Should supervisor candidates run countywide? Around Town, posted by Editor, The Almanac Online, on Oct 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm
Voters in San Mateo County will have another chance in November to decide whether to change how the five supervisors who oversee county operations are elected. Measure B would switch from at-large elections to by-district elections.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 19, 2012, 11:12 AM
Posted by MPCyclist, a resident of the Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm
Opponents of the measure say: "Your influence and ability to have your voice heard will be reduced if we turn to a system where elected representatives are only interested in their district."
Yet, it's quite the opposite. It makes YOUR supervisor LESS responsive to YOUR need and the needs of YOUR community. Ask yourself who gains from the current system. There are five supervisors. That means that roughly 4/5 of the electorate don't know or care about the issues in your district and are voting based on campaign rhetoric and name recognition. In other words, if your supervisor is not getting the job done, then only 20% of the electorate is effected or may even know about it. In a good election cycle roughly only 40% of that number will turn out to vote anyway. That means you have a snowball's chance in hell of getting rid of a poor or non-performing or incompetent supervisor. How's that for job security?
Another way of looking at it is, how would you like it if the entire state of California were required to vote for the legislative representative for YOUR district? How good would your representation be then? It makes about as much sense.
Posted by Virginia Chang Kiraly, a resident of the Menlo Park: University Heights neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2012 at 9:14 am
Many thanks to those who have posted in response to this article!
Vote YES on Measure B! The YES on Measure B campaign has incredibly broad support across San Mateo County and has been endorsed by three papers, with a fourth coming (I hope!): The Almanac, The Daily Journal, and The Merc/Daily News. We are so grateful for these endorsements and the momentum that the YES on Measure B campaign has!
For more information about Measure B and to see a partial list of endorsements, please visit the YES ON MEASURE B website: Web Link.
If you have any questions and/or comments, please feel free to contact me at vck@VirginiaChangKiraly.com.
Posted by Greg Conlon, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2012 at 9:19 am
Measure B proposes to revise the San Mateo County Charter by changing the manner of electing members of the Board of Supervisors from “At Large” to a “By District” system. Of the counties in California, only San Mateo County elects its Board members “At Large”. The five Districts in San Mateo County each have approximately 55,000 to 85,000 registered voters, and 334,000 for the entire county.
Even though a Supervisor must reside in one of the five districts, a candidate must campaign county-wide. A lawsuit against the County raised the question about lack of minorities on the Board of Supervisors. Only two non-Caucasian have ever been elected to serve on the Board in the history of the County.
Passage of this ballot measure, Measure B, would attract and allow more candidates to run in each district at much less cost than it would “At Large” county-wide. It would also result in more direct representation for all voters since one Supervisor would have to represent 55,000 to 85,000 voters rather than 334,000 voters county-wide.
Under the current “At Large” system, it is also possible that one of two candidates for the Board who reside in one district could lose the majority number of votes within their District but still win the seat on the Board by winning a majority of votes in the other four Districts.
It is time for San Mateo County to join the other 57 counties in California who realize the substantial benefits of allowing “By District” elections.
Posted by Through the Looking Glass, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2012 at 9:38 am
MPCyclist: You bring up a great point with your question: "That means you have a snowball's chance in hell of getting rid of a poor or non-performing or incompetent supervisor. How's that for job security?"
The truth of the matter is that two supervisors, or 40%, were first-time appointments to the board: Gibson and Groom. They were appointed to finish out terms of the the supervisors whom they replaced. Therefore, they were able to run for re-election as the "incumbent." That is 12+ years of job security with a six-figure salary and benefits. For some (Jerry Hill, Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier), it is a political stepping stone. Maybe, that's why Eshoo and Speier oppose it? Hill may be too much of a coward to make his views known, since he is running for CA State Senate this year.
In terms of accountability, most SMC residents don't even realize that the supervisors have decreased the number of their committee meetings, changed the committee meeting time to the middle-of-the-day for low public turnout, have three staff members. With the exception of Dave Pine, the others pretty much don't care about what the voters think because they don't have to! One example is the county jail. Whether or not you believe in having a new jail, I understand that the board wants to use a certificate of participation (COP) to fund it. IF this is true, a COP requires no voter approval. Is this a way for the board to circumvent a controversial issue on which they may lose so that they get their jail?
To have a more representative government, voters should vote yes on Measure B!
Posted by boondoggle, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2012 at 6:46 am
Virginia, on that endorsements page [ Web Link ], it seems peculiar that you are on the top row, and Peter Ohtaki is the only council member from Menlo Park to endorse this measure. Did you do any outreach, or is this website a boondoggle for you and your friends?
Posted by Virginia Chang Kiraly, a resident of the Menlo Park: University Heights neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm
I had nothing to do with the design of the website. In fact, I'm not even an editor for the site so do not have access to it from an editing and/or designing standpoint. Therefore, I'm not sure why you would think the website is a "boondoggle" for the endorsers of Measure B.
This measure has bipartisan and broad countywide support. The endorsement list reflects this. If there is anyone else on the MP City Council you think should be on this site, please feel free to contact me at vck@VirginiaChangKiraly.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of another community, on Oct 22, 2012 at 8:38 am
Empower the voters, Vote YES on Measure B
It's good to see the bipartisan and broad countywide support, both Republican and Democrat. Both Supervisor candidates support it. The people who are opposed to it are the ones who have benefited from this system. Two of them were appointed not elected.
Posted by Virginia Chang Kiraly, a resident of the Menlo Park: University Heights neighborhood, on Oct 23, 2012 at 7:13 am
This is a partial list, which also includes both the Democratic and Republican central committees and the Sierra Club.
Again, if you have a suggestion as to any other MP councilmember whom you think should be on this partial list, please contact me at vck@VirginiaChangKiraly.com. Unfortunately, I still have not heard from you.
Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of another community, on Oct 23, 2012 at 10:29 am
It's been reported in the DP today that Ed McGovern has submitted papers to form a committee ....
San Mateo County residents and businesses for equal representation - No on B.
I hope this is a little late in the game.
Voters should know only 4 Supervisors oppose this measure, two of them Carole Groom and Rose Jacobs Gibson were appointed to the Supervisor seat. They personally have benefited from being appointed by their friends. Carole Groom was appointed by just 3 people, 1 of them was Rose Jacobs Gibson.
A very small group of people are opposed to District Elections.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Oct 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm
No, by district. Of course Groom and Gibson object. Gibson is termed out so she is a non issue. The others need to wake up and smell the coffee. The people in San Mateo County want to be represented by a district rep.
Posted by boondoggle, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm
Virginia, you may not be the best gate keeper for this outreach role. In the past three election cycles, you only endorsed the lone city council candidate that also serves on the Rebublican Central Committee, as do you. If you have ever endorsed a Democrat for Menlo Park City Council (or even the fire board), than I will stand corrected.