Portola Valley Town Council
Rural Values with a Conscience
Thank you supporters for all your hard work! We did it!
Running for the Portola Valley Town Council has been a humbling and educational experience. I am grateful for the engagement of each of the candidates and to the serving Council who has given so much time and talent to the well-being of the Town. Residents can expect honesty, transparency and inclusion from me. I will do my best in this leadership role and act with courtesy and curiosity. If I fail on any issues, I want to be held accountable and I will do my best to do better on the next try. In exchange, I ask my fellow residents to stay engaged! We need everyone’s expertise, organizational time and talent to sustain and further our unique role in the Bay Area.
Portola Valley is uniquely poised between pristine wilderness and a hub of human innovation.
Mary Hufty has decades of experience working to balance progressive values in Portola Valley with conservation of irreplaceable natural and rural environments. She has been a Portola Valley resident for 34 years, where she has raised two sons while practicing medicine in Palo Alto. Among other qualifications she brings to bear 40 years of experience overseeing fire research and management as a director of Archbold Biological Station.
Mary and her husband “walk the talk” with regards to Portola Valley’s home hardening ordinance, completely replacing their roof with fire resistant materials and completely adding new Hardie siding to their entire home.
What I Intend To Do
If elected, I will:
- Recognize the Town’s watershed moment when facing our need for a mixed priced housing stock…Assure adequate infrastructure for residents present and future… Junior ADU’s and ADU’s must be set back safely for fire defense in our fire-prone community.
- Embrace our community’s strengths following our solid General Plan for a small rural community.
- Encourage fiscal integrity and transparency with an annual audit, overseen by an Audit Committee separate from the Finance Committee and Town staff, in order to insure independent oversight.
- Ensure that safety is prioritized over development… that fire, earthquake, and flood resilience receives comprehensive attention with completed emergency evacuation exercises and triage rehearsals.
- Complete an Evacuation Plan and implement an Evacuation Program before the next fire season.
- Acknowledge the Moritz map as the best available fire hazard assessment of Portola Valley that we have available at this time.
- Correct the draft Safety and Housing Elements so our policies are based on our best data — the Moritz map — as they have been since 2010.
- Update the General Plan when better fire hazard assessments become available.
- Embrace the quiet and the dark night skies that have remained in Portola Valley thanks to the careful crafting of our building guidelines… Renew our commitment to the environment and the role that animals and plants play in our health.
- Avoid the excessive use of outside consultants that are not attuned to Portola Valley’s assets.
- Support our astounding system of trail and conservation easements which is both aesthetic and democratic…and support our land’s wildlife green connections into surrounding open space.
- Recognize and connect our trail system to the larger trail systems in the Bay Area and beyond.
- Achieve an equitable and consistent housing plan with adequate town-based building inspection and safety oversight… administered efficiently, consistently and even-handedly to large and small property owners alike, under the guidance of the Town General Plan.
- Foster a respect for the Home Owners Associations within our town.
- Respect and strengthen the character of a unique engaged, rural community, imperiled by climate change and fire risk, situated on the cutting edge of a powerful, rapidly growing academic and industrial complex.
- Recognize the positive effects we can have on climate change by protecting our watersheds and wetlands, maintaining our open spaces, and engaging the community in environmental science to lead the Bay area towards a more verdant future.
- Work quickly towards carbon neutrality
- Encourage and respect the independence of Town Committees to bring issues and solutions to the Council’s attention.
- Town Volunteerism
- Mary in the News
- Candidate Statement and Positions and Voter Call to Action
Embodying the best of a Portola Valley Volunteer
Committee Member – Trails and Paths Committee (1995 – 2010): Leader in establishing Blue Oaks Trail system working closely with home developers. Leader in establishing Joan Targ Trail and its connectors. Established multi-use criteria, designations, and signage for PV Trail system.
Committee Member – Conservation Committee (1986 – 1990)
Westridge Architectural Supervising Committee (Board Member Jan 2021 to present; 1987 – 1992). Mary supports the Town working closely with all of our Homeowner Associations and other loose local groups to better the entire community.
Pandemic Pony Club (2020 – 2022): At the most frightening height of the Pandemic, Mary took note of children and their parents who were trapped at home without the support of friends, employees or schools. Single moms were particularly isolated. She realized one sport was naturally socially distanced: horse back riding. Icelandic horses are small, safe, smooth and kind. Mary’s three Icelandics and her barn became the source of friendship and sharing for these mothers and their children. At the vulnerable age for independence and competence (7-11 years old), the students began to understand another species and the physical need they have for space and peace. The group has moved beyond Mary’s ponies and are now trying out all aspects of equestrian sports: pentathalon, three day, vaulting, exploring with friends on our trails, and showing. This summer (2022) the group traveled to Iceland to explore another culture and how it cares for its animals.
Trail Philanthropist (mid 80’s to present): Mary and her husband Daniel, enjoy caring for and monitoring Pea Picker Trail, which runs completely along their property in Portola Valley to Woodside. The couple generously open the trail to the public. Pea Picker was named for a former owner of the land, Tennessee Ernie Ford, who made the design of the trail possible. As Mary often shares, “he embodied the spirited and musical legacy typical of Portola Valley.”
Making a difference
Founder – Portola Valley Neighbors United (Jan 2020 – Present) as of 8/5/22 Mary suspended her activities as a member of the Board during her campaign and would continue to do so if elected in November.
- Created to inform residents of the Woodside Fire Department’s concerns about the existential risk of fire and evacuation that development along the Alpine Scenic Corridor will create.
