News

Seven seek single Board of Supervisors seat

Candidates weigh in on key county issues.

Creativity is an asset in the arts, but does it matter when trying to solve a complex financial puzzle such as the recent budget deficits in San Mateo County government, including a projected $26 million shortfall for the next fiscal year?

The voters will decide in the June 5 election who is best qualified among the seven candidates running to succeed Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, one of five county supervisors. If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, that candidate will be elected. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will face a runoff election in November.

Ms. Jacobs Gibson represents District 4, which includes East Palo Alto, much of Menlo Park and nearby unincorporated communities. She was appointed to the job in 1999, then re-elected three times. She can't run again because she is termed-out.

Running for her seat are, in alphabetical order, Andrew Cohen and Kirsten Keith, both of the Menlo Park City Council; Shelly Masur of the Redwood City School District board; Memo Morantes of the county Board of Education; Carlos Romero of the East Palo Alto City Council; Ernie Schmidt of the Redwood City Planning Commission; and Warren Slocum, former registrar of voters and county clerk/recorder.

San Mateo County is home to 20 incorporated cities and towns, several unincorporated communities, thousands of acres of open space and parks, some 750,000 residents and 335,400 registered voters, according to the Elections Office statistics.

Although a supervisor represents a district, and the candidates must reside in the district, they run county-wide. With turnout expected to be low for the June primary election, candidates tend to focus on the 100,000 or so residents expected to vote.

County services overseen by the Board of Supervisors include public health; the county jail; criminal prosecution; child support; care for the aged and people with disabilities and behavioral problems; protection of the environment and county parks; and housing for residents with financial hardships.

The Almanac sent questions on several important issues to all seven candidates; their responses are the basis for this story.

Lowering the deficit

San Mateo County faces a projected budget deficit of $24 million to $28 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The Almanac asked the candidates what they would do to address this problem.

Mr. Schmidt would have county government learn to live within its means by streamlining its functions, not by changing tax rates or cutting programs. That is kicking the can down the road, he said. The county should cultivate new sources of revenue. "I want to seek out those companies that are ready to expand and make sure that they expand here. I want to seek out new companies that are able to sustain growth and revenue."

Budgets have already been hit hard, Mr. Morantes said. Cities and towns have already "trimmed the fat, cut the marrow and deboned their budgets," he said. "We must formulate public-private partnerships. ... One of the ways businesses can help is to ensure that our county remains a strong, vibrant attractive place to live and work. Through innovative collaboration, we can keep the business engine running smoothly for both the public and private sector."

It's a structural deficit, Mr. Romero said, a problem that will require two to three years to correct, and everyone at the table. "We need a balanced approach that looks at the revenue side of the equation in a way that is collaborative and accountable," he said. The tax increases on the ballot -- measures T, U and X, meant to tap visitors' wallets -- "are a good place to start," Mr. Romero said. "We should also recalibrate user fees to reflect the actual cost of providing those services."

As an example of what she would bring to the board, Ms. Keith pointed to Menlo Park's response to a loss of $1.5 million in redevelopment funding and the city's decision to contract out for below-market-rate housing. "I have a long track record of making tough decisions," she said. She said she would not have voted to raise the salary of the newly appointed county controller. "This sends the wrong message when we are asking other employees to make concessions."

Stay the course, Ms. Masur said, referring to the county manager's five-year plan to achieve a budget surplus. "This plan is based on revenue projections, spending cuts, negotiated labor savings, and structural and management changes," she said. "A multi-faceted approach is necessary because the provision of county-wide services is multi-faceted and multi-dependent, so each budget item must be evaluated in its unique context.

Mr. Slocum's approach would include being realistic in crafting a financial plan, imaginative in cutting costs, efficient in operations, thrifty in ways like the timely billing of hospital patients, and smart in making decisions. "We can't continue to spend money we don't have," he said. "If we continue to do business as usual, we will affect the county's credit rating, leave the county without good options to respond to unforeseen emergencies, and threaten critical services."

