Thursday, May 20, 2010

Half Moon Bay Review: Horsley would best represent coast in Redwood City

Original editorial...

American governance has rarely been this difficult. The money that pays for everything from transportation needs to health care initiatives is scarce. Taxpayers are in open revolt. Meanwhile the issues are more complex than ever before. Global climate change, increasingly intricate international partnerships, a spider’s web of state and regional entanglements, even the constantly evolving technology that theoretically makes things easier conspire against our president, our congressional representatives and our local politicians.

Leading a modern-day county government requires a range of assets that goes far beyond the prerequisites of the past. That is why we recommend Don Horsley for the District 3 seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. He brings a unique set of skills to the job.

Experience matters: Horsley, a former San Mateo County Sheriff, is the only one of the five candidates to have worked inside the county bureaucracy. He has managed a complex government agency. He has worked with employee unions and stayed within a budget. Before a career in law enforcement, he worked as a public school teacher.

Compassion counts: Horsley was the only candidate to step forward when the Coastside Family Medical Center shut down more than a year ago. His idea — that the Sequoia Healthcare District might annex the coast to provide a safety net — was not fully realized and may not have been the answer. But at least he was interested. As sheriff, he formed teams trained to help the homeless and mentally ill and not merely treat them as lawbreakers. As a member of the Sequoia board, he has worked to bring more nurses to our community through an innovative incentive program.

Coastside connection: Horsley lives on the bayside of District 3, in the unincorporated Emerald Hills area near Redwood City. He does not have the feel for the Coastside that he would if he lived here, but he is no stranger. Horsley and his family actually lived in Moss Beach in the 1970s. And he is a familiar face at Coastside events. Some of the candidates are strangers here. Not Horsley. Further, he pledged that one of his aides would hail from the Coastside and said he would make sure that county meetings with particular Coastside implications are held here.

Influential friends: Horsley has the endorsement of all four of the supervisors he will call colleagues. U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier support him. So do four of the five sitting Half Moon Bay City Council members. Modern governance requires constructive partnerships. Horsley has a leg up on his fellow candidates in that regard.

This is the first time in more than a decade that the incumbent is not a shoe-in. (Incumbent Rich Gordon has termed out of the position and is running for state Assembly.) Consequently, the race for the seat has drawn a competitive and strong field. We were impressed with aspects of each candidate.

We were particularly pleased to see Montara resident April Vargas running such a strong campaign. She is knowledgeable and connected and would make a fine supervisor herself. In our interview, she didn’t articulate her vision as well as Horsley did, but our endorsement of the former sheriff should not be construed as a judgment against Vargas; we simply don’t think she is the strongest candidate in a strong field.

So vote for Horsley. And do so knowing that the Coastside will not be neglected.

— Half Moon Bay Review

Don Horsley

Essentials: 66 years old, former San Mateo County Sheriff, Emerald Hills resident

Priorities: Horsley stresses his experience and ties to power brokers. He is endorsed by U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, as well as outgoing District 3 Supervisor Rich Gordon. Currently president of the Sequoia Healthcare District board, Horsley favors expanding the taxation district countywide to assure better health coverage for all.

Learn more:

Michael Stogner

Essentials: 60, volunteer victims’ rights advocate, San Carlos resident

Priorities: Stogner says he would make the county a safer place to live, in part by keeping a close eye on other elected officials within San Mateo County. He has strong views — calling aspects of the proposed high-speed rail system “fraudulent” and the Coastside’s proposed Big Wave development “ridiculous.” He says it isn’t government’s job to create jobs.

Learn more: Search “Stogner for Supervisor” on Facebook

Jack Hickey

Essentials: 75, retired research scientist, Emerald Hills resident

Priorities: Hickey is a longtime political activist in the county. He lists helping to block a sales tax hike in 1991 among his greatest political accomplishments. He is a member of the Sequoia Healthcare District board and calls himself a taxpayers’ advocate. He says many aspects of government — notably education — are inefficient and is generally for smaller government.

Learn more:

April Vargas

Essentials: 60, small business owner, resident of Montara

Priorities: Vargas has been active in Coastside politics for many years. She was active in the drive to construct a tunnel through Devil’s Slide. She is a member of the county’s Agricultural Advisory Committee and Green Building Task Force and is an alternate on the California Coastal Commission. She calls caring for the county’s needy a sacred trust, and promises to be a fiscal conservative.

Learn more:

Matt Grocott

Essentials: 51, small business owner, resident of San Carlos

Priorities: Grocott is a member of the San Carlos City Council. He says the best government is local government. He thinks the California Coastal Commission is too powerful and stressed that he would be a champion of open government. He favors studying the consolidation of government functions, such as the county’s many public safety agencies.

Learn more:

Submitted by Mark Stechbart

1 comment:

Kathy Meeh said...

Half Moon Bay generally writes thoughtful articles, and this one about Don Horsley is no exception. Since he's the best choice guess I'll keep his sign in my front yard.

Other candidates also bring-in some good ideas, hope to see some of them on another campaign. Nice comprehensive post Mark.