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Unique brick exterior helps 1912 Redwood City home achieve historic landmark status

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A 1912 Spanish Colonial Revival home at 127 Finger Ave. in Redwood City received an Historic Landmark Designation in a unanimous City Council vote on Monday.

In order for a property to be designated an historic landmark in Redwood City, it must meet one of four criteria. This simple, rectangular home with a flat roof met this criteria:

“It embodies distinctive characteristics of a style, type, period, or method of construction, or is a valuable example of the use of indigenous materials or craftsmanship.”

While the home’s porch has some classical elements, what makes the structure truly unique is its primary exterior material is mainly brick.

“This may be the only residential structure in all of Redwood City that uses brick as the primary exterior material,” said William Chui, Redwood City associate planner.

In most houses of this type, city officials say, the brick is “not structural, but a cladding over a wooden frame.”

2018 Google image of 127 Finger Ave. Photo at top of this page courtesy of the City of Redwood City.

The bricks are also patterned in an interesting way called skintling, where they’re set in irregular patterns and configurations.

According to Zillow.com, the property, which includes a main home with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom and a rear cottage with one bedroom and one bathroom, sold for $1.975 million in June.

It is located in the Finger Avenue neighborhood, originally Finger Farm, and its first deed was given to Frank M. Lorenz, a woodcarver who ran the Lorenz and Trumbell Art Shop at 65 Broadway, and his wife Emelie. The family owned the property for six years, from 1910 to 1916, but never lived there. The home was built during their ownership, according to the city.

The next owner, the retired George D. Gates who moved there from San Francisco, lived there for 18 years, at times with others including a gardener. After he died, the house was vacant until it was purchased by Harry L. Heiberg in 1936, a floor contractor who also owned the bowling alley. Other owners came into possession of the property starting from 1961.

In addition to the Historic Landmark Designation, City Council on Monday approved a Mills Act Contract in connection with the property. The Mills Act Contract provides a property tax break to the owner ranging from 40-60 percent. To receive that tax break, the owner must agree to fund a 10-year maintenance and improvement plan for the property. The council approved that 10-year plan as well on Monday.

At the same meeting, council also approved a Mills Act Contract with owners of a San Francisco-style single-family home at 221 Standish St., which was built in 1893. That home, one of the city’s oldest, is already a Redwood City landmark and thus qualified for Mills Act Contract without further review.

Photo: Courtesy of the City of Redwood City

Redwood City boy praised for response to fire in his neighborhood

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Redwood City boy praised for response to fire in his neighborhood

A Redwood City boy was recognized at Monday’s City Council meeting for his swift action in responding to a fire in his neighborhood last month.

On Sept. 27, Brady Daines and his mother were pulling into their driveway on Goodwin Avenue about 4:50 p.m. when Brady looked up and saw smoke coming from between two houses near their home, according to Redwood City Fire Chief Stan Maupin. He told his mom, and the pair ran down the street toward the 10-foot tall flames, which were coming from the fence between two houses, Maupin said.

While his mom called 911, they both went knocking on the doors of the nearby homes to make sure no one was inside. While firefighters were en route, neighbors attacked the fire with garden hoses. Fire officials arrived and extinguished the blaze in eight minutes — preventing the fire’s spread.

Without Brady’s quick response, the fire could have grown and become a lot more damaging, Maupin said.

“It’s not every day that we hear about acts of heroism, especially about a hero as young as you are Brady,” Redwood City Mayor Ian Bain said Monday, when Brady was given a certificate of recognition from the city. “I know that this is the beginning of a long career in helping your community and being a good citizen.”

Along with the certificate, Maupin gave Brady a Redwood City Fire Department water bottle and sweatshirt.

Photo courtesy of the City of Redwood City

San Carlos vehicle burglary leads to $2,800 in stolen video camera equipment

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The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office is seeking help in identifying three suspects who broke into a vehicle in San Carlos and made off with about $2,800 worth of video camera equipment.

A witness reported at 6:06 p.m. on Monday seeing three unknown Hispanic male adults break the window of the victim’s vehicle, steal the equipment and then get into a gray SUV. The incident occurred in the 100 block of Colton Avenue in San Carlos.

The suspects were wearing dark hooded sweater shirts and could be heard speaking Spanish, the Sheriff’s Office said. The suspect vehicle was a dark colored SUV, possibly a Dodge Durango with tinted windows in the front and back, as well as damage to the left rear bumper.

Anyone with information about this incident please call the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau at 650-599-1536 or the Anonymous Tip Line at 800-547-2700.

Political Climate with Mark Simon: Many county races remain very much up in the air

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Now begins the slow crawl to the finish line.

If all-mail balloting means a bigger turnout – and it looks like it does – it also means a long and protracted post-election in which the outcome of many of the races on Tuesday’s ballot remains still very much up in the air.

In some of the closest races on the Peninsula, it could be three weeks before we know the final results, including the winners of the Redwood City Council race and the passage or defeat of Measure W, the half-cent sales tax to fund transit operations and transportation projects.

