Cover Story - October 13, 2010

A full plate for voters

Voters face lots of decisions on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Locally, voters have the opportunity to remake city councils in Atherton and Menlo Park. In Atherton, four candidates are running for three seats. In Menlo Park, it's six candidates for three seats. (Each council has a total of five members.)

Two big measures are on the Menlo Park ballot. Measure L proposes to limit pension benefits for new city employees, excluding sworn police officers. The limits are lower than the benefits received by current city employees. Measure T would amend the general plans to allow the Bohannon Development Company to build a 950,000-square-foot office-hotel complex east of U.S. 101.

There are contests for two local school boards: in the Menlo Park City School District and the Las Lomitas School District. In each district, four candidates are competing for three seats.

Voters also face decisions about who will succeed Rich Gordon as San Mateo County supervisor in District 3. Since no candidate received a majority vote in the June primary, there is a runoff between former sheriff and Emerald Hills resident Don Horsley and small business owner and coastsider April Vargas.

There is also a runoff election for county treasurer/tax collector between entrepreneur Dave Mandelkern and deputy treasurer Sandie Arnott.

Two county-wide measures are on the ballot. Measure M would increase the vehicle registration fee by $10 for 25 years. The revenue would be spent on street maintenance, transit options, and other transportation projects. Measure U would change the way vacancies on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors are filled.

Among special districts, seven candidates are competing for three seats on the Sequoia Healthcare District board.

On the state level, Democrat Rich Gordon of Menlo Park and Republican Greg Conlon of Atherton are running for the District 21 state Assembly seat now occupied by Ira Ruskin. There are many other state-level offices up for election, including governor, where Meg Whitman of Atherton and former governor Jerry Brown are in a heated contest.

Democrat Leland Yee is seeking re-election in state Senate District 8, which includes Portola Valley and Woodside. His Republican opponent is Doo Park.

There are also many important state propositions.

On the federal level, Democrat Anna Eshoo of Menlo Park is seeking another term in Congress from District 14. Her Republican opponent is Dave Chapman. Democrat Barbara Boxer is running for re-election to the U.S. Senate, and is facing a significant challenge from Republican Carly Fiorina.

The Almanac's Voter's Guide focuses on major local contests and issues.

Voter information

• See the ballot information sent to registered voters.

• Go to, the League of Women Voters site.

• Go to for information from the county elections office.

• Go to for information from the California secretary of state on state propositions and candidates.


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