 at 9:05 am

Skeptic, you make a poor argument. The problem with Fergusson is not that her principles have eroded over time, but that she has never been interested in simply running the city. Fergusson believes that her role of the city council is to address global warming, violence and terrorism, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis & hurricanes.

"As we segway into the holiday season, we must continue to be mindful of our blessings
in the context of a world facing great challenges. We cannot hide from the reality of global warming caused by our unsustainable use of the world's resources. We cannot hide from the reality of violence and terrorism fueled by poverty, ignorance and injustice. We cannot hide from the awesome power of mother nature and the threat of floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes that can devastate our civilized, day-to-day lives. While we can't solve all the world's problems, we can do our part, right here, and right now, to face them at a local level." -- Kelly Fergusson, December 2006


Posted by game over, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

We cannot hide from the reality of unfunded pension obligations that create a tsunami of debt for our children to deal with.


Posted by Skeptic, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 7, 2012 at 9:57 am

I was not referring to Kelly (though I think she has done an abominable job and if she spelled segue that way, that is another strike against her!) I was referring to the dubious wisdom of electing new members who are already in bed with the pols and therefore even less likely to care about lowly residents.


Posted by tsunamis, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm

If you interview a candidate for a job, and are impressed, you may give a positive referral. If you have a co-worker that is an embarrassment, you are unlikely do give a positive referral. Political endorsements are no different.

If a member of the board of directors of a company makes a statement that casts doubt as to the integrity of fellow board members, and the rest of the board must later provide testimony as part of a criminal investigation, but the board member that made the initial statement refuses to be interviewed, that board member is removed. We should be asking Rich Gordon and Dave Pine why they would ever endorse such a person.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Catherine Carlton failed to disclose her income and sources in the filing documents.

Fireman Dave failed to disclose his income from the MP fire district.

The only candidates to submit a reasonably open financial disclosure are Ray Mueller and Kelly Fergusson. Good for them. The others are hiding.


Posted by Dave Bragg, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Hi Mom(love the handle),

The forms you file for council specifically say to not list governmental income. But as a public employee my pay has been posted online many times and is available on the FD website. It lists back to 2008 w-2 earnings and have not a contract or pay increase since. $104,545. I am not hiding anything here this is all public info nor could I if I wanted to. Any other questions, I am happy to share.

To the rest of the readers,
I want to make clear my statements in the article. I have much respect for the Community leaders(political) that have come before me and are currently serving. My point is that I am one of you(a regular citizen) in the trenches everyday raising my family in this community and consider myself to be working class. I have served this community for 9+ years in many continuing capacities. A vote for me is a vote for you, I am the candidate for the people.


Posted by Candidate of the People, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Mr. Bragg, how are you different from the other candidates specifically, other than your lack of endorsements? What makes you a person of the people, compared to Carolyn Clarke, Ray Mueller, Kelly Fergusson, and Catherine Carlton? Which of them don't fit your definition of working class? Please be specific.


Posted by Dave Bragg, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Candidate of the People,(that's my title)
If my comment was offensive to you or any of other candidates that was the opposite of my intention. For the "working class" quote I was only stating what I consider myself to be. For "person of the people" I have dedicated my life to community service, that doesn't mean that the other candidates haven't done that as well.
There are 2 main things that set me apart from the other candidates.
1. My extremely diverse experience, makes me uniquely qualified. Check out my website davebragg.com or facebook page: Web Link to learn more.
2. The other, you are correct is the endorsement strategy. When they release the campaign financial reports you will see that I have been receiving plenty of support and gaining a lot of voters support. I have contacted several of the local past and present politicos to gain wisdom but because I am not on a commission they have decided to endorse those who are(all have been extremely respectful and encouraging). To say I haven't received any endorsements would be foolish, it is just not the focus of my campaign.


Posted by skeptic, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 9, 2012 at 9:40 pm

The campaign to elect Mueller and Carlton seems to be so carefully orchestrated that I have to wonder who is behind their candidacies. Without naming names, I expect both will be elected, and then our city will have to gird itself for a wave of development that will have us reeling. With four of five council members living far west of El Camino, Arrillaga and other hi-density developers will pack 'em in on our city's main thoroughfare. More traffic? More kids unable to attend neighborhood schools? Few amenities for residents east of El Camino? Not their problem.

Dave Bragg, I don't know much about you but I'm wondering if you're the only candidate who hasn't already been bought. In which case, you'll get my vote.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I happened to notice that both Rob Silano and Don Horsley endorsed 3 candidates each.

So if only 2 can be elected which 2 do they really support?


Posted by The Record, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Skeptic:

Bragg is builder/contractor who owns Thor Construction. He specializes in New Construction, Home Remodels and Commercial Interiors.

Web Link

It was reported today he has raised the most money of all candidates in the race.

Carlton was second.
Fergusson was third.
Mueller was fourth.
Clarke still hasn't filed her disclosures.

Web Link



Posted by Member, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 10, 2012 at 7:34 am

I looked up the financial disclosures. The "Candidate of the People" still doesn't understand the Form 700 financial disclosures. He does need to disclose his salary and OVERTIME on Form 700 Schedule C. He's misunderstanding schedule E (for Income from gifts and travel).

Oh well.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 10, 2012 at 7:58 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"he "Candidate of the People" still doesn't understand the Form 700 financial disclosures. He does need to disclose his salary and OVERTIME on Form 700 Schedule C."

