Q & A with Shelly Masur

She's running for the District 4 seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

Rose Jacobs Gibson will vacate her seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors this year.

Six people want her job, which is to represent the interests of District 4. The district encompasses Redwood City, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and houses about 150,000 people, according to the latest census data.

Patch sent all of them a list of questions about their candidacy, so that you could become more familiar with them in advance of the June 5 election.


1)  Talk to me about why you’re the best candidate to represent district 4.

I'm distinguished by the depth and diversity of my experience and skills. As a non-profit leader, public health advocate and school board member, I am a skilled manager, an effective collaborator, and a creative problem solver. Plus, I’ve managed substantial public and private budgets to both meet fiscal objectives and provide excellent constituent service. I will apply my experience and skills to make San Mateo County the best place to live, work and raise a family.


2)   What would you prioritize if you got voted in?

As Supervisor, my priorities will be:

  • Ensuring fiscal restraint and budget accountability
  • Protecting vital county social and emergency services
  • Creating local jobs and stimulating economic development
  • Maintaining the well being of our children, youth, seniors, and families
  • Fostering environmental stewardship


3)   Who are your primary supporters?

My supporters include San Mateo County Supervisors Don Horsley and Dave Pine, State Senator Leland Yee, Assembly Member Fiona Ma, San Carlos Mayor Andy Klein and South San Francisco Mayor Rich Garbarino, Redwood City Vice Mayor Jeff Gee, Councilmembers Barbara Pierce, John Seybert and Jeff Ira. In addition, I am supported by more than 80 other local elected officials, as well as hundreds of community leaders across the county. I am proud to have the support of more local leaders than any of my opponents.


4)   What issue in the county is the most important in your eyes and what’s your position on it?

The county is addressing many important issues but two that will have a huge impact are healthcare reform and realignment.  Both of these will dramatically affect how the county meets the needs of its residents.  Realignment offers the opportunity to improve the way we address criminal justice but will also change who we have in our local jails.  Lower level offenders who, in the past would have gone to the state prison, will now stay in our county jail.  The county is now developing an implementation plan for realignment that aims to ensure the proper resources are available and used efficiently as well as operating using current best practices in criminal justice.

Similarly, health care reform means that potentially over 60,000 new people will be eligible for healthcare through the county.  This county has already been recognized for its efficiency and work in streamlining services through electronic medical records, managing chronic diseases and providing care for its patients using a team of providers that all communicate.  The results show that people are staying out of the emergency room, increasing the use of preventive care and are having better continuity of care - all critical for improving health outcomes and holding costs down.  Continuing to examine our health systems as we move toward this new approach to ensuring access to healthcare will need to be a major focus in this county.


5)   What is one line item that you think could be eliminated from the county budget?

Of course, our challenge is more complex than eliminating one budget line item.  And the provision of countywide services is multi-faceted and multi-dependent so each item needs to be evaluated in its context.   Having said that, I think we should always strive for cost efficiency - to provide the highest level of service at the lowest reasonable cost. This may mean streamlining services through the use of technology or sharing services across jurisdictions.  Either way, it is a process that  requires constant dialog and collaboration among all county stakeholders, and I will apply my experience and skills to ensure that this happens.


6)   Tell me about a way that you would raise revenue for the county.

I support the three revenue measures the Board is looking at for the June ballot:

1. The hotel tax

2. The fee on rental cars in unincorporated areas

3. The fee on parking lots in unincorporated areas

These three are estimated to bring in $13M each year.  I will push to enhance tracking by project to constantly monitor the results of both our revenue generation and how we are doing controlling costs. In times like these, everything we do must be efficient, auditable and transparent. 

I also support the County's approach to enhancing revenue through its economic development plan.  One example of this is the work the County is doing to capitalize on the America's Cup.


7)   What’s your background?

I have more than 15 years of experience in public service and non-profit management, including serving for the last seven years as a Trustee on the Redwood City School Board. I am also the Immediate Past President of the San Mateo County School Boards Association, a member of the Peninsula Partnership Leadership Council, the Grand Boulevard Initiative's Community Leaders Roundtable and I serve on the boards of several local non-profits. I hold a Masters in Public Health.  I have three children and my husband is an intellectual property attorney.


8)   What is one thing that most constituents don’t know about you?

As a child, my family moved often – I attended 11 different schools growing up - which has made me very adaptable and open to new ideas. I found my true home once I came to the Bay Area and San Mateo County, and have now lived here longer than any other place in my life.


9)   Do you speak any other languages, besides English?

My children are all bilingual and biliterate and the majority of the families in the school district speak Spanish so I speak some Spanish and continue to learn.


10) If someone wants to contact you, what is the best way for them to do so?

I’d love to talk to anyone about the issues that concern them in San Mateo County. Voters can reach me through my website at shellymasur.com or emailing me directly at shelly@shellymasur.com.

Gregory February 21, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Many incarcerated individuals will be returning home to East Palo Alto, Fair Oaks and Belle Haven when the prisons flush themselves in an attempt to de crowd. The county needs to provide programs that will reduce the likelihood that they will become recidivists. Shelly, what are those "best practies?"
Buck Shaw February 21, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Whats your position on: "OneBayArea" or "Plan Bay Area" ? High Speed Rail project? Exclusionary Zoning in the Residential Hills? Open Space for migratory animal routes on the Peninsula? The proposed parcel tax in Redwood City Elementary School District ? (Covers unincorperated areas) Sandy B.--- Nice call on the typical Political " Blah Blah Blah" answer to question #5. ! I find Teachers on School Boards the same as a "Wolf in sheeps clothing" it should be citizens on school boards.
billyjames February 22, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Sandy B: re Ms. Masur ducking #5, do you have a suggestion for her? I hope so! re America's Cup, the Port of RWC is fully supportive & you could get details from them. Buck: Your comment implies she's a teacher. Are you sure about that? I support her candidacy -- she's been representing my interests and those of my children.
Shelly Masur February 23, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Gregory- Thanks for your question. The draft local implementation plan provides more information (http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/Attachments/Probation/PDFs/Probation_Home/CCP_LIP_DRAFT_02-03-2012.pdf). But, some of the pieces it looks at are ongoing assessment to determine needs and provide the right services that follow a distinct set of principles and address the highest need, train staff to work with people's own motivation, and work to engage support for the person in their own community.
billyjames May 11, 2012 at 07:05 PM
If you knew Shelly like I know Shelly: I support her because I have seen her in action for years here in Redwood City. I have seen her at school board meetings, seen her in the parks when her kids and mine were playing soccer, seen her at events downtown. I have seen her deeply committed to the role of education in the lives of our children. I mean, c'mon. Her general views and mine coincide enough for me to help her any way I can, particularly since she works so hard to create change. If you don't know someone you might be inclined to mistrust them. I know Shelly better than I know any of the other candidates, and she suits me just fine.


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