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December 13, 2016

Comments

Joe

San Mateo is upping the limits on campaign donations which were pretty low to begin with especially in a larger city like theirs:

Goethals said he believed Measure Q (Joe: The equivalent of B'game's Measure R) and the money dumped into the campaigns was an anomaly and felt council donation limits weren’t directly related. Instead, he noted those who ran during the last council race in 2015 complained about the difficulty of raising funds with the restrictions.

Plus, candidates could soon have to spend more to get voters’ attention. “We, like many cities, are headed toward even-year elections (Joe: due to Sacramento meddling that is the topic of this post and the game the Legislature wanted to play), which means the number of voters you’re going to have to reach out to could be significantly increased. So I think those are real concerns and I think in order to level the playing field for everyone, you want to make it easier for people to raise money.

Someone who is self funded or who’s backed by a big pocket would have a significant advantage over a person who has to raise the money from a lot of different sources,” Goethals said.

Bonilla, who was appointed to the council and elected in 2015 to serve out a two-year term remainder, noted it’s expensive to run a campaign. With the cost of postage having gone up 50 percent since 2004 but their contribution limits having sat stagnant, increasing contribution limits is about keeping pace with the times, he said. “The simple truth is that the cost of running a campaign has gone up. It did go up consistent with the cost of living,” Bonilla said, adding the new limits are also about having more parity with the surrounding cities.

Other than Belmont, Burlingame and Half Moon Bay, San Mateo is the only city to have limits and currently has some of the lowest in the county, according to a staff report.

- See more at: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2017-01-07/city-raises-campaign-contribution-limits-san-mateo-council-candidates-can-collect-more-lessons-from-contentious-measure-considered/1776425173958.html#sthash.W5gIJBYz.dpuf

Handle Bard

Which was does everyone think they will go tonight?

Joe

Watching the video, after a notable amount of discussion and not a little confusion, the vote was unanimous for Option 3:

Extend all Council terms by a year but wait until an election year. By doing this,
the three seats that would be elected in November 2017 would be for five years
(placing their next election in November 2022), and the two seats that would be
elected in November 2019 would be for five years (placing their next election in
November 2024).
------------
It was late last night, so the analysis of ramifications will come later. Emily Beach was the only one who was reluctant to extend terms by a year, but came around at the end of the discussion.

Joe

Here is the Daily Journal's recap:

http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2017-01-19/burlingame-alters-election-calendar-council-will-seek-five-year-terms-to-align-with-effort-to-boost-voter-turnout/1776425174528.html

Bruce Dickinson

Call Bruce Dickinson somewhat confused! To quote the article:

"Steadfastly opposed to extending terms, Beach said she favored seeking three-year seats in following elections, but ultimately her position was in the minority among councilmembers. 'I don’t like it, but I can live with it,' Beach said, before voting in favor of the five-year term proposal."

Was a unanimous vote required? If not then why would someone vote for something they didn't really like or believe in? Troubling, as it seems on controversial issues, Bruce Dickinson thinks that the council almost always votes unanimously. Is someone advising them to do so or is there an unwritten tacit agreement? Correct yours truly if you think I'm off-base. Would be interesting to look at council voting patterns on all issues, controversial and non controversial issues of now vs 5, 10, 15, 20 etc years ago. By definition, controversial issues should have more varying voting patterns.

Ah, the beauty of public records!

Lorne

And here's where the Burlingame School District currently stands on this issue (per summary from this past week's Board of Trustee's meeting, posted on their website):

Odd/Even Numbered Board Elections
The Board of Trustees voted to extend the discussion on complying with Senate Bill 415. Senate Bill 415 requires school districts to change their elections to even years to encourage more voter participation. The board discussed extending and shortening their terms to comply with the mandate. The options for the elections are as follows:
2017/2019 scheduled elections held with 5 year terms to meet even years (2022/2024)
2017/2019 elections postponed to 2018/2020 extending current board terms to 5 years
2017/2019 elections held shortening board terms to 3 years to meet even year requirement (2020/2022)
The odd/even election item will be placed on the February 14, 2017 board agenda.

Joe

BD, you would have to watch the video to get your answer. I'll give them the benefit of a bit of confusion at 12:45 am.

I'll quote Ruth Jacobs, long time planning commissioner and all around sensible woman, on the topic: "After midnight I will sit here and listen/participate in the discussion, but I'm not going to vote on anything."

Bruce Dickinson

OK, Joe...so then why vote at all at 12:45 am if you can't think clearly and council members or the public don't really want to be there at that time? Looks like they have scheduling issues that could have easily been remedied with an additional special session on another night

I regard term-setting as a crucial issue in democracy so why not give it more importance as a first item?

Bruce Dickinson is failing to see any logic here!

Joe

I agree.

Lorne

FYI, here's how the Burlingame School District ultimately voted with regard how to this issue (per Superintendent's blast email/summary note re: last nights Board of Trustees meeting):
----------------------------------
Odd/Even Numbered Board Elections
The Board of Trustees revisited this topic at last night's meeting. Senate Bill 415 requires school districts to change their elections to even years to encourage more voter participation. The board discussed extending and shortening their terms to comply with the mandate. The options for the elections are as follows:
2017/2019 scheduled elections held with 5 year terms to meet even years (2022/2024)
2017/2019 elections postponed to 2018/2020 extending current board terms by one year for a total of 5 years
2017/2019 elections held shortening board terms to 3 years to meet even year requirement (2020/2022)

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to hold regularly scheduled elections in 2017 & 2019 and to shorten those terms by one year for a total of a three-year term. It is important to the Board that the electorate have the opportunity to vote in the next election. The Board hopes to encourage additional interest and participation in the 2017 and 2019 elections.

Bruce Dickinson

Hmmmm.... Ego and power issues with the Burlingame Council you think?

Would have made a lot more sense having the same local election in 2020 (as you have to do it anyway) and giving people more choice by shortening terms and not protecting incumbency as much? The BSD has a much stronger rationale compared to the City Council, whose decision seemed to be a hasty "it's late at night, we're tired, can't we just end this and give us 5 years already"

Bruce Dickinson is quick turning into a SELLER of the Burlingame City Council!

**I'm Bruce Dickinson and I approve this message**

hollyroller@gmail.com

You are absolutely right regarding the "give us 5 years already" quote BD.
However, I do not believe many readers of BV understand the meaning.

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