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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