SSF City Clerk Offers Insight to Election Queries

October 19th, 2022 – South San Francisco, CA

The past few months we have received multiple inquiries regarding the Brown Act and on election legalities which we put forth to Rosa Govea Acosta, our City Clerk

Below is this conversation and we greatly appreciate Rosa’s immediate response. We hope this information resolves any questions our community may have had regarding these issues.

  1. What are the requirements for a council candidate to live in a specific district prior to campaigning for that new district? This question has come up regarding both Addiego and Flores moving from their established districts to the new ones prior to this campaign cycle.

When the city transitioned from at-large elections to District elections in 2018, the City Council approved the following residency requirements. The information is also available in the city’s Municipal Code Chapter 2.16 Municipal Elections and can be found here:  https://library.qcode.us/lib/south_san_francisco_ca/pub/municipal_code/item/title_2-chapter_2_16?view=all

2.16.030 District-based electoral system requirements.
(b)  Except as provided in subsection (c), each member of the city council elected to represent a district must reside in that district and be a registered voter in that district, and any candidate for city council must live in, and be a registered voter in, the city council district in which that candidate is seeking election at the time nomination papers are issued to that candidate pursuant to Government Code Section 34882 and Elections Code Section 10227. Termination of residency in a district by a member of the city council shall create an immediate vacancy for that city council district unless a substitute residence within the district is established within thirty days after that termination of residency.

California Government Code 34882

A person is not eligible to hold office as a member of a municipal legislative body unless he or she is otherwise qualified, resides in the district and both resided in the geographical area making up the district from which he or she is elected and was a registered voter of the city at the time nomination papers are issued to the candidate as provided for in Section 10227 of the Elections Code.

As the City Clerk, I did a preliminary verification of candidate eligibility by verifying residency with voter data provided by the San Mateo County Office of Elections. Once I determined they met the eligibility requirements, I issued nomination papers, as done with Mark Addiego and Eddie Flores.

Since our election is consolidated with the County, once candidates filed their nomination papers, I forwarded those documents to the San Mateo County Elections Office, which verified the candidates and determined if they qualified for office.  

  1. Is there any accountability for a signed legal document stating a candidate will not be seeking election in the 2022 election yet then campaigns for that said election?

This question comes from Flores’ appointment application in 2020 stating he would not be seeking election in 2022,  which is attached.

Any member of the public who is not disqualified by the Constitution or laws of the State from holding a civil office and meets the following requirements can run for public office in South San Francisco:

  • Be at least eighteen years of age
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be a resident of South San Francisco
  • Be a registered voter and a resident within the district the candidate seeks to represent as a Councilmember

The City Council did not create any different rules for applicants who stated on their questionnaire that they didn’t plan at that time to run for City Council. I am unaware of a legal document or law that prohibits those applicants from changing their minds and deciding to run for office.

  1. How would the Brown Act be realized when three council members attend the same political event? This question comes from the photo posted on Senator Wiener’s social media, copied below, where he is posing with three SSF councilmembers Nagales, Flores, Coleman at a YIMBY political event.

As you know, the Brown Act was enacted in 1953 to guarantee the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies and as a response to growing concerns about local government officials’ practice of holding secret meetings that were not in compliance with advance public notice requirements. The Brown Act is pivotal in making public officials accountable for their actions and allowing the public to participate in decision-making.

While the City Council abides by the Brown Act, there are certain exceptions that allow a quorum of the City Council to gather, such as Conferences and retreats, other public meetings, meetings of other legislative bodies, and social or ceremonial events. These are exempt from the Brown Act provided that legislative members follow certain rules, such as limiting the discussion to the agenda in the conference; or that legislative members do not discuss the business of their legislative body amongst themselves. Regulations for these exceptions to meetings are contained in § 54952.2(c). Also excluded from the application of the Brown Act are individual contacts or conversations between a member of a legislative body and any other person (§ 54952.2(c) (1). Any other person is defined as a non-staff or non-board member.

Weiner posts:

Mega #YIMBY gathering to support @yimbyacvtion!

It was fun hanging out with some awesome city council members from Berkeley, South San Francisco & elsewhere, who deeply understand the need for more housing”

(From Senator Wiener’s twitter feed https://twitter.com/scott_wiener)

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CLARISSA S.
CLARISSA S.
1 month ago

Weiner is EXACTLY that, in my opinion! He is one of the reasons why CA has gone off the cliff. I, personally, would not get 50 feet within this man!

Lisa R
Lisa R
1 month ago

Where did Addiego reside before moving to District 1?

SouthCityGal
SouthCityGal
1 month ago
Reply to  Lisa R

He lived in District 5. Council Member Flores and Council Member Addiego swapped districts. Flores is counting on Hispanic votes in District 5.

steve m
steve m
1 month ago
Reply to  Lisa R

rotary plaza? it’s time to retire mark. maybe pick up new hobby ? and let your new buddy’s
the young progressive democratic socialist finish the job of ruining the city and state .

steve m
steve m
1 month ago

clown show. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little . wish you would not show
these creeps. we know what they look like. (democratic socialist) ya whatever .

Cory Alan David
Cory Alan David
1 month ago

Well, we can always count on Rosa to give a comprehensive explanation for questions posed by concerned citizens. The council has proven incapable of answering any questions posed to them. She and the City Clerk’s Office are one of the few bright spots in a city government that gives us little to be proud of. Rosa already has quite a work load and I’m only glad that the questionable ethics of our city officials are not under her purview. If that were the case, she would need to keep the office open 24/7.