Following is my updated response to the following questions from a community member…
“What are your priorities? What is your vision?
Public Safety: Public Safety is the number one responsibility of a city council. I have consistently supported maintaining a strong police department whenever the budget allowed it. I voted to increase the number of police officers to pre-covid personnel levels during the last budget session. Likewise I have been a strong supporter of maintaining our fire department to address fire mitigation in Crestmoor Canyon and other open spaces. This includes the replacement of the fire engines and pumpers as needed. In fact two replacement fire engines were put into service last month.
There are a number of ways to improve public safety that have not been undertaken in the past. Thieves thrive in dark spaces and many of our streets can be brightened up by installing new solar powered street lights. Staff has completed testing some solar streetlights and the initial review has been positive. I will work with Peninsula Clean Energy, where I have served on the Board of Directors since 2016, to assist cities in transitioning to this safety improvement.
San Bruno has benefited from the installation of license plate readers and security cameras to catch those breaking the law. However the amount of crime has been overwhelming. Sadly during the past year in my neighborhood we have had more incidents of break-ins in our cars and thefts from our porches. We need to encourage our residents to look out for each other and increase the number of neighborhood watch groups. We also need to provide incentives to residents to install their own security lights/cameras and register them with the Police Department.
The Traffic Safety and Parking Committee (TSPC) has been equipped with better tools to address speeding. However the process is too cumbersome similar to the Residential Parking Permit Program. I remain in favor of the installation of speed bumps to slow down those that choose to drive at unsafe speeds and the painting of red curbs to improve the line of sight at intersections. We also need to address problematic parking of vehicles from auto repair shops in our neighborhoods. Our residents on some streets have been overwhelmed by these vehicles taking up a large portion of the available parking. There are also long-historical problems with large vehicles turning into residential streets north of San Bruno Avenue. We have old problems that need new solutions.
In addition, a Safe Route to Schools study is underway which will provide additional analysis to take proactive measures to improve safety near schools. With council support we can expedite the speed bumps in known areas within District 4: Huntington/San Antonio, San Anselmo, 1st Avenue, 7th Avenue, Walnut, Herman, and around Florida Park). Complaints about speeding is the number one issue I have heard while campaigning.
City Revenues: We need more revenue to do more. Revenues are increasing based on efforts identified in the Comprehensive Fiscal Sustainability Project. The city council and San Bruno voters have increased our city’s revenues to pay for additional services and projects: Measure G was a significant increase (pre-covid estimate $4 million/year), renegotiated contracts with Walmart.com ($4 million/year) and Artichoke Joe’s ($900K/year). However we must continue improving our revenue streams for fiscal sustainability. There is no “pot of gold” out there. There is no “silver bullet” that solves our financial problems. We must look at all potential sources of revenue.
The City is negotiating to sell the old Navy site property next to Jack’s to a Hyundai dealership. This will provide $1million/year in taxes… details on the net gain from the sale are not finalized, however the great news is the Hyundai dealer is demonstrating their commitment to San Bruno by opening a temporary dealership in the old Sears building at Tanforan, meaning tax dollars from this business can begin flowing within a few months and not have to wait for the completion of the new dealership’s building.
Development Impact Fees (DIF) make sure developers pay their fair share. However these one-time payments are not enough. These fees are estimated at $157 million upon the permitting of various projects however there are an additional $310 million of unfunded Capital Improvements. Nonetheless we are expecting the first significant DIF and community benefits through the BayHill Specific Plan from YouTube worth approximately $56 million for Phases 1 and 2 of their expansion plans. Where will the council decide to spend these funds? I look forward to the public discussion.
The council has directed staff to continue with expanding revenue sources such as Short Term Rental fees (AirBnb) and Cannabis businesses. These initiatives have taken longer than expected however they recently approved in the past month.
Infrastructure improvements: It is important that the Recreation and Aquatics Center (RAC) is constructed on time and within budget. This project will hopefully increase the trust in our community; the council and staff can complete what we said we were going to do. We must also continue investing in our streets, water mains, sewers and sidewalks. Some neighborhoods now enjoy new water and sewer mains, curb ramps and street paving. The city’s contractor is now working on the west side of San Mateo Avenue between Angus and Kains. The next phase is in the Avenues south of Pine Street. A lot of work has been done and it is budgeted to continue. Unfortunately it takes longer than we would prefer.