Wrong.

Here is what the FPPC guidelines clearly state:
"You are not required to report:
Salary, reimbursement for expenses or per diem, social
security, disability, or other similar benefit payments
received by you or your spouse or registered domestic
partner from a federal, state, or local government
agency"

The MPFPD is a "local government agency".


Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 10, 2012 at 11:21 am

Carolyn Clarke, along with the other candidates, has filed her financial report:

Web Link


Posted by tsunamis, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Given his recent bankruptcy and lack of endorsement by even the San Mateo County Central Labor Council, Bragg is not the most obvious candidate to win, but he could easily win. The firefighters can show the community that they have the skills and resources to elect Bragg... even with his baggage. This unlikely victory will help then encourage "sympathetic" candidates to emerge for next years fire board race, and possibly discourage reform-minded candidates from entering that race. Bragg is not a bad guy, he's charming and has a true desire to serve the community, but without the firefighter union behind him, flexing their political muscle, he would not be viable. Bragg is viable because his interests overlap with those of the firefighters, good for him.

There is another candidate that has a true desire to serve the community, but an even bigger desire to be re-elected... simply to feel vindicated. Given her baggage, she is an unlikely victor, but she has also been fortunate to find a group that wants to flex their poltitical muscle in Menlo Park, good for her.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Mr. Bragg was running a fairly large residential remodeling company while still drawing a full time salary as a firefighter.

His offices were on El Camino next to Beltramos. A large remodel on Atherton Avenue had his sign in front.

So even with the advantage of being able to undercut other general contractors in the area with his salary from the fire district, he still managed to screw up his business enough to declare bankruptcy. Now he is on disability. Seems like he has plenty of energy to me. Maybe he should be looking for work and getting off disability rather than running for council.


Posted by Dave Bragg-Menlo Park City Council Candidate, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Observer,

I am re-posting, I think I had too many web links for you to fact check so it was removed.......

Someone has fed you a pile of bad info. Please allow me to correct your facts.

1. My Construction Biz, Build Big Inc., DBA Thor Construction has never gone Bankrupt it is actually entirely the opposite. We have nearly doubled in size and revenue every year since we opened. We had to move our office to Redwood City due to the development in progress on ECR. We are easy to find online or the bright orange vehicles driving around town.

2. I am not on disability, although I did have shoulder surgery earlier this year and was unable to work as a firefighter or a contractor. My wonderful employees at Thor handled the biz and the FD made sure that I received proper care. But I am back to work in both cases.

3. The Bankruptcy that you seem to have wrong info on, I can clarify for you. In 2006 We invested in low income military housing in Texas and got crushed. We opened Thor Construction in 2009 in an attempt to raise enough revenue to save it but it didn't happen in time. This led us to filing BK in May 2010.

If you have any actual questions about Menlo Park or have an issue that I can represent for you when elected, I would love to hear it.

Thank you, Dave


Posted by Piggy Piggy, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 16, 2012 at 12:59 pm

At the public trough....

Thanks, but no thanks.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Piggy Piggy - Since you made it an issue, where do you work and who pays your salary?


Posted by Big dipper, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Looks like Mr. Bragg will get benefits from military, the fire department and the city.
Triple-dipping?


Posted by Ray Mueller, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Neighbors,

As one of the other candidates in the race for Menlo Park City Council, I feel compelled to speak up in defense of Mr. Bragg, in light of the last comment.

Whatever benefits Mr. Bragg presently receives, or will receive, as a result of his service in Iraq in the United States Marines Corp., he has earned them.

I have a nephew who served in Iraq, and a brother who served in Afghanistan. I saw them leave their young families behind, uncertain if they would return. And 6500 men and women haven't. And many thousands more suffer terrible injuries as a result of these wars. To criticize the benefits that Mr. Bragg or any veteran is due is in my humble opinion, far out of bounds.






Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Ray - Thank you.


Piggy Piggy and Big dipper - what do you need to hide by making your comments anonymously?


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I have to agree with Ray and Peter. The man served in our military, as a VOLUNTEER. What did you do big dipper? Mr. Bragg served in combat. Did you big dipper? I'm betting hyou didn't. Mr. Bragg earned whatever he receives from the military. My guess is that it isn't much as I don't think he retired from the military.

Mr. Bragg: thank you for your service.

big dipper: you should be ashamed of yourself.


Posted by Dave Bragg- Business Youth Coach/City Council Candidate, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Ray, Peter and Menlo Voter,

Thank you for the comments. Times are emotional in a heated Presidential Election year and times are tough financially for a lot of folks. One of the many things that the I value is the freedom of speech. So Piggy Piggy and Big Dipper (creative handles, and I appreciate that) feel free to let it all out. I represented you when I served in the Marines and I will come to your aid if you dial 911 here in this community. And I am still happy to represent you in city Government. Just please let me know what issues are important to you so that your voice is heard too.


Posted by Margaret Fruth, a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Menlo Park City Council could use a CPA in its budget planning. Menlo Park City Council could use someone with experience on a City Board or Commission--experience with the ins & outs of working with staff and citizens. East Menlo Park/Belle Haven has never been represented on the Menlo Park City Council, other than a Raychem employee many years ago.

Fortunately, there is a candidate who has all of these qualifications. Please join me in supporting Carolyn Clarke for Menlo Park City Council.

Margaret Fruth

former member
Menlo Park Arts Commission
Dumbarton Citizens Advisory Panel


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