No one could argue that Redwood City hasn’t gone through some changes in the last few years. Its downtown is thriving and yet there is still work to be done. There have been a number of development issues and battles over what the city will look like in future years. On the whole, the city is heading in the right direction.
In the race for three open seats on the seven-member council, there are two incumbents, along with a former incumbent joined by three others. Overall, there is not a significant call for a break from the status quo. One candidate, James Lee Han, may be the notable exception, with his emphasis on the need for more affordable housing.
But if you are looking for the three candidates who have the best handle on the city’s issues — which largely centered on finances and development — then your best bets are Jeff Gee, Diane Howard and John Seybert. All three have the tenure and scope of experience that will best suit the city moving forward. A keen grasp of the city’s finances is key and three hold it. If one were to nitpick the downtown precise plan, it was that the city’s leaders did not realize its popularity. There has been a tremendous rebirth downtown, and aside from a few squabbles, most can agree it is significantly better than it was a decade ago.
While there have been a number of controversies over development, the city has learned from it and there is little evidence the other challengers would have better ideas. Han has presented himself well as someone who speaks for the working class. As a member of Occupy, he has been at the forefront of battles over development and other issues. However, there is a fairly large jump from being opposed to many policy issues to working with others. His presence in the race has been a benefit, however, as he presents a different point of view.
But the city’s success of late has been because of its development practices and ways to encourage new businesses to the city. Its leaders poised the city perfectly to take advantage of its proximity to Silicon Valley as the recession lifts. For that, they deserve praise.
The other candidates, Corrin Rankin and Ernie Schmidt, also bring about a clear point of view. Rankin seeks to involve young parents and Schmidt has a healthy tenure of community service.
As incumbents, Gee and Seybert exhibited the best amount of knowledge about the city’s issues and, as a former incumbent, Howard brings a wealth of city experience to the table. All have the proper focus on the workings of the council and present a deep understanding of how to meet its challenges. If the city is to proceed on the successful path it is currently on, Gee, Howard and Seybert are the best candidates for City Council.