Cover Story - May 19, 2010

Two names on ballot, but one active contender

by Renee Batti

Voters will see two names on the ballot for the District 2 seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. But as Election Day nears, it's increasingly apparent that the incumbent, Carole Groom, is the only serious candidate in the race.

San Carlos resident Daniel Kaul filed papers for the seat, but has not run an active campaign. After agreeing to an interview at The Almanac, he canceled, stating he will not be available for face-to-face interviews with the press.

He didn't file a candidate statement for either the county Elections Office Voter's Guide or for the League of Women Voters "Smart Voter" election guide.

Carole Groom was appointed to her current seat in December 2008 to serve out the term of Jerry Hill when he was elected to the state Assembly. She had served two terms on the San Mateo City Council, serving as mayor twice, and had a 20-year career in health care, the last years in the post of vice president for community relations at Mills Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame.

She and her four colleagues on the board have been intensely focused on the county's $1.2 billion operating budget to address a structural deficit that is projected to grow to $150 million in three years unless significant measures are taken.

Work is ongoing to assess spending in each county department to find ways to cut costs. The county is also looking for ways to reduce employee costs. Most of the county's employee unions have agreed to pay freezes; three groups representing Sheriff's Office employees have not, Ms. Groom said.

For the next four years, Ms. Groom hopes to focus on some of her "pet projects," which include encouraging community programs and environmental design efforts that would help tackle the increasing childhood obesity problem.


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