Mr. Cohen said that he supports measures T, U and X; that with incentives, developers might build more affordable housing; that he expects the board to make further layoffs; and that the layoffs should avoid public safety and health care. "Some difficult choices will have to be made through effective collaboration among the five supervisors based on staff recommendations while preserving key services and meeting the housing needs of our growing population," he said.

Unions and pensions

Pension reform for unionized government employees is a hot-button issue that has and will continue to come before the Board of Supervisors, along with construction projects in unincorporated communities that directly affect the interests of the building trades.

Of the four sitting supervisors, campaign websites show significant union endorsement for Don Horsley and Dave Pine and little to none for Carole Groom, Adrienne Tissier and Ms. Jacobs Gibson.

Among the seven candidates running for Ms. Jacobs Gibson's seat, Mr. Morantes received one endorsement from a trade union council, and Mr. Slocum received a similar but conditional "open" endorsement.

Union support for Ms. Masur is significant. The councils that support Mr. Morantes and Mr. Slocum also support her, as do electrical workers, plumbers and steamfitters, firefighters -- including firefighters in the Menlo Park and Woodside fire protection districts -- and government employees, including those in county government and in the governments of Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Redwood City.

"I am proud to have the support of both labor and business leaders, as well as from Republicans, Democrats and Independents," Ms. Masur said in response to a question about union support. With the unconditional support of the San Mateo County Central Labor Council, "I do have support, both as an endorsement and financial from some unions that represent county employees," she said.

"I am committed to working collaboratively with employee groups to address issues facing the county, including budgetary," she said. "I believe that good relationships are key to solving problems and will continue to build on those I have fostered."

Former state legislator Joe Nation, now a public policy professor at Stanford, said recently that San Mateo County's pension obligations are 47.2 percent funded, and that the county spends 18 percent of its total annual expenditures on pension obligations.

Asked to comment, Ms. Masur disputed Mr. Nation's figures, saying that the pension obligations are 75 percent funded and that the system is "relatively healthy." The average payout is $40,000 a year, "despite the media's portrayal of lavish pension benefits," she added.

In any case, pension reform should not be decided by voters -- as was done with Measure L in Menlo Park in 2010 -- because, she said, "these benefits are an agreement between the employer and the employee."

But government retirees with six-figure pensions who go back to work on government contract do "undermine the integrity of the entire public employee pension system," Ms. Masur added. "We should examine whether such practices can be reduced or eliminated."

Ms. Keith said she would be guided by a 2011 reform proposal from Gov. Jerry Brown that includes retirement at 67 (earlier for public safety employees), 401k-like employee contribution plans, an end to retroactive pension increases and benefit spiking through supplemented final-year salaries, and limits to post-retirement government employment. "We are all in this together and must work toward a solution together," she said. She did not receive a union endorsement.

Unions have a democratic right to enter the political arena, Mr. Romero said, but accepting union or corporate money "could be seen as compromising one's ability to be seen as fair and impartial." Regarding pension reform, he said he would put a two-tier system in place immediately and otherwise echo Gov. Brown's plan. "Solving this complex problem will require that all parties negotiate in good faith and trust that each party's positions will be handled respectfully," he said.

Mr. Cohen, too, said he would move to two tiers, raise the retirement age, and increase employee contributions. As for union endorsements, he had this to say: "I have not sought nor accepted support from any union representing county employees. I believe to do so would create the appearance of impropriety, and I must be above suspicion in this respect. In making decisions as a supervisor, if elected, it is essential that I be totally detached and objective in considering the issues before me."

On pension reform, Mr. Morantes said he would not let the county go back on good-faith agreements. Unions have shown flexibility to protect jobs, he added. "We must continue to work with our current employees to make sure that they have a reasonable pension for retirement that is just and fair to the county and to the individual."

Mr. Slocum agreed on maintaining good faith with current retirees. He said he would trim benefits for future employees and consider raising contribution levels of current employees. The first steps, he said, are getting an accurate assessment of the obligation and having at the table everyone involved.

