Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 24

Photo of Peter Ohtaki

Peter Ohtaki

Financial Management VP
28,408 votes (21.2%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Oppose SB50 (and bills like it) when Sacramento overrides our local control over the zoning of our communities
  • Increase state funding for transportation infrastructure to reduce congestion and catch up with Silicon Valley's growth
  • Support school districts trying to educate students resulting from state high-density housing mandates



Profession:Emergency manager, former Mayor/City Councilman
Vice President, Enterprise Incident Management, Wells Fargo & Co. (2014–current)
Member, San Mateo County Transportation Authority Citizens Advisory Committee — Appointed position (2019–current)
City Councilmember, Menlo Park City Council — Elected position (2010–2018)
Mayor, City of Menlo Park — Appointed position (2018–2018)
Executive Director, California Resiliency Alliance (disaster preparedness non-profit) (2005–2013)
Mayor, City of Menlo Park — Appointed position (2013–2013)
Director, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board of Directors — Elected position (2007–2010)
Chief Financial Officer, NetTV (technology start-up) (1996–2005)


Stanford University M.B.A., Business (1987)
Harvard University B.A. Magna Cum Laude, Economics (1983)


Peter grew up in Menlo Park, attending both La Entrada Middle School and Woodside High School. He graduated with a B.A. in Economics, magna cum laude, from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Peter and his wife have three children in Menlo Park public schools.


Peter is Vice President, Enterprise Incident Management, working on emergency planning for Wells Fargo since 2014. Previously, Peter was the Executive Director of the California Resiliency Alliance (CRA), a non-profit organization that brings businesses and government together to improve disaster planning and response statewide through effective collaboration between the public and private sectors. The California Emergency Services Association recognized Peter for “for exceptional efforts in support of emergency management and preparedness” in the Bay Area. The Business Recovery Managers Association recognized Peter with its Award for Excellence in 2009. Peter worked with Assembly Member Nava on AB2796, which extends Good Samaritan protection to businesses and non-profits that donate goods and services during disasters. AB2796 passed with bipartisan support and was signed by the Governor into law in 2008.

Prior to starting the CRA, Peter was the Chief Financial Officer and co-founder of a technology company that served the education and interactive media markets from 1994 to 2005.

Who supports this candidate?

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

Describe what proposal(s) you would support to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for all income groups in California?
Answer from Peter Ohtaki:
  • Permits for 50,639 multi-family housing units have been issued since 2010 in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties
  • Our cities require at least 15% of these units to be for low income/below market rate (BMR)
  • Only one-third of our cities' Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) zoning for housing has been built, so fast-track the remainer
  • State must fund the school districts to build new classrooms to educate the new students resulting from state-mandated housing growth
  • State must provide the transportation infrastructure to support the new housing
  • Sacramento should not mandate one size-fits-all high density housing that overrides local zoning of our communities (SB50). Our cities are keeping up with RHNA in a way that preserves the character of our communities.
What programs or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?
Answer from Peter Ohtaki:
  • Support the state water reservoir system
  • Require recycled water for non-potable irrigation and flushing (purple pipes) in new commercial construction, which we did in Menlo Park for golf course irrigation
  • Restore demand pricing for water usage - higher prices for large users
To reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, as set forth in a 2018 executive order what, if any, proposals, plans or legislation would you support?  Please be specific.
Answer from Peter Ohtaki:
  • Statewide renewable electricity purchasing cooperatives modeled on Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy to source all our electrical power from renewable sources.
  • More convenient mass transit options, including electric shuttle buses running to/from mass transit (operated by transportation management associations as public-private partnerships). East Bay commuters are over 10% of the car trips to Silicon Valley employers, so Dumbarton Rail would reduce emissions.
  • Require Uber/Lyft to use electric vehicles
  • Reforest public lands
According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, we spend over $81,000 per individual who is incarcerated.  Other than incarceration, what ways can the State address safety and justice?
Answer from Peter Ohtaki:
  • Realignment and Prop 47/57 has resulted in increasing burglaries in our communities, impacting the quality of life
  • We need to find a balance between decriminalization and incarceration. The state needs to provide job training prior to releasing prisoners to reduce recivitism.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $16,700

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Employees of Wells Fargo
Employees of Tarana Wireless

More information about contributions

By State:

California 100.00%

By Size:

Large contributions (100.00%)
Small contributions (0.00%)

By Type:

From organizations (0.00%)
From individuals (100.00%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Public Service History: Peter was elected to the Menlo Park City Council in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, with the most votes in both elections. In 2013 and 2018, he additionally served as Mayor.

As a City Councilmember, after years of deficits, Peter helped balance Menlo Park's budget in 2011 by paying down an unfunded pension liability that was costing about $800k each year, saving taxpayers $3.6 million in interest expense. He also proposed a compromise which balanced the city's 2015-16 budget. He has developed the reputation as the "numbers guy", and a bi-partisan problem solver.

Peter worked to attract a start-up incubator and restaurateur downtown, convinced Facebook to establish a community fund that benefits local residents, and led the sister city relationship with Galway, Ireland and Bizen, Japan.

In addition, Peter worked with State Assemblyman Rich Gordon to introduce legislation (AB1690) that gives cities more flexibility in implementing zoning for housing that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the state legislature and Governor Brown signed into law in October 2014.

Peter supported an agreement between the City of Menlo Park and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District on emergency preparedness and operations, including an update of the city's emergency operations plan.

From 2007 through 2010, Peter was elected to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board of Directors, and served as the Board President in 2010. Peter served on the Finance Committee, and oversaw a balanced $32 million budget at the District. With Peter's leadership and financial background, the District paid down 78% of its $13 milllion pension obligation, saving the District millions in interest costs.

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