Election Update: Bernardo widens lead over Tucker

The newest election count update, posted today at 4:30 pm, shows Robert Bernardo increasing his lead over Jim Tucker. Both are incumbents. Bernardo’s tally grew from 43,273 from Wednesday afternoon to 47,199 today and Tucker’s grew from 43,068 to 46,897. The gap increased from 205 votes Wednesday to 302 votes today. There still may be thousands of uncounted votes so the race is not yet concluded. The final vote count 9and the next update) is scheduled for Tuesday at 4:30.

Nicole David, the top vote getter in that race, increased her lead over the contested second place position with her current vote total now at 64,817. In this most recent update she increased her lead from 11,029 to 17,618, a gain of 6,589 votes.

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SMC Daily Journal: Bernardo seems to have won harbor seat

The San Mateo County Journal is reporting that though there are still over 20,000 votes to count the race for the third seat on the Harbor District Board of Commissioners seems to have been won by Robert Bernardo, an starting outcome since on election night Tucker had the most vote and was presumed the winner. Many of those missing votes will be reported on today at 4:30 pm with the remainder due to be posted by the County next Tuesday.

Tucker seems to agree with the San Mateo County Journal’s assessment of the likely outcome. Bernardo is less certain.

From the Journal’s article:

Tucker:“Honestly, it’s OK. Now it’s time to move on to something else. [I] did [my] 16 years, [I] did 12 years with Daly City [Council]. If I put a positive spin on it, I’ve done my public service, now it’s time for the next group to come in,” Tucker said.

Bernardo: “I’m at a loss for words because in all my years in being involved in politics, I’ve never seen anything like this before. This is they type of stuff you read about,” Bernardo said. “I’m not making an assumption that we’re going to win, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do want to just thank my family and supporters.”

Speaking with Montara Fog, Bernardo seemed as surprised as anyone and vowed that should the final numbers go against him he would not ask for a recall. “I do not plan to ask for a recount because I don’t think it’s necessary. Plus, I don’t want to waste the county workers’ time on counting and recounting ballots. I fully intend to respect whatever the final vote tally will be.”

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A place unlike any other place

[I wrote this sort essay as a sort of thank you to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. It’s a difficult thing…how do you maintain public safety at an event with no structure, no leaders, and with everyone in disguise? This year they hit it just right. Visible but not overbearing. A part of the community. Thanks for a great Halloween.]

I arrived in the Bay Area on July 26, 2004 after a month-long, meandering cross-country trip from the East Coast. Once we were here one of the first major tasks was to buy a house. But where?

My agent, based in Burlingame, showed me houses all over the Peninsula. We looked and looked. Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, South City, Pacifica, on and on. We looked in Half Moon Bay. Nothing was quite right. Looking through the listings on my own one day I saw an ad for a house in a place called Montara. We had never been there but went the next day.

I liked what I saw. At last a place that didn’t look like every other place. At last a place that looked like it had evolved over time rather than being chosen out of a catalogue by some aesthetically challenged developer and then built all in one day. It was near the ocean. I would be able to walk out my door and know immediately that after moving nearly three thousand miles that I wasn’t in Idaho or Maryland, or Ohio.

We didn’t buy that particular house but we bought another soon after. And though we bought near the height of the last housing bubble I quickly came to realize that I would have paid more if I had really understood how wonderful—how magical—Montara really is.

I had anti-buyer’s remorse.

The first thing I noticed wasn’t the dark skies, where on a good night you can see the Milky Way. It wasn’t the hiking on Montara Mountain, which I do almost every night. It wasn’t even having a beach to yourself on most any weekday. The first magical thing I discovered about Montara was the costumes. Oh, and the candy.

You see, we got the keys to the house on October 31st. We had heard, of course, of the “big” Halloween from locals—but we were moving from a more urban area and thought “how big could it possibly be?” Montara is a tiny little dot. Then night came on and we went out. The roads were filled with people, all dressed up. Houses not just elaborately decorated but designations to experience—A Witches House with a hundred intricately carved pumpkins, a sort of circus, a haunted ship, several walk-though haunted houses. Of all the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people out that night my wife and I were the only two adults not wearing a costume.

I love were I live. I love Montara. Every day is special, every night is special, and Halloween may be the most special of them all.

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As vote counting continues, Bernardo edges ahead of Tucker in harbor race

I have no idea what is going on here, no idea how many more votes there are to count.

Bernardo is currently at 43,273 and Tucker is at 43,068.

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Voters call for change. Will they get it?

Newcomer Deborah Penrose and former City Councilwoman Deborah Ruddock dominated the voting for the open seats on the Half Moon Bay City Council. The two Debbies were followed by a pack of second-tier vote getters, incumbent Rick Kowalczyk, Allan Alifano, and David Eblovi, each of whom hovered around 12-14% of the vote.

Kowalczyk will be returned to office but Alifano is out (does that sound familiar?). Two questions jump out from the voting numbers:

First question: Did the decisive recall of Allan’s son, Mike Alifano, from the fire board just eighteen months ago stain the Alifano name in HMB politics? Just fifty-five votes separated Alifano from a victory tonight. If there is a stain on the Alifano name, even a slight one, it played a critical role in tonight’s outcome. A possible double (or triple) whammy on the Alifano name—it is said that Allan’s son Mike ran Allan’s campaign and also that of Don Prestosz, who came in last out of the candidates actually running.

Second Question: Harvey Rarback. With three open slots on the council running four candidates to oppose the HMB “Old Guard” seemed like a recipe for dilution. Plus Harvey was already on the fire board. Confusion resulted which was little diminished by Rarback bowing out of the race, but too late to keep his name off the ballot. Do the math: Rarback’s 467 votes divided equally amongst the three others challenging the Old Guard gives David Eblovi the victory over Kowalczyk for third place. The two Debbie minority becomes a “3-D” (Deborah, Deborah, and David) majority. But it is not to be.

