Candidates for City Council, How We See It.
Pacifica, like many other communities across California these days are experiencing trying times and
even in some cases several are at the cross roads of fiscal disaster or it is close in view. With this in mind,
earlier this year, we entertained the idea of forming a community editorial board to assist the
newspaper in understanding all views of the community and to help guide us in a direction to assist our
community in these difficult times. The Pacifica Tribune is a community newspaper, something we take
very seriously and with pride. So, we moved ahead and asked several persons in the community
representing all views to join our community editorial board. We were fortunate to have a wonderful
group of caring citizens agree to join us and be so giving of their time. You can find their names listed in
the staff box on the Editorial page each week.
This past week, we invited all candidates running for city council positions to join the community
editorial board in a candidate’s forum. During the interview process, all of the candidates were first
asked to give an opening statement stating why they were running for office and then details about
themselves and why they should be considered for endorsement by the community editorial board,
which would then make the endorsements on behalf of the Pacifica Tribune. Then all the candidates
were asked three questions which were identical. After responding to the questions the floor was
opened to the board members to ask clarifying questions or an individual question of their own. Each of
the candidates was allotted the same amount of time. Once all candidates were interviewed, the
community editorial board then discussed the merits of each candidate and arrived at a
recommendation or endorsement of the candidates to be put forth in this column.
First of all, the community editorial board was impressed by the sincere and genuine care of each
candidate for their community and its future. Pacifica is very fortunate to have such a group of
individuals willing to take up a daunting task on behalf of their fellow citizens and the personal sacrifice
that comes with it.
We will begin with the two open seats for a four year term. The community editorial board endorses Ms.
Mary Ann Nihart and Ms. Karen Ervin for these two open seats. On candidate Ms. Susan Vellone, we
were unfortunately not able to consider her as she didn't participate in the editorial board interview
process. Although Ms. Vellone is well known and respected for her pro-business stance and involvement
in the community. The community editorial board felt that both Ms. Ervin and Ms. Nihart both
demonstrated the credentials and background to successfully accomplish the task that needs to be
accomplished in the coming years. Both have strong roots in the community and have demonstrated
successes. Ms. Ervin showed herself to be a personable candidate with a solid track record on the school
board and community activities. Her career as a scientist at Genentech speaks to her obvious
intelligence. She should be a quick study and an excellent council member. Ms. Nihart not surprisingly,
the lone incumbent had the most complete grasp of the issues. She was able to articulate her sensible
positions clearly and with nuance, making her an easy recommendation for one of the four year seats.
Her experience will be of much value in the tough negotiations on the horizon in which Pacifica will need
to indulge in to get its fair share of tax dollar allocations needed to rebuild and maintain infrastructure.
In regards to the one open seat for a two year term, the board was evenly split on who to endorse
between Mr. Campbell and Mr. O’Neill. The community editorial board did agree that these two
candidates would both be good representatives for the community based on their past records of
community service and professional backgrounds. Although the other interviewed candidate Mr. Spano
obviously cares deeply about his community and has a commendable professional record in city
governmental operations and development, the board felt the other two candidates interviewed had a
deeper understanding of the community needs overall and presented diversified plans to provide
solutions to fixing the current disposition of the city and the pressing issues. Unfortunately, due to
illness, Mr. Mondfrans was unable to participate in the editorial board interview process, so there was
no way to evaluate him as a candidate.
In regards to Mr. Campbell and Mr. O’Neill, the community editorial board urges all voters to closely
review each of the candidate’s backgrounds in community service and activism as well as professional
credentials before heading to the voting both on November 6th. As the board has decided there is not a
clear choice to endorse here either way. So we again encourage you to review their platforms and vote
for the one which you feel best represents your views.