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Hill’s men (and women) behind the curtain

Jerry HillCampaign finance statements released Tuesday stole the show, so we ran out of time and space to give you all the juice on the 19th Assembly District Democratic primary race.

It’s clearly shaping up to be the hottest local race for 2008, with San Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill and Consumer Federation of California Executive Director Richard Holober already having amassed more than $400,000 combined in their campaign coffers. Millbrae City Councilwoman Gina Papan confirmed late Tuesday that she will also throw her hat into the race.

(That, by the way, makes for an interesting conundrum for Millbrae City Councilmembers who will likely be pressured for endorsements. Will they support Papan, or will they support Holober, who is married to Millbrae Vice Mayor Nadia Holober? Or will they keep quiet?)

But besides the numbers, Hill also announced Tuesday his key campaign staffers, otherwise known as the men (and women) behind the curtain.

It’s little surprise that he will be under the political guidance of Ed McGovern and his firm, Public Affairs Associates. The South San Francisco firm has advised countless candidates for county and city office as well as local bond measure campaigns. The firm aided Hill in his campaigns for supervisor and San Mateo City Council and also advised former San Mateo County Supervisor Mike Nevin in his failed 2006 bid for state Senate.

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Posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
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Gordon goes all high-tech with webcasts

Rich GordonSan Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon might be able to call himself the most 21st-century of the lot, making history this week with the first official webcast by a county supervisor.

“New technology brings new opportunities,” Gordon said in introducing the six-and-half-minute segment. “I’m choosing to put this webcast on the San Mateo County Web site so that the citizens of this county can hear directly from me about some of the issues that we are struggling with here in the county.”

Gordon says he hopes to post a new webcast, which is accessible from the supervisor’s Web site and requires RealPlayer to view, every two months.

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Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2007
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Yee hosting town hall meeting in Belmont

Ask state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, your tough questions in person at a town hall meeting he is hosting Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. in Belmont City Hall’s Council Chambers, 1 Twin Pines Lane.

Representatives from various regional and state agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, Department of Consumer Affairs, Caltrans, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Employment Development Department, will also be on hand to answer questions.

In San Mateo County, Yee’s district, the 8th Senate District, includes Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola valley, San Bruno, San Mateo, South San Francisco and Woodside.

Take the opportunity to hear what your representative has to say!

Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2007
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A crowded field in Foster City

Seven candidates have taken out papers for the City Council race in Foster City, where two council members are up for re-election and a third, Mayor Ron Cox, is being termed out.

Councilwoman Linda Koelling and Councilman Rick Wykoff have filed their nomination papers already as part of their re-election bids. They’re joined by Art Kiesel, a member of the city Planning Commission, and Marcia Cohn-Lyle, a member of the San Mateo Union High School District’s Board of Trustees.

Those four are joined by three candidates who have not yet returned their nomination papers: Patrick McKinnie, a group home counselor; Huijun Ring, a biotechnology manager who holds a PhD in medical genetics; and Stanley Roberts, a television journalist with KRON-4.

Roberts ran for City Council in the 2005 race, coming in fourth out of five candidates with 10.3 percent of the vote. McKinnie, 26, was born and raised in Foster City. He says the City Council has “lost its focus” and doesn’t cater to the needs of residents. Ring supports the inclusion of a public charter high school in the city’s development of 15 acres next to the government center.

Despite the quantity of candidates, the 2007 campaign has been quiet so far. If silence equals inactivity, that could spell trouble for the challengers, said Councilman John Kiramis, who won a slot on the council by coming second in the 2005 election with 27.7 percent of the vote.

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Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2007
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Lantos on list of lawmakers funneling funds to family

Like dozens of other high-ranking Congressional lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, keeps some of his campaign dollars close to home.

Lantos, according to a report released last month by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics and Washington, has made $4,000-worth of contributions to family members’ campaigns and paid his grandchildren $56,000 for consulting services. His daughter Katrina Swett and son-in-law Richard Swett, a former New Hampshire congressman and ambassador to Denmark, are also registered as lobbyists.

The report found that nearly 100 members of the House of Representatives who are chairs or ranking minority members of House committees have used their positions over the past five years to benefit family members, including providing jobs to spouses.

On Monday, the House passed a bipartisan bill that bans lawmakers from paying their spouses for campaign work, according to the Washington Post. The measure would not bar other family members from working on a lawmaker’s campaign but would require disclosure.

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Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
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Broadmoor police await governor’s signature

The Broadmoor Police Protection District is just one signature away from full recognition.

