Sometimes it seems there are more elected officials than voters on the coast given the preponderance of water authorities, advisory boards and special districts in our largely rural and exurban area. But the Half Moon Bay City Council carries special weight among them, since it leads the Coastside’s only incorporated town.

That is why the one contested race for a seat on the council — pitting current Mayor Adam Eisen and longtime resident Joaquin Jimenez — is so important. After careful consideration, we think you should vote for Jimenez for the seat in District 3, which encompasses much of the south end of the downtown area.

Jimenez is a political newcomer, but he is well known throughout the city and across the coast. He has lived on the Coastside since childhood, attended Cabrillo Unified schools and later worked for them through the Hatch Elementary School immersion program. For 15 years, he was employed by the San Mateo County Probation Department, helping people transition to a better life. He now works as a community liaison for Ayudando Latinos a Soñar, the Half Moon Bay-based Latin culture and services organization that has grown in importance during the pandemic.

Jimenez is passionate about preserving his heritage and promoting the interests of people with similar backgrounds. And that is the root of why we endorse him for Half Moon Bay City Council. Jimenez is among our community’s most tireless advocates for working families. You see him delivering personal protective equipment to farmworkers, handing out food at open pantries, standing with protesters who demand a more just society. Current protests aren’t academic concerns for him. Jimenez has been profiled by law enforcement on the basis of his skin color. He will bring to the council a perspective it has never had and sometimes resisted.

The U.S. Census shows that, like Jimenez, nearly a third of Half Moon Bay’s 12,000 residents are Latino. More than half of our public-school children share his heritage. Yet, Latino elected representatives are still pioneers, representing their community within a community in ways that are profound to the next generation of leaders.

We are not suggesting you vote for Jimenez because he was born with brown skin. We are suggesting that people who look like him feel invited to participate in civic affairs and that the rest of us consider their involvement integral to our collective strength. Jimenez isn’t just the Latino candidate; he’s the candidate best positioned to understand and represent people in the city who have never been represented like this.

This is not to say we have no confidence in Eisen. He has served the city well and he would continue to do so. He is a man of integrity with a business insight that will be missed. He has been a real leader through the pandemic. Our only real point of contention in our interview was his suggestion that Half Moon Bay needed more San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies — to direct traffic. (Jimenez seemed more sensitive to the national moment, suggesting trained social service workers respond to emergencies when the particular call suggests more nuance than a gun and a badge.)

Jimenez will bring a fresh perspective to City Hall.

— Editorial board

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