Palo Alto residents looking to jump into the City Council and school board races can start picking up their nomination papers today, as the filing period officially gets under way.
The candidate filing period for the Nov. 4 election is set to conclude at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8. In races where an incumbent did not file the election documents, the period is extended until Wednesday, Aug. 13.
The election season will be particularly busy in Palo Alto this fall, with five council seats up for grab and two ballot measures. So far, only two incumbents Mayor Nancy Shepherd and Councilman Greg Scharff said they will seek a second term. Councilwoman Karen Holman has yet to declare her intention, while Councilwoman Gail Price has opted not to seek a fresh term and Councilman Larry Klein will be termed out.
In addition to the council race, voters will be asked to consider an increase in the city's hotel-tax rate (which would be increased from 12 percent to 14 percent) and a City Charter amendment that would decrease the number of council seats from nine to seven. If approved, the shift to a smaller council would take effect in 2018.
The Palo Alto school board will have two open seats, with President Barb Mitchell and Dana Tom both electing not to seek another term. So far, four candidates have declared their intention to run: Catherine Crystal Foster, Ken Dauber, Terry Godfrey and Gina Dalma.