News - August 10, 2011

Election 2011: College district may put $564M measure on ballot

• Two contested elections so far: in high school and fire protection districts.

by Dave Boyce

Six years ago, voters approved a $468 million bond measure for the San Mateo County Community College District. They will be presented with a similar opportunity this fall if the district's board of directors approves a resolution to put a $564 million bond measure on the November ballot, a staff report said.

The resolution is before the board for a vote at its 6 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at the district office at 3401 CSM Drive in San Mateo. The district's three schools include Canada Community College in Woodside.

As a school bond measure, it would need the approval of 55 percent of the voters, not the 67 percent needed to pass a municipal bond or a tax increase. The 2005 measure was approved by a 64 percent majority.

A 1999 measure for $148 million fell just short of a majority, but that was before the threshold for passage was lowered to 55 percent. A recent survey predicted that a 2011 measure would pass with a majority of 65 to 67 percent, the staff report said.

Three of the district's five board members — incumbents Dave Mandelkern, Patricia Miljanich and Karen Schwarz — are running for re-election in November.

High school district

In other election news, incumbent Olivia Martinez has completed the nomination process to run for re-election to the board of the Sequoia Union High School District, according to an updated candidate list from the San Mateo County Registrar of Voters.

With four candidates running for three open seats, the Sequoia board election will be contested. Also running are incumbent Lorraine Rumley and two challengers: San Carlos School District board member Carrie B. Du Bois and Stanford University law school lecturer and Menlo Park resident Allen Weiner.

Fire districts

The other contested race is for the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, where incumbent Bart Spencer, security consultant Robert Silano, and business executive Scott Barnum are running for two open seats on the board.

The filing deadline is Friday, Aug. 12, for elections in which incumbents are running for re-election, and Wednesday, Aug. 17, for elections in which incumbents are not running.

In the Woodside Fire Protection District, board incumbent Patrick Cain has completed the nomination process for re-election. He and incumbent John Gardner have no challengers so far to their re-election to the three-member board.

Town councils

In Woodside, Mayor Ron Romines has completed the procedure to run for re-election, and Councilman Dave Burow is expected to do the same later Monday, Woodside Town Clerk Janet Koelsch told the Almanac. Newcomer Eldona Hamel took out nomination papers but has not yet returned them, Ms. Koelsch said.

The Portola Valley council race continues with Jeff Aalfs having declared but not completed the candidate process for the seat of Councilman Steve Toben, who said he is retiring. Incumbent Councilwoman Ann Wengert said earlier that she will file her papers this week.

Go to for more on the local elections set for Nov. 8.

College projects

The required "list of projects" to be addressed by the community college district if the 2011 measure were to pass includes modernizing classrooms, classroom equipment and libraries, adding renewable and alternative energy systems, retrofitting for seismic and fire hazards, improving access for disabled students, removing hazardous materials, adding security cameras, and fixing leaky roofs and deteriorating infrastructure.

On its 595 acres, the district includes 1.45 million square feet of instructional space, the report said. The district's focuses are affordable education for students wanting to transfer to four-year universities and careers in nursing, engineering, biotechnology and clean energy.

Go to for more information on the 2011 measure.

For the 2005 bond measure, the college district's list included upgrading nursing, health career, science, computer, and biotechnology labs; improving access for disabled students; improving seismic safety; and repairing and modernizing libraries, classrooms, and aging facilities.

Go to for more on the 2005 measure.


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