On the Peninsula TV Election Night show, Deputy Elections Chief Jim Irizarry said the projected turnout for this election was 191,864 votes. As of last night’s report on the county Elections website, a total of 93,706 votes had been counted.

That means less than half the votes have been counted so far, and, in some races, the results still could change dramatically.

That being said, there were some clear outcomes and some equally clear trends, the most dramatic being a changing of the old guard among Peninsula elected officials, a group suddenly rendered more diverse demographically and in terms of gender.

But the story of the moment is the uncertainty extending into the next few weeks.

In the Redwood City race for three seats, the top three finishers early last night were Vice Mayor Diane Howard, businesswoman Giselle Hale and accountant Rick Hunter. By the end of the evening, Hale had jumped ahead of Howard and Hunter had been supplanted by community advocate Diana Reddy.

The rest of the field stood in this order, as of this morning’s tally: business owner Christina Umhofer, community activist Jason Galisatus and businessman Ernie Schmidt.

Umhofer was still less than 400 votes behind Hunter and less than 500 behind Reddy. It would seem unlikely Umhofer would vault over Hunter and Reddy to land the seat, but with this many votes left to be counted, no one knows for sure.

It is all over for Galisatus and Schmidt, the latter acknowledging as much in a gracious Facebook message this morning.

But for the top four, as Hunter said this morning on Facebook, “It’s going to be a nail biter.  … We’ll all just have to hang in there.”

STILL UP IN THE AIR: There are a number of races where the outcome is still quite uncertain, although the outstanding number of ballots to be counted will have to break in a dramatically different way for some folks to come from behind.

The most prominent of these is Measure W, which elicited passionate concern among several elected officials who appeared on Peninsula TV last night.

In need of two-thirds to pass, Measure W began the evening tallies at 64 percent, but slowly crept up to, as of this morning, 66.18 percent.

It is reminiscent of a couple of races on the June ballot, which began the count losing and finished the count scraping past the two-thirds threshold.

Several city council races remain up in the air.

In Daly City, the slate put together by incumbent Ray Buenaventura still could win. Pamela DiGiovanni was in second, but the third member of the slate, Rod Daus-Magbual was 82 votes behind Gabriella Makstman as of this morning.

In Foster City, newcomers Sanjay R. Gehani and Richa Awasthi were in the lead in a race for two seats, but perennial candidate Patrick Sullivan – he has run four times – was only 136 votes shy of his long-desired promised land.

In Pacifica, Sue Beckmeyer and incumbent Mike O’Neill look like secure winners, but Vickie Flores has a tenuous grasp on the third seat. Incumbent John Keener was only 231 votes behind her.

In South San Francisco, incumbent Mark Addiego won easily. Fellow incumbent Pradeep Gupta appeared on his way to losing to newcomers Flor Nicolas and Mark Nagales, but Gupta is only 212 votes behind Nicolas and 171 behind Nagales.

DOWN ON THE GROUND: Even with all the outstanding ballots, some races were definitely decided Tuesday.

In East Palo Alto, newcomer Regina Wallace-Jones and incumbent Ruben Abrica were elected to the Council but long-time incumbent Donna Rutherford was voted off the council.

In Half Moon Bay, Council incumbents Deborah Penrose and Debbie Ruddock were easily re-elected, joined by newcomer Robert Brownstone.

In Millbrae, Council incumbents Reuben Holober and Anne Oliva easily won re-election.

San Carlos elected an entirely new Council majority in a campaign devoid of incumbents: Laura Parmer-Lohan, Sara McDowell and Adam Rak.

NEW FACES: In Menlo Park, district elections dramatically changed the political landscape: Two incumbents, Kirsten Keith and Peter Ohtaki, were defeated by two well-established challengers, Drew Combs and Betsy Nash, with deep roots in the neighborhoods where they were running. With the victory also by Cecilia Taylor, the Menlo Park council shifts from four white and one Asian American councilmembers to a council with two African Americans.

The Menlo Park outcome undoubtedly will send shock waves through other cities that will be forced to take up the issue of elections by district, as incumbents vote on plans that could spell the end of their council tenures.

Not just in Menlo Park, but throughout the ballot, the local elections mirrored the national election in one substantial way: There was an upsurge in the number of women and minorities seeking and winning office.

It was what Congresswoman Anna Eshoo called “The Year of the Woman, 2.0.”

Look, in particular, at the seven school board races on Tuesday’s ballot and you’ll see an unprecedented number of women and minorities who were elected.

The long-term significance of this is that many city council members get their start on a local school board. The bench is deep in San Mateo County.

NOTES, QUOTES AND MOTES ON THE VOTES: It had one of the most low-profile campaigns outside of Brisbane, but the approval of its Measure JJ may have the greatest impact on the region of any measure on Tuesday’s ballot. The proposal amended the city general plan to allow the building of up to 2,200 residential units and 6.5 million square feet of new commercial space on the Baylands portion of the city. It’s a sweeping decision that can make a dent in the region’s jobs/housing imbalance and it’s a credit to the City Council, city leadership and the city’s voters that they took this step.

