Attorney Marc Berman, a former state Assembly candidate who had spent much of the past year surveying Palo Alto's infrastructure problems, has declared his intention to run for a City Council seat in November.
In entering the race for a council seat, Berman has joined former Palo Alto Mayor Liz Kniss in what could turn out to be a crowded race. Kniss, who is nearing the end of her final term on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, hopes to return to her old seat on the council.
Though Berman doesn't have Kniss' name recognition, he is hardly a stranger to city officials and community volunteers. Last year, he took part on the Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission, a 17-member citizen group that surveyed the city's infrastructure needs and issued recommendations for funding the needed repairs. He has also served on the campaign committee for Measure A, the school district's parcel-tax proposal that passed in 2010 with the support of 79 percent of the voters.
This won't be Berman's first bid for a political office. He had also considered a run for the state Assembly in 2010 but bowed out of the race, which was ultimately won by Rich Gordon. According to his campaign website, Berman has already earned Gordon's support. Berman noted on his site that Gordon and Councilwoman Nancy Shepherd would serve as honorary co-chairs of his campaign.
Berman currently works as an attorney at the Los Angeles-based firm Merino, Yebro, LLP. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and has a law degree from University of Southern California.
On his campaign website, Berman cites Palo Alto's aged infrastructure and financial stability as key causes for concern.
"Our infrastructure is incredibly old and outdated, with the vast majority of Palo Alto structures built in the 1950s and 60s," Berman wrote. "Our fiscal stability is in trouble, with tens of millions of dollars in debt forecast over the next decade.
"I believe that the City Council plays a vital role in the strength of our town and the quality of life of Palo Altans. The council will be making decisions in the next four years -- regarding infrastructure, the Cubberley Community Center, the budget, business development and more -- that will have an enormous impact on the city for decades."
Berman is seeking a seat on the nine-member council that will have four seats up for grabs at the end of this year. Mayor Yiaway Yeh and Councilmen Pat Burt, Sid Espinosa and Greg Schmid are all concluding their first terms on the council and are eligible to run again.
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