The relatively small community of East Palo Alto is frequently a hotbed of political activity in which every elected office from Sanitary District to City Council always attracts numerous candidates. The City Council election this fall is certainly no exception and features incumbents, political veterans and perhaps a couple of newcomers. Three council seats are up for election and only two incumbents are seeking a return with current Council member Carlos Romero calling it quits after a single term who ran last spring San Mateo County District 4 Supervisor.
Returning incumbents included current Mayor Laura Martinez – also currently the youngest Mayor in San Mateo County at 27 – who is seeking her second term and political veteran A. Peter Evans who is seeking his third term on council. Two Planning Commissioners are also seeking a seat on the council. Commissioner Bernardo Huerta is making his third attempt at running for council having come up short in both 2006 and 2008. Fellow Planning Commissioner Jorge Prado is also making a run as a new entrant in the rough and tumble of East Palo Alto politics. Another newbie entering the scene is Lisa Yarbrough-Gauthier, an executive assistant at a venture capital fund.
Two veterans of East Palo Alto politics are also making a bid. Former Councilmember, and Mayor, Donna Rutherford is seeking a comeback after serving two terms on the council from 2000-2008. Rutherford has remained active in the community though and is current the City’s representative on the Mosquito Abatement and Vector Control District, an appointed position overseeing a special countywide district. Lastly, another veteran of local East Palo Alto politics Larry Moody is seeking one of the three seats. For Moody, a council seat will be a trifecta as he has previously served on the Ravenswood City School District Board for one term beginning in 2006 and previously was elected to the East Palo Alto Sanitary District Board in 2003. Last year, Moody ran unsuccessfully for the Sequoia Union High School District Board of Trustees making this Moody’s fourth election in 10 years.
East Palo Alto never has any shortage of candidates and this year the election will be no exception. Incumbents will maintain an advantage and with Rutherford in the mix it may be a high hurdle for newcomers to break in.
East Palo Alto for the last four years had majority Latino representation on their City Council. Who knows that after the election EPA may still remain strong hold Latino Council representation in San Mateo County. If this is the case once again EPA may remain only city in San Mateo County with majority of a Latino City Council.
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