Political Climate with Mark Simon: Councilman Jeff Gee will run for a third term

in Featured/Headline/PoliticalClimate

As expected, incumbent Redwood City Councilman Jeff Gee told Political Climate he will be running for a third term and will formally kick off his campaign June 10.

“I care about our city,” he said.

“We’ve seen a lot of changes the community really asked for 20 years ago. It’s important to make sure the rest of the city gets caught up.”

Among the unfinished work: the Bayfront Canal, the Highway 101/84 interchange and the Whipple Avenue/Caltrain grade crossing, the latter on the verge of going forward more than 20 years ago and subsequently deferred by the City Council.

Gee said he wants Redwood City to be the same place of opportunity for jobs and families that his grandparents found when they came to this country.

“Our job is to create opportunities for those who come after us,” Gee said. “I just want to pay it forward.”

Putting progress in motion is the essence of why Gee is running: Any significant change takes years, sometimes decades, which means the work has to start now.

“Everything has a different gestation period,” he said. “You have to work on all of them at the same time to get there.”

And sometimes it takes a willingness to move beyond the immediate criticism, citing the push to use recycled water for public landscaping in Redwood Shores, a decision that was quite controversial in its time. He was a leader in that effort in 2004, which helped move him to run in 2009.

Gee acknowledged that divisive and harsh attacks on the city’s progress gave him pause about running again, particularly those that have focused on his position with prominent engineering and construction firm Swinerton.

“It does give you something to think about,” he said. “It’s very difficult to have a conversation with people these days who disagree with you and want to personally attack you. I’d like to think there is a point where most of can agree or at least discuss our differences.”

NOTIONS, SUNDRIES AND DOTS: It was almost exactly a year ago that Caltrain CEO Jim Hartnett signed the agreement to receive $647 million in federal funding for the Caltrain electrification project, despite a number of “supporters” who kept telling him to give up on getting the money out of the Trump administration.  Keeping the electrification project going forward is a challenge of almost absurd complexity, given the dizzying array of partners, all of whom have their own fish to fry. The outcome from a year ago is a tribute to Hartnett’s determination. … That’s a pretty sleazy, last-minute campaign mailer from Mark Melville, the nomadic deputy who thinks he should be sheriff. It includes photos of Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo and 11-year-old stories about the Las Vegas episode wherein then-Sheriff Greg Munks and then-Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos were briefly detained and released outside a massage parlor they both said they went to by accident, an assertion no one has effectively disputed. Neither Speier nor Eshoo has endorsed Melville. His campaign mailer lists one of his qualities as “integrity.” Except when it comes to misleading campaign mailers. … The race for San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools between Gary Waddell and Nancy Magee is said to be too close to call. At the outset, the race was seen as Waddell’s to lose, but as time and campaigning have unfolded, insiders say Magee has rallied strongly. Waddell has a long list of impressive endorsements, while Magee has the endorsement of the two local daily newspapers. Usually, the support of prominent officeholders carries more weight than the newspapers.

CORRECTION: In reporting on Giselle Hale’s own recent campaign kickoff, I probably didn’t convey her comments on housing with the greatest of accuracy. Acknowledging the city has single-family homes and large apartment buildings, she said she will push for “the missing middle of housing – condos, townhomes and small to mid-sized rentals, where families can get started and seniors can downsize with more certainty.”

Contact Mark Simon at mark@climaterwc.com.

*The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Online.


  1. As the former Deputy CEO of SamTrans, Caltrain, and the TA I had the honor to work with Jeff Gee on a variety of transportation and infrastructure programs. Throughout his career Jeff has taken the long term view – even when it is unpopular – because he believes progress is inevitable and important to recognize, plan for, and pursue so that over time real gains for the community will be realized. He’s a straight shooter and I hope his integrity and service commitment will outweigh the personal attacks. I hope he gets re-elected so he can help lead the continuing efforts to improve RWC, and the greater community of he peninsula.

  2. Jeff Gee is one of the worst councilman. He is responsible for a lot of bad decisions for RWC. I hope he would not be reelected.

    • Thank you for leaving your full name. What decisions are those? Can you be specific?
      Mark Simon

  3. Awesome news…can’t wait to see which developers and others throw their weight behind a candidate in construction who continues to personally benefit from large projects in Redwood City.

    • KJ — if you’re going to accuse someone of benefiting personally from his decisions, perhaps you ought to have the courage to provide your name.
      Mark Simon

    • I don’t think there will be any surprises who touts for Jeff.
      The thing to do is pay attention to those doing the touting. Hold them accountable. This mockery of our local politics is not being done single handedly and quite a few of those involved are in elected positions. If voters looked past the milkbones being chucked out by these individuals, and honestly reviewed what is in store for the residents of our city and the county, I think a good shakeup would be in order. And regarding Mark Simons rhetoric and the political scene response, I would disagree. I believe, at least on a San Mateo Cty. local level, the bulk if not all of our available so called journalists simply pump out sound bites from the officials and gush with praise to simply have an exclusive with them. That is one of the many things that has gone wrong with the Redwood City political scene.

    • Rick — this kind of rhetoric is exactly what has gone wrong with the American political scene. Use your full name and offer up some reason, rather than all caps and exclamation points. Otherwise, your opinion — although this hardly qualifies — is utterly useless.
      Mark Simon

  4. On a local level, a large part of what has gone wrong with our political climate is practically all of our so called journalists simply pumping out sound bite from our officials ( several of whom are not even elected soon. ie in case it slipped by you several decided to extend their terms contrary to much more opposition than support). You are all so giddy to just rub shoulders with them. Heaven forbid you should ruffle their feathers and be banned from covering them and the consequences of their decisions.
    And in case your case files do not go back that far,”Oust The Incumbents” in a fashion assisted to get a past self centered local council member booted out. Don’t expect your readers to do your work for you. PS – are my tax dollars subsidizing the periodical?? Seriously??

    • Frankly, most of what you’re saying I find incomprehensible. I can tell you that no public funds are paying for Climate Magazine or Climate Online.

  5. There is a significant faction within Redwood City whose oppostition to development actually limits housing to the poor and minorities and results in their personal enrichment through increased property values. They claim their goals are merely “fighting for the soul of the city” and stopping traffic congestion. It is unintentional racism but the product of their efforts is the same as overt racism. Luckily, we do not yet have their advocates on our current council

  6. Large, Multi-Family Residential apartment buildings do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to reduce the cost of living/housing crisis. In fact, they actually make it worse. They do not improve the quality of life here. Nor do 1,000,000 sq ft. office buildings …… Mr. Gee knows this and so does Swinteron, Jay Paul Corp. and Coldwell Banker Commercial.

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