Current HMB City Council’s slate sweeps the field


Posted by on Tue, November 3, 2009

11:00pm Update: With 8 of 8 precincts reporting,

Half Moon Bay: Naomi Patridge, Allan Alifano, and Rick Kowalcyk lead the field, with a 70 vote gap between number three Kowalcyk and number four Deborah Ruddock. Click for County election results.

Votes Pct
Naomi Patridge 1,151 18.4%
Allan Alifano 974 15.6%
Rick Kowalczyk 854 13.7%
Deborah Ruddock 784 12.5%
Dan Handler 775 12.4%
Sofia M. Freer 729 11.7%
George Muteff 665 10.6%
Charles T. Hoelzel 320 5.1%

Meanwhile, in Granada Sanitary District, number three Leonard Woren is ahead of challenger Lisa McCaffrey.

10:30pm UPDATE—With 5 of 8 precincts reporting, Rick Kowalcyk has solidified his lead over Ruddock and Handler. Patridge and Alifano continue to lead the field.

In Granada Sanitary District, with 5 of 8 precincts reporting, Lohman and Erickson are leading. For the third set, McCaffrey is leading Woren by three votes.

10:00 pm UPDATE—No additional Coastside precincts have been reported by the county, although returns are coming in from Bayside elections.

As of 9:30, despite expectations, the county is reporting results only for absentee ballots, with precincts yet to be reported.

Half Moon Bay: Naomi Patridge and Allan Alifano have a strong lead, but the next four candidates (Kowalcyk, Handler, and Ruddock) are separated by a handful of votes, with Kowalcyk narrowly in the lead.

Granada Sanitary District: Incumbents Ric Lohman and Gael Erickson have strong leads, and challeger Lisa McCaffrey has a narrow 28 point lead over incumbent Leonard Woren

Coastside Fire Protection District: Challenger Gary Riddel has a strong lead, followed by incumbents McShane, Burke, and Cockrell, with challenger David Eufusia close behind.

Coastside County Water District: incumbent Chris Mickelsen has a strong lead, followed by challengers Jerry Donovan and newcomer "Jay" Johnson.


Comment 1
Tue, November 3, 2009 8:22pm
All my comments

It seems like an extraordinarily slow count tonight. For the county, it’s a lot of races, I suppose, but still….

This election proves one thing: We need term limits for the HMB City Council.

Something is really wrong when a 20-year entrenched politician has a guaranteed slot on the City Council no matter what, and then uses her high-school-like popularity with voters to get her chosen assistants elected.

Comment 3
Wed, November 4, 2009 3:42am
Frank Long
All my comments

Well, it just goes to show you that the headache won’t go away until one stops banging their head on the wall. I hope HMB is well stocked with band-aids.

The word MANDATE comes to mind. Or rather, the healing continues.

Comment 5
Wed, November 4, 2009 4:17pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

Mandate for what?

A mandate to quit playing the blame game. A mandate to move HMB forward, not look backward. A mandate to explore new ideas on how to improve HMB’s business climate. More support for schools, libraries, police, and Boys and Girls Club facility, among other things.

Voters expressed a clear repudiation of League for Coastside Protection policies, no matter how you look at it. I’m sure it’s going to take a little time for it to sink in, and there’s going to be some painful attempts at denial, but that’s the truth. (Barry, you and your website can help curtail the negativity. Can we count on you?)

Will the new City Council members solve all of HMB’s problems? Of course not. But they can and will set a new tone—note that extremists on both sides lost—and I hope that bodes well for increased civility and progress for HMB and the entire Coastside.

Let us all wish Godpseed to Allan Alifano and Rick Kowalczyk (and the rest of the CC) on delivering on their campaign pledges.

Comment 7
Thu, November 5, 2009 1:50pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

I haven’t seen any opposition to facilities for schools, libraries, police, and Boys and Girls Club. LCP members have been strong supporters of those much needed facilities.

You also left parks and recycled water off the list. Those are also improvement that everyone supports, but which have taken a back seat to politics.

I’d like to see Half Moon Bay and the Midcoast work together on recycled water, parks, schools, libraries, emergency facilities and more activities for our kids. I always have.

