Tuesday, August 31, 2010

California Harbor Commissioner's Noble Gesture Backfires

File this under "Know the rules before being noble – all the rules."
When two incumbents on the five-member San Mateo County Harbor Commission announced earlier this year that they would run for re-election on the November ballot, only one non-incumbent filed to run against them.

The day before the closing of the candidate filing period for the ballot, Commissioner Ken Lundie, who was running for his fourth four-year term on the board, decided to save the Harbor District the $500,000 to $700,000 in county election fees for the election by withdrawing his name from the ballot.

This would have left incumbent three-term veteran Jim Tucker and newcomer Bill Klear to take the Harbor Commission seats.

It would have except for a law stating that when an incumbent fails to file or withdraws, the filing period is extended – in this case by five-days.

During this five-day extension, and with three-term incumbent Lundie no longer in the race, two additional candidates filed to run forcing the issue back on to the ballot.

Voters in November will now choose two commissioners from the pool of Tucker, Klear, and last minute additions Sabrina Brennan and Robert Bernardo.

Sitting Harbor Commission President Sally Campbell has already endorsed Tucker, but doesn't sound too keen on the other candidates. "What I’ve heard so far is that they’re know-it-alls, so I have a bad taste in my mouth so far,” Campbell told the Half Moon Bay Review. “But whoever wins, we’ll work with them.”

Klear is a retired aircraft production supervisor, Brennan owns her own printing and graphics business, and Bernardo is a former San Francisco planning commission member.

Commission President Campbell told the Half Moon Bay Review that the cost of the election is "going to hurt [the district] very badly. But I can’t say who can and cannot run for election – that’s part of a democracy."

The Harbor District runs the Pillar Point Harbor at the northern end of Half Moon Bay and Oyster Bay Marina Park in southwestern Bay Area.