Sunday, April 11, 2010

San Mateo County Treasurer Candidates Forum, April 17



Barbara Arietta

On Saturday, April 17th, the Pacifica Democrats will a host a Candidate's Forum. The event will concentrate on the contenders for the San Mateo County Treasurer's office. Joining the Democrats for breakfast on the 17th will be Sandie Arnott, Deputy Tax Collector/County Treasurer of San Mateo County; Richard Guilbault, President of Guilbault Asset Management, and David Mandelkern, Vice President of the San Mateo Community College District. The Forum will be held in the Sharp Park Golf Course Restaurant's Banquet Room, Francisco and Sharp Park Blvds, in Pacifica. The 9:30 A.M. - 11:30 A.M. breakfast forum is the second in a series of Candidate Forums being sponsored by the local Democratic club.

This particular race has heated up very quickly. Rarely, are there elections for any county administrative offices, as incumbents often serve decades, and ultimately hand off their seats to subordinates. But, the San Mateo County Treasurer's race is surely looking to be a hotly contested seat, in the wake of the 25-year Tax Collector/County Treasurer Lee Buffington announcing last August that he no longer would run for the office. For his part, Buffington has been at the epicenter of a controversy surrounding his management of the county investment pool, comprised of local city and school district funds, as well as other funds., including county transportation funds and other large sums of money held in reserve or bond funds earning short-term interest through the large investment pool. The investment pool lost approximately $155 million in the wake of the 2008 collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment firm, with which Buffington's office did considerable business.

The loss of funds has stung many cities and school districts already struggling with challenging budgets and has prompted the county to file suit against Lehman. The Lehman losses hit the Community College District particularly hard with losses on nearly $25 million in unrecoverable bond funding. The San Mateo County Transportation Authority also lost approximately $25 million in the financial failure of Lehman Brothers. Many districts and cities had additionally questioned the oversight of the county investment pool, as the $155 million loss that San Mateo County sustained was one of the hardest hit in the nation. The size of San Mateo County's Investment Pool is currently $2.4 Billion.

Neither Buffington, nor others, attribute his decision not to run again to the Wall Street bankruptcy.

All Pacifica Democrats meetings are open to the public. One neither needs to be a club member, nor a Democrat to attend the meeting. A full breakfast is available for $12; Continental Breakfast - $6 and Coffee only - $3. Doors open at 9:00 a.m.. Seating is between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. For further information, or to RSVP for the Candidates Forum, please contact Barbara Arietta, President, at 415-246-0775 or email

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