Our streets are overdue for repair. This year the council budgeted nearly six million in funding to improve our streets. This is a good start and much more needs to be done. I will lead the effort to address this issue with clear communication, identified funding, a realistic plan, and an implementation schedule.
We need to address the budget deficit in the stormwater enterprise fund. The revenue from the portion of storm water property taxes have never increased since 1994. This has resulted in a $600,000+ shortage that gets paid from our General Fund.
Parking: I worked on the Residential Parking Permit Program (RPPP) however it needs to be revised into an easier format so residents can make quicker choices in its implementation. A majority of the council has expressed an interest to revise the process and I will continue to seek our community input. Tom Hamilton and I worked on the first round and I look forward to working with him again.
Affordable Housing I am in favor of increasing housing in San Bruno. We need to develop partnerships with affordable housing developers. Our Affordable Housing Fund is growing with city council approved Development Impact Fees (February 2019). YouTube’s Phase 1 & 2 contribution is approximately $10 million. By entering into a partnership, we will have better control over the housing quality, the number of units, and the locations that minimize impacts to our existing neighborhoods.
I voted in favor of staff releasing of the “Reimagine Tanforan Fact Sheet” to advise the development community that a new Tanforan can be developed with a minimum of 1,000 housing units, life science buildings, and retaining retail space. This project is proceeding and we are scheduled to have the first public project meeting this month.
Downtown: I will continue to advocate for improving our Downtown. We replaced the garbage cans, increased the sidewalk power washing to monthly, changed the parking zones to encourage short term parking at various locations, we are moving forward with parking meters, and we recently moved forward with the redesign of Centennial Plaza (approximately $900K – funding to be determined). While meeting with property owners we need to address the parking problems. I have been asked by many business owners to provide a draw to our downtown by hosting farmer markets, street festivals and making our downtown more inviting. We need to improve our wayfinding signage to our parking lots, plant trees in the ground, and enforce the existing property maintenance requirements. We need to decide on the next step in the San Mateo Avenue Streetscape Plan. We have to provide encouragement to property owners to maintain their properties and eliminate vacances.
Affordability. I have consistently voted against water and sewer rates increases. Additionally I voted to suspend this past year’s five percent increase. It was clear to me that we are not spending the money as quickly as we have been raising the rates. We are having a consultant perform a required rate study this year. This study should include the projected development that is expected which will result in more revenue to the water and sewer enterprise funds. More funds means less increases.
Environment: I am an advocate for completing our Climate Action Plan. I have served as San Bruno’s representative on the Board of Directors of Peninsula Clean Energy since 2016 and also serve on the Executive Committee. PCE provides energy rates that are cleaner and less expensive than PG&E. I advocated for the addition of Solar power on the new Recreation and Aquatic Center resulting in a purchase Power Agreement with PCE.
I have been asking for an increase in the number of trees planted and I hope my colleagues agree that we should be doing so with the receipt of the YouTube development impact fees. San Bruno has finally approved Reach Codes which will require new buildings to be more energy efficient and less reliant on natural gas.
Quality of Life Issues: I served on the Clean San Bruno Subcommittee which proposed several changes to keep San Bruno cleaner. One major change has been the Recology abandoned waste clean up pilot program. This has been overall successful, but we need cameras in frequent dumping locations to teach a couple lessons. Recology has also agreed to provide two yearly free bulky waste pick ups to multi family residential units.
CityNet Services: The council has been waiting for an overdue report on the implementation of a business plan for CityNet Services. We need to make a decision on this enterprise.
What are you going to do differently if you are re-elected?
The major thing I intend on doing differently is making sure we set priorities for our strategic initiatives. We have too many of them. We need to PRIORITIZE those we need to be completed first. We need to install speed bumps to slow down speeders and improve the sight distance at stop signs and intersections. We have Wayfinding Signs that are not being installed to assist shoppers in locating parking lots in our downtown.
Communication: I believe in communicating with the public. That’s part of a council’s job. With District elections the city manager anticipates the need for District town hall meetings and I look forward to holding quarterly meetings if I am re-elected.