Mr. Schmidt said he does not blame county employees for the pension situation, and that he would consider it a conflict of interest to receive their union's endorsement. A "sensible" pension policy would include a two-tier benefit system that benefits taxpayers and employees, he said. On his first day in office, he said he would propose a task force of union and community leaders and innovative community members to discuss further reforms, with "transparency at every level of discussion."

Why me?

The Almanac asked the candidates what distinguishes them and why voters should vote for them. Their edited answers are arranged in alphabetical order.

The law provides a framework for civic life, Mr. Cohen said. In his career, he has been an advocate for clients, has weighed evidence, has followed the law and has attempted to be just and fair in making decisions, he said. He has eight years as city councilman, and has spoken on topics of post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, youth violence, and schools and cities working together, Mr. Cohen said.

Ms. Keith cites her third-generation roots in the county; her career in public-interest law, including representing financially stressed defendants in court; being a mother to her children; and volunteering for the Legal Aid Society, Haven House and JobTrain and as an advocate for women's issues. "I will bring a balanced, thoughtful approach to decision making, with a legal background and the ability to make tough decisions, to the Board of Supervisors," she said.

Citing her experience on a city school board, the nonprofit sector, and as a public health advocate, Ms. Masur said she has managed substantial public and private budgets simultaneously and partnered with city and county governments to "eliminate duplication and leverage limited dollars." Her master's degree in public health "makes me uniquely qualified to address the many public health challenges -- including health care reform and criminal justice realignment -- two significant policy and practice shifts that will have a major impact on our county," she said.

As a county school board member, Mr. Morantes said he has helped make projects more efficient while protecting core services in difficult economic times. As a small-business owner, he acquired the acumen to form public/private partnerships "for the common good." As a civic leader, he has a "keen understanding" of the importance of the county's safety net. "I can bring the same success to the Board of Supervisors," he said.

Mr. Romero noted his regional community leadership experience and his academic credentials in urban planning, finance, housing policy and transportation. He is committed, he said, to transparent, inclusive government and, as a supervisor, would be uniquely qualified to hit the ground running on "addressing the difficult challenges faced by our amazingly diverse and dynamic county." The issues section of his website, he said, is "frank and honest" and "thoughtfully tackles issues."

Being a planning commissioner is one of the best qualifications for being a supervisor, Mr. Schmidt said, echoing an assertion he attributed to Ms. Jacobs Gibson. "The work and decisions of a supervisor have a great deal to do with land development issues," and the supervisors now on the board have confirmed that characterization for him, he said. "Granted this is my first election, but I enter into this race knowing that I can do the job and can hit the ground running."

Mr. Slocum pointed to his innovative leadership at the Elections Office, where, he said, he balanced multi-million dollar budgets, made county records more accessible, and practiced people-centered management. "I worked hard, challenging myself and my staff everyday to streamline county services," he said. As supervisor, he pledged "to build consensus, solve problems and represent the public's interests while being accessible and accountable."

CANDIDATE BIOS

------------

Andrew Cohen

Residence: Menlo Park

Age: 72

Education: Bachelor's degree (with honors) in economics, Dartmouth College; law degree, Stanford University

Occupation: Retired lawyer and workers' compensation judge

Public Service: Current Menlo Park city councilman and former mayor

-------------

Kirsten Keith

Residence: Menlo Park

Age: 45

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science with an international relations emphasis, University of California at Santa Barbara; law degree from Golden Gate University

Occupation: Practicing attorney

Public Service: Current Menlo Park city councilwoman and mayor, former planning commissioner, housing commissioner, soccer coach, women's advocate, including for victims of domestic violence

------------

Shelly Masur

Residence: Redwood City

Age: 47

Education: Bachelor's degree from Macalester College; master's degree in public health from Hunter College/City University of New York

