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Q & A With Memo Morantes

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 Redwood City, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, and houses about 150,000 people, according to the latest census data.

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

Here's the response we got from Memo Morantes:

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

The San Mateo Board of Supervisors needs to be more diverse and have progressive leaders who have the unique ability of bringing people together to solve our common problems. I have the hands-on experience, leadership and proven track record of working with the residents of District 4 and San Mateo County in solving the education problems that matter most to us. We have saved programs for under-served populations, streamlined projects to make them more efficient, and protected core services during some of the most difficult budget years on record. 

As a 3-time countrywide elected official, I have the political experience of delivering essential services to our community while maintaining fiscal responsibility on behalf of our residents. As a small business owner and member of the Redwood City/San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce, I have the business acumen to bridge together public/private partnerships for the common good. And as a member of numerous boards and commissions providing a wide array of services to our community, I have the civic experience and understanding of the importance of maintaining the County’s safety net of services to keep our county running smoothly for this generation and many more to come. 

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

Economic development – create incentive programs to retain and attract businesses to create jobs.

Health and welfare – more residents are in greater need of the County’s social net of health and human services to maintain their quality of life.

Public safety – we should continue reaping the benefits of current consolidation of law and fire services while still maintaining our cities’ and towns’ unique qualities

Affordable housing – there’s a great need to bring residents and financial institutions together to resolve fiscal differences to prevent foreclosures and under water debts that benefit neither party.

Education – I have witnessed the common held belief that education is the great equalizer.

3) Who are your primary supporters?

I have the support of more than 150 elected officials and community leaders including San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks; former Assemblymen Gene Mullin and Ted Lempert; current and former Mayors, Vice Mayors and Councilmembers from East Palo Alto, Daly City, San Mateo, Redwood City, South San Francisco and San Bruno; representatives from law, fire, business labor and non-profits; and countless community leaders up and down the peninsula. For an updated list please see www.memomorantes.com

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

Consolidation – the County and its unincorporated sections, cities and towns have trimmed the fat, cut the marrow and deboned their budgets to the point where no one entity can do it alone. We must consolidate our services, streamline our processes and unify our efforts in preventing any further declination of essential programs and turn this economy around.

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

The county departments operate in silos. No one department knows exactly what their counterparts are doing. We must not only examine our programs for duplicity, inefficiencies and cost overruns, but we must also examine how we deliver our services in order to cut down on bureaucracy.

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

I am a firm believer in public-private partnerships. While it’s a commonly held belief that we need to attract and retain successful businesses that financially improve our economy through jobs and taxes, we must also look to these companies to help financially improve our county. Just as we as a county have a vested interest in keeping the successful businesses around, these same businesses have a vested interest in keeping their best and brightest employees around. One of the ways businesses can help is to ensure that our county remains a strong, vibrant attractive place to live and work.  Through innovative collaboration, we can keep the business engine running smoothly for both the public and private sector.

7) What’s your background?

I have been a resident of San Mateo County for more than 45 years, making Menlo Park my home. I am currently serving my 11th year and third term as Trustee for the San Mateo County Office of Education and have operated my own business as a local insurance broker for 23 years. 

I am also very active in the community. For more than 30 years, I have served on numerous boards and commissions that cover various services including housing, education, health, small business, citizenship, diversity, arts and many more worthy causes. I currently serve as a board member of the Redwood City/San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce, co-chair of the Latino Leadership Council of San Mateo County, member of the Supervisory Committee for the San Mateo Credit Union and a member of the Sequoia Hospital Foundation.

I am a proud father of two grown, successful sons and adoring grandfather to two young grandsons.

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

I have been giving blood for more than 30 years and just recently donated my 139th pint.

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

I am fluent in both English and Spanish.

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

Website: www.memomorantes.com

Email: memomorantes2012@earthlink.net

Phone: 650.759.5910

Mail: P.O. Box 5484, San Mateo, CA 94402-0484

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