Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Private Vote? Hah!

Whoops! I voted nearly a month ago, and I forgot to betray the confidence of the ballot box here. Mea culpa. I'll do as best I can, and spill the beans before the results come in tonight.

This was just a local election, without any fun state-wide ballot initiatives, so it's a much smaller set of choices than usual. Without further ado:

This was my first vote for Millbrae city council. Three four-year seats were up for election, meaning we'll be electing the majority on the five-seat council.

My first and easiest vote was for Robert Gottshchalk. Millbrae is kind of interesting, in that the council is term-limited to two consecutive terms, but there's no limit on the total number of terms a member can serve. Someone can serve for eight years, then sit out for two or more years, then run for re-election, which is exactly what Gottschalk is doing. I've never lived in Millbrae while he's been on the council, but he was still the mayor when I started my homehunting expedition, so I'm fairly familiar with his prior work as councilmember and mayor, and I was really impressed. He's an excellent example of someone who has a big, positive vision for the future of the city, while also being well tuned-in to the day-to-day realities… he can decide the small steps we should take today in order to get where we want to be a decade from now.

My second vote was for Wayne Lee, who is the only Chinese-ancestry candidate in the race (Paul Seto decided not to run for re-election after serving just one term). Lee seems to want to invest in the city, strengthening our (already pretty nice) downtown and helping make the city better. That might sound like meaningless boosterism, but it's actually pretty significant in the present economic and political climate; a lot of people get overly focused on the short-term present pains, without thinking about how they can help grow revenues over the long run.

I actually agonized for a while over my third vote, before deciding to cast it for the one incumbent seeking re-election, Marge Colapietro. On the investment/thrift continuum, she skews a little more towards fiscal conservatism than I personally do, but I think that's a helpful perspective to have represented on the council. Plus, on the whole I've been very happy with the way the council has performed, so it makes sense to keep that going.

The Millbrae school district put a bond measure on the ballot, primarily to improve Taylor middle school's cafeteria and also to help with some other infrastructure needs. I gladly voted in favor. I would have preferred a parcel tax to a bond (it's always better to pay money than to borrow and spend), but in the current political climate taxes are very difficult to pass, so I'll accept the form of a bond.

I feel a bit bad about this, but I voted against the community college issue… I totally get why they're going for it, since the state has been slashing its share of funding. Still, I had a hard time swallowing the price tag for what they had planned for improvements. The infrastructure improvements sounded good, but not critical; and as with most of these things, it doesn't look like the measure would help with operations, just with expansion. I'd certainly be open to revisiting the community college issue if it comes back next fall or later.

I don't know enough about the community college district to make informed decisions about the board elections. I THINK I voted to re-elect the incumbents, but had a third available vote that I didn't cast.

And, that's that! Hooray for democracy!

1 comment:

  1. I win! Um... at least, if winning means having the same opinions as most people.

    The city council race looks extremely close, which is probably at least partly a by-product of living in a small town. About 3,000 out of 10,000 eligible voters cast ballots, which I think is darn good for a local-only election with zero statewide or federal races. "My" candidates lead, but there's only 16 votes separating Gottschalk from the fourth-place candidate! I suppose this means there will be some sort of recount. The whole field is tighter than I would have expected - the last finisher, in sixth place, still has more than half the votes as the overall first-place candidate.

    Our school district barely passed the 55% threshhold, and the college barely missed it. It looks like the two incumbents on the community college board were re-elected, along with a third person who I trust will do well.