Occupation: Nonprofit executive director

Public Service: Seven years on elementary-and-middle-school board; member of hospital community advisory committee, county public health task force, Peninsula leadership groups

-------------

Memo Morantes

Residence: Menlo Park

Age: 64

Education: Some college and insurance certification from the American College

Occupation: Insurance and financial services professional

Public service: Three-term member of county school board

-------------

Carlos Romero

Residence: East Palo Alto

Age: 52

Education: Four plus years of study in international relations and economics, Stanford University; Loeb Fellow, graduate school of design-urban planning/finance, Harvard University; Fannie Mae Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Occupation: Affordable housing/economic development consultant

Public service: Current city councilman and former mayor, planning commissioner; volunteer on issues of rent stabilization, housing, regional government, transportation, environmental justice, community law, at-risk youth and the Latino community

-------------

Ernie Schmidt

Residence: Redwood City

Age: 46

Occupation: On sabbatical from management position

Education: Two years at Foothill and de Anza community colleges

Public service: Member of planning commission, Latino community and leadership associations, and neighborhood association

-------------

Warren Slocum

Residence: Redwood City

Age: 64

Education: Bachelor's degree in U.S. history, San Diego State University

Occupation: Retired chief elections officer & assessor-county clerk-recorder for San Mateo County

Public Service: Twenty-four years as countywide elected official and, earlier, appointed to positions in government

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2012 at 11:25 am

Dave, thank you for an outstanding article-thorough, informative and unbiased. A real public service, and obviously a lot of work went in to it!

Since I'm here: Slocum-Slocum-Slocum


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No Masur
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 16, 2012 at 11:36 am

If Shelly Masur wins this election, this county will be in deep, deep fiscal trouble. She is beholden to the unions, their pensions, their increased salaries, etc., like no other. In fact, I find it really odd that in this day and age of budget deficits all over the state of California, that ANY candidate would run with this type of union support. Her views, and her support will truly hurt our county, along with our credit rating. I'm not for anyone yet, but wow does this candidate scare me. Her quote about Republicans supporting her are laughable, I'd like her to name ONE Republican that would support this type of candidate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Among the critical issues facing San Mateo County government: a projected $26 million revenue shortfall for the next fiscal year.

This does not include to up to $40,000,000 additional cost per year for the new JAIL.

Look for the candidate(s) who is opposed to the JAIL we can not afford.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Ms Masur's comments as stated in the article regarding how best to handle the budget issues, "stay the course" speaks volumes as to her credibility and capability. THis is the problem at the local, state and federal level-no new ideas,just worry about what it takes to get elected or re-elected. I'm not a member of the Tea Party, nor do I embrace many of their views, but I will say, I do embrace the idea that if you're part of the process (including in bed with the unions) I want you out. My other issue is just a personal perception that this is but a stepping stone move in a planned political career.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CommunityMinded
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm

WhoRUpeople's perception that Masur is on a planned political career mission may not be far off the mark. While up for re-election to the Redwood City School board last November, she accepted donations for her current campaign for San Mateo County Supervisor, as far back as August, but she did not make the announcement about her Supervisor candidacy until after she was re-elected to the school board. This seems to indicate that her desire to be re-elected to the school board was for the purpose of having an "advantage" of being an elected official while campaigning for yet a higher seat. Where would it leave the school district if she were to be elected to County Supervisor? Since three years would remain on her school board seat, the school district would be required to run a special election to fill her vacancy, with all associated costs born entirely by the school district, at a cost of potentially tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, at a time when the district has quite literally been cut to the bone. In effect, the students and teachers of the Redwood City School District would carry the "cost" for Masur's political aspirations because the money to pay for a special election would have to come out of the classrooms somehow. This is fiscal irresponsibility at it's worst - it's on the backs of kids and incredibly hard-working teachers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by One Republican?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Virginia Kiraly is a prominent Republican who has endorsed Masur.

Web Link

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm

It's interesting that Ms. Masur's website lists organizations first and almost all of them are a union. I'm so glad that she prizes those first.

