Longtime Atherton resident Greg Conlon is one of the four candidates running for three open seats on the City Council on Nov. 8.
Conlon, who has lived in Atherton since the 1970s and has run for council in the past, was the last candidate to file nomination papers for the race, making it a contested election. He faces off against incumbents Rick DeGolia and Bill Widmer, along with newcomer Stacy Miles Holland, who is chair of the Environmental Programs Committee. The filing period closed on Aug. 17.
Conlon, a CPA and member of the town's Rail Committee, most recently applied for an open seat on the council in fall of 2021. He withdrew his application before the meeting to appoint the new member. He ran for state insurance commissioner in June.
Conlon's primary reason for seeking a council seat is to help tackle the town's state-mandated housing element. He said his experience overseeing an 85-unit senior housing facility through the San Francisco nonprofit Pineview Housing will help him address the housing the town must plan for over the next eight years.
"I think this whole housing issue is so significant," he said. "If I could get it resolved in a way the community could support it, it could be a great accomplishment."
The town submitted its draft housing element in early August and should expect comments back from the state by early November. The plan the town devised relied heavily on accessory dwelling units and lot splits. He, like town officials themselves have said, doesn't think the draft plan will be approved by the state.
"I think what they filed was the only thing they could do after they revised it," he said. "What they wound up with under the current law was the only choice they could make."
Conlon said he would focus on building housing close to El Camino Real and from Lloyden Park up to Fifth Avenue. He said there is potential for San Mateo County to annex some land in town and build low-cost housing. He could also see a senior facility being built around the civic center.
"I'm not sure it would be popular, but it might be better than some of the other alternatives," he said. "I don't think we have any other choice."
He said he also is a supporter of contested elections -- the more people run, the more likely it is that you can get the best candidate.
"The problem is you can't get people to run," he said.
As an Atherton Rail Committee member, Conlon is helping with efforts to establish a quiet zone along Watkins Avenue, which Caltrain has agreed to install by the end of 2023. He expects high speed rail to be up and running on the Peninsula in the next eight years.
Previously, he served on the California Transportation Commission. He also served for six years on the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
He previously was a member of the town's Audit and the Finance Committee.
Visit Conlon's website here.