District Elections for County Harbor Commission Proposed

South San Francisco, CA    March 5, 2018 Press Release

County Harbor Commissioners Brennan & Larenas Support District Elections

SAN MATEO COUNTY— Harbor Commissioners Larenas and Brennan are calling for district elections to save millions in property tax funds currently being wasted on a countywide at-large election system. The Harbor District paid the County $752,490 for the Nov 2017 countywide at-large election. Switching to district elections would improve accountability; increase citizen participation including marginalized communities and lower taxpayer costs.

It is time to change the Harbor District’s election system to the much more equitable District Elections.

—Edmundo Larenas, SMC Harbor Commissioner

 

The current countywide at-large system for electing Harbor Commissioners prevents voters from holding incumbents accountable. In Feb 2018, Commissioner Tom Mattusch admitted to sexual misconduct. A countywide recall initiative would require a staggering number of signatures to qualify for the ballot. The at-large system blocks the path for removing a commissioner. District elections empower voters to take action when the public trust is violated.

—Sabrina Brennan, SMC Harbor Commissioner

 

At-large elections have been abandoned by many local agencies because they favor candidates with deep pockets and politically connected incumbents, making it prohibitive for lower-income people and people of color to run successful campaigns. In 2009, the benefits of district elections were supported by the SMC Civil Grand Jury, which issued a formal recommendation to the County Board of Supervisors in favor of district elections. In Nov 2012, the voters overwhelmingly supported a ballot measure to dismantle the at-large elections system for county supervisors. In Oct 2017, the Menlo Park City Council adopted a resolution declaring the intent to transition to district-based elections.

 

In 2010, Sabrina Brennan first proposed district elections as a way to reduce election costs.

Half Moon Bay Review – July 12, 2010

Resident suggests new format for harbor elections

http://www.hmbreview.com/news/resident-suggests-new-format-for-harbor-elections/article_33bb87d8-cc56-11e1-87d1-0019bb2963f4.html

1 comment for “District Elections for County Harbor Commission Proposed

  1. your neighbor
    March 6, 2018 at 4:55 am

    The top gubernatorial candidates in this year’s election support district elections. In fact, one of the candidates when asked by me said he would ask the legislature to send him a bill and he’d sign it. AS some may recall,Gov. Brown vetoed a similar bill last year, but the legislature promised to bring it up again as soon as next year. Here in SSF, the incumbents and low voter turn out is an anathema to representative government.
    The City claims 85% approval rating, when citizens polled, but the right questions weren’t asked and anyone who knows polling know that the questions asked are the ones they already know the answers

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