Alicia Aguirre gets Re-elected to the Redwood City Council

Aguirre, Bain, Foust, Pierce keep Redwood City seats

Daily News 11/9/11

Facing only one challenger who barely raised any money to wage a campaign, four longtime Redwood City council incumbents easily retained their seats in Tuesday’s election.
With all 4-0 precincts reporting, Vice Mayor Alicia Aguirre and council members Ian Bain, Rosanne Foust and Barbara Pierce collected enough votes for another term. Aguirre led the pack with 2-3.5 percent of the vote.

The challenger, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Paul McCarthy, came in fifth with 1-2.9 per-cent of the vote. He had campaigned on a platform of ensuring community safety, managing growth, improving the economy and prudent city budgeting.

Although McCarthy had a Face-book campaign page and attended house parties and candidate fo-rums, he did not do any fundraising to distribute campaign literature or erect lawn signs.

Pierce, currently in her 1-2th year on the council, said in her campaign statement that she was “proud to have played a leadership role in making Red-wood City a more vibrant community.” Foust, CEO of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association, said the city benefits from her business acumen. Bain said he prioritizes city requests from the “average citizen.” Aguirre, a college professor, said she has worked to “create a community where everyone can afford to live, work and raise a family.”

In addition to maintaining a balanced budget, the city council faces many challenges related to development. Revitalization of the city center has been gaining momentum since the council approved a downtown plan in January that allows taller building and more offices and homes. The council eventually will decide whether to permit development of a mini city on the Cargill salt flats.

Redwood City incumbents keep seats

Daily Journal 11/9/11
Michelle Durand

All four Redwood City councilmembers seeking re-election retained their seats handily, shutting out the one challenger to their campaigns, while two tax measures and a charter change passed.

Of the four, Alicia Aguirre came out on top with 4,058 votes, or 23.5 percent. Barbara Pierce followed with 3,831 or 22.2 percent, Ian Bain with 3,597 or 20.9 percent and Rosanne Foust with 3,536 or 20.5 percent of the votes. Challenger Paul McCarthy received 2,217 votes, or 12.9 percent, according to final semi-official results from the San Mateo County Elections Office.

“I’m really excited and appreciative,” said Pierce who has already served 12 years on the council.

Pierce said her victory was sweetened by the return of all four incumbents to the council because it allows a “continuity of vision” along with some new initiatives for economic development.

Continuing their work was a theme for all four incumbents during the campaign with a particular emphasis on the ongoing revitalization of downtown.
Bain, Foust and Aguirre did not return calls for comment.

McCarthy, a 44-year-old sergeant with the California Highway Patrol, purposely chose not to raise money or use traditional campaign methods like lawn signs and fliers.
McCarthy could not be reached for comment.

Both tax measures on the Tuesday ballot also succeeded. A transient occupancy tax increase from 10 percent to 12 percent received 72.9 percent of yes votes. The change is estimated to bring in an extra $640,000 annually. The city last increased its hotel tax in 2003 from 8 percent to 10 percent, placing it in the middle range of the county’s 15 cities which levy such a tax.

The increase in the business license tax will add an estimated extra $825,000 annually to city coffers by fiscal year 2014-15. The measure passed with 55.1 percent — 3,406 yes votes to 2,776 no — unlike two years ago when a similar effort failed. It needed a majority to pass.

The difference is the amount of understanding the public had about the measure, Pierce said.

“I think [previously] we didn’t really do as much outreach as we needed to do so that the public understood the value. It’s always hard for people to vote for new taxes,” Pierce said.
Pierce donated to the committee “Redwood City Residents to Protect City Services” which raised more than $6,000 to support the tax measures. Aguirre also gave money.

Voters also approved changing the city charter so officials can consider how a developer wants to use city land instead of simply how much money is offered. The charter proposal, which lets officials consider maximum public benefit when selling or leasing property, essentially flew under the radar leading up to Election Day but still nabbed 61.2 percent of favorable votes.

The recommendation was not hitched to a particular parcel but stands to be beneficial for Block 2 of the cinema/retail project. If the city sells the parcel, considered part of the city’s gateway, the council can now consider what exactly they want there. The city charter has been amended 15 times since its 1929 adoption, the last being in 2009.

Council Incumbents Handily Defeat Challenger

Incumbents Aguirre, Pierce, Bain and Foust remain in their seats on the city council.

Redwood City Patch 11/9/11
Stacie Chan

By a sizeable margin, the four city council incumbents edged out challenger Paul McCarthy to retain their seats on the city council.

Aguirre received the most votes by collecting the support of 4,048 residents, while the 3,831 votes in favor of Pierce made her the second most popular candidate and Bain edged out Foust by 61 votes to become the third leading vote getter.

The four incumbents will each serve another four year term, where they will make difficult decisions regarding the city budget, the proposed Cargill Saltworks development, High-Speed rail, and how to provide more housing.

This is Pierce’s last term, since the city has a four-term limit on city councilmembers. This is Bain’s and Foust’s third term and Aguirre’s second full term.

Listen to how Alicia Aguirre, Ian Bain, Rosanne Foust, and Barbara Pierce envision the city in four years.

McCarthy was not immediately available for a comment.

Some may attribute McCarthy’s shortcoming to his lack of a traditional campaign, with Mayor Jeff Ira calling it “sad.”

Resident Catherine Fraser said in a comment on this Patch article, “What I don’t like about Mr. McCarthy is the fact that he’s not running a campaign.”

While the incumbents spent an average of $13,172 on their campaign, McCarthy spent $54 on business cards. He also held a “Meet the City Council Candidate” event on Oct. 28.

He said by accepting campaign donations from anyone, businesses, unions or even friends, there would be an inherent debt to that person that could affect his objectivity. McCarthy also said that any lawn signs would just end up in a land fill, contributing more waste.

“I think he ran a great, clean campaign, and I have a lot of respect for him,” Bain said. “I really appreciate him putting his hat in the ring.”

But McCarthy and the incumbents all invested a great amount of time as well. They attended multiple candidates’ forums, filled out endorsement forms, met with community members, and had a great online and social media presence. The incumbents also put out mailers and calls reminding residents to vote.

“It isn’t easy,” Foust said. “But you put yourself out there when you want something and you work hard.”

A formal induction of the city councilmembers will take place on Dec. 5, when the city clerk will hold an election amongst the seven candidates to select the new mayor.

Results: Incumbents Will Keep Seats On Council

Redwood City Patch 11/8/11