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Mike Callagy named as San Mateo County Manager John Maltbie’s successor

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San Mateo County Assistant County Manager Mike Callagy was named to succeed John Maltbie as county manager by the Board of Supervisors on Thursday.

Callagy will fully assume his new post when Maltbie retires in November, according to a statement by the county. At its July 10 meeting, the Board of Supervisors will vote on Callagy’s contract. His compensation will include a base salary of $332,800 plus transportation allowance and other benefits, the county said.

Maltbie served as county manager from 1989 to 2008 and returned in December 2012 at the request of the Board. Callagy was selected to succeed him after a nationwide recruitment and several rounds of interviews, the county said.

A lifelong San Mateo County resident who lives in Foster City, Callagy joined the county in 2013 as one of three deputy county managers. He previously had a 23-year career with the San Mateo Police Department, where he retired as deputy chief.

He was named assistant county manager in 2016.

As the new county manager, Callagy is prioritizing public safety and health, fiscal responsibility, innovation and goals and policy objectives as determined by the Board, according to the county.

“Mike is a collaborative leader with deep roots in the community and a passion for public service,” Board President Dave Pine said in the statement. “In the last five years, he’s proven that he is able to get the job done, and he has the skills and vision to build on the strong foundation put in place by John Maltbie.”

Callagy said the new position “offers the unique chance to really see the difference it makes in daily lives and I consider myself lucky to serve the community I call home.”

He expressed gratitude for learning under Maltbie, calling him “an outstanding mentor and role model.”

Maltbie said he’s “pleased that San Mateo County residents will remain in such capable and thoughtful hands.”

Callagy will oversee a $2.75 billion budget and a workforce of more than 5,500 delivering services to about 760,000 residents.

In addition to having a law degree from Santa Clara University, he earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree in public administration from the College of Notre Dame and a Master’s degree in homeland defense and security from the Naval Postgraduate School, according to the county.

Political Climate with Mark Simon: New RWC council candidate adds to one of Peninsula’s hottest races

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Political Climate with Mark Simon: Controversial districting process will change status quo

The Fourth of July is about the three Ps — patriotism, parades and politics — and all three were on ample display yesterday.

Since this column, by definition, is political we’ll start there.

Redwood City Planning Commissioner Ernie Schmidt announced via Facebook yesterday that he is running in the increasingly crowded race for Redwood City Council. His announcement was quite brief and included the promise of a campaign website and Facebook page to follow.

Schmidt said back in February that he was “50-50” about running for the City Council in this November’s election. It appears the scales have shifted.

That makes the seventh candidate to announce in what is going to be one of the hottest races on the Peninsula. Also running: incumbents Diane Howard and Jeff Gee and challengers Diana Reddy, Giselle Hale, Christina Umhofer and Rick Hunter.

All this before the candidate filing period has begun – it opens July 16. There could be even more candidates in the race by the time the period closes August 10.

Schmidt told Political Climate in February that he was decidedly uneasy about running because of the high cost of a race that coincides with a statewide election. For a City Council candidate to be heard among all the other campaigns, it could cost as much as $90,000, Schmidt said.

He also said the upcoming election is taking place in a “weird climate. The race is going to be very noisy. I don’t know if I have ear muffs strong enough for all the noise.”

Apparently, he does.

Or maybe, instead of ear muffs, he’ll opt for the red chili pepper costume Schmidt wore during yesterday’s Redwood City Fourth of July parade. He said he was pressed into service at the last minute to help out the float publicizing the annual city Salsa Festival. The original chili pepper was a no-show.

POLITICAL DOTS ON PARADE: The large crowd on hand for the annual Fourth of July parade and festival was a tempting opportunity for candidates and all of the City Council candidates to try to make their presence known. … Council members Gee and Howard were in the parade, each in a separate vintage automobile, waving to the crowd and enjoying the benefits of incumbency. … Hale volunteered at festival-related events and rode on the float of the Downtown Improvement Association. … Reddy supporters could be spotted throughout the crowd in distinctive blue T-shirts. … Hunter also volunteered at the parade. … Umhofer might have made the biggest splash. Her team passed out red, white and blue pinwheels with a campaign postcard attached and they seemed to hit almost every person who staked out a spot on the parade route.

ANOTHER ANNOUNCEMENT: Redwood City Councilwoman Shelly Masur Miller last week announced via social media what had been widely regarded as likely: she is running for the state Senate that will be vacated in 2020 by incumbent Jerry Hill, who is termed out. … Still undecided: San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine, who has yet to be heard from on the race. … Miller and Pine share some political advisors and it was thought she opt not to run if the higher-profile Pine got into the race. It appears she decided not to wait any longer.

A GRAND DAY: Congratulations to the Peninsula Celebration Association and all its volunteers for a wonderful parade and festival.

Many cities put on Fourth events, but Redwood City, with its Courthouse Square and Main Street USA-style downtown, really is the setting for these kinds of events.

There were two moments, among many, that stood out.

The chalk art that covered Courthouse Square was dazzling and kudos to the artists.

