David Woods, East Palo Alto's vice mayor, is resigning from the City Council, he said in an email to fellow council members on Tuesday.
Woods, 47, has served on the council since 2002, and his current term expires in November 2014.
Woods sent an email to East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica on Monday informing him of his intention to resign, Abrica said. On Tuesday Woods sent a similar email to other council members saying he was resigning for personal and health reasons.
Abrica has not yet heard about when Woods will officially resign. The council will work together well even though Woods is leaving, Abrica said. He praised Woods for his abilities on the council and willingness to work together even when they had differing views.
The council could wait until a regular election or have a special election, but Abrica said they were unlikely to decide until Woods sets a timeline for his departure.
As past mayor, Woods oversaw some of East Palo Alto's signature issues and emergencies, including a showdown with Page Mill Properties over the city's rent-stabilization ordinance and steep rent increases at 1,800 apartments, the 2010 plane crash and fire in an East Palo Alto neighborhood, the closure of longtime polluter Romic Environmental Technologies, the rollback of a parcel tax and the establishment of Cooley Landing Park. He spearheaded a 2009 gun-buyback program and worked to change the culture of violence that had overtaken the city.
Woods was considered by many to be among the most effective and level-headed leaders on the city's council, which in past years was oftentimes tumultuous. And he was elected unanimously as mayor in 2004. But his political life was marred by a September 2004 conviction for domestic violence for striking his wife, which resulted in a 45-day jail sentence.
He ran for a seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in 2012, but he was disqualified after two bounced checks caused him to not meet the filing-fee requirements in time for the election.
Woods did not return requests for comment.