Riechel Reports - Events - City of San Bruno CA

San Bruno CA Mayor And Council 2020 Candidate Answers 4 - 6





Article Source:  Riechel Reports Editor Robert Riechel

Riechel Reports editor sent 15 questions to each of the 2 candidates running for San Bruno Mayor and to each of the 5 candidates running for the 2 Council seats in the November 2020 election.

Due to the number of questions and the length of some of the candidate answers, I will be posting blocks of 3 questions in a single post.  You will need to read 5 posts to read all of the answers provided.  The answers are not edited and if a candidate(s) does not provide an answer, the wording "Candidate Did Not Provide An Answer" will be inserted where his/her answer should have appeared .

I plan to keep the set of 5 posts up until about 1 November 2020

 Below is the 7 candidates' answers to questions 4 - 6.


2020 November Mayor & Council Candidates Answer Questions:

Once again, with this election, I sent out a series of 15 questions to the 2 candidates running for San Bruno Mayor ( Rico Medina and Linda Mason) and the 5 candidates running for the 2 seats on the Council (Tom Hamilton, Stephan Marshall, Michael Salazar, Jeremy Sarnecky, and Stephen Seymour).

For those candidates who did NOT provide an answer, I have added the statement “Candidate did not supply an answer”.

I am pleased to provide this volunteer service to inform and better engage the citizens of San Bruno in making choices that affect the welfare of our City.

Q4.    WHERE do you stand on changing San Bruno’s form of government to that of a Charter City and WHY YES or WHY NO?

Answer from Current Mayor Rico Medina

This is a discussion the community and council should have to weigh the benefits and any challenges it could bring.


If we choose to become a Charter City, an implementation of a transfer tax when commercial properties have title transfers, this can provide more money to our city.  As an example, San Mateo is a charter city and has gotten several millions (one time money) from this tax. It should be noted that any change in governance from General Law to a Charter City will require a vote of the people.

Answer from Mayoral Candidate Linda Mason

Council has been informed that being a Charter City may change the City’s options as they pertain to moving to a District Election Model as well as the City’s standing and legal rights around development.  For these reasons alone, outside of any financial benefits that may come with being a Charter City, I fully support what this change would mean for San Bruno and look forward to hearing staff’s research and recommendation around this topic. Lastly, prior to any change, we need a public process to educate and listen to the public.

Answer from Council Candidate Tom Hamilton

I am in favor of making San Bruno a Charter City. With our own city charter, San Bruno would have the flexibility to decide when would be the best time to transition to district elections. The city would also have the power to enact a transfer fee on real estate sales, an approach other charter cities in California have used to substantially increase revenue. Such a transfer fee could be set up however we wish; it could apply to commercial and not residential property, it could be set at different amounts for each…whatever we decide to write into our charter. Over the past several years California state law has steadily eroded our ability to use local tax dollars for local needs, which we could mitigate by having our own municipal charter. We would have also increased autonomy over land use decisions and more control over traffic regulations, among other benefits.

Let's look at San Mateo, which is one of 121 charter cities in California (Redwood City is also one). San Mateo has a transfer fee of $7 per $1000, or 0.7%. If San Bruno had the same setup, the recent $96 million sale of the commercial Skypark site to Amazon (the richest company on earth) would have generated $672,000 for San Bruno instead of the $0 we will get instead. And for those who might say that such a fee would deter investment in San Bruno, putting COVID aside San Mateo certainly does not seem to be hurting in terms of new development nor real estate sales.

A city charter would be designed in a public process with resident participation, and the final charter would need to be approved by the voters before it could be enacted.

Answer from Council Candidate Stephan Marshall

While I am open to new and creative forms of government, this will require a tremendous amount of time for staff research and development.

Answer from Council Candidate & Current Vice Mayor Michael Salazar

I am skeptical about the need for this change.  Some are proposing using this as a way to create new taxes.  And while I am open to seeking new funding sources, I don’t think additional taxes are necessarily the best course of action during a recession. Ultimately, this would have to be decided by a popular vote so I am eager to hear what our residents feel about this topic.

Answer from Council Candidate Jeremy Sarnecky

“Candidate did not supply an answer.”

Answer from Council Candidate Stephen Seymour

Becoming a Charter City may provide benefits to San Bruno. It is important for us to review what those benefits could do for our city. I favor a public discussion and deep review before taking a stance. Currently San Mateo, Redwood City and 119 other California cities are charter cities.  Under certain home rule provisions in California's state constitution, voters can exercise a greater degree of local control than that provided by the California Legislature.  Becoming a charter city allows voters to determine how their city government is organized and, with respect to municipal affairs, enact legislation different than that adopted by the state. Ultimately the decision would be in the hands of the voters of San Bruno.

