Amidst the elections happening this November, community leaders are already looking toward November 2012, when Supervisor Rose Jacobs-Gibson will term out and the District 4 San Mateo County Supervisor seat will be up for bid.
A four-year term, the coveted seats are opportunities for active community members to help an even larger county population thrive and withstand these tough economic times.
Vice Chair Ernie Schmidt has held his seat for two and a half years, having made several decisions about land development issues, most recently a recommendation in Redwood City.
But for the past four months, Schmidt has been eyeing the San Mateo County Supervisor seat.
“I’m pretty confident I have a solid background for what the county, residents and businesses need to continue progressing,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt also comes from the private sector, working at Tesla Motors.
“It’s the perfect model in regards to providing the type of injection we need into the county,” he said of private industry collaborating with the public sector.
This mix of business and community service background would give him the breadth to make a wide variety of decisions at the county level, he said.
Though he wouldn’t name a list of endorsers yet, he said the response to his likely run has “been extremely positive.”
Fellow Planning Commissioner Nancy Radcliffe said he’d be a “fabulous candidate for the job.”
“He’s very thorough and puts a lot of time into each decision,” she said. “He doesn’t jump to conclusions before going to any meeting.”
Memo Morantes has been active in the city and county for two decades as an education activist, businessman and community member.
Now that the seat will be vacated, Morantes said, “It is time to bring my experience from business, education, community efforts and collaboration to alleviate the financial stress and constraints at the county level.”
His decision to run began a couple of years ago, Morantes said, as he racked up experience across several organizations, and collaborating amongst each one. This collaboration was exactly the model that the County Board can use, he said.
Morantes has served on the Latino Leadership Council, a county-wide organization advancing Latino issues, since 1993. In the education sector, he is in his third term on the board, the co-chair of the Education Committee, and the ’s County Board of Education trustee.
As Supervisor, he said that the budget is always a priority and that he would work with all departments to streamline some of the services. And in the process, he said, the county could also increase its customer service quality.
Safety was also an additional priority of his. He cited the two recent fatalities in mere hours in East Palo Alto on Wednesday as examples of the need for increased traffic safety in these tough economic times when more staffing and patrolling is difficult.
“You need a champion for everything,” Morantes said.
His endorsers include 20 to 30 county school board members and other community activists, he said.