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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Town of Portola ValleyCandidate for City Council

Photo of Jeff Aalfs

Jeff Aalfs

2,055 votes (39.74%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Continue our efforts to ensure and enhance public safety from fire, earthquakes, landslides, and flooding.
  • Balance our housing and environmental obligations with public safety and our unique rural setting.
  • Continue my work protecting our environment, particularly from climate change.



Profession:Energy and Green Building Consultant
Energy and Green Building Consultant, ArcturusHD, LLC (self) (2013–current)
Council Member, Town of Portola Valley — Elected position (2011–current)
Chairman, Board of Directors, Peninsula Clean Energy — Appointed position (2016–current)
Commissioner, Architecture and Site Control Commission, Town of Portola Valley — Appointed position (2008–2011)


Harvard University Ph.D., Genetics: Enzymology of DNA metabolism (2001)
UCLA B.S., Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology (1991)


My wife and I moved to Portola Valley in 2006. Since then, we've welcomed two children: Naomi (age 13) and Kai (age 10), who have gone through the PVSD schools. My wife Sally now teaches math at Woodside Priory School, where Naomi is a student; Kai is a fifth-grader at Corte Madera School.

I first volunteered for the Town in late 2008, as a member of the Architecture and Site Control Commission (ASCC), where I reviewed building projects (new homes and major remodels mostly) for their adherence to our design guidelines and their fit with their surroundings. In 2011, I first ran for the Council and was unopposed. I was re-elected, unopposed, in 2015. As a Council Member, I have overseen all of our policy work. We have maintained balanced budgets, a lean staff, well-maintained roads, and a rigorous but service oriented planning department. We work continually on public safety with our partners at Woodside Fire and the Sheriff's Office; we also meet our regional obligations on housing and other infrastructure in close cooperation with our local stakeholders, particularly our safety authorities. 

In my day job, I work with architects and builders to ensure that their projects meet--and often exceed-- the California Energy and Green Building Codes. I feel that energy efficiency and conservation are a key consideration in protecting our home and planet for future generations. Thank you for your support.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Tricia Hayes Christensen, Former President, Portola Valley Schools Foundation
  • John Richards, Council Member and Former Mayor, Town of Portola Valley
  • Kimberly Morris Rosen, PVSD Trustee

Elected Officials (1)

  • Danna Breen, ASCC Commissioner

Individuals (1)

  • Sangini Majumdar Bedner, PVSD Volunteer

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California and Elect Justice CA (2)

Does your office have any plans to include currently or formerly incarcerated people in your decision-making process as it relates to criminal justice issues? What would that look like?
Answer from Jeff Aalfs:

The Town of Portola Valley does not have its own police force or courts, but contracts with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office for local law enforcement. While we have not reached out to former inmates specifically, we are currently engaging with a number of experts in law enforcement to review our current contract with the SMCSO and consider changes we might advocate for with them.

With 8,000 people eligible for release from CA prisons to help stem the transmission of COVID-19, how, if at all, would your office aid these Californians and their families in navigating reentry?
Answer from Jeff Aalfs:

While we don't play any formal role in the reentry of former inmates, Portola Valley is committed to social equity and opportunities for those who have served sentences and want to resume productive lives. I would welcome proposals for additional work we could do to support this. 

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I'm less concerned about the size of government than I am about its role: I think government exists to mediate between the competing interests of residents, businesses, and nature. Markets are generally a useful tool for allocating resources, but carefully considered regulation of those markets is essential. Much of our role in local government is balancing the competing interests of landowners with their neighbors. We have a wide range of laws, local, state and federal, that govern our decsions, but as an elected official, I'm here to interpret those laws and make decisions where the laws aren't clear.

I feel that my ultimate duty is to follow our processes for decision-making, and base my decisions on what I can find from the facts in front of me; while I have my own morals and beliefs, I'm not here to impose my those beliefs on any particular project contrary to what the law requires. We are a nation of laws, not people, and I have always done my best to respect that.

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