Thursday, May 6, 2010

Five hopeful for supervisor seat

May 06, 2010, 03:54 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff

A former sheriff, a councilman, a self-professed victim advocate, a coastal advocate and an anti-government research scientist.

But instead of a punchline, this eclectic group of people are searching for something a little more serious — a spot representing District Three on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

With the race to fill the vacancy left by termed-out board president Rich Gordon, the stakes are high. The Board of Supervisors has not had a contested race for an open seat in 13 years and once seated, winning candidates tend to remain in office for the full 12 years allowed under term limits.

Supervisor Carole Groom, appointed to fill a mid-term vacancy, is also up for election against a Belmont opponent but is considered a shoo-in. Supervisor Mark Church is running for assessor-elections chief-clerk, which could also send a new face to the board later this year. But for now, the District Three race is the one to watch.

Vying for the spot are former sheriff Don Horsley, 66, who has since been elected to the Sequoia Healthcare District board and currently serves as president. Coastside activist April Vargas, 60, made her name campaigning for President Barack Obama and impassioned fighting but has never held an elected office. San Carlos Councilman Matt Grocott, 51,  moved from outsider to mayor on that body, known for often being a minority voice against taxes and retirement benefits, rebuilding the fire joint powers authority with the city of Belmont and questioning a current proposal to outsource public safety. Libertarian Jack Hickey, 75, is commonly considered a perennial candidate, having run several times unsuccessfully for office before landing on the Sequoia Healthcare Board — a body he believes should be disbanded in the name of less government. The least known may be Michael Stogner, a former car salesman from San Carlos known around the county courthouse for his interest in cases and a finished attempt to launch a recall effort against Sheriff Greg Munks after his detainment in a Las Vegas brothel.

District Three includes the coastside, Redwood Shores, San Carlos, Woodside, Portola Valley, Atherton and the unincorporated areas around Menlo Park. While candidates must hail from the specific district, they are elected by voters countywide.

A current push is underway to change to district-specific elections — a shift that Horsley for one said he does not favor while the others do. Vargas, of Montara, in particular, believes the board will benefit from a coastside candidate because they live with those issues rather than simply learning about them during visits.


Posted by Steve Sinai

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