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November 01, 2016


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I'd like to see chapter and verse on this matter. What provision in the law forbids federal employees from taking part as candidates in elections? How about the local Democrats club endorsing Nihart, as I was told today; is that part of the partisan problem described for the candidate? We need more particulars, please.

Several have emailed today asking if federal contractors are considered covered employees by the Hatch Act. Generally, they are not and are allowed to participate in partisan elections.

I'll continue to let Mary Ann Nihart speak for herself. She did state that she believed she had the option of dropping out, quitting her job, or taking the sanction (which may involve termination and/or removal from office). She will likely let us know her decision this week -- the ruling is apparently less than one business day old.

The biggest benefactor(s) of a Nihart withdrawal probably would not be Deirdre Martin, who is the heir apparent, but rather Realtor Sue Vaterlaus and homemaker Bridget Duffy, who would then compete for the second open seat.

"Well, I can verify that Mary Ann was in the Fog Fest parade, acting very much the candidate." (Ian Butler)

"Not sure if it matters, but Nihart's campaign website and signs are still up." (Jay Bird)

No, Steve, you're mistaken in thinking Deirdre needs to DQ Nihart to get elected.
Martin not only will be elected; I'm confident she comes in first.
Her campaign has the energy and people ("minions" as you call us). She hasn't avoided taking stands on the big issues (as does Nihart).
Pacificans are eager for change, and we won't be denied.

Not sure if it matters, but Nihart's campaign website amd signs are still up (west Sharp Park).

Well, I can verify that Mary Ann was in the Fog Fest parade, acting very much the candidate.

"Would her election mean a special election to get the council staffed? Or do we take the first runner-up as in a beauty pageant?"

You could ask the city attorney -- and then fact-check her/his answer.

Gosh, there seem to be a few Republicans who joined the Pacifica Democrats on this thread.

No surprise they evince little knowledge of democratic process, eh?

Your restraint is admirable, Steve. I personally don't have a dog in this fight, but I am really curious about what the ramifications for the city are if she does all the right things and STILL manages to get elected. Her name will be on the ballot, and incumbents have an advantage. Would her election mean a special election to get the council staffed? Or do we take the first runner-up as in a beauty pageant?

No political angle here at all -- honestly curious. Can City Council function with four members?

@Steve_Sinai: I think Sue Vaterlaus' or Bridget Duffy's chances of asking Mary Ann Nihart to withdraw based on the "spirit of the law" on term limits are higher -- and just as valid.

"-- if Nihart ceases all activity but STILL manages to get re-elected..."
The campaign website in support of the City Council race is still up.

It looks like all the Martin minions know that the only way she can get on council is if Mary Ann is disqualified. It really should be up to the people of Pacifica, not the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee and a [name-calling deleted as violation of Riptide terms of service].

"Hacked" sounds like an oversimplification by the less computer literate -- could be a cryptolocker-type virus, and depending on how the email is set up, recovery in that scenario can be difficult. It is also conceivable that her computer was pulling down email and purging it from the server.

I am sure the NSA and PRISM have a copy, but it may be hard for lesser federal employees to access.

If I am reading this right -- if Nihart ceases all activity but STILL manages to get re-elected -- it puts her in a situation of quitting her day job or refusing the seat? Then what? A special election to fill that seat? Or do both of the other candidates just win?

In regards to "emails being hacked," even if some malicious worm deleted your emails from your computer, or your computer got fried, I would assume they would still reside on the servers of whatever service is being used and could easily be recovered. I've had to wipe a computer and re-download hundreds of emails kept by my email provider. This "dog ate my homework" excuse seems a bit -- odd.

@Steve_Sinai: Perhaps Mary Ann Nihart is willing to proffer her perennial Leland Yee endorsement in trade now that he's doing five years in federal prison?

Google "big lie." It's a propaganda technique mastered by the Master Race.

What exactly has Ms. Martin to do with this? It doesn't add up, frankly. Peter's right. I thought about Mr. Vreeland immediately as a federal employee who must have received the Dems' endorsement. Could it be that someone is applying pressure who never has before and the law may be followed for the first time, if it is indeed the law?

There are a lot of Democrats who support Nihart, and I'd expect there to be a hell of a backlash against the San Mateo County Democrats if they meddle with our City Council election.

I wonder if Martin is fair-minded enough to ask the County Democrats to remain neutral on the local election to allow Pacificans to have a full choice of candidates?

Hutch said, "I don't see any Martin signs in Sharp Park after she made it clear she's with Keener on abandoning Beach Blvd."

I asked Keener last weekend and he said, and I quote, "I have always made it clear that I support reinforcing the sea wall at Beach Blvd. if the funding can be secured." Deirdre Martin has also made it clear, including at the candidates debates, that she in no way supports "abandoning Beach Blvd."

This is a make-believe argument, right up there with "Hillary will abolish the 2nd Amendment" and "Obama is a Kenyan." If you repeat it enough times, a percentage of the population will believe it, but that doesn't make it true.

In regards to what makes an election partisan, the response by the OSC (in Newcomb) held the following:

"No bright-line rule exists that identifies the type or amount of conduct needed to prove that a statutorily designated nonpartisan election, in fact, became a partisan one. McEntee, 404 F.3d at 1334. Therefore, OSC would have to evaluate the facts and circumstance of each case to determine whether a candidate in a nonpartisan election engaged in conduct that warrants a conclusion that the candidate represents a political party. Generally, a nonpartisan election could become partisan if, for example, one of the candidates in the election were to: participate in and win a party caucus; hold himself out as having the party's political support by lauding such support in his speeches, flyers, or mailings; seek or advertise a political party's endorsement; or receive support of a political party in the form of funding, campaign supplies, campaign volunteers, campaign publications, or use of the political party headquarters. Please note that the foregoing is not an exhaustive list of circumstances that could change a nonpartisan election to [a] partisan one. (Brown letter, p. 2.)"

It's the Hatch Act. All federal employees are aware of it.


For some of us independent voters who know the two-party/one-party system in the U.S. is a big part of our governmental problems, endorsement by either of the major parties is a big negative for a local candidate. I don't vote in Pacifica; but if I did, I would avoid voting for any local candidate who accepts a political party endorsement.

[also posted on Nextdoor] Other federal employees have served on City Councils before – Jim Vreeland and Chuck Curry, to name a couple. I wonder if the SMC Dems endorsed candidates in those elections? It doesn't make common sense that a political party's endorsement of a candidate in a nonpartisan race can turn it into a partisan race, just by the action of endorsement. If that's the case, I can imagine other scenarios in which a political party endorses a candidate in a nonpartisan race to knock another candidate out of the race whom they oppose and who is a federal employee. Doesn't seem right.

Who wrote this drivel. What a bunch of bs. Deirdre is the one who "applied" for endorsement. Doesn't affect Mary Ann. All her signs are all over town. But funny I don't see any Martin signs in Sharp Park after she made it clear she's with Keener on abandoning Beach Blvd. https://www.facebook.com/groups/FixHighwayOne/

I just remembered why I don't come here anymore. Ba bye.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: But you just did, Bob. Ba bye! Ha ha, made you click!)

San Mateo County Democrats endorsements for November 2016

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