Steve Booker has joined the race for termed out Don Horsley’s District 3 seat on the Board of Supervisors. San Carlos Mayor Laura Parmer-Lohan and Menlo Park Councilman Ray Mueller are also running. I have interviewed them in previous columns. The primary is in June next year. Booker is from Half Moon Bay. If he is elected he would be the first coast resident and the first African American to serve on the board in many years. Jean Fassler of Pacifica was the first coastside member. She served from 1965-1976. Rose Jacobs Gibson was the first African American on the board. She was appointed in 1999 and elected in November 2000. Both women were on their city councils before their board service.
Booker, 52, is the business representative and political director for IBEW ( the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers). His main focus is on political affairs and community outreach. He presents career opportunities in construction to high school students throughout the county, including at continuation schools and juvenile detention facilities. He is also a representative on the county’s Democratic Central Committee, District 3.
He was born and raised in the Bay Area. He attended Riordan High School in San Francisco. After high school, he did what many young people do to afford college by enlisting in the military. Burlingame Councilwoman Emily Beach joined the ROTC so she could afford to further her education, a four-year commitment after college. Booker joined the Air Force in 1987 and served until 1993, participating in the first Gulf War, as a munitions specialist. He then attended College of San Mateo, courtesy of the G.I. Bill, with the expectation of becoming a police officer but a friend talked him into being an electrician. However, he has kept up connections with local police departments as a board member of the San Mateo Police Activities League and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Activities League. His wife died of cancer several years ago. He has a 25-year-old daughter. His parents are also dead. His father was a MUNI bus driver for many years.
Booker says he would bring a new perspective to the board. In addition to his labor connections, he also sits on the Peninsula Clean Energy Board and is interested in having labor and environmentalists work together on climate change issues. He would rather see changes in how police work with the community rather than defunding them. His campaign is just getting started. He has endorsements from the president of the Board of Supervisors, David Canepa; San Mateo Vice Mayor Rick Bonilla; and community college board Trustee Richard Holober. Bonilla was originally endorsing Mueller but is now endorsing Booker. His new website is bookerforsupervisor.org. It should be an interesting race with three very different candidates with very different experiences.
It is very difficult for community organizations to raise money without their traditional fundraising events. Somehow Zooming is not like attending the annual Samaritan House dinner or the San Mateo Library Foundation’s author gala.
Still these groups are depending on the generosity of our community and hoping that some of that money not spent on fancy dinners, the theater and concerts will be their gain. It’s especially challenging for the San Mateo Rotary Club which uses a raffle each year with a drawing at a big party to support its three scholarship programs: 1). for needy middle school students who show promise, funds are set aside each year for their college expenses; 2). for needy high school students headed to community college; and 3). for those students headed to a four year college. Yes, grades and community service count, but need is the basic requirement. If you are interested in donating to the scholarship programs click here rotaryclubofsanmateo.com/SC2021.
Fourth through eighth grade students in San Mateo and Hillsborough schools can win prizes and recognition at the San Mateo Library Foundation’s 10th Annual Gala. The deadline is tomorrow, March 30. Eureka! is the theme. It’s the state motto and means ”I found it!” In 500 words or fewer, share a poem which describes your “California discovery” and submit to cityofsanmateo.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1279. The virtual gala is 7 p.m. April 20. Best-selling authors Pam Zhang and Anna North will be in conversation with Wendy Voorsanger. Go to paybee.io/@smplf to register for the free event or to make a donation.
Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. Her column runs every Monday. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Note to readers: An earlier version of this column said the District 3 primary was in March, but it is in June.