Election 2012: Warren Slocum ballot revised after complaint | March 28, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



News - March 28, 2012

Election 2012: Warren Slocum ballot revised after complaint

by Sandy Brundage

Candidates for political office are expected to sing their own praises in hopes of swaying voters, but there are rules regarding what they can say, rules that county Board of Supervisors candidate Warren Slocum recently got a refresher lesson on.

Ballot statements and designations are meant to briefly summarize a candidate's qualifications for office. Once the 10-day public review of the statements and designations commenced on March 9, a couple eagle-eyed Menlo Park residents spotted a mistake in Mr. Slocum's, and wasted no time before protesting.

Apparently Mr. Slocum's original language may have created the impression that he was still the county's elections officer by stating, "As your Chief Elections Officer and Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder...," an error the candidate described as unintentional.

Although elsewhere in his statement he included the abbreviation "ret." — for "retired" — the complaint stated that voters might overlook or not understand the shorthand.

"Mr. Slocum attempted to file a ballot designation that was not permitted under the law," said Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith, who is also running for the Board of Supervisors, in a press release. "I raised objections with San Mateo County and they agreed that his ballot designation was improper. Mr. Slocum was forced to change it. Additionally, I objected to some of the language Mr. Slocum used in his ballot statement to describe his former position with the County and San Mateo County Counsel agreed with that objection also and went to court to get this language changed."

The county's current election officer, Mark Church, filed the complaint in San Mateo County Superior Court on March 19. A judge agreed with the concerns and ruled that the language should be tweaked to insert the word "former" where appropriate.

The changes also addressed another error. Mr. Slocum's initial ballot designation described his former position as "retired San Mateo County Chief Elections Officer and Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder," which exceeded the three-word limit, according to Mr. Church. The revised ballot designation now reads "retired San Mateo County Clerk." San Mateo County counts as one word under the election code.

Mr. Slocum, who was first elected to public office in 1986 and served until January 2011, said he didn't feel the new designation was entirely accurate, and also that it certainly was not his intent to try to make anyone think he was still in office. "I did put the abbreviation for retired in there," he said. " If I'd had the intent of being sneaky I certainly wouldn't have put 'ret' up top in the very first line."

Ms. Keith described the incident as very disturbing and commented in a press release, "This was either a deliberate act or a negligent oversight, and either is very troublesome for someone who was in charge of enforcing election laws and is now a candidate for Supervisor."

For his part, Mr. Slocum said he's been around long enough to know that during a campaign, people try to divert other campaigns away from the main issues.

"It's unfortunate that my opponents are focused on semantics, words on a paper and not on the serious issues facing our county," he said. "I am working to share my vision for the future and my solutions for problems like the budget — so that San Mateo County can be a better place to live for all of our residents. I'm continuing to talk and listen to people and it's time to move on."

He is one of eight candidates for termed-out Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson's seat. The district she represents includes Menlo Park, Redwood City, East Palo Alto and unincorporated North Fair Oaks and Oak Knoll.


Posted by Susan Smith, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 28, 2012 at 7:00 am

I want to vote for Warren Slocum for San Mateo County Supervisor, but I don't want him double-dipping from both the pension fund, an income flow he has earned and is entitled to, while receiving a paycheck for being a Supervisor from the County at the same time, which he would also be entitled to. I am certain both draw 6 figures. I wonder if he would, since he has an income stream, consider fore-going double dipping since economic times in our county are so poor we are funning deficit. I plan to vote for him if we can get over this question of funds because he is the best candidate with the most experience. I posted this question on his wall, but it was deleted. It is interesting to watch this.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2012 at 8:18 am

Warren Slocum has already addressed this topic which is he will receive the Supervisor income in addition to his other earned income. I respect him for that, he told us upfront.

I think its more important how he would vote on county issues.

Don Horsley ran on the promise not to except the Supervisor income if elected, that was a major part of his campaign, his choice now he has to live with it and the $208,000 per year pension he receives. Look how he has voted.

I'm more concerned about candidates ignoring oaths they take and promise to fulfill a term they are completely aware of.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

I know this is a little off topic, if you wanted to have a Double Dipping conversation I think you would have to include UnderSheriff Carlos Bolanos as one of the leaders. $350,000 plus

Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

One more thing to consider is the cost of a campaign. The last to winners of Supervisor invested over $450,000 Don Horsley and $550,000 Dave Pine the only difference between those two was all of Don's money was donated.

From what I understand Warren has invested over $100,000 of his own money, that's a lot to ask a person to do and then not get paid if he wins. I think he deserves it.

Posted by not susan, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 28, 2012 at 11:18 am

Susan, by commenting on an old story in the print addition, you display a fixation that is unhealthy. If you want to make a difference, you should register to vote.