For sheer entertainment, it was hard to beat the Cal Aggie Marching Band from University of California, Davis, and the Incomparable Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band, who gathered together for a battle of the bands that lasted well over an hour. It was joyous.

AND SOME PATRIOTISM: As we were setting up for the parade, my son asked me what I think about on this day, knowing that it’s my favorite holiday.

It’s this: I love my country. I love what it aspires to be. I love the virtues it represents. I love that we come from all over the world – often with nothing in our pockets but dreams in our hearts – seeking the chance for a better life. I love that we’re messy and argumentative and complicated and that we disagree and that freedom is difficult. I love that we are a people and place of hope.

I also love fireworks, summer, parades and watermelon.

Contact Mark Simon at mark.simon24@yahoo.com.

*The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Online.

Person fatally truck by Caltrain Thursday afternoon

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Person struck by Caltrain at Main Street

A person was fatally struck by a Caltrain while trespassing on the tracks in Redwood City on Thursday, according to the transit agency.

Southbound train No. 366 struck the individual a little after 5 p.m. near Brewster Ave., the transit agency reported.

As a result of the incident, Brewster Avenue between Arguello and El Camino Real was closed in both directions for an investigation. The closure was expected to last about 90 minutes, police said.

Follow Caltrain on Twitter for updates on impacts to transit.

Despite prevention efforts, Redwood City police inundated with fireworks-related calls

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Redwood City domestic violence suspect dies after struggle with police

Despite the city’s recent efforts to increase fines and conduct public outreach to curb illegal fireworks, the Redwood City Police Department was still inundated by calls for service regarding the problem on Independence Day.

A few people wrote to the RCPD Facebook page complaining about the lack of police response to calls about fireworks use, with one stating, “my poor dogs are terrified.”

RCPD noted it was a very busy July 4, with over 480 calls for service. Of them, more than 100 were for fireworks-specific calls, police said.

In city documents, Redwood City Fire Department Chief Stan Maupin cited an average of 176 reported incidents from July 1 through July 6 annually over the past decade. We don’t know right now how many incidents total have occurred since July 1.

The highest number of reported incidents during the period of July 1-July 6 was in 2013 with 236, while the lowest was in 2017 with 125 reported incidents, city documents showed.

Tesla withdraws plans for 515 Veterans Blvd.

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Tesla’s application to locate at 515 Veterans Blvd. in Redwood City has been withdrawn.

In May, the city’s Planning Commission unanimously approved a plan by Tesla to install a 4,941 square foot sales showroom and 15,257 square foot service area at the site of a former Crunch Fitness.

“Following the Planning Commission meeting, Tesla decided they did not want to have a sales center at this location, they only wanted a service center,” city spokesperson Meghan Horrigan told Climate today.  “Staff said they could not support the application without the sales center, so Tesla withdrew their application.”

City staff has not seen any new plans for 515 Veterans Blvd., but “know there is interest,” Horrigan said.

Political Climate with Mark Simon: Harbor district commish jumps ship before vote

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The San Mateo County Harbor District Commission, with five elected members, may be the most low-profile countywide governmental entity on the books.

Maybe that can explain the recent behavior by one of its commissioners, Sabrina Brennan, elected in 2012 on a platform of ending the decades-long “old boy network” that was running the harbor.

Faced with two time-critical issues at its June 20 meeting, Brennan walked out, leaving the commission without a quorum and unable to act.

Brennan was on hand at the beginning of the meeting when, due to vacations, only three of the five commissioners met in closed session to discuss the threat of litigation unless the harbor district moved from countywide elections to elections by district.

As soon as the closed session ended, she left, leaving Commission President Virginia Chang Kiraly and Vice President Robert Bernardo at the dais next to Brennan’s empty chair.

It wasn’t just any meeting. It was a special meeting specifically called because of two critical deadlines: The Commission had less than a week left to respond to letters threatening litigation if it didn’t begin the process of moving toward election by district. And the deadline for passing the Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget was only 10 days away.

Chang Kiraly, in Facebook posts, said Brennan “intentionally broke a quorum so that harbor district business could not get done” and that Brennan “shirked her duties as an elected official … so that we couldn’t pass our budget and other financial items.”

The commission met in another special session a week later, on June 27, passed the budget and voted to proceed to by-district elections for 2020, which is when Brennan happens to be up for re-election.

She wasn’t at that meeting either.

We left a message on her phone asking her to call for comment, but she has not responded.

The commission oversees the county’s two major public harbors – Pillar Point in Princeton by the Sea, north of Half Moon Bay, and Oyster Point Harbor in South San Francisco, the site of the county’s only ferry terminal.

It has an annual operating budget of $9.3 million and a capital budget of $10.4 million.

MALTBIE MOVES ON: San Mateo County Manager John Maltbie told county employees in an email last week that he will retire on Nov. 3, bringing an end to a career that spanned nearly 27 years leading the county government. Maltbie had announced last year that he would retire at the end of this year. He now has a firm date.

County sources say the Board will pick Maltbie’s replacement this week and they have narrowed the field of candidates to two, but the supervisors have done a good job of keeping close the names of the two finalists.

