South San Francisco, CA August 12, 2023
Last month Everything South City received an inquiry on elected officials moving outside of their district and what were the rules governing such issues. Our South San Francisco City Clerk, Rosa Govea Acosta, was our first go-to as it is that department that handles election information for the City and we greatly appreciate the information we received which can be viewed below.
However, within a few days, we received two additional queries, from other residents, with the same question, yet referencing this official was a School Board Trustee. The City of South San Francisco Clerk’s Office does not oversee elections for the School District. So, this question was then posed to our South San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Shawnterra Moore and again, we appreciate her immediate response. It is noteworthy that Dr. Moore’s response was not only immediate, she responded while in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year, preparing for the first day of returning students for this semester. Further, her response identified the person in question as Trustee Patricia Murray, and further stated she believed the Trustee’s absence from her residence was temporary due to renovations being done on her home.
To bring this issue full circle an inquiry was sent to Ms. Murray on Thursday, August 3rd, with a copy to the full board and Dr. Moore, requesting a public statement to allow the South San Francisco community to understand if District A would still be represented by her, or would she vacate the seat. Late last evening we received the following public statement from Trustee Murray with instructions to reach out to her if there are any further questions. She has included her email address in her statement below.
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to address the concerns of some of our SSF community members that I am not living in my district.
I am a renter and after 32 years living in my house in District A, the owners of the house asked that we move out temporarily while they renovate. The time frame was to be 3-4 months and at this writing, they are on target. I should be back in my home by the end of October. I am currently renting outside of my district with a month-to-month agreement to be terminated when the renovation of my in-district home is completed and I can move back. As I am planning to return, I have kept my permanent address. All mail comes to that address, and no official records (DMV, Voter registration, etc.) have changed.
My colleagues on the Board, the district administrators, County Counsel, the Property Manager and many neighbors and community members know all of this.
Superintendent Moore has been in contact with our San Mateo County Counsel. The department’s determination is that I am able to continue to serve as a Trustee in District A.
I have kept ties to my West Winston Manor community. I attended the West Winston Manor National Night Out where I spoke with neighbors and community members. I have visited my district, spoken to neighbors and visited my community schools. On the first day of school, I visited my District A schools, Junipero Serra and Skyline Elementary, as well as well as, Martin Elementary, Ponderosa Elementary and Alta Loma Middle School, where I spoke to students, families, teachers and staff. Between now and the time I move back, I will undoubtedly visit and speak with many more families in my district at school events.
I’m happy to speak with anyone who has questions. I can be reached at my district email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is the information from the SSF City Clerk’s Office regarding residency requirements for elected district City Council members as there has been some questioning of this in our community as well.
What are the rules for the elected person to remain in their district during their term.
As noted in the City of South San Francisco’s Municipal Code Municipal Elections Chapter 2.16 – 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.
After elected, can they move to another district? Is so, for how long? If not, what is the course of action to bring this inconsistency to light?
Termination of residency in a district by a Council Member shall create an immediate vacancy for that council district unless a substitute residence within the district
is established within 30 days after the termination of residency.