- Currently providing research and educational information to over 600 subscribers on a bi-weekly basis.
Member Board Of Directors – Organization of the Biological Field Stations (Jan 2014 – Present)
- Act as organization historian as we celebrate 50 years of service to the science community. Member of organization for 45+ years.
- Recipient of the first Local Hero Award – recognized for instilling enduring responsibility for organization field stations.
A Founding Director and Past Chairman of the Board of Trustees – Archbold Biological Station (1977 – Present)
- Current member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors
Advisory Committee Member – Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) (2005 – 2010)
Executive Board Member – Equestrian Trails Advocacy Committee (2003 – Present)
Board Member – Bay Area Barns and Trails (2018 – Present)
Making a living
Family Physician – Palo Alto Medical Foundation (1987 – 2018)
- Creator of the PAMF and Sutter Health’s Preventative Healthcare Guidelines. Migrated the paper-based medical record chart system to the electronic healthcare record system.
- Founded the Environmental Impact Committee for PAMF.
Mary in the News
What People Are Saying
A real advocate for wildfire resiliency…Mary wants to see real progress in the Town’s fire prevention measures and is ready to roll up her sleeves and work with the fire department to initiate new fuel reduction projects throughout PV and tackle perfecting a community wildfire evacuation plan. She would make an effective Council person.
– Retired Woodside Fire Marshal, Denise Enea
In 1964, after nine years of intense study and discussion, the residents of this valley voted to incorporate, allowing them to make their own local decisions that maintained respect for the environment and for the rural ambiance. Now that self-rule is being tested. It is up to us, with leadership from the council, to come together to form plans that allow for meeting the challenges of modern problems without losing that prized legacy. Mary Hufty’s voice on the council would be important to those discussions.
– Nancy Lund, Town Historian
My Dad (Bill Lane) would be so proud of Mary for rising to the challenges of these times with a good heart, clear mind and a deep love for what makes Portola Valley unique.
– Brenda Lane Munks
I enthusiastically endorse Mary for a seat on our Town Council. Mary is a consensus builder with a deep understanding of the issues facing our community. I respect Mary’s appreciation of our environment and her commitment to addressing the needs of all community members including those without a voice. It has been a delight to work with Mary on our trail system and I believe our community will benefit from her years of experience working with various agencies and community members to build and maintain connections to our environment and to each other.
– Gary Hanning, Chair, Trails and Paths Committee / Trustee, Portola Valley School District
Mary Hufty has been a consistent voice for nature and open space in Portola Valley. She will work to maintain our natural beauty and parks while addressing the need of its citizens.
– Susan Ford Dorsey
Mary is acutely aware of the position of this town and its rural tradition of open space, now huddled up against the booming Silicon Valley. She understands the needs of this community and indeed of the whole Bay Area including housing, transport, and quality of life on the San Francisco Peninsula.
– Ward Paine, Co-founder and Board Member at POST (The Peninsula Open Space Trust has conserved 64,000 acres in the San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties)
Mary is passionate about providing a healthy natural environment for the benefit of people and wildlife in our region and particularly in Portola Valley. Her intimate knowledge of our local environmental issues and her willingness to take action is what we need now more than ever.
– Curt Riffle, Board Vice-President, Mid-Peninsula Open Space District
Mary Hufty is a superb candidate for the Portola Valley Town Council. She cherishes all the values and priorities that make Portola Valley truly unique among mid-Peninsula towns. Mary is informed, capable, and effective. She will work diligently for our residents to make the Portola Valley of the future consistent with the place envisioned when our Town was founded. I hope she receives widespread support and is elected.
– George Parker, Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, Emeritus, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
There is no one better qualified to serve as a positive, inclusive, and collective voice for Portola Valley than Dr. Mary Hufty. Her extensive knowledge of the town’s green spaces, effective fire mitigation, and daily interactions with a diverse swath of community members make her an exemplary candidate. Additionally, Dr. Hufty’s contributions to our trail system, our wildlife conservation efforts, and preservation of rural character will be felt for generations to come.
– Rebecca Shostak
Mary is a true team player – when working on an issue, she listens, she researches, she decides and most of all she cares. Mary’s lifelong commitment of service as a physician, mother, committee member and so much more – I am proud to call her my friend.
– Rita Comes Whitney
Mary understands the needs of local businesses. People like me who work in Portola Valley but cannot afford to live here need alternatives for housing that are subsidized in some way. I believe that Mary will research opportunities and do her best to overcome the obstacles to making them available. Vote for Mary!
– Halima Sabrane, Local Business Owner within the Antonio Cremona Salon
Mary has dedicated her life to conservation and community initiatives, and is passionate about the town that we all love.
She will do her best to serve the current and future residents of Portola Valley, and we wholeheartedly support Mary for Town Council!
– Jane Daniels and David Pejcha
Mary combines outstanding credentials with a track record of highly effective community advocacy. She is a leader who brings a deep understanding of the town’s history and what makes our unique community a very special place to live.
– Brian Dombkowski, Former Vice Mayor of Woodside
A Partial List of Mary’s Supporters
Mary Des Jardins
Susan Ford Dorsey
Jane Daniels Pejcha
Peninsula Dog PAC
Please leave your comments, questions, or endorsements!
Reach out by email:
maryhufty at gmail dot com
or with our contact form
or call / text: 650-400-1424.
Mary hates waste…note that her signs are recycled, reused, and she provides full service delivery, installation, and removal. If you find a sign that is misplaced or want one removed please text 650-400-1424.