It’s bad news for local government when special interests which have so much influence at the state and national levels interfere in our city council elections.
Seven candidates are vying for three spots on the San Mateo City Council on Tuesday (Nov. 7), including two incumbents.
Those running are Deputy Mayor Rick Bonilla, Councilman Joe Goethals, Planning Commissioners Eric Rodriguez and Charlie Drechsler, San Mateo-Foster City School District board President Chelsea Bonini, transit manager Rob Newsom Jr. and retiree Mark DePaula.
With just over a week to go until Election Day, another round of updated campaign contribution forms were submitted in the competitive San Mateo City Council race where seven are seeking three seats.
Nearly $123,216 has gone toward supporting current Planning Commissioner Eric Rodriguez. He has raised $52,748 toward his own campaign, including a $5,000 loan, and spent about $45,327. The California Apartment Association independently spent $20,649.39 to see him elected while the National Association of Realtors spent $49,819, according to forms filed with the city.
“Follow the money” has been a pretty reliable measure when looking at where a candidate’s interests lie. Not all candidates for our little San Mateo City Council race are popping up in the margins of my computer as we speak, but there he is again, compliments of the National Association of Realtors Fund “not authorized by a candidate or a committee.”etc. etc.
Big money is arguably the most corrosive factor in American politics today. We have seen this nationally, and we are now seeing this in our local city council elections.
In a throwback to last year’s contentious debate over rent control when national as well as state apartment associations and Realtor groups raised more than $1 million to defeat two ballot measures in San Mateo and Burlingame, similar groups are again funneling thousands of dollars into the local election.