I’d also like to see healthy downtowns not only in HMB, but also in El Granada, Moss Beach and Montara. I believe strongly in the importance of local business.

But the current city council does not have a mandate to do any of that stuff without including the public, following the spirit as well as the letter the law, or preserving the character of the community and the local environment.

“Incredulous” is my first reaction. There’s so much spin in your first paragraph I half-expect you to next claim the LCP is in favor of positive, open communication and transparency in government. Glad you agree there are “much needed facilities” but your claims are beyond belief. And you know better.

We agree, however, that parks and recycled water are two issues that have been delayed due to politics. I’m glad to see there is positive momentum building for both. You going to allow the CC to have a honeymoon period? Let’s give them a chance to see if they can start fulfilling our common goals.

Comment 9
Thu, November 5, 2009 2:55pm
Barry Parr
All my comments

On the schools and B&G Club, the disagreement was about the location and not whether the facilities should be built. If you can point to LCP opposition to a new library or emergency facilities, feel free to post it. Otherwise, how about posting an apology?

For someone who says we should look forward, avoid negativity, and not play the blame game, you seem to have trouble walking your own talk.

Joel says:
“A mandate to move HMB forward, not look backward.”

In other words, let’s forget about the major screw-ups of the current crew and support them as they pursue the same sorts of policies that created the past screw-ups.

Just because the Old Guard slate was elected by a single-digit percentage point margin (for the reasons I described above), does not mean that we all must now join their cheerleading team.

Comment 11
Thu, November 5, 2009 6:50pm
Ray Olson
All my comments

I think if we had term limits it would probably be applied to Ruddick since I think I read she has been on the council for 16 years now. And it was clear that from the beginning she was running as a slate to try a pull-up her newbies in the hmb politics scene. Note that Patridge did not have a slate until the last few days before election day.

What is troubling to me is how much campaign contributions for ruddick, freer, and handler came from over the hill. I’m not sure if they were representing hmb citizens, or some other agenda.

and yes, it is really frustrating that us hmb citizens are forced to pay for the mistakes of the council that started this back in the 90’s. I truly hope our new council can take us out of the large debt that we now own.

Ray says
“...Note that Patridge did not have a slate until the last few days before election day…”

Gee that’s a surprise since: (1) Patridge recruited Alifano to run, (2) all three are Republicans I believe, (3) all three had their signs placed together on all of the many parcels in town owned by mogul developer Keet Nerhan, (4) all three were endorsed by realtors, and, (5) everybody in town recieved a glossy printed door hanger with pictures of Patridge, Alifano, and Kowalczyk in the week before the election.

But thanks for clearing up that misperception Ray.

Comment 13
Thu, November 5, 2009 7:48pm
Ray Olson
All my comments

Yes, I received that glossy paper on my door… on the weekend before the election. Though Partridge and Ailfano sometimes had their signs together it was never stacked like the Ruddick, Freer, Handler ticket from day 1.

At some point when you oppose all locations, it becomes clear it’s not the location after all.

Seems some of your friends are in deep denial and it’ll take them longer to get used to moving forward, which we need to do. Agreed? btw, Barry, I’m happy to chat about which one of us has the more positive outlook for the city.

Joel, you haven’t proven your point that anyone on the LCP opposed any of those facilities.

Joel, making the statement that “voters expressed a clear repudiation of League for Coastside Protection policies”, hardly reflects the politics or the peoples feelings about the Coastside. Look what just happened in New York City, and worse, why.

Michael Bloomberg had to throw in close to $100,000,000 to defeat his opponent and only won by the slimmest margin, and that was only after he had “massaged” many non-profits with a significant number of “donations”, one of them alone being as high as $600,000.

Bloomberg declines a salary for the job, manages to overturn a two term limit to get himself BACK in office, for what reason? stay in the spotlight coming up the 2012 election, and why? AIPAC is working hard to polish up their “boy” for a spot in the Whitehouse; as if we don’t have enough problems with Israel’s meddling already. All this from some “select” group of people who believe they have the right to ram their narrow view of the world down everyone’s throat in spite of the triviality that they’re supposed to be living in a DEMOCRACY.

