Five people–three of them women–have submitted letters of interest to join the governing board of the San Mateo County Harbor District. They will be interviewed this coming Wednesday, June 5th. One of these candidates will be appointed to fill the space formerly held by Leo Padreddii, who died this past April shortly after his re-election.
The odds on favorite to win the appointment is attorney Will Hoslinger, a former member of the Harbor District’s board. Holsinger, who came in fifth place in the 2004 Harbor District election, was appointed last May to sit on the Harbor Commission, filling a seat left open by the death of commissioner Sally Campbell. He then ran but lost in the 2012 election in November. A resident of the city of San Mateo, Holsinger is generally given competent marks during his brief tenure as commissioner but he is seen as a “comfortable fit” for the majority of current commissioners, often described as an “old boys club” focused more on the harbor’s past than on a vision for the future.
The Harbor Commission has a history of apparent back-room dealings and other questionable actions. Until recently its meeting were not videotaped–the last local government body to make it’s meetings available on video and despite the efforts of harbor manager Peter Grenell to prevent the meetings from being videotaped.
A candidate providing a stark contrast to Holsinger is Nicole David, a resident of Half Moon Bay and marine biologist who describes herself as an “avid open water swimmer, kayaker, paddle boarder, and naturalist.” If selected she would be the only marine ecologist on the board and the only commissioner with a strong, personal involvement in harbor-related recreation–a valuable perspective for the District’s leadership as it faces its changing role in the community.
Other people–including two other Coastsiders–who have expressed an interest in serving are Lauryn Agnew of Moss Beach, a financial investment executive, Dorothy Baughman, also from Half Moon Bay, who has experience in accounting and who served as Deputy Secretary to the Harbor District’s Board for five years, as well as Charles Ivan King, a Brisbane resident who has worked closely with the District in the past on issues related to hovercraft.
The current commissioners have decided to use their “scorecard” method of selecting the winning applicant despite the fact that this method was largely discredited last year when it was revealed that the cards were filled out in such a way to give the impression that Holsinger was “wired” for the appointment. The scorecards were only made public at the insistence of Sabrina Brennan (prior to her election to the board) and resulted in negative press and a critical op-ed by Half Moon Bay Review editor Clay Lambert.
At Wednesday’s session, which will begin at 5:00 pm, each of the five candidates will be interviewed for fifteen minutes and asked seven questions. Their answers will then be ranked on a scorecard by each of the sitting commissioners. The winning applicant will be sworn in and seated prior to the regular meeting of the Board, which will begin at 7:00 pm that same day.
The letters of interest from the applicants and related materials are linked below:
[Updated to include information on the 2004 election.]