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Prohibitive Favorite Will Sit Out 2013 Foster City Council Race

Minkey-Selvitella lost by a razor-thin margin to Herb Perez in last year’s race. She is keeping her options open for future runs.

A prohibitive favorite to win a seat on Foster City’s City Council next year told Patch on Monday she will not run.

Jennifer Minkey-Selvitella cited wanting to spend more time with her three young children, growing her business, and lingering election fatigue from an exhausting 2011 race to be the primary reasons for sitting out the next year’s campaign.

Her loss to Herb Perez in last year’s race went down as one of Foster City's all-time narrowest council elections.

"It was a tough decision only because I truly feel I have a lot to offer the city," Minkey-Selvitella said.

"It's hard to sit on the sidelines when you feel that that you have something to offer.”

Minkey-Selvitella had been widely expected to replace Vice Mayor Pam Frisella, who terms out next year. Her announcement came as a surprise to Frisella.

"I'm tremendously disappointed because I think she'd be great, but I understand her decision," Frisella said. "I think it's a wise decision."

Minkey-Selvitella is a Foster City-based real estate agent and has three children, aged 7, 9 and 12. She said she will keep her seat on the city's Park and Recreation Committee.

She was considered a rising star heading into last year's election, heavily favored with the support of the entire sitting council and the powerful firefighters union. She lost by 130 votes to a well-funded Perez, who outspent the rest field in a six-person campaign for three contested seats.

Minkey-Selvitella said she’s keeping her options open for future runs. She’ll be 46 in the 2015 election cycle.

"I'm not ruling out anything," she said.

Frisella said she believes Minkey-Selvitella is still a potentially formidable candidate with a bright political future.

"In 10 years Foster City politics will still be there," she said, noting that the opportunity to spend time with her young children will not.

"I think she bring fresh ideas, Foster City needs that."

Frisella is hopeful that a woman will fill her seat. A five-member council made up entirely of men, she said, would not serve the interests of Foster City if nothing else on a symbolic level - a sentiment Minkey-Selvitella echoed.

"I don't think too much of anything is a good thing," Minkey-Selvitella said.

Frisella’s seat is among two that will be contested next year. Incumbent Charles Bronitsky, who is expected to run for reelection, figures to be a shoe-in running in a city with a history of rubberstamping elected officials (an elected councilmember hasn’t lost a reelection bid in Foster City in 16 years, and an incumbent hasn’t lost in 14 years).

Minkey-Selvitella spoke in philosophical terms about an admittedly tough 2011 campaign, acknowledging she didn't want to put herself or her family through another grueling race.

"It was tough, but you know what? I'm a big girl,” she said. “I've been in business for 12 years and I've had to deal with a lot of tough situations and sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't. We have some good councilmembers who are doing some good things and I'm happy about that.

"Everything happens for a reason,"

She bristled at the notion that her commitment to family life would be a hindrance to being an effective councilmember.

“Truthfully, I think I’d be awesome,” she said.

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frank April 24, 2012 at 01:52 PM
"Frisella is hopeful that a woman will fill her seat" Just imagine if a male city counsel member said he hopes a man will be voted in. A very irresponsible statement either way.
Jennifer Minkey-Selvitella April 24, 2012 at 03:45 PM
To clarify, 1) I am a State Farm Insurance Agent, NOT a realtor. 2) Vice Mayor Frisella was speaking to a diversified City Council, not a man versus woman sentiment.
frank April 24, 2012 at 09:09 PM
it's still a poor choice of words, diversified? how about "Qualified" and "Dedicated" Nobody cares what you do for a living, and FYI I and spouse voted for you and Patrick. this is not about you, it's about words that can come back to haunt a politician, that can be taken out of context.
Gideon Rubin April 24, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I appreciate your commenting Frank. I don't believe Vice Mayor Frisella was expressing a view that's out of the mainstream though. A candidate's qualifications and dedication are obviously most important, but I assume you'd agree that all things being equal, a council that reflects a community's diversity is preferred.
patrick murphy April 25, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Ms. Sevitilla Minkey did everything she could to win the race she was thrust into by the departing Linda Koelling and the soon to be departing Frisella. I agree with the comments above concerning gender equity. I vote based upon qualifications. do not vote on gender considerations. The current school board is all women, should we swap with some of the men on the Council? I think not. Koelling and her crew called upon their friends, including me, in an attempt to maintain the strangle-hold they have had on the City for the past 12 years. While Jennifer was passionate, she was not the most qualified in experience or education. Bill Swartz had an impressive resume and strong financial background and he had my vote. I did find it interesting that Jennifer want to focus on her family and business now. She had said at every debate that her young children and business would not hinder her ability to serve. Now it does? Anyhow this seems to be opportunistic rhetoric that reeks of self interest. I still am not sure why it should matter who Frisella wants to see in her seat. Koelling tried that to the detriment of Jennifer and the City. What is more telling is Jennifer and Pam talking about an election that is two years away. The last election just finished and for where I sit its seems like this Council has hit the road running and accomplished two property sales and cooperation with the school district. Linda and her crew could not do the same in a 12 year period. Go figure.

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