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UA Local 38
October 22, 2020
Three are vying to represent Redwood City’s District 7 that consists of the predominantly residential Farm Hill area — recently retired community police officer Chris Rasmussen, incumbent Alicia Aguirre and nonprofit program facilitator Mark Wolohan.
Faced with mounting crises including economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19, civil unrest due to disproportionate community policing and a regional housing shortage, the three candidates largely separated themselves through speaking on their backgrounds during an online interview.
Rasmussen largely reflected on his time as a Redwood City police officer when discussing police reform and interactions with homeless residents.
Rasmussen also called for developing around transit center areas to protect the character of single-family neighborhoods which also need to be protected from being redeveloped into mansion-sized homes, he said.
The three candidates were hesitant to support development at the salt ponds owned by Cargill Inc. To defend the city against sea level rise, many have also called for the ponds to be returned to marsh land, a notion the candidates supported.
Residents and activists have also rallied in the city to push officials toward stronger police reform. Protests erupted in May following police killings of Black Americans, leading thousands to gather in Redwood City’s Courthouse Square and calls from residents to reimagine policing in the city.
Rasmussen voiced strong support for transparency, police oversight “if done correctly,” and for diversifying the department to look more like the community it serves. He and Wolohan agreed more officers should be hired from within the city.
“We need to look at sustainability with our officers and community investments. ... Our community should look like our police department as well,” said Rasmussen, who supports implementing community services officers to respond to traffic and other nonviolent calls.
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CHRIS RASMUSSEN, a retired police officer, has raised $22,006, the most out of any challenger in the race. His contributors include Northern California Carpenters Regional Council ($500), John Pimentel, a candidate for San Mateo County Community College board ($250); LiUNA Local 261 ($1,000); state senate candidate Josh Becker ($500); Redwood General Tire ($500); Rachel Holt, a Redwood City resident and San Mateo County judge ($150).
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Rasmussen, 50, recently retired from the Redwood City Police Department, where he received numerous awards for his work in the community, most recently in 2019 for his work with the city’s homeless community.
Rasmussen says that when his retirement approached, some residents said they were not sure who would be around to help them once he was off the force. Some even suggested that he run for council, which, after considering it, Rasmussen decided to run to continue his work in bettering Redwood City.
Rasmussen says his priorities would include transparency within City Hall, working on potential changes to the culture at the police department, looking at ways to reduce climate change and add affordable housing.