Almanac

News - February 24, 2010

Race for county treasurer heats up with a fourth candidate announcing

Dave Mandelkern, now in his second term on the governing board of the San Mateo County Community College District, announced Feb. 16 that he is running for the office of county treasurer/tax collector in the June 8 election.

An education technologist from Hillsborough, Mr. Mandelkern is the fourth candidate to announce his interest in the position. He joins deputy tax collector-treasurer Sandie Arnott, former Burlingame City Councilman Joe Galligan, and investment adviser Richard Guilbault, who ran for the office in 1998.

Lee Buffington, the treasurer for nearly 25 years, announced in August that he will not seek another term. Mr. Buffington faced criticism when the county investment fund lost $155 million in 2008 due to its investments with Lehman Brothers investment bank, which went bankrupt.

The losses affected local government agencies and school districts, including the community college district, which lost $25 million, Mr. Mandelkern said.

"Had the County Treasurer not lost this money, we could have provided more resources for our students," Mr. Mandelkern said in a statement. "This terrible loss opened my eyes to the power of this office and sparked my interest in running."

As qualifications, Mr. Mandelkern notes his oversight of the college district's $140 million budget, his co-founding and managing a software company that went public, and his serving as chief executive of a health care business.

"This position is not just a specialized accounting or investment management role," Mr. Mandelkern said, adding that he sees the job as advocacy for the county in Sacramento, more efficient revenue collection for the county's medical center, and improving the "customer service" experience for taxpayers.

Mr. Mandelkern said that among those who have endorsed him are Assemblyman Ira Ruskin; former Assemblyman Ted Lempert, a member of the county Board of Education; and former state controller Steve Westly of Atherton.

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