Yiaway Yeh, who this year became the second-youngest mayor in Palo Alto's history, announced Tuesday that he will not seek a second term on the City Council.
Yeh, a Gunn High School graduate who in his five years at the dais emerged as the council's leading expert on energy issues, put his own stamp on the largely ceremonial mayoral position this year by launching a series of "Mayor's Challenge" competitions geared toward bringing neighborhoods together. Yeh, who previously worked as assistant city auditor for the City of Oakland, has also been a strong supporter of the city's recent efforts to engage local youth and a leading proponent of the city's aggressive green-energy programs.
"It has been an absolute privilege to serve the Palo Alto community and I look forward to continuing work with council colleagues and the community as I complete my term as Mayor this year," Yeh said in a statement.
With his announcement, Yeh became the second current councilman to declare his intention not to seek another four-year term. His friend and mayoral predecessor, Sid Espinosa, said last week he would not seek a new term.
The other two council members up for re-election, Pat Burt and Greg Schmid, both said they plan to seek fresh terms in November. Former Mayor Liz Kniss, whose term on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors is about to expire, is looking to return to the City Council. Marc Berman, a local attorney who served on the city's Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Task Force, is also running for a council seat.
In his statement, Yeh included a list of issues that the city needs to focus on in the coming months. These include repairing the city's infrastructure, holding "constructive stakeholder dialogues" on tackling the city's long-term financial liabilities, deepening the city's engagement with the innovation community, supporting the city's "Friends" groups and pursuing a carbon-neutral electric portfolio.
Yeh, who is the first Chinese American mayor in Palo Alto's history, called his period of service as a mayor and councilman "an adventure and honor."
"My middle school and high school teachers and key nonprofits in Palo Alto all helped to instill an understanding that we are all fortunate here in Palo Alto and that public service is a responsibility," Yeh said. "My family believed in Palo Alto by moving here and then encouraged and supported this wonderful way to engage with my community."