Candidates bring ideas to table

From slashing government funding for charities to dividing the county into supervisorial districts, candidates for the supervisorial seat representing unincorporated San Mateo County aren’t short on ideas for change.

Challengers Jack Hickey and Jo Chamberlain are taking on incumbent District 3 Supervisor Rich Gordon in hopes of upsetting his bid for a third and final term in the June election, or at least forcing a runoff by preventing Gordon from winning a majority of votes.

Hickey, a Libertarian Party member and an Emerald Hills resident, would like to see less government all around. An elected member of the Sequoia Health Care District Board and retired laser scientist, he bills himself as a taxpayer- and private property-advocate and has called for the county to stop funding local charities and social services. “Fixing potholes rather than treating potheads is a legitimate government purpose,” Hickey said.

He supports property tax credits, in the form of vouchers, that would let parents choose where their children are educated. He also argues that the county’s $55 million-a-year cost for running a public hospital could be largely eliminated by selling off the San Mateo Medical Center and convincing private hospitals to pick up the tab for indigent care.

Chamberlain, a biologist, coastside resident and Green Party member, wants supervisors to be elected by geographic districts, rather than countywide, to give residents on the coast more of a voice in decisions that affect them. Like many coastsiders, she feels supervisors ignored local consensus around tighter restrictions on development in the midcoast area in the draft Local Coastal Plan.

“They’re looking to satisfy their development and real estate supporters,” Chamberlain said.

She also supports tax incentive to bring the biotech industry to the county and the conversion of apartments to condominiums along El Camino Real.

Gordon, first elected in a 1997 special election, said that, as a resident of unincorporated Menlo Park, he shares the same government as coastsiders.

He is proud of his work on children’s health and of finding funds for more than 400 affordable housing units on the Peninsula.

“I want to see us build more affordable housing along the transit corridor [El Camino Real and the Caltrain tracks], so that our kids can actually live and work in the county rather than moving away, Gordon said.

Three years ago he also helped secure 49 acres near Mirada Surf threatened with development for the county parks system in years, Gordon said.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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