In The News
Ira, Gee, Seybert win Redwood City
By Michelle Durand
The Daily Journal, 11/04/09
An incumbent looking at his final term and two planning commissioners who raised the most money were voted onto the Redwood City Council — changing the seven-member panel’s make up for the first time in five years.
Councilman Jeff Ira, a certified public accountant, led the race from the beginning, finishing the evening with 27 percent or 3,935 votes.
Jeff Gee, Planning Commission chair and vice president of Swinerton Management, followed with 3,579 votes or 24.5 percent.
John Seybert, a planning commissioner and director of operations for Peninsula Covenant Church, rounded out the winners with 2,868 votes or 19.7 percent.
The three beat out Planning Commissioner Janet Borgens, and Housing and Human Concerns Committee member Cherlene Wright, who received 15.4 percent and 13.4 percent respectively. With councilmembers Diane Howard and Jim Hartnett being termed off the council, residents were always assured at least two new faces.
The chance for another turn on the council left Ira as “absolutely” excited as the first time he ran.
“You just never know,” he said.
Ira’s re-election is the chance to finish projects like the downtown renovation and continue working on the budget, he said.
The city’s future includes the county’s recommendation of a new jail site, possible development of the Cargill Saltworks site and continuing to draw retail and housing to downtown.
The addition of Seybert and Gee is “great,” particularly because the planning commissioners will be beneficial on land use issues, he said.
Gee said he knows the future holds many challenges, like Cargill and high-speed rail, but is excited to begin and involve the community in the processes.
“The hard work starts tomorrow,” he said.
Seybert compared the win to sports — the point is how you play the game but a victory is icing on the cake. Seybert’s first priorities are the budget and achieving the vision for downtown.
“The question was never if I would serve but if I would serve on Tuesday nights or Monday nights,” he said.
With less than half the precincts reporting by 10 p.m., Wright was in last place but not ready to concede. Faced with the possibility of losing, Wright said voters will likely see her in a future run for the council and expressed pride in her campaign.
“I ran the race I wanted to through personal contact and not big money. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way,” she said.
Gee and Seybert led the money race in the campaign and they, alongside Ira, ran together on an informal slate with shared costs like mailings.
Borgens was happy with the outcome of the election, saying the city is in good hands with the winners. While it is too early for Borgens to predict another council run, she said the campaign is not the end of her city service.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she said.