Who are these people on my ballot?

Dear Editor:

I struggle to find information on the judicial candidates listed on my ballot. Can the Review post some information on these strangers-to-me? How did they get on the ballot? Who recommended them?

They are Patricia Guerrero, Goodwin Liu, Martin J. Jenkins, Joshua P. Groban, Therese M. Stewart, Alison M. Tucher, Victor A. Rodriguez, Iona Petrou, Carin T. Fujisaki Tracie L. Brown, Jeremy M. Goldman, Teri L. Jackson and Gordon B. Burns

Nikki Chicotel

El Granada

Editor’s note: It can be difficult to know how to cast your vote for nonpartisan judicial races. We can point you toward the Official Voter Information Guide you should have received in the mail. It is also available on the League of Women Voters website at lwv.gov/California/north-central-san-mateo-county/elections.

 

Ag, environmental interests converge with Mueller

Dear Editor:

As a lifelong environmentalist and advocate for the preservation of agriculture on the San Mateo County coast, I’m voting for Ray Mueller.

At first glance, one might think that the interests of the environmental and agricultural communities would be at odds — environmentalists work to protect and preserve rural lands; farmers and ranchers work those same lands to put food on our tables and feed their families. Ray Mueller knows that in the face of climate change, environmentalists and farmer/ranchers in San Mateo County must work together.

He knows that innovations in farming and ranching practices and adaptive land management have paved the way for these two communities to work together shoulder-to-shoulder. This is why Mueller has earned the sole endorsement of the Sierra Club, key members of Green Foothills and Peninsula Open Space Trust, and every member of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Board of Directors. 

It’s also why he’s earned the crucial endorsements of the San Mateo County Farm Bureau, and Belinda Arriaga and Victoria Sanchez De Alba, leaders in the Farmworkers Affairs Coalition.

Strange bedfellows? Not really, just smart and timely county leadership. Ray Mueller is the face of San Mateo County’s future. Join me in voting for him!

Zoe Kersteen-Tucker

Moss Beach

Editor’s note: Kersteen-Tucker is president of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board of directors.

 

Don’t ban feeding of feral cats

Dear Editor:

The city of Half Moon Bay is considering an ordinance to ban feeding of ravens and crows. The reason, as I understand it from City Council meetings and the staff report, is because of the nuisance to nearby property owners and the potential detrimental effects on other birds if the raven/crow population increases. The city is also considering adding feral cats to the ban, and the reason for this is unclear. The staff report has only a note that unnamed local bird experts say feral cats can be a threat to wildlife.

I urge the city to drop consideration of a feeding ban on feral cats. It would have the opposite effect of what the city intends.

A ban on feeding feral cats would prevent the important work of the coast’s trap-neuter-return nonprofits, whose efforts have been successfully reducing feral cat populations along the coast. These groups are funded by private donations and in-kind services of veterinarians to reduce the city’s feral population at no cost to the city. If the city prevents their work by banning feeding, it will reverse all the progress — the feral cat population will increase, not decline. Moreover, feeding feral cats, in and of itself, does not increase a threat to wildlife. If the cats are fed, they hunt fewer animals.

Critically, however, feeding must be combined with neutering and spaying, causing the feral population to decline through normal attrition. Also, not all homeless cats are feral. Some once had a home but were abandoned or lost.

The drive for this ordinance seems rushed. I urge the city to consult with experts who work with these cats before going further in this direction.

Jean Knight

Coastal Cats Rescue Group

volunteer

 

Why not rethink school funding instead?

Dear Editor:

When bond Measure I passed in 2006, it proposed a new high school for La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District, and back then the district had a Vision Statement about the community recognizing excellence and attracting new students from outside the district. Unfortunately, bond Measure R has no particular vision and just proposes maintenance. 

In 2008, bond Measure I devolved into a catastrophe. The project stopped, the superintendent and financial manager were fired, and LHPUSD was taken over by the county. The Zahn Group (bond project manager) was sued, but the district still lost millions. A temporary middle school lasted only two years, and since then the school has languished. 

In 2018, LHPUSD redirected funds from Measure I to demolish a building at La Honda Elementary and install modular buildings. This project has resulted in a net loss of classrooms. Where was the bond oversight committee? Where is it now? In spite of that, there are still almost $5 million left. Why is that not enough? 

Since the county released control in 2010, the district administration has bloated. Administrative positions were created for displaced principals, a facilities director position was created then removed, there is more than one financial manager, and now a curriculum director position has been created. Have major repairs and basic maintenance thus suffered?

Meanwhile, families, especially in La Honda, have chosen to send their children elsewhere. This year, not one fifth-grader from La Honda Elementary is going to Pescadero Middle School. Historically, this has been a pattern, including administrators, school board members, and other LHPUSD staff. While the faculty is strong, the district has failed to implement programs that retain and recruit students. 

Now, the district is asking property owners to fund another $15 million bond (which will cost $33 million with interest). Because LHPUSD gets ample property tax revenue, it does not receive money from the state based on average daily attendance. Is this why there’s not an emphasis on retaining and recruiting students? 

There are other ways to fund school initiatives — if there is a vision. A capital campaign around an exciting project, a transformative restructuring of the school system as a charter or nonprofit, or simply emphasizing facilities in the budget, which has consistently run over 20 percent in reserves. Why not get a construction loan? Why not repurpose Log Cabin Ranch? Why not reinvent the process of how we fund schools and educate kids?

Randy Vail

La Honda

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(1) comment

here ya' go

Hi Nikki. Our household had the same questions about the Judges. I found this site that lets you enter your ZIP and it pulls up candidate info for your ballot. It’s a good start.

https://votersedge.org/ca

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