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District Four tally matched countywide results
June 30, 2012, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff

Warren Slocum

Shelly Masur

The two top vote-getters countywide in the June primary election for District Four supervisor also nabbed the key spots by voters who live in that district, according to the certified results released by the Elections Office this week.

The numbers showing Warren Slocum and Shelly Masur carried the district as well as the entire county comes just days after county supervisors agreed to let voters this fall decide if the position should be chosen at-large or only by an individual position’s constituents. County supervisors are chosen by the entire county electorate but represent an individual district. San Mateo County is the only county statewide that chooses its supervisors this way and some argue, among other reasons, that it is unfair because a candidate could theoretically secure his or her district but lose because countywide voters supported somebody else. In fact, during the special May 2011 election, now-Supervisor Dave Pine lost his district to opponent Gina Papan but won the District One seat because of overall totals.

In June, Slocum received the most votes with 38.4 percent overall followed by Masur with 21.4 percent. The same held true in District Four where the two maintained the same positions — Slocum received 4,557 votes and Masur 4,125 — followed by Kirsten Keith, Carlos Romero, Memo Morantes, Andy Cohen and Ernie Schmidt.

District Four includes Redwood City, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto and the unincorporated areas of North Fair Oaks and Oak Knoll.

Slocum said he is "gratified” to have carried both and all cities but Menlo Park where Keith secured a majority. With Keith now a supporter, Slocum hopes that will help him in those precincts this fall.

Masur said she is also happy to see "such great support in the district” but that all of her backing countwide is important.

As the top two in this race with neither grabbing more than 50 percent, Slocum and Masur will have a runoff in November. In that same election, county voters will be asked if they prefer to keep the status quo or shift to district elections.

A lawsuit set for an August trial against the county may also play a role. The suit on behalf of six county residents argues the existing voting system is inequitable to minorities because Latinos and Asians each compromise approximately 25 percent of the county’s population, but only one Latino has held a seat on the Board of Supervisors since 1995 and no Asians.

The county’s elections process has long been debated between those who say all voters should be able to weigh in on elected officials who represent all residents and opponents who argue it causes a fundraising burden for candidates who must throw their net wider for money and votes.

Slocum supports district elections and said he supports the board’s decision to let voters settle the question. However, he added that he understands the countywide premise because the board’s decisions affect more than just a narrow slice of constituents.

Masur previously supported district contests but as a candidate believes at-large elections forces one to hear from people countywide and gain new perspectives.

"I do support the board putting it on the ballot. It’s time to do that for sure and I’m very curious to see what people think,” she said.

Michelle Durand can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.

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