Penrose is new to HMB elected office but well known among HMB citizens. Ruddock is well known from her prior time on the council as a friend of the environmentalists. They should work well together. But will the City Council itself work well together or will they continue their long streak of astonishingly bad decisions? Will new perspectives give power to the council to vet ideas more thoroughly or will it just be a series of 3-2 votes, the usual HMB political polarization, from now until the next election?

Over at the fire board the election was a quiet one. Michael Clardy, worked against the fire board recall but now suggests his views have changed over the past year and a half—he wants to strengthen the Cal Fire contract. Lots of voters weren’t so sure. Bill Kehoe, who basically tied Clardy, worked for the recall. Although Kehoe did an excellent job of running the Midcoast Community Council in a business-like manner in his time there—a big change from its past and no small feat—some voters worried that Kehoe represented the “Montara Mafia” and would bring into the fire board intense concern over land use issues, the red-hot dividing line on most issues in coastside politics, which, until recently, the fire board has managed to avoid.

The big winner in the fire board race is Bruce MacKimmie who breezed to victory with 43% of the vote without breaking a sweat. Literally. He barely campaigned and only put up a few signs late in the campaign. MacKimmie is a former fire board member who strongly supported the recall and as a board member helped bring in Cal Fire to run the Coastside’s fire services. He ran, quietly, purely on his record and won by a landslide.

The Harbor District election outcome is a huge victory for Sabrina Brennan, who wasn’t even on the ballot. When she won her seat on the board of the Harbor District in 2012 with a record number of votes she interrupted the most secretive “Old Boys Club” on the coast where board members paid themselves cash and benefits each month in an amount larger than other Coastside officials received all year. A lot more. And that was just the beginning of a string of revelations that were by turns stunning, hilarious, and pathetic. Tens of thousands of uncashed checks, aggressive behavior by board members to any challenge, harassment allegations and investigations, a harbor manager who secretly ran a bank out of his office. It goes on and on.

All of which leads directly to tonight’s vote with two of Brennan’s allies, Nicole David and Tom Mattusch, winning by substantial margins. The ringleader of the old boys club, Jim Tucker, also returns (but not his henchman Holsinger). But Tucker is smarter than most and may quickly realize that it is far wiser to work with the new majority rather than shrink to irrelevance by opposing it.

David and Captain Tom bring highly useful perspectives to the Harbor governing body—David is a marine scientist and Mattusch is a legitimate boat captain and fisherman, the first on the harbor board in recent memory.

But now that Brennan has her majority will she be able to govern? Will she learn the art of compromise, deal-making and teamwork?

Finally, Measure O. Oh! Measure O was billed as necessary to build a new public library in Half Moon Bay. Opponents pointed out that the language of the measure did not actually obligate the money to go to a library and that the City Council would, in fact, be free to spend it in any number of ways. And so the measure was drowned by a lack of confidence in the Old Guard dominated City Council (see large margins of victory for Penrose and Ruddock, above).

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Coastside Election Results, 2014 (FINAL report)

I’ll update these numbers as the night goes on. This chart is based upon the FINAL report. Winners in blue.

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Darin’s Photos: Montara Sunset

I thought it might be fun to share a few of my photos. These three are from tonight’s sunset each taken a few minutes apart. They are two thousand pixels across so if you have a large computer screen you can enlarge them quite dramatically. (Click to enlarge–if your browser isn’t set to be wide enough you can click again to go to the fill width of the image.) I hope you enjoy the images.




(Technical details: The images are single frames, without retouching, from a twenty minute video made in 4k resolution with a Sony AX-100 video camera.)

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Conversations—New comment feature for Montara Fog

I’ve installed a new comment area for Montara Fog called “Montara Fog Conversations.” It is simple to use and clean-looking.

Anyone can read posts in Conversations but you have to register to post. You are only allowed to have one user name on Conversations. To enforce this I will personally approve each user before they can post. After approval user posts will appear instantly. (If you registered on Montara Fog before please re-register again.)

One nice feature of Conversations is that comments on articles are also integrated into the main forum area. You can post from an article page, from the sidebar on the front page, or from the Conversations page. It doesn’t matter. It’s all part of one conversation.

At the bottom of each article (in full page article view mode) you will find a Conversations area. You can post there. Or you can post in the sidebar or click on the blue “Montara Fog Conversations” link to go to the forum area to post there. You can also reach the forum from the menu at the top of the screen.

I’ll be tweaking things as we go along—I’d love to hear your feedback.

Welcome to Conversations.

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Coastside Fire Protection District, Board of Directors Meeting, October 22, 2014

The full agenda can be found by clicking here.

The Board of Directors of the Coastside Fire Protection District met this past Wednesday–Montara Fog videotaped the meeting on behalf on the Board.

CFPD holds the copyright to this video but desires that it be widely disseminated. Therefore, they are granting permission for its use (including use by the news media) as long as proper attribution is given. Attribution can take the form of, for example, the text “Video courtesy of CFPD” located next to the video or at a visible place within an article. That’s it. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Montara Fog.

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Montara man wins $50,000 judgement after being tased by ranger in 2012 dog walking incident

As readers will remember, on the first day of the new dog walking rules being enforced on Montara Mountain in January of 2012, ranger Sarah Cavallaro tased resident Gary Hesterberg in the back during an incident stemming from walking his dogs without a leash.

Hesterberg prevailed in his suit against the park service and was awarded $50,000 yesterday by a federal judge.

SFGate has the story.

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