Editorial endorsements: Slocum for supervisor; No on 'A'After a primary battle among seven candidates, including Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith and City Council member Andy Cohen, Warren Slocum, the former registrar of voters and county clerk-assessor-recorder, and Redwood City school board member Shelly Masur, rose to the top and are in a runoff to represent District 4 on the county Board of Supervisors. The district covers most of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, as well as North Fair Oaks, Oak Knoll and other unincorporated areas in the south county.
How to address a persistent budget deficit is a top issue between the candidates, who agree that employee compensation is one of the the reasons that millions in reserve funds will be needed to balance this year's budget. Other top issues are health care and how to improve the county's lagging economy. In many areas, the candidates have similar positions, but we are drawn to Mr. Slocum's many years of experience as a county executive, as well as his considerable skills in the digital world.
Ms. Masur also has many fine qualities, and she is certain to find her way to higher office in the years ahead.
In a down economy, we like Mr. Slocum's support of of an economic vitality unit in the county manager's office, as supervisors discussed at a recent meeting. Such a unit could help North Fair Oaks as it develops a community plan. He would support pension reforms, including new rules to eliminate "spiking," when an employee's retirement pay level is artificially inflated by using vacation and other special pay. He promises to scrutinize the county budget "line by line" to find other budget savings, an exercise we hope will pay off, and help businesses attract employees by providing shuttles to and from public transit.
He said he would bring his much-needed technology skills to the board, suggesting he would advocate adding to the services available online, including the county's checkbook, which could allow citizens to follow county expenses in real time.
We do not agree with Mr. Slocum's support of Measure A, a half-cent sales tax that is earmarked for public health and safety. Although we know the county is desperate to find a way to cover its skyrocketing health care costs, we doubt if voters will approve Measure A. Supervisors, including Mr. Slocum if he wins, will then face the challenge of reducing costs elsewhere in the budget.
The Almanac urges voters to support Warren Slocum for the District 4 seat on the Board of Supervisors.
Vote no on county Measure A
Given the county's ongoing structural budget deficit, supervisors should be working overtime to reduce the cost of government. Instead, voters are being given the tough choice of either approving a half-cent sales tax increase for 10 years, or seeing massive cuts in public health programs for the poor and elderly.
But rather than cave in, we urge voters to reject this regressive tax, which hits poor families the hardest. County officials say the tax would produce $60 million a year, but their claim that a like amount cannot be squeezed from the budget is specious, in our opinion.
Besides, in the same election, Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 asks voters to approve higher taxes on incomes of over $250,000 a year along with a quarter-cent sales tax to help education. Competing Measure 38 would simply raise state income taxes on a sliding scale up to 2.2 percent on multi-million dollar incomes. Both promise to boost spending on education, which would be severely cut back if neither passes. In this environment, we just don't see county voters passing yet another tax, especially in a local economy that is struggling to recover.
We recommend a "no" vote on county Measure A.
the Almanac also recommends:
Assembly District 24
Vote for Rich Gordon, endorsed previously in the primary
Senate District 13
Vote for Jerry Hill, endorsed previously in the primary