While I won't repeat what has been written, I would also point out that Ms. Keith has been at Menlo Park 1+ years before she wanted to move on.

We need to find a statesman or stateswoman who champions the electorate and is not beholden to unions and special interest groups -- are there any out there?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by simple
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 17, 2012 at 3:04 am

Just like Pine, Kiraly now takes orders directly from the labor council bosses.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joanna
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2012 at 7:21 am

Well said Bob!

I love union endorsements because they make it clear who NOT to vote for.

Keith is an opportunist who USED THE PEOPLE of Menlo Park as a stepping stone to something "greater." If she is willing to leave a wonderful post as our representative, what guarantee is there that she will stick around as supervisor when she wants to run for governor next after, let's say, a year in office?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RWCparent
a resident of another community
on May 17, 2012 at 7:36 am

CommunityMinded's comments about the process for replacing members of the Redwood City School Board outside the election schedule are misinformed. When a board member leaves the RCSD, the remaining trustees typically choose an interim appointee to serve in the departing trustee's seat until the next election, when the seat is open to all candidates. The district does not have to set a special election, and therefore need not incur additional cost.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by One Republican?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 17, 2012 at 7:55 am

Actually RW City Parent is misinformed.

Redwood City School Board Bylaw 9000, "Filling Vacancies" specifies

Timelines for Filling a Vacancy

When a vacancy occurs, the Board shall take the following action, as appropriate:

3. When a vacancy occurs from six months to 130 days before a regularly scheduled Board election at which the position is not scheduled to be filled, a special election to fill the position shall be consolidated with the regular election. The person so elected shall take office at the first regularly scheduled Board meeting following the certification of the election and shall serve only until the end of the term of the position which he/she was elected to fill. (Education Code 5093)

If Masur wins, according to the Board Bylaws, they must have a special election.

Masur must have known this when she ran for the School Board, even though she had already announce for the Supervisor race. Community minded raises valid points.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Onion
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2012 at 8:11 am

When non-union candidates run, they don't get the votes. Reason? The unions put together impressive pieces with boots on the ground to promote their people. Anyone else remember the flushing hitpiece that knocked two incumbent MP council members out of office in 2006?

The general populace may be educated, but they are ignorant of local politics. They will vote for the people with the prettiest, most professional pieces. The union-backed candidates. Every time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RWCparent
a resident of another community
on May 17, 2012 at 9:35 am

One Republican?, I think you may have skipped over the language "a special election to fill the position shall be consolidated with the regular election." In other words, it may be a special election from the perspective of that particular trustee seat, but as I understand the practice, it is scheduled when the next otherwise-scheduled election occurs, rather than requiring an election where the sole question was selecting an RCSB trustee. Ms. Masur is presumably familiar with that process, as she was appointed to the board when Alicia Aguirre left to take Ira Ruskin's former seat on the City Council, and ran to fill the remainder of Ms. Aguirre's term at the next election.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

Onion is correct.

In the last fire district election the union spent more than $50,000. That's outrageous for a fire election, but unfortunately it happens not only at the local levels but also at the state.

What impact will this have on the supervisors' race?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on May 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

"What impact will this have on the supervisors' race?"

Shelly Kessler and Bill Nack have the 70,000 members plus spouses in San Mateo County to influence. We only have about 100,000 people who vote, you do the math.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by follow the money
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 17, 2012 at 11:58 am

Bob and Joanna, you never supported Keith to begin with, but she has far more local support now than when she ran for council. One or two anonymous people may feel empowered by complaining, but readers of this forum will not take you seriously.

