UnCOWntested Elections

April 18, 2010

As we come closer to the June election, it looks like a number of offices in San Mateo are already locked up. Write-in candidates have until May 25th to file but the occasional write-in candidate is seldom a serious challenger. In our COWnty, a number of important positions are uncontested. No one has filed against current Sheriff Greg Munks and current Controller Tom Huening. Only Anne Campbell filed for Superintendent of Schools; Steve Wagstaffe for District Attorney, and Mark Church Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder. So all of these important posts are likely to be entirely uncontested.

We do bemooan the trend of uncontested local elections. Democracy depends on vigorous discourse on the important issues which face us. Also, where the uncontested candidate is not an incumbent, there is no vetting process to determine whether or not the candidate is qualified. COWs are lucky this time that all three of the non-incumbents are clearly qualified for the posts.

Current Superintendent Dr. Jean Holbrook who has held the position since 2006 will retire in January. It can be assumed that she will be replaced by candidate Anne Campbell, the current superintendent of the Portola Valley School District. The Portola Valley School District primarily serves elementary and middle-school-aged children from Portola Valley and unincorporated neighboring areas, but a significant portion of its students are drawn from Woodside.

Undoubtedly, some of our readers are already familiar with her. She has been involved in education for 35 years, and has been honored by the Association of California School Administrators. We, here at COW, know her from her participation in Portola Valley’s fire education summit held last October that outlined how that cow-munities emergency responders and schools would respond to keep their citizens and children safe in a fire. You can view it on MooTube here. She impressed us as a strong, competent leader and her record at our neighboring school district speaks for itself.

After 26 years, District Attorney Jim Fox will retire in January and likely be replaced by Stephen M. Wagstaffe, who is his Chief Criminal Deputy. As Chief Deputy District Attorney, Wagstaffe is considered to be Jim’s protégé. He will be only the county’s third district attorney since 1953, since Fox’s predecessor, Keith Sorenson, held the office for 29 years. The fact that there is no opposition, suggests that Wagstaffe must have support in his office.

The current clerk-assessor-recorder William Slocum also is retiring at the end of the year, having held the position since 1987. He will be replaced by current County Supervisor Mark Church, who chose to seek this position rather than running for an additional term as Supervisor. Interestingly, Church’s father, Marvin Church, was Slocum’s predecessor. Church has been the Supervisor from District 1 (which includes Hillsborough, Burlingame, Millbrae, San Bruno, and some parts of San Mateo and South San Francisco) since 2000. He was born and raised in the County,graduated from the University of the Pacific and McGeorge School of Law and he practiced law in this County.

We COWngratulate all of these uncontested candidates and wish them the best in providing leadership to our COWnty in these difficult times.

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