So, why am I discussing Bloomberg and NYC? Because it’s SSDD in Half Moon Bay. You have the same cast of characters pulling the same crap. While voters everywhere have grown apathetic over not having their voices heard, supporters of the HMB regime are ready to pronounce a clear mandate. Hardly.

If the voters didn’t express their feelings about the LCP at the polling stations, it was probably because the LCP didn’t get their points across effectively, OR that the majority of voters would still rather accept what they are used to, rather than adopt a different path.

Comment 17
Fri, November 6, 2009 7:05am
Ray Olson
All my comments

It’s interesting that Kevin mentioned Patridge, and Aifano were backed by realtors, when in fact Ruddick, Freer, and Handler all received contributions from realtors. You can find it on, here:

And, at least from my point of view all candidates had placed signs on every possible open space near town.

Comment 18
Fri, November 6, 2009 1:03pm
Carl May
All my comments

I must have blinked, because I missed the notification that the same old guard philosophy and the same old guard gang members that have been making a mess of HMB for all but a few of the past 50 years, as they use the town for their own narrow self-gratification, has somehow become enlightened and is now going to do a 180 to make city government more honest, more responsible, and more supportive for its citizens.

How can one claim a “mandate” in any election when most registered don’t vote? (Yes, I realize it is a favorite term of spinners because they don’t feel it necessary to provide any supporting facts.) The “mandate” from most HMB voters that might be guessed at is that no one on the ballot looked like someone they wanted making decisions for their city.

And they wonder why most of us on the unincorporated midcoast who have had to deal with our backward, politically corrupt neighboring city for many years want no part of joining with it. It’s remarkable, really, when you consider this preference endures in spite of the county’s gross misgoverning of our own towns and surrounding landscape.

Many years ago, my dad had a suggestion box in his dealership. He wasn’t big on communications, anyway, but this was an attempt on his part. But things had gotten so far out of whack that all he was getting for suggestions were those for getting “more intimate” with himself.

His answer to this problem was to rip the box off the wall. Rather than view the the answers he did get as a sign of how his strategy wasn’t working, he chose only to see the outcome through some preconceived notion of what he thought the answers should look like.

Well, whether we are talking about national politics or those of Half Moon Bay, it’s the same thing. What we really need is the voting box that says, “I’ve had it with all this BS; you’re all a bunch of thieves,” or put more nicely, “NONE OF THE ABOVE.”

Perhaps when the numbers come in and the candidates realize that people actually took time out of their day to show up and express their disdain for the abuse that has perpetrated our voting system, and how fed up with politics the population really is, MAYBE then the candidates might realize they need to campaign on some issues more meaningful to the population they are attempting to serve, instead of the self-serving agendae we’ve seen to date.

And we wonder why voters don’t show up at the polls any more. Is it because they are apathetic or is it because they’ve become apathetic thinking that their vote won’t having meaning, no matter what the outcome.

One problem with the “mandate”  theory is that turnout was way down this year.

* 6,945 votes were cast for three seats in 2009.

* 11,034 votes were cast for three seats in 2005.

That’s a 37% drop in votes cast.

The top vote-getter, Naomi Patridge, received 2,237 votes in 2005 and 1,266 votes in 2009. that’s a 43% drop in actual people voting for her.  She received fewer votes in 2009 than Steve Skinner received in 2005.

More than any other year, 2009 was about getting out the vote. Clearly, the Old Guard slate did a better job of getting out their base than did the LCP.  The Old Guard candidates got 52% of the vote in 2005 and 63% of the vote in 2009.

So while the results were certainly decisive,  it’s hardly a mandate.

Here’s the results in percentage terms

Patridge -    18.23%
Alifan:  -    15.46%
Kowalczy -    13.59%
Ruddock -    12.67%
Handler -    12.38%
Freer   -    11.78%
Muteff   -    10.84%
Hoelzel -    5.04%

People are living in a dreamworld if they think that the relatively small percentage-point victory margins recorded by the Old Guard slate add up to some sort of “mandate.”

Well, like I said, sometimes people are so afraid of trying something new that they’ll continue to abuse themselves by keeping with what they know.