Keith is not abandoning Menlo Park after 1+ years as Bob states. Take a look at her bio. Keith volunteered on the Menlo Park Community Mediation Services Committee, Housing Commission and Planning Commissions for ten years before running for office. She has stated that she only entered both races after being encouraged to do so by others. Her campaign finances show this is the case. Her fundraising, in both races, began long after the filing period.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Moderate
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Keith has less than a 1 1/2 years on the Menlo park City Council. Unlike Keith, Carlos Romero, in November, will have 4 solid years on the East Palo Alto City Council with a full year under his belt as mayor. Prior to his being elected as mayor, he was chair and vice chair of the East Palo Alto Redevelopment Agency, served on and chaired the city's Planning Commission for 6 years, and was a member and chair of the East Palo Alto Rent Stabilization Board for 4 years. Currently, Romero chairs the City's Housing and Economic Development committees.

Romero is the Vice Chair of City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG) of San Mateo County, and Vice Chair of the Dumbarton Rail Policy Advisory committee for Alameda and San Mateo counties. He is a board member of the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance comprised of 17 San Mateo County cities, and is an alternate board member on the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority.

For three and one-half years, he served on the nine county Metropolitan Transportation Commission's advisory committees, and chaired its Equity Analysis subcommittee. He is an active participant in the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, focusing on their Housing, Land Use and Transportation policy areas.

While Keith has some relevant experience the depth and breadth of experience that Romero has is vastly superior to Keith's. Carlos Romero is by far the best qualified candidate for the Board of Supervisors.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by NFOguy
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Andy Cohn anyone? He often seems to be a lone dissenter, and understands the underdogs (like those in unincorporated Menlo Park that put up with the city's decisions to have FB in our our or EPA's face). He has an economics educated background not just seat of the pants temporary budgeting view. Any feedback?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CommunityMinded
a resident of another community
on May 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm

OneRepublican? and RWCityParent, thank you for your insights and interpretations. They add richly to the discussion. We probably would all agree that expert counsel is needed on how exactly the school district would best comply with both it's own school board's bylaws and the Education Code with respect to whether an appointment could be made or a special election would be required to be held.

It is important to note that if a provisional appointment is allowed and made, but the registered voters of the school district so desire, they may petition for the conduct of a special election to fill the vacancy.

There is a growing level of parental and community awareness of the challenges our schools and district face and there is impressive engagement from these groups with the school district in addressing problems and issues of concern to all; witness the Measure W campaign. These are people who will want to elect their school board representative.







 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I find this interesting that elected folks are now endorsing multiple candidates for a single position. Ms. Kiraly has endorsed Ms. Masur (Web Link), And according to Carlos Romero's website she also endorsed him. (Web Link)

So I'm confused, who does Ms. Kiraly actually support? And who else has endorsed more than one candidate? Or is it acceptable to endorse multiple candidates these days?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anne
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 17, 2012 at 8:15 pm

And the winner is either candidate from East Palo Alto. We don't need another WASP.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on May 17, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Bob - I think that Jackie Speier is endorsing both Romero & Morantes.

Here's a SJ Merc article on Carlos Romero:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Moderate
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 18, 2012 at 5:56 am

We really should dispatch with references to race. Most people in our Supervisorial District are enlightened enough to look past race and look at the candidate based on qualifications, accomplishments and experience. Carlos Romero stands on his qualifications, accomplishments and experience. No one else in the field comes close to Carlos Romero. Shelly Masur has the Union backing, Kirsten Keith is the most ambitious and least experienced, but Carlos is truly the best candidate. If you truly want the best you will vote for Carlos Romero.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on May 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I voted for Cohen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm

What's relevant about race (actually, ethnicity), imo, is that a number of Latinos who can vote are disenfranchised in our county, or frankly, care little about county issues (& of course, that applies to many people, regardless of background). If a very capable & experienced candidate can bring them to the table, all the better - & sometimes that means that candidate is of the same ethnicity.

But overall, Menlo Moderate, I agree. I've been impressed w/Carlos's capability & experience in the work I've done in EPA. He's whip smart & is good both at teamwork & dealing w/his individual responsibilities. He's also accessible, asks good questions & able to reduce an issue down to its most important aspects in order to tackle them. He's worked in a struggling city & has a grasp of what's needed to steer this county through a troubled budget.


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