About Ray

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my campaign and my background. I’m a California native and Bay Area resident of over 25 years. I’m a third term Menlo Park City Councilmember, elected city wide in 2012 and 2016. I have served as Mayor twice. In fact, it was my honor to serve as Menlo Park’s last city-wide elected Councilmember Mayor, in 2019. I ran unopposed in the first District 5, City Council election in 2020. Prior to my service on the Menlo Park City Council, I served as Chair of the Menlo Park Transportation Commission.

Professionally, I work in-house as an attorney in the Emergency Response and Services sector. As a younger man, I served as Chief of Staff to Santa Clara County Supervisor and former State Senator S. Joseph Simitian. My career includes practicing law both in-house and as a private litigator.

My volunteer service includes involvement in the San Mateo County chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and I’m proud to have served on the board of directors of LifeMoves, a leading provider of shelter/housing and supportive services across Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula.

I attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate and received my Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. While studying in law school, I interned at the Public Law Research Institute in San Francisco, and at the California Office of Legislative Counsel in Sacramento. Additionally, I hold a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University’s online platform, eCornell.

My wife, Kristen Shima, and I are high school sweethearts. Kristen is a dedicated school Principal in Portola Valley, honored in 2014 by the Association of California School Administrators, as “School Administrator of the Year” for San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.

Kristen and I are the proud parents of Max, 16 and Elle, 12, both of whom attend local public schools. Their generation faces new sets of challenges which drive my desire to make an impact at the county level; working toward policies that will ensure their future.

I hope you’ll join me!

Equity Advisory Committee

Equity and diversity are the cornerstone of good public policy. At this time in our history, we must address these issues head on and be willing to have open dialogue within our communities. As such, I am grateful to the  following community leaders who support of my efforts in the area of social equity:

Alicia Aguirre – Redwood City Councilmember and Former Mayor
Belinda Arriaga – Executive Director, ALAS
Richa Awasti – Foster City Vice Mayor
Drew Combs – Menlo Park Mayor
Lisa Gauthier – East Palo Alto City Councilmember and Former Mayor
Victoria Sanchez de Alba – San Mateo County Healthcare for the Homeless/Farmworker

Experience Matters

I was first elected to the Menlo Park City Council in 2012. I have served two terms as Mayor and have worked to ensure very tangible results for our community and the region. During my tenure, I have also been able to work on projects which have had an impact county-wide. I hope to continue to do impactful work on behalf of San Mateo County District 3; work which will make a difference to our quality of life, our safety, our economy, our environment and our future.

Building Fiscal Stability

  • Balanced the city budget every year for eight years.
  • Maintained Menlo Park’s AAA bond rating every year while in office.
  • Implemented technology for increased city budgeting transparency.
  • Saved taxpayers millions of dollars long term through the adoption of City Council policies to:
    1. set aside a percentage of every fiscal year end budget surplus to pay down city retiree health obligations;
    2. pay down city employee pension obligations faster than required;
    3. refund two city general obligation bonds as soon as allowed. This action results in lower debt service costs, saving over $2.5 million in net present value for the city’s property taxpayers over the next 20 years.
  • Implemented online billing system to make it easier for residents to conduct transactions.

    Strengthening our Economy

    • Approved transformative transit oriented developments along the El Camino corridor finally eliminating the blight from abandoned empty car lots that plagued the city for over a decade.
    • When the Guild movie theater was going out of business, personally recruited a business group to take over the facility and convert it to a multi-use live entertainment venue.
    • Initiated the outdoor dining parklet program to the city as Mayor, in 2014.
    • Advocated for outdoor dining space during the pandemic. implemented a temporary outdoor use permit program with expedited permit review and closed some downtown streets.
    • Donated $70,000 to the San Mateo Strong to assist small businesses in Menlo Park affected by the pandemic.
    • Funded city city-run child care facilities every year in office. Pushed city to offer collaboration to San Mateo County to use city child care Facilities for teacher training during the pandemic, to bring equity to occupational opportunity.

      Public Safety

      • Developed privacy policies related to the implementation of police body cameras and license plate readers.
      • Funded the automation and publishing of the Police Department’s three most viewed datasets and made available on publicly accessible GIS open data portals. The data sets include statistics on crime, stops (vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian), traffic crashes and department demographics.
      • Activated text to 911 capability.
      • Approved the city’s updated local hazard mitigation plan.
      • As Menlo Park Mayor, reduced crime by 11% in 2014.