For Maltbie, the next three months will be spent finishing up the Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget and putting in place a couple of new programs, as well as providing any necessary transition assistance to his replacement.

Maltbie retired once before in 2008 and came back at the request of the Board of Supervisors in 2011.

He said he is “ready and excited” about retirement. He and his wife, Greta Helm, a longtime executive at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, will move to El Dorado Hills, east of Sacramento.

“Life is good,” Maltbie said.

FOR THE SAKE OF CLARITY: Math was never my strong suit, so I want to make sure I’m clear about some of the details in a recent column on Redwood City’s budget woes.

New state pension requirements are going to cost the city $12 million over the next five years. In anticipation of those costs, the city already has proposed $3.7 million in immediate cuts, many of them impacting public safety funding.

The City Council will consider a half-cent sales tax increase that would generate about $8 million a year. If it passes, the new revenue means the city, in the words of staff, “would avoid the cuts most impacting the community,” including reductions in library hours and filling vacant public safety positions.”

Contact Mark Simon at mark.simon24@yahoo.com.

*The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Online.

Photo: San Mateo County Harbor District

San Mateo County deputies will now have Narcan when handling narcotics cases

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San Mateo County deputies to carry Narcan when handling narcotics cases

San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies who handle narcotics cases, will now carry Narcan (Naloxone), which is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Officers working on the Narcotic Task Force and the Crime Suppression Unit have been trained in recognizing the symptoms of opioid exposure, and in the use of Narcan for treatment.

Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos explained, “[This] is an important safety tool for my personnel and the community.”

Narcan will be used for situations involving an opioid overdose, and also to treat officers, in the event of accidental exposure (Fentanyl, for example, which is a powerful synthetic opioid, can be liquefied, and once on a surface, can be undetectable).

3,000 attend Families Belong Together rally in Redwood City’s Courthouse Square

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3,000 attend Families Belong Together rally in Redwood City’s Courthouse Square

In one of the largest Families Belong Together rallies between San Francisco and Los Angeles on Saturday, an estimated 3,000 people crowded Courthouse Square in Redwood City as part of a national call to end President Donald Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policies that have separated families.

The grassroots local effort, which began in an online messenger thread between Redwood City Education Foundation board members Whitney Black and Giselle Hale, swiftly swelled into a large rally featuring prominent guest speakers and attendees, with elected officials from Mountain View to Millbrae attending, including Redwood City Mayor Ian Bain, Redwood City Councilmember Shelly Masur, Millbrae Vice Mayor Wayne Lee and Belmont Vice Mayor Davina Hurt.

Among the speakers were Charlotte Willner, who along with her husband, Dave, launched a viral fundraiser that raised over $20 million to support separated migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who shared her experience from touring detention facilities in Texas and also revealed actions being taken by Congress.

During the rally, the large crowd chanted demands for immigrant rights, clutched signs denouncing the policy of separating children from families, and collectively sang to Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

“I’m a mother, I’m here today with my family and two young daughters. My youngest is just two years old,” Hale told the crowd. “That is the life she will know. Because we will not rest until every one of those children are reuinited with their families.”

Hale encouraged community members to take “meaningful action right here in our community,” first by registering to vote, and also by supporting local organizations that work to protect families in local neighborhoods, such as Faith in Action. One small action, such as the online messenger discussion that led to Saturday’s large rally, can have a significant impact, Hale said.

The Families Belong Together rally was one of many held throughout the nation as part of a national movement organized by MoveOn.

Redwood City’s version was the latest large gathering at Redwood City’s Courthouse Square, which is increasingly emerging an important and central place of distinction and community gatherings on the Peninsula.

Redwood City firefighters’ breakfast the perfect fuel for a busy Independence Day

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Redwood City firefighters' breakfast the perfect fuel for a busy Independence Day

As we’ve reported in length here, a whole lot is happening in Redwood City for Independence Day, so you want to be prepared.

Stake out a good spot along Broadway for the parade?  Check.  Head out in the evening for fireworks?  Check.  Maybe even a stop in between for that open house at the San Mateo County History Museum.  Check.

But – that’s a long day.  So, a good breakfast to get you started?  Check – as long as you join Redwood City Firefighters Association for their annual Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast.

They do the cooking, the serving, the cleaning.  All you have to do is sit down and eat.

You can get off to an early start, because the firefighters start dishing up pancakes at 7:30 am, or you can sleep in a bit (last call is at 10:30 am).  And, breakfast is served at the main fire house (so if you’re wondering how to interest the kids in breakfast – here’s your answer:  eat out at a fire station).  You’ll find the fire station at 755 Marshall Street.  And, for a very reasonable $7 bucks a person, breakfast is served.

Consider donating to the Capital Gazette Fund

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We are devastated by the attack on our colleagues at the Capital Gazette, and we are inspired by its staff, which in the face of unthinkable horror and tragedy, exhibited the courage and dedication to continue serving its community by publishing today.

We encourage our readers to contribute to the fund that has been set up to support those impacted by clicking here.

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