Menlo election: Carlton pulls papers (updated)

Parks and Rec commissioner prepares to run for council

As the deadline to file draws near, another candidate seems ready to jump into the Menlo Park City Council race. Catherine Carlton, currently serving as vice chair on the Parks and Recreation Commission, pulled papers on Thursday (Aug. 2), according to the city clerk's office.

Ms. Carlton's background includes an MBA with international business management experience.

"As a businesswoman, I started and managed successful companies, balanced a budget, created jobs, met a payroll, paid taxes, and understand employee issues," she said. "I offer voters both my financial management and business skills, and my desire to work collaboratively to bring the highest quality services for the best value to Menlo Park residents."

She said she's running because she's passionate about helping Menlo Park be a vibrant, outstanding community with a fiscally responsible council. "As a mother, I care that these valuable community assets, which belong to all Menlo Park residents, are here for children to enjoy."

Her community involvement includes volunteering with the Junior League and the Sharon Heights Homeowners Association, in addition to serving on the city commission, which she was appointed to in 2010. Ms. Carlton said she also volunteers with programs such as HIP Housing, Vista Center for the Blind and the Boys and Girls Club.

She joins five other likely candidates: incumbents Kelly Fergusson and Andy Cohen; firefighter Dave Bragg; Housing Commissioner Carolyn Clarke; and Transportation Commissioner Ray Mueller.

"Catherine has many strengths, and I am really excited about all the perspectives and the experience base of the candidates in this field, and the conversation that will occur during this election as a result," Mr. Mueller said.

She will have a ways to go to catch up with Mr. Mueller's endorsements, as he seems to announce a new supporter almost on a daily basis. His list now includes the entire county Board of Supervisors; all seven Menlo Park planning commissioners; Mayor Kirsten Keith; Councilman Rich Cline; and Assemblyman Jerry Hill.

Meanwhile Mr. Bragg's campaign had a slight setback as news of a bankruptcy filing in 2010 surfaced. He said his second job running Thor Construction came about as an attempt to recoup investment losses in 2008.

"Unfortunately for our personal finances it was too little too late and we lost our home and several rental properties," he said. By 2010 the family's assets trailed their debt by $800,000, and they're still working to pay the remaining balance. They sold their Menlo Park home and rented a house four doors down in the same neighborhood.

"This whole experience has been very humbling for us and I get a daily reminder driving by our old house," Mr. Bragg said, noting that he's become a much more cautious investor as a result. "I cannot express enough about how much more I learned when we lost everything than when we were making it. This experience has been extremely educational and an expensive one at that."

The filing period remains open until Aug. 10, with a five-day extension if one of the incumbents decides not to run.


Like this comment
Posted by Frugal
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Is the Almanac operating as a publicist for Mr. Bragg? Today the Almanac bragged about his list of supporters. Earlier they were telling us where we could meet him to have coffee.

Want to put money on who the paper endorses?

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Posted by Civil
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Frugal, the campaign you are referring to is obviously very effective, otherwise you would not feel obligated to comment. You are encouraged to vet the candidates, the Almanac provides this forum for you to do so. In Menlo Park, we are fortunate to have strong candidates such as Catherine Carlton (and others) that are willing to participate in the process.

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Posted by old timers
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Sandy Brundage's characterization of Bragg's campaign having had a "slight" setback due to his bankruptcy filing is really humorous.

How many voters in Menlo Park are going to vote for a candidate who can't run his own fiscal affairs, much less have input on the City's

Essentially his campaign is over... period.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2012 at 11:45 pm

I have to chuckle because this article reminded me of Amy Poehler's show, "Parks and Rec". Am I the only one?

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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 7, 2012 at 4:47 pm

It's unfortunate that Mr. Bragg's "setback" had to be publicized, but it confirmed my suspicions as to his potential debt....He has a big spending problem, as evident from all of his "toys", cars, boats, expensive marketing gimmicks, etc. I wouldn't trust him making financial decisions for my town, as oldtimer as commented.

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Posted by bankruptcy
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2012 at 7:01 pm

There are plenty of Stanford MBAs that lost their shirt in the recent real estate downturn, but none of them are running for Menlo Park City Council, in this election. Mr. Bragg is not the first Menlo Park candidate to have declared bankruptcy, but the voters have been known to reject such candidates, just look at what happened to Christina Angell-Atchison and Chuck Bernstein.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm

People need to realize that many people that are now in financial trouble were spending within their means before the economy tanked. The income that they were dependent upon suddenly went away, through no fault of their own, and that which they could previously afford, they could no longer. It doesn't necessarily mean they were irresponsible in their financials. It means the economy tanked.

This economy has affected far more MBA's and other "responsible" folks than most of us will ever know. Some were able to avoid bankruptcy, others were not. The only ones we know about are the ones that couldn't avoid bankruptcy. A bankruptcy that often was no fault of their own, but the results of a major recession. Some would even call it a "depression." So before you are all too quick to jump on the "Dave Bragg was irresponsible" bandwagon, I suggest you take a deeper look at things, then look in the mirror. There but for the grace of god could have gone YOU.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2012 at 10:11 pm

I'd be concerned about his bankruptcy & his busy schedule. It's not about blaming him, it's about individual voters deciding what candidate they think will do the best job. That decision will be reached by factoring in information that you think may add or detract from their ability to do a good job. For some, this means a impeccable finances, for others it may mean wisely weathering life's storms even if one pays a high price for that. Luckily, Bragg's young enough that he can run again if he doesn't win this year.

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Posted by Dave Bragg- Business Owner/City Council Candidate
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm

To all readers and posters on this thread about Ms.Carlton's pulling papers. It is obvious that a handful of you may be interested in more information about my investment in affordable housing for military personal in Texas that pushed me into bankruptcy. I would love to have the opportunity to share my experience with everyone that really cares to know, I would like to meet with you this Friday (8/10) at 10am, Location TBD.
I would also love to discuss the issues the are Directly effecting Menlo Park.

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Posted by Accountant
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 9, 2012 at 11:29 am

What's Bragg's educational background? Does he have a college degree? Where? When?

I'd like to see who endorses Mr. Bragg. Not pension-reformers.

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Posted by linkedin
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 10, 2012 at 1:44 am

Education (from linkedin: Web Link):
* College of San Mateo: Fire Science, 1998 – 2000
* Santa Barbara City College: Health Sciences, 1995 – 1997

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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