This new system does not apply to presidential or county central committee elections, or to nonpartisan local elections, such as for the Board of Supervisors. However, in the supervisors race, if no candidate receives more than half the votes, the top two finishers will advance to a run-off in November.
The Almanac has reported on major elections of interest in our circulation area — Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley. Today we will share our preferences for the top two state Senate candidates and our choice for state Assembly. In the race for San Mateo County supervisor, we have narrowed the seven-person field to four, but leave it to voters to choose their favorite.
Two state propositions and three county measures are on the ballot, as well as party primary elections for federal office. Here are our selections in local elections.
State Senator, District 13
In this race to replace Joe Simitian, who is termed out, Assemblyman Jerry Hill and former Assemblywoman Sally Lieber are the two best candidates to move on to the general election. Both are experienced legislators, while their opponents, Christopher Chiang, a school teacher who says he is running to promote the importance of education funding, and John Webster, a Libertarian, have no experience in public office.
In making their choices, voters must decide whether they prefer Mr. Hill, who comes with endorsements from 400 government officials and the California Labor Federation, as well as the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, or Ms. Lieber, who also considers herself an environmentalist and the underdog in the race. She promises to work for the state's disenfranchised citizens as she did during her three terms in the Assembly, including service as the assistant majority leader. Both candidates are impressive in their own way and we will watch closely as the campaign for the general election unfolds.
Gordon for state Assembly in District 24
Already a successful legislator after only 18 months in office, incumbent Assemblyman Rich Gordon is not wasting any time running hard for a second term. His opponents offer nothing to convince us to change our opinion of Mr. Gordon, who we endorsed in 2010. A former three-term county supervisor who lives in unincorporated Menlo Park, Mr. Gordon saw 15 of the 19 bills he sponsored signed into law in his first session, an enviable record for any freshman legislator.
The three others in the race include Chengzhi "George" Yang of Menlo Park, a Republican and software engineer; Joseph Antonelli Rosas, of Sunnyvale, a network security adviser who has no party affiliation; and Gaby Espinosa of Mountain View, a Democrat and small business owner. None have a record of public service to compare to Mr. Gordon. In this race we heartily endorse Rich Gordon to win the primary and general election.
County supervisor, District 4
A crowded field of seven candidates is vying to replace termed-out Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, who was appointed in 1999 and then elected to three four-year terms. All candidates have significant experience. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the two top voter-getters will move on to a runoff election in November. We believe any of the following four candidates are worthy of your vote. The final cut is up to voters.
• Kirsten Keith, the current mayor of Menlo Park, has signaled that she would favor reining in the county's projected $24 million to $28 million budget deficit and would vote against granting a controversial pay increase to the newly appointed county controller. In her law practice she represents financially stressed defendants and does volunteer work with the Legal Aid Society and various nonprofits. She began her first term on the City Council in 2010 after serving on the planning and housing commissions.
• Shelly Masur, the acknowledged front-runner due to her early start, is a Redwood City school board member who has served as the administrator for a nonprofit agency. Some business leaders and many unions support her candidacy, including those representing county employees and firefighters, some from the Menlo Park and Woodside fire protection districts. Ms. Masur dismisses charges that county pensions are only 47.2 percent funded, saying the system is 75 percent funded and that average pensions are $40,000 a year. Her answer to controlling the county budget deficit is to stick to the county manager's five-year plan to achieve a budget surplus that would include spending cuts, savings on labor, and structural and management changes.
• Warren Slocum, the longtime county clerk-recorder, is retired from that position and is now a candidate. As a former insider, he is aware of how important it is for the county to get its finances under control. Doing business as usual is not an option, he said, or the county's credit rating could be in jeopardy. Another quality we like about Mr. Slocum is his willingness to adopt new technology, which he demonstrated repeatedly as clerk-recorder.
• Carlos Romero believes the county's budget deficit can be resolved in two to three years by using a balanced approach that looks at revenue in an accountable and collaborative way. As a Hispanic and resident of East Palo Alto, he would continue to bring a minority presence to the board as has Ms. Jacobs Gibson. He cited his regional community leadership experience and his academic credentials in urban planning, finance, housing policy and transportation. He supports the county tax measures T, U and X that will be decided June 5.
Vote yes on measures T, U, and X
Measure T would impose a 2.5 percent tax on the gross receipts of car rental agencies that do business in the unincorporated areas of the county, primarily near San Francisco International Airport. Given the county's budget woes, we recommend a yes vote on Measure T.
Measure U would increase the transient occupancy tax from 10 to 12 percent on lodging in unincorporated areas of the county. The tax would only apply to visitors to the area and is in line with the tax charged by other communities. We recommend a yes vote on Measure U.
Measure X would impose a business license tax of 8 percent of gross receipts on operators of commercial parking facilities in the unincorporated areas of the county. We recommend a yes vote on Measure X.