Today the state Assembly unanimously approved a bill amending California Health and Safety Code to grant police protection districts like Broadmoor all the rights, duties, privileges, immunities, obligations and powers of a municipal police department. The bill was also passed unanimously by the Senate in May.

Now, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will have twelve days to sign or veto the measure.

The bill, SB 230, is sponsored by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, whose district includes Broadmoor.

“Broadmoor Police provide all the services of a municipal police department and therefore they should be granted all the same rights and privileges as well,” Yee said in a statement. “SB 230 will have a great impact on the lives of Broadmoor residents by allowing the police department to release sexual predator information, issue certain permits, and prevent future inadvertent legislative omissions.”

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Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2007
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Siebel lawsuit could take aim at county judge

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Carol Mittlesteadt may spend her days presiding over the court, but she may soon also find herself in it.

In it, no less, with the billionaire founder of the San Mateo-based software company Siebel Systems as the plaintiff she’ll face.

Tom Siebel In a ruling made by the California Supreme Court Monday, Tom Siebel, the former chairman and CEO of the company (shown here), was given the go-ahead to sue Mittlesteadt and another attorney – E. Rick Buell II – for “malicious prosecution” stemming from a fraud suit settled in 1999. When the suit was filed, Mittlesteadt was a civil litigator.

According to The Recorder, a Northern California legal newspaper, the court “all but opened the courthouse door for the former Silicon Valley executive by unanimously ruling that a settlement in an underlying fraud suit constituted a favorable judgment that allows Siebel to sue the attorneys who brought the case.”

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Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2007
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To the NY’ers, San Carlos has “no worries or cares”

It appears that New Yorkers – alright, one New Yorker – believes that it’s nothing but a life of leisure in San Carlos. It’s hard to blame her, after a fly made headlines in Today in San Carlos, the city’s e-newsletter.

Using the newsworthy fly as Exhibit A, blogger and Bene Magazine editor Joanna Goddard wrote, “my lovely sister Lucy and her new husband Paul recently moved to San Carlos, a little Californian town with no worries or cares.”

The July 16 edition of the e-newsletter had this to say:

Fruit Fly Spotted In San Carlos

In late June, the city received a phone call from the San Mateo County Department of Agriculture. The county department informed us that an Oriental fruit fly had been obtained on Prospect Street.

The county says that there is no cause for alarm as sightings of the fruit fly during this time of year have occurred in the past. The county agriculture department will be setting traps to prevent an infestation.

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Posted on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007
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Eshoo landing appropriation bucks for the 14th

Anna EshooThe congressional district of U.S. Rep Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, is a major step closer to some big appropriation bucks for local energy and environment-related projects.

The funding is part of H.R. 2641, the 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations Act, which the House passed today by a vote of 312 to 112.

The House approved:

  • $2.58 million for the San Mateo County Harbor District to complete the repair of the Pillar Point Harbor breakwater. The repair will ensure the integrity of the breakwater and forestall the need for more costly repairs in the future, according to Eshoo’s office.
  • $1 million for fuel cell research and development by Nanosys Inc. of Palo Alto. The funding will be used to develop a prototype for a fuel cell membrane assembly to enhance fuel cell effectiveness and reliability in consumer electronics such as laptops.
  • $750,000 for fuel cell research and development by Direct Carbon Technologies Inc. of Menlo Park. The funding will be used to develop a prototype fuel cell to significantly increase the efficiency at which electricity is generated from coal while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • $500,000 for the California Coastal Conservancy’s South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. The funding will continue Army Corps of Engineers studies for flood control activities related to the restoration of the South Bay Salt Ponds acquired from Cargill in 2003.

H.R. 2641 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Posted on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007
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Young travelers seek out El Granada’s namesake

On their summer travels, two San Mateo youth found a bit of their county’s inspiration at the foot of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

Ryan De Paula, a self-professed history buff and a soon-to-be senior at Hillsdale High School, decided that a summer trip to Spain with a friend’s family ought to be about more than just sightseeing. De Paula, who spent the first 14 years of his life living in El Granada, realized that his itinerary included a visit to the Coastside town’s namesake, and that he ought to make something of it.

Ryan De Paula “Since I grew up in El Granada, my dad would tell me stories of how (Gaspar de) Portola founded the area,” the 17-year-old said. “Me and my dad came up with the idea to, I guess, bring a historical connection because of the two cities. I thought it would be interesting to do something like that.”

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Posted on Friday, July 13th, 2007
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