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

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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.