All the same, it would be interesting to understand why people are not showing up to vote. Have things gotten to the point where they’ve become so disenfranchised, even in a small city like HMB, that they figure their vote doesn’t count, so why bother?

As with the Bloomberg election in NYC, it seems that money does all the talking, irrespective of common sense and ethics.

While the LCP candidates were well-qualified, they had some problems as candidates.  Deborah Ruddock had some negatives, and I suspect Sofia Freer and Dan Handler had relatively small and undiverse personal networks.

For a variety of reasons, the LCP has not had a very strong farm team, so it has been difficult for them to bring forward strong candidates every couple of years.

Which is not to say that the Old Guard candidates are more qualified, only that they were better known when at the beginning of the campaign.

What’s harder to assess is the effectiveness of signs.  Muteff absolutely dominated on signage out of the gate and it didn’t help him much. But Patridge/Alifano/Kowalcyk also did a great job on signs. Ruddock/Handler/Freer were nearly absent in highway signs.

You don’t recognize that not winning a single seat, with 3 available, is a mandate? HMB voters repudiated League for Coastside Protection policies the last THREE elections. The LCP has a good organization and it turned out its base. But that’s not enough. Because of its message.

Like I said, some people will continue to struggle with being marginalized. I wonder why I’m even trying to prod you into reality that your core message is just part of several elements HMB voters want for their City. 

(And as I wrote 2 and 4 years ago) One suggestion is to figure out how you can compromise… tone down the rhetoric and work together with developers to enhance infrastructure and improve the business climate while sustaining the environment.

Or, you can continue the negativity, continue attacking the messenger(s), and continue your long journey in the political wilderness. I hope your choice reflects the voters’ decision on Nov. 3.

Comment 25
Sat, November 7, 2009 10:30am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Again, a mandate for what? In the abstract, it’s a meaningless claim.

I agree that the LCP has not done a good job of communicating a positive message. It’s unfortunate, because they have a good story to tell, but they’ve been smeared by negative and dishonest messages from their political opponents.

See Comment #6.

The LCP DID have good candidates: Despite Zero name recognition going in (tied with Rick Kowalczyk), Dan Handler came within 11 votes of Deborah Ruddock. You have good canddiates, just not a message that’s palatable to enough voters.

And you’re not helping your own cause if you claim the reason for the LCP’s loss is because of smears. You need to reconnect with voters, and understand they want to move forward.

Comment 27
Sat, November 7, 2009 11:00am
Frank Long
All my comments

I guess it’s how we see the world, Joel. Some people look outside and see the sun shining, put up their flag, figure everything is copacetic and then sleep tight at night in their jammies, while other people seem to look at larger issues.

Personally, I never could understand the thinking behind the Tsunami Evacuation Routes having cars potentially stacked up along Route 1, not unlike sitting in three miles of backed up traffic trying to get to HMB at 7:30 in the morning, while the Big One rolls over the Coastside. The signs should be pointing eastward up into the hillsides.

With so many parents now having to bus their kids to school, further adding to the traffic congestion, at what point is someone going to say that enough is enough ........ at least for the time being? The county’s plans to upgrade 92 are all but non-existent at this point, and those plans would have to go all the way out to 280 to be of any true value. So, does that mean that anyone who contradicts the pro-growth strategy is being negative? If it makes people happy to believe that is so, hey, go for it, but on the contrary, I’d see that as being logical at the very least, that is until some of the other constraint issues are seriously addressed.

So, after you’ve tackled the bussing, commuter traffic, tax equity, and Beachwood issues, please let me know, because then might be a more prudent time to reconsider developing the coast. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are being negative.

Please don’t put words in my mouth about growth. Read my posts again. My comments on this thread are focused on helping the LCP realize that HMB voters want essential services in place before we achieve build-out. In my view, there are win-wins out there.

Comment 29
Sat, November 7, 2009 11:30am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Joel, there is no evidence that the LCP doesn’t support essential services. The fact that you don’t understand this demonstrates their messaging problem.

Overdue disclaimer: I’m not a member of the LCP and I don’t speak for them.