A month of political mail | Columnists


I’m back in San Mateo after a month away to visit my dog ​​JoJo and family in New Jersey. It was 92 degrees on the East Coast the day I left, so it’s refreshing to be back in the Bay Area and its cool breezes. But there were spectacular weather days and frequent rain, something we could only dream of in dry, arid California.

I have arrived at a month full of political mail, most of it from San Mateo Deputy Mayor Diane Papan. His campaign mailings must arrive daily because I have stacks of them now. Most were funded by Sacramento PACS but the best were paid for by Papan’s campaign. The positive pieces were well done and got my vote for top campaign senders. I particularly liked the one showing the Papan family, Lou, Irene, Gina, Diane and John, although it was paid for by California for Jobs and a Strong Economy, another pro business PAC.

The negative blows on Papan’s main opponent, Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale, were terrible and I don’t believe he got any votes for Papan. They were paid by the California Apartment Association and the California Association of Realtors. They will expect support from Papan after spending so much money on his campaign. I was surprised how little play I got from Hale, who is vying with Papan and a few others to take the place of irreplaceable Assemblyman Kevin Mullin running for Congress. She has the support of the CTA, a powerful force in Sacramento if you’re a Democrat. But she had daily updates on social media. There were a few tracks from James Coleman of South San Francisco, a darling of young voters. His great vote will surprise many. It will be enough to hurt Hale but not enough to reach the final next week.

New Jersey and California have a lot in common. Both have large urban centers, diverse populations, and a considerable amount of land devoted to farms. Here in central Jersey, there aren’t many similarities to the Bay Area, except for proximity to major universities and plenty of good restaurants. If there is a resemblance, it’s more like Portola Valley and Woodside and the verdant foothills west of Interstate 280. There are rolling hills here but otherwise the landscape is flat.

Most of the dwellings, even modest ones, are surrounded by land. And many houses are on what we would call large estates. There is open land almost everywhere you go. Mainly large tracts of agricultural land. You don’t realize how crowded the Bay Area is until you come here. Yes, sometimes you hear leaf blowers and a car or two on your street, but it’s mostly birds chirping or a dog barking. Yes, we can hike San Bruno Mountain or the Portola Valley trails, but here there are trails everywhere – along the canal, through the woods, and over occasional farmland. You are about an hour and a half from the Atlantic Ocean. We went to Asbury Park one day. Its promenade has been renovated and now hosts several trendy restaurants. Before, you had to drive in a gentrified city. Atlantic City lost its luster with the bankruptcy of the major hotel-casinos. Decades ago it was a vacation spot for wealthy people away from the big city. There was a popular train stop so you didn’t need a car. And years ago, when most city dwellers didn’t own cars, it was a popular vacation destination.

Asbury Park now offers luxury and expensive accommodation. And houses for rent in the summer.

We visited another small town on the Jersey Shore. There was what looked like a brand new boardwalk (probably a rebuild after Hurricane Sandy), nothing commercial, very few people walking, running or skateboarding and no dogs allowed. We had a perfect day, temperature in the 70’s and a light breeze. The sand was clean and white. The Atlantic Ocean a navy blue. There’s nothing quite like the Pacific in northern California and Oregon with its scenic rugged coastline, big waves and freezing cold water.

Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. His column is broadcast every Monday. She can be reached at sue@smdailyjournal.com.


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