Kerry Chan/Daily Journal
Left: Redwood City Vice Mayor Jeff Gee celebrates with Planning Commissioner Nancy Radcliffe last night at the Fox Forum downtown. Right: Redwood City Councilman John Seybert addresses supporters at the Fox Forum downtown.
Redwood City voters opted for familiar faces on the City Council, re-electing two incumbents and returning a former mayor to the one open seat.
Jeff Gee, Diane Howard and John Seybert were the top three vote-getters from a pool of six. Bringing up the rest were bail bonds business owner Corrin Rankin, Planning Commission Chair Ernie Schmidt and community activist James Han.
Gee secured 24.5 percent of the votes or 3,876, Howard had 22 percent or 3,484 and Seybert 18.9 percent or 2,994. Rankin followed with 13 percent, Schmidt with 10.8 percent and Han with 10.7 percent.
“I can breath now,” Gee joked. “I am very, very honored.”
Gee said he is ready to finish moving Redwood City beyond the moniker “Deadwood City.”
Seybert, 48, and Gee, 53, were running to retain their respective seats but, with Councilman Jeff Ira being termed out, voters were guaranteed at least one new member.
Howard, 63, previously served on the City Council from 1994 to 2009 which included time as mayor.
Although Schmidt said he’d be lying if he didn’t wish he were among the victors, he also celebrated the wins of his “great friends.” He also said he’s not going anywhere as a community leader.
“I have no idea what will happen come the next election time but in the meantime there is a lot of work to be done,” Schmidt said.
Rankin is similarly uncertain if her future will hold another bid for public office but said she’s very proud of her campaign and accomplishing what she set out to do. Rankin ran on a platform focused on increased participation and public safety, particularly the restoration of a browned out fire engine in downtown Redwood City, which sharpened after a pair of apartment complex blazes.
“It’s really unfortunate not to be able to bring that perspective to the council but I hope that my voice has been heard and that the council will take some proactive measures to keep us safe,” she said.
Rankin said her campaign as a person without prior city government experience also showed that “you don’t have to be this special, anointed person to run” and hopes it inspires others to follow suit.
Han pushed issues like affordable housing, open space and responsible development.
Despite his last-place showing, Han said he was happy with the outcome because he had no establishment backing and didn’t fall too far behind Schmidt.
“I’m pretty proud of what we’ve managed to do,” he said of the effort by himself and his backers.
Han also doesn’t rule out a future run, saying he’ll “definitely” consider it because the issues close to his heart aren’t going away.
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