Editorial: Recap of election recommendations

In spite of short ballot, your vote is important in June 3 election

Seriously contested local elections are few and far between in next week's state primary election, but two judge campaigns, a challenge to the county's incumbent sheriff and an open-space bond measure deserve our readers' attention and vote.

If you have not already voted by mail, be sure and either mail your ballot by Saturday or use one of the easy drop-off locations and save the 70 cents postage. Thanks to the county Registrar of Voters, on Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. voters can drop off vote-by-mail ballots without leaving their car at Fry's Electronics in Palo Alto. On Monday, ballots can be taken to Palo Alto City Hall, and on election day they can be dropped at any polling place, regardless of whether it is the voter's assigned polling place.

Low turnout elections allow a highly motivated minority of the electorate to control election outcomes, so we hope Palo Alto voters will cast ballots and make their voices heard.

As of Wednesday, only 3,500 of the 27,000 ballots issued to Palo Alto voters had been returned to the Registrar, so we have a long ways to go to reach a respectable turnout level.

Earlier this month, the Weekly published editorial recommendations on the competitive races and measures. Our choices are summarized below with reference and links to the original editorials.

Measure AA: Vote yes on open space bonds (May 2)

Voters in the 17 Santa Clara and San Mateo county cities that make up the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District have the chance to ensure these lands are maintained properly and made more accessible for public enjoyment over the next few decades.

Measure AA requires a two-thirds vote for passage and authorizes the sale of up to $300 million in general obligation bonds over 30 years. It will increase local property taxes by up to $3.18 per $100,000 in assessed valuation, or about $30 a year for a homeowner with a property assessed at $1 million.

We are strong believers in the work of the open space district and the value it brings to our increasingly urbanized environment. It is hard to imagine a more important public investment than to maintain and improve the valuable open space that provides us with beautiful views, recreational opportunities and protection against development.

Re-elect Sheriff Laurie Smith (May 16)

The campaign being waged by retired sheriff's captain Kevin Jensen against Sheriff Laurie Smith demonstrates why a better system would be for county boards of supervisors to hire a sheriff rather than having them elected.

Through mailings, robo phone calls and anonymous blog postings, Jensen and his supporters are slinging lots of accusations against Smith with little substance to back them up.

They have cherry-picked and distorted some inartfully handled incidents during Smith's 12 years in office, but their overriding argument is that deputies don't like her or her management style and believe she lacks "vision" for the department.

Smith enjoys the support and respect of all five county supervisors, including Joe Simitian, and a long list of elected officials. Perhaps most significant is the fact she has been endorsed by almost every councilmember in the three cities that contract with the sheriff for police services, in other words, her customers.

Sylva, Harris for Superior Court judgeships (May 9)

In the two-candidate "Office 21" judicial race, we believe Julianne Sylva is the superior choice, in spite of the more diverse experience of her opponent, Dennis Lempert.

Sylva, a deputy district attorney for the last 23 years, is a prosecutor who has shown consistent concern and compassion for both crime victims and the accused, especially with regards to juvenile and family-law matters and those involving indigent defendants.

Three candidates are running for the "Office 24" slot on the bench. Our choice is Matt Harris, a 23-year veteran prosecutor in the D.A.'s office. He is running against incumbent Judge Diane Ritchie and challenger Annrae Angel, a criminal-defense attorney. It is the first time in 16 years that a sitting judge has faced a challenge in Santa Clara County.

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Like this comment
Posted by Gary Ruppel
a resident of Midtown
on May 30, 2014 at 11:37 am

Spot on!

Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on May 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm

I am voting against measure AA? I look with suspicion on ANY endorsement given out by the weekly-- I wonder how the weekly will profit from the endorsement and/or how they have profited prior to,giving out the endorsement.
Another reasons for my vote is an op-ed endorsement that appeared in the Daily Post from yoriko kishimoto. Who knows,if a few weeks after the election she will change her mind-- remember her quick about face after the HSR vote she lobbied for????

Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on May 30, 2014 at 6:54 pm

The Daily Post had an article today about how the Open Space organization tried to use eminent domain to seize a convent and force out nuns who had fled from communist Russia.

So I'm a no on the bond.

Like this comment
Posted by Rich
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 2, 2014 at 7:04 am

The open space district will not likely use the 300 million borrowed for new projects. Instead, district officials will probably buy land at a premium from the land trust and seize other land from private owners.

Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm


URL is - / elections / find-polling-place . htm


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 2, 2014 at 7:28 pm

No on AA.

$300mil bond that will cost twice that much after the interest is paid. Stupid is as stupid does.

Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jun 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.


I don't understand the argument for voting no because bonds have interest.

Do you vote against school bonds because they have interest payments.

More to the point do you advise people against taking out mortgages because the interest payments are close to or more than equal to the loan.

Your stupid is comment seems to imply that people who take mortgages or companies that borrow are stupid because they pay interest over thirty years equal to the amount of the loan.

Is that really what you meant to say?

Like this comment
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2014 at 9:31 pm

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 3, 2014 at 5:48 am

Do you take on debt that amounts to paying back double of what you borrowed?

Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jun 3, 2014 at 6:35 am

stephen levy is a registered user.


Well anyone who takes out a 30 year mortgage, puts 20% down and borrows at 5.3% pays back double what they borrowed.

Most homebuyers over the past 30 years have paid more than 5.3% on their mortgage.

Are they all stupid?

And even if you borrow today at less than 5.3% you are paying almost double counting the interest.

Why is this stupid?

Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm

I voted for Measure AA, because I have a soft spot for conservation issues. Yes, bond measures always pay about double the face amount, over their lifetimes, but that is nothing new. The essential issue is whether the issue has an important time element. If we do not conserve our wild lands now, they will become nearly impossible to protect in the future.

I just spent a pleasant camping weekend in Big Basin. Andrew P. Hill led the effort to preserve those lands, and he was accused of stopping progress...yet he was actually the progressive, in the end. The State of California paid for that land and, yes, there was interest to be paid. It was worth it. It is the same with Measure AA.

Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Sheriff Smith...who gives concealed gun permits to her big donors and in a last ditch effort to win has invoked a missing and presumed dead girl as a TV ad. Pretty sick. Especially since 2 years after the arrest there hasn't even been a trial

Like this comment
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2014 at 7:27 pm


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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