Q5.    WHERE and HOW would you Fund and improve residential parking needs?

Answer from Current Mayor Rico Medina

During the Mills Park development discussion, I asked the developer for residential parking needs, and the city was given $100,000.00 if a parking permit program begins in the area around the development, those units may not participate or receive parking permits. There is a parking permit program that was adopted by the city council last year which allows neighborhoods the opportunity to apply for the program with support of the area desired to have a parking permit program.

Answer from Mayoral Candidate Linda Mason

We need to create a process for identifying where parking is at issue and then identify solutions specific to the different areas.  I don’t believe that we should paint each community with a broad brush because they are all different.  Regarding funding sources, it is unclear whether a funding source is needed or whether we have systems already in place to address the parking concerns raised.  

Answer from Council Candidate Tom Hamilton

I was a member of the Traffic Safety and Parking Committee and was on the subcommittee that developed the Residential Parking Permit Program (RPPP) enacted recently by the council. The RPPP is a start but needs to be revised in order to be successful. When developing the RPPP, we were told explicitly that neither the police department nor Public Works would support any program which would allow the issuance of more parking permits than there are available street parking spaces in the permit area. On the face of it, this seems like a reasonable position, but the unfortunate reality is that most of our parking-impacted neighborhoods already have more resident vehicles than available street spaces, which is likely the main reason that no neighborhood has yet stepped forward to start the request process for a permit program for their neighborhood.

If we were to allow permits to be issued to all vehicles lawfully registered to addresses in the permit area, with the understanding that a permit would not guarantee the availability of a parking space, we would be able to address the problem of vehicles from outside of our neighborhoods from exacerbating the existing problems, like those caused by people who park and then take an Uber to the airport to save on airport parking fees, airport limos, commercial vehicles stored illegally, and the like. It’s not a perfect solution but would be an improvement over what we have today.

Regarding funding, revising the existing RPPP would cost staff time, and costs would be partially recovered by parking permit fees, which I maintain (as I did during the development of the program) should remain as low as possible and not become an additional financial burden for residents.

Answer from Council Candidate Stephan Marshall

The city owns multiple downtown parking lots that can be developed into multi-story structures which will add daytime parking for our downtown area and overnight parking for adjacent residents.  There are many ways our city can partner with private developers to accomplish this in a cost-effective manner.  We can also implement a stricter abandoned car code so that residential streets can no longer be used as 72 hour airport parking.

Answer from Council Candidate & Current Vice Mayor Michael Salazar

We recently introduced the ability for neighborhoods to request parking permits.  Based on extensive public input and discussion we settled on a fee structure that will not likely be able to fund the programs.  Management and enforcement will have to be funded from existing sources and possibly fines collected from those parking violations.

Answer from Council Candidate Jeremy Sarnecky

“Candidate did not supply an answer.”

Answer from Council Candidate Stephen Seymour

Not all of our neighborhoods are impacted.  I will focus on those that are. As a member of the Traffic, Safety, and Parking Committee (TSPC), I propose we review the city’s current parking permit plan. There must be a reason no one has taken the effort to permit their neighborhood and yet parking gets worse each year. We have commercial and oversized vehicles that take up valuable parking. We need to enforce the ordinances already in place and remove them.

Q6.    WHERE and HOW would you fund and improve parking along San Mateo Ave.?

Answer from Current Mayor Rico Medina

I would be looking at some of the following options: parking meters, decreasing the parking time in some parking lots to fewer hours. And construction of a parking structure with support of local business.  

Answer from Mayoral Candidate Linda Mason

The simplest and most immediate approach with the limited capacity we have is limiting parking on San Mateo Avenue and in the parking lots to 2-4 hours and strictly enforcing the time limit.  Both pieces need to be in place and enforced to be effective.

 

Answer from Council Candidate Tom Hamilton

 

As stated in question #1, I am in favor of installing parking meters along San Mateo Avenue. It is also imperative that we build a downtown parking structure and seek grant funding at the state or federal level to help subsidize it. We could also partner with a developer to build a parking structure, or utilize a combination of both of these strategies.

Answer from Council Candidate Stephan Marshall

Same as #5

Answer from Council Candidate & Current Vice Mayor Michael Salazar

The options being considered are parking meters and a multi-story parking garage.  The price per space for a multi-story garage has grown to the point where it is almost unaffordable.  To make this garage work, we would have to combine it with another development in a public-private partnership.  Other cities have implemented similar concepts where residential units are built over a public garage.

Answer from Council Candidate Jeremy Sarnecky

“Candidate did not supply an answer.”

Answer from Council Candidate Stephen Seymour

I will focus on the development of a parking garage near downtown. I support parking meters in downtown San Bruno. The revenue raised would eventually pay for the investment and could pay for the long-needed and overdue improvements in our downtown. 

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