Voting: Our Right, Our Responsiblity

South San Francisco, CA   October 30, 2015 voter apathy is on the increase

We cannot let apathy win, no matter how jaded many might feel about politics. We currently have a few local items on the ballot, which bring us a clearer cause and effect with our local administrations, which should help our resolve to vote. Because our vote really does make a difference. And because voting is our right, and with that, our responsibility.

VOTEOn our ballot we find two incumbents running unopposed; Mayor Richard Garbarino and Councilwoman Karyl Matsumoto. So we know how this is going to end and wonder, does our vote really matter? Yes, it does. While your vote won’t change the outcome, it will allow you to participate in giving a thumbs up or down to each candidate. More important, by voting you have exercised your right and your responsibility.

Also on our ballet is the 1/2 cent sales tax Measure W which will bring in $7M annually to our City-  and is ours to keep,  there is no giving this to the state or other government entities. There has been rhetoric floating around implying that without this Measure approved we will no longer have City services, or that we will not be able to keep them at current standards, that is simply not true. Our Mayor gave our City glowing reviews this past year: we are fiscally sound, Police and Fire have great response times, our City Council recently signed off on the street re-paving project, our Parks and Recreation do an amazing job offering diverse programs with something for everyone, and our Library Services do the very best with what they have.

But can we do better? Sure. Will $7M a year help. Most definitely. We know our Police Station has needed a major remodel for years – actually a tear down and rebuild would make the most sense, if you’ve walked through there lately you’ll most likely agree.

Our Orange Avenue Library is bursting at the seams and for those of use who use this valuable resource – well you know how much our community would benefit from a completely new Library. We really need to give Kudos to our Director of Library Services, Valerie Sommer, for being able to bring together the very best with the small spaces, and budget, she has to work with. Can you imagine having a state of the art Library here in South City?

Our Parks and Recreation Director, Sharon Ranals, also does so much with so little, and we know how much that Department could benefit from extra cash flow to work needed projects. How many of us are tired of hearing we have no money to invest in our playing fields? This $7M annually may just be what gives us the edge in bringing this to reality – our kids, and adults, deserve better fields!

The arguments against Measure W seem to have centered on a few key issues: 30 years is too long, lack of confidence on how this $ will be spent by future administrations, yet others are simply done with paying higher taxes. All of these arguments have merit. We see our National Debt continue to rise which will fall on the shoulders of our kids, do we want to add more burden with 1/2 cent sales tax in our home City? We watch the mishandling of Measure J, the School Bond monies, shake our heads and wait for accountability while wondering ‘We voted in the School Board, just as we do our City Council, who can say with certainty that Measure W funds will flow any better?’  For most of us the 1/2 cent tax will be painless, we would hardly notice paying this and it is exempt from groceries (unprocessed food), real estate transactions, and services.

The reality is our City is financially strong today as we see a boom growing all around us. Measure W offers us a way to secure funding for additional projects that are sorely needed – like that new police station that is so over due! The longevity of this measure will ensure funding if, and when, we have another economic downturn. Life happens, ups and downs, and we must be prepared.

vote right responsiblity childrens futureThe most important issue with this election is that we exercise our right, and responsibility to vote. Do not let apathy suck you in. We see such despair around the world with failing governments, with refugees risking everything to find a home that offers a democracy, that which we can too easily take for granted. We owe it to those who came before us to fight for our right to vote. To our mothers, grandmothers for pushing through the Suffrage movement fighting for Women’s Right to Vote. And we owe it to this next generation, to show them that yes, even with it’s imperfections, our Country – and our City, are worth that few extra minutes to mark and mail our ballot.

Voting, our right and our responsibility. Below is information provided by the City of South San Francisco on how and where to vote in this San Mateo County first ever all mail ballot election. And yes, you can still vote in person!  More information on the Candidates and Measure W and ballot issues CLICK HERE


From City of South San Francisco

Your Three Voting Options:
1. Vote by Mail 
All registered voters received a ballot in the mail with a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope to return the ballot. If you have not received your ballot by mail, contact the San Mateo County Registrar at or (650) 312-5222.
All ballots must be postmarked by November 3rd and received in the Elections Office by November 6th in order to be counted. Vote by mail ballots can also be dropped in the ballot box in the South San Francisco City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 400 Grand Avenue, South San Francisco, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday –Friday.
     How Can I Check if my Mail Ballot Has Been Received?
Voters may confirm whether their vote by mail ballot has been received at
  • In the “Voters” box in the middle of the screen, there is a link titled: “Check My Registration/Access My Election Materials/View My Voter Information Pamphlet”
  • After clicking this link, voters will be asked to enter identifying information
  • A list of items relevant to their ballot will then appear, including the date the ballot was sent to the voter and the date the voted ballot was received by the Elections Office
Residents may contact the City Clerk’s Office for more information or assistance related to the City of South San Francisco election at (650) 877-8518 and
2. Vote Early
Voting Centers:
You may drop off your ballot, get a new ballot, or vote on an eSlate voting machines at EITHER location below.
  • San Mateo County Elections Division
40 Tower Road, San Mateo
  • Office of the Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder
555 County Center, 1st floor, Redwood City
Voting Center Hours:
MondayFriday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Now through November 2nd
Saturday, October 31st, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Ballot Drop-Off Locations

All City or Town Halls in San Mateo County have a ballot box available for dropping off your voted ballot during their regular business hours

(South San Francisco City Hall closes at 5:00 p.m.).
The ballot drop-off box will be available until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
Replacement ballots are not available at drop-off only locations. For a list of
the 20 ballot drop-off locations, please visit:
3. Vote in Person on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd 
For South San Francisco residents, two (2) polling places are available to vote in person from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  1. Municipal Services Building, Atrium, 33 Arroyo Drive
  2. South San Francisco City Hall, Foyer, 400 Grand Avenue, enter on Miller Avenue
On Election Day, thirty-two (32) accessible Universal Polling Places will be open throughout San Mateo County.  At any of these Universal Polling Places, any San Mateo County registered voter will be able to vote in person, request a replacement ballot, or drop off his or her voted ballot. Personnel will be on hand to help voters requesting assistance.
Universal Polling Places (UPP) Voting Hours and Locations:
For more information about all-mail voting, visit the San Mateo County Registrar’s website:
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John Baker
7 years ago

Excellent editorial. Emotions sometimes get high during elections, especially when pocketbooks or families are concerned. But debate is not just healthy — it’s necessary in a free society. (In fact, though I support both individuals running for council, I kind of wish someone else had thrown their hat into the ring in order to setup a candidates’ forum or two.) Thanks especially for the reminders to vote and for laying out the ways to do so.