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Q & A with Ernie Schmidt

He's running for the District 4 seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

Rose Jacobs Gibson will vacate her seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors this year.

Six people want her job, which is to represent the interests of District 4. The district encompasses Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Redwood City and houses about 150,000 people, according to the latest census data.

Patch sent all of them a list of questions about their candidacy, so that you could become more familiar with them in advance of the June 5 election.

Candidate Ernie Schmidt, from Redwood City, was the first to respond. Here are his answers:

1) Talk to me about why you’re the best candidate to represent District 4.

There is a reason why a County Supervisor was recently quoted in the Daily Post as saying that they would prefer to see someone who has held a City Council position in the past or a Planning Commissioner position. The job of a supervisor entails a great deal of work in the land development area, and as we focus more on economic development, these skills will be of the upmost importance to have right out of the gate, along with my experience in the private industry, such as with an innovative, cutting edge & outside of the box thinking company like Tesla Motors, will enable me to be a great addition to our current supervisors.



2) What would you prioritize if you got voted in?

We need to get out there right now and promote our County nationally as the place to do business in. Revenue is the lifeblood of our County and our individual cities. Without it we end up sitting at a table asking the question of what we’re going to tax or cut. We need to stop playing the victim and start playing the victor.


3) Who are your primary supporters?

Presently they are Redwood City Mayor Aguirre, Atherton Vice Mayor Lewis, all of my fellow Planning Commissioners, several of my fellow Latino Community leaders and most importantly, my wife, Gina and my family.

4) What issue in the county is the most important in your eyes and what’s your position on it?

Economic Development! I could say the budget, but I believe our residents have been reminded about the budget enough to the point that they know it by heart now. I believe residents now want to know what we’re going to do to help the County move forward towards more prosperous times. A good strong economic development plan and one we can act upon immediately is the key to protecting all of our vital services and getting people back to work.

5) What is one line item that you think could be eliminated from the county budget?

As a candidate, I get concerned that all we talk about is how we slash and burn on the budget, because, frankly, I understand that, in tough economic times, we do need to find ways to make some cuts, but that isn’t the answer to returning to prosperity.

Indeed, I operate from a perspective that we need to get back to process of streamlining government in things like planning/zoning departments and create economic incentives for business to spur new growth. We want to make it easier for established business to come to San Mateo and for small business to start and grow in our county.

6) Tell me about a way that you would raise revenue for the county.

Developing areas in and around San Francisco Int. Airport. Tourism is an absolutely huge revenue producer, and a great way to promote our county. To be able to have a locations for tourists to spend their money the moment they disembark their plane, would almost ensure that San Mateo County captures the revenue first.

7) What’s your background?

Appointed Planning Commissioner in 2009, where I currently hold the Vice chair position. Assisted in the management of the Telsa Motors Corporate showroom, which was also the final assembly location of the Tesla Roadster. Manager/Asst. Buyer at Nordstroms, One of the 6 founding member of the Latino Council of Redwood City, Member of board of directors, Sequoia Awards, Mentor and leader of previous North Fair Oaks Community Festival, Involved in the creation of a Festival devoted to raising funds for books for the North Fair Oaks Library, Chairman of the largest Neighborhood Assoc. in Redwood City, Board member of the Latino Leadership Council of San Mateo County. Past member of Redwood City Climate advisory Committee, Volunteer & Mc at annual Belmont Greek festival, San Mateo/Redwood City Chamber of Commerce leadership graduate, Member of Redwood City’s Fiestas Patrias committee.

8) What is one thing that most constituents don’t know about you?

My nickname is “Ernie” but my given name is Ernesto Emiliano Schmidt.

I come from a family of public service. Both of my Grandfathers were Consul General’s of Mexico, one held the post in San Francisco, My Great Grandfather, was a member of Congess in Mexico, and was the first Post Master General, where he was the first to create Airmail between Mexico and the U.S.

9) Do you speak any other languages, besides English?

Spanish

10) If someone wants to contact you, what is the best way for them to do so?

Email. info@ernieschmidt.com

Buck Shaw February 19, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Whats your position on: "OneBayArea" or "Plan Bay Area" ? High Speed Rail project? Exclusionary Zoning in the Residential Hills? Open Space for migratory animal routes on the Peninsula? The proposed parcel tax in Redwood City Elementary School District ? (Covers unincorperated areas
Ernie February 20, 2012 at 05:03 PM
First, for those that are not aware of “Plan Bay Area”, it is a transportation and land use plan to incorporate into the “sustainable communities strategy” which was mandated by State law in 2008. Fact is we are growing, that’s not even a question, not even an argument to be had, and we need the housing and the transportation to accommodate this anticipated growth. So will we grow to 2 million people by 2035? That I don’t know. But HOW we are going to grow is the right question to ask. San Mateo County residents have a great opportunity right now to help shape the county’s vision, to direct future investments that can help promote growth within our county and move it towards more prosperous times. As a resident, I’ am grateful that we received this plan so early on in the game, because I would still have one to many questions and concerns, that would prevent me from blessing this plan at this very moment. I would demand more time to ensure that those were met, with the expectation that their will probably be some give and take or trade offs on my part.
Ernie February 20, 2012 at 05:03 PM
High Speed Rail, for the money that it will cost to move forward with, does not make it a top priority for me nor does it make any sense. With the current state of the economy I have always believed that the funding should come from a private source, that private source would have a greater incentive to maintain and provide the level of service to ensure profits. In the meantime, the money should be used to electrify Caltrain.
Ernie February 20, 2012 at 05:04 PM
At an October 2011 Planning Commission meeting, I publicly spoke in favor of having Residential Hillside zoning, while making a motion to continue study the issue more and having workshops for our residents in order to find a common balance between those that were in favor with it and those that were not. This issue is work still in progress with the Planning Commission, thus Im limited in going into further detail.
Ernie February 20, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Our County has had a great track record in protecting open space and with the knowledge that I have gained as a Planning Commissioner as well as taking the initiative to go out to tour the marsh lands on several occasions I have learned that the migratory patterns of animals are critical in the survival of certain species and that the disruption of these patterns could have a long term and dangerous impact on the overall structure of the local environment. This knowledge alone will allow me to help continue our county's commitment and track record to protecting our Open Space.
Ernie February 20, 2012 at 05:05 PM
I absolutely support the School Parcel tax; our students deserve the same quality education as in our neighboring areas. The money is kept local and would directly benefit each student. I would though ask the school board to consider reducing the tax amount.
Sarah H. February 21, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Ernie, Thank you for coming back and posting your responses to Buck's questions. More candidates should do so! Sarah
Stacie Chan (Editor) February 21, 2012 at 06:06 AM
I agree! Thanks Ernie for responding to constituents' questions. It's so great to see candidates so accessible. More profiles of Supervisor candidates coming soon.
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) February 21, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Ernie, thanks for taking the time to answer Buck's questions in such detail. It's awesome to see discussion about specific issues in our district take place here on Patch. Cheers
Buck Shaw February 21, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Thank You. Its realy refreshing to get some answers and further information on what I think or at least to me are germain to being an informed voter. Once again Thank You Buck...
Ernie February 22, 2012 at 11:13 PM
You are entirely welcome! :)

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