From time to time I get letters, a recent one might have read, “Dear John, Some of my friends say there is no political choice in San Mateo County. Papa says, ‘If you see it in the Daily Journal it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth, is there a political choice in our county? Signed, Virginia in San Mateo.”
In reply, Virginia, your friends are wrong. They have been affected by the groupthink and herd mentality of the Bay Area. They do not believe that anything outside of the progressive-liberal belief system is allowed. They think that all people must follow the same path, and that no one can think for themselves. They refuse to see or consider what is right before their eyes.
Yes, Virginia, there is a political choice in San Mateo County beyond the machine politics of the Democratic Party. It exists as certainly as freedom, liberty and individual initiative exist. It would be a dreary world indeed if there was only government as our “protector” — making sure that all we think, say and do is approved by central administrators who know better than we do how to run our lives.
That’s why, surprisingly to some, the Republican Party has a large county presence with almost 70,000 registered voters. Moreover, several city councilmembers, mayors and special district board members are Republicans. County party Chair Chuck McDougald notes, “2012 was a wake-up call. Our central committee meetings are standing-room only. Our members are getting off their duffs and stepping up to the plate. At our last convention, held in Burlingame, we had to turn away volunteers.”
Asked why county voters should support Republican candidates given their smaller numbers in the county, McDougald said, “They can make a difference for the first time in a long time. Look at what happened in Fresno with Sen. Andy Vidak and in San Diego with the election of Mayor Kevin Falcouner.” He continues, “The Republican Party still faces challenges in California but we have come a long way. We’ve paid off a debt of more than a million dollars, we’ve reopened our Sacramento office, and a thousand people showed up at our last state convention, excited and ready to change the political landscape.”
Although not a political party, the tea party group MyLiberty, made up of Libertarian, Decline to State and Republican voters, is also active in the county. Its immediate past chair is San Carlos Councilman Matt Grocott. He said, “MyLiberty and the tea party stand for three fundamental issues: Fiscal responsibility, free markets and constitutional fidelity. Those are all issues that, ultimately, are in the best interest of the American public.”
Grocott elaborates, “Some have the impression that the tea party movement has fizzled and died out because they don’t see the rallies on the street like were done in the past.” In response, MyLiberty will hold a rally on the afternoon of Sunday, April 13, in front of the Hillsdale Shopping Center. He says that the TEA in Tea Party stands for Taxed Enough Already and that, “Having a rally is still a fun way to pass on a message to the public.”
The San Mateo County Libertarian Party also has a local elected official and candidates on June’s ballot. Kevin Duewel, vice chair of the San Mateo County Libertarian Party, argues that, “In a left-leaning county like San Mateo, the Libertarian Party is a much more strategic vehicle than the Republican Party for advocates of limited government and individual liberty. The Libertarian Party supports entrepreneurs, small businesses and taxpayers, but unlike the Republican Party, it is more tolerant and accepting on social issues.”
Duewel says Libertarians are excited about the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors District Three race where member Michael Stogner is running against an incumbent politician. According to him, Stogner is a strong supporter of accountability and responsibility in the county government.
No political choice in San Mateo County? That just isn’t so, as the work of the Republicans, Libertarians and MyLiberty members show. Ah, Virginia, in this world there is a choice and you can make it — to be free, prosperous and independent. Make your choice real and lasting, and join those who are like-minded — Republicans at smgop.org, Libertarians at lpsm.org, and MyLiberty at mylibertysanmateo.com.
John McDowell is a longtime county resident having first moved to San Carlos in 1963. In the intervening years, he has worked as a political volunteer and staff member in local, state and federal government, including time spent as a press secretary on Capitol Hill and in the George W. Bush administration.