      AFFORDABLE Housing

      • Adopted two separate housing element plans (2007-2014; 2014-2023) during tenure in office.
      • Worked with Facebook to add housing to address jobs housing balance on  proposed campus expansion.
      • Set aside housing units with rental subsidy for teachers and other community-servicing professionals in housing development approvals.
      • During the pandemic, made $100,000 available in grants for emergency rental housing assistance.
      • Served for six years as board Member for LifeMoves, one of the largest homeless services providers in the Silicon Valley.
      • Appointed and served on the State of California Tax Credit Allocation Committee by the Speaker of the California State Assembly, to represent California cities. The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC) administers the federal and state low-income housing tax credit programs.


      • Developed and Approved the citywide Transportation Master Plan.
      • Approved designs for a Bike/Pedestrian CalTrain under-crossing and negotiated a contribution from Stanford University to fund the construction.
      • As a member of the city Rail Committee, developed the design of Caltrain grade separations at multiple intersections.
      • Championed safe routes to schools improvements including the budgeting of millions of dollars for sidewalks and bike lane design and implementation.
      • Advocated and worked to deliver a public/private partnership for Dumbarton Rail.
      • Funded numerous street resurfacing and sidewalk trip hazard removal projects.
      • Advocated for and approved projects to mitigate cut-through traffic in residential neighborhoods.
      • Approved the construction of a public pedestrian bridge over Bayfront Expressway connecting to the Bay Trail.

      Supporting our Youth

      • Created the Menlo Park Youth Advisory Commission as Mayor in 2019.
      • Negotiated contributions to Menlo Park City School District to offset lack or property tax increment related to student increase created by Stanford housing development.
      • Safely reactivated city childcare centers and transformed after-school programs into learning pods for distance learning during the pandemic.
      • Launched the after school homework center at the Belle Haven Branch Library, leveraging skilled community volunteers to provide 1:1 and small-group support to Menlo Park youth.
      • Taught leadership classes at the Menlo Park Boys and Girls Club
      • Hosted numerous school groups at city hall for civics teaching days.

      Supporting our Libraries and Community Facilities

      • Launched program to incentivize Menlo Park residents to install and curate Little Free Libraries on their residential properties.
      • Implemented Link+ that provides Menlo Park residents access to 11 million library books and media items from over 70 public and academic libraries across California and Nevada.
      • Expanded non-English language library collections including Mandarin and Spanish juvenile collections.
      • Expanded Belle Haven Branch Library operating hours.
      • As Mayor in 2019, brought forward a public private partnership with investment from Facebook and the city to build a new library, multi use community center, and aquatic facility with all ability inclusive pool, in the Belle Haven neighborhood.
      • During the pandemic, faced with library closures, moved to a books-by-mail model, in addition to opening up curb-side pickup in order for residents to have access to books and entertainment.
      • During the pandemic, converted the senior center meal program to home delivery, and added wellness check phone calls, and added online activities.

      Climate Policy

      • Former Peninsula Clean Energy board member
      • Adopted the city’s first CO2 reduction target in 2013.
      • Approved solar power installations for city hall, Arrillaga Gymnastic Center
      • Gymnasium, Onetta Harris Center and the city’s corporation yard.
      • Funded energy retrofits, which have both environmental benefits and cost savings,in city facilities.
      • Funded the transition to LED streetlights in Menlo Park.
      • In 2014, as Mayor, was instrumental in the formation of Menlo Spark, a nonprofit working regionally to promote Climate Action Policy.
      • In 2016, voted to enroll all city facilities in ECO 100 (100% renewable electricity) through Peninsula Clean Energy, including city buildings, street lights and electric vehicle charging stations.
      • In 2020, adopted the city’s first Climate Action Plan.

      Investing in our Parks; Protecting our Natural Resources

      • Updated the city’s Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan.
      • Approved the Bedwell Bayfront Park Master Plan.
      • Opened the redesigned inclusive “all abilities” playground at Nealon Park
      • Banned the use of herbicides containing toxic chemicals in city parks, protecting all of the children who play there.
      • Installed trash capture devices on storm water pipes to  prevent trash from getting into the pipes and from flowing into the San Francisco Bay.
      • Voted for the development of a zero waste plan to help guide the community in diverting its waste from landfill disposal, effectively managing resources to their highest and best use while reducing waste at the source.
      • Negotiated the planting of 76 new trees in the community with a focus on the Belle Haven neighborhood, to mitigate the loss of seven redwood trees.
      • Surfrider Blue Water Task Force Member
      • Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency Director

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