The Millbrae bond measure to rebuild a community center destroyed by fire was handily defeated, which is likely to force the city to re-think the whole project.

The Jack Hickey era is over on the Sequoia Healthcare District. Elected 16 years ago, Hickey has long advocated for the dissolution of the district. For the first time, the board members were elected by district. Hickey put together a slate of candidates and all of them lost, including Hickey. Maybe this will bring an end to his advocacy to end the district, but Hickey doesn’t let a little thing like defeat deter him.

On the San Mateo County Harbor District, Sabrina Brennan, not on the ballot, won two allies in Ed Larenas, who was re-elected, and Nancy Reyering. They now control the majority of that commission. It’s always hard to tell what Brennan’s long-term goals are for the district, but she is a disruptive force. This turn of events could hasten the efforts of her critics to dissolve the district and turn it into a county department.

All the measures on Tuesday’s ballot to tax cannabis were approved. That was not the fate for four advisory measures in Half Moon Bay that would have signaled to the City Council to go forward with allowing sale and production of marijuana in town. All four lost.

And in Redwood City, voters easily approved a measure to increase the local sales tax that would cover a budget shortfall induced by pension obligations.

But the theme of this election was and, for the foreseeable future continues to be, uncertainty.

It’s all over but the counting, and the counting is going to take some time.

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

Photo of county ballots being picked up from USPS shared by the San Mateo County Elections Division.

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

Election results, San Mateo County

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An historic election in San Mateo County is far from over.

The first set of results from the Nov. 6 gubernatorial election are in, but with many more ballots to count in San Mateo County’s unique all-mail election format, a number of races remain undecided.

An all-time high of 400,000 voters in San Mateo County registered to vote in this all-mail election out of the 503,000 eligible. Turnout is estimated at over 65 percent, far eclipsing the June 2018 primary (44.34 percent) and November 2014 general election (46.25 percent).

As of Tuesday, 93,706 of a projected 191,864 votes had been counted. That means thousands of ballots remain to be counted, including those mailed to the Elections Office closer to or on Election Day, as well as provisional ballots.

The Elections Office plans to release results on a regular basis until all are counted. The next results release date will be Thursday at 4:30 p.m., followed by Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 4:30 p.m., followed by Nov. 16 at 4:30 p.m. and then Nov. 19 at 4:30 p.m. Additional releases will occur daily thereafter at 4:30 p.m. as necessary.

Below are election results for San Mateo County voters as of Wednesday morning.

 

Spring Street Shelter’s kitchen renovation celebrated

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Spring Street Shelter's kitchen renovation celebrated

The Spring Street Shelter in Redwood City has a newly renovated kitchen — and it’ll play a larger role than serving food to the shelter’s clients.

Last week, a ribbon-cutting was held at the shelter at 2686 Spring St., which is operated by the Mental Health Association of San Mateo. The kitchen received “much-needed plumbing, flooring, storage, appliances, counters, cabinets and paint,” according to the Housing Industry Foundation, which through its Renovation Program donated labor and materials for the full renovation.

“This kitchen renovation will allow us to transform an everyday homeless shelter into a shelter that helps to teach/develop independent living skills—similar to a social rehabilitation home,” MHA Executive Director Melissa Patte said in a statement. “Our plan is to create a ‘group’ led by our occupational therapists and registered nurses to teach our clients how to incorporate healthy cooking and safety skills into their own lives. Learning these skills will support our clients with living independently amongst the community and maintaining housing.”

The Housing Industry Foundation pulls together funds and support from a long list of local businesses. Their aim?  Tackle projects that prevent homelessness and address affordable housing needs in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, in part via special housing projects or renovations.

“Through the HIF Renovation Program we provide our generous partners an opportunity to give back to the community, and cover the cost of renovations to allow organizations like Spring Street to focus its resources on its clients to give their clients a better quality of life,” HIF Executive Director Robert Freiri said in the statement.

Project partners included Windy Hill, lead contractor International Business Investment, Inc. (IBI), GreenTech Electric, Aquatek, Benchmark Environmental Engineering, ATI, Commercial Fire Protection, American Asphalt, Home Depot, Peter’s Drywall, MSI, A Touch of Stone, Maintenance Supply Headquarters and Interior Logic Group.

Photo by Daniel Gaines Photography (@danielgainesphotography)

Political Climate with Mark Simon: Will voters embrace change on large ballot?

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It may not be the biggest ballot in the history of San Mateo County, but if it’s not, it’s pretty close. And change is in the air. Will voters embrace the changes that are affecting their communities, or will they vote to slow down and, in many instances, stop these changes?

In addition to races for every statewide office from governor on down, 12 statewide ballot propositions and legislative and congressional races, county voters will cast ballots in 13 city council elections and 20 school board races and on 23 city ballot measures and five school ballot measures, as well as countywide races for the Board of Education and the San Mateo County Community College District board.

This is a political year tailor-made for a run-on sentence.

And that doesn’t include the campaign we’re all watching – the race for control of the U.S. Congress and, some would say, the soul of America.

If the national race is for the soul of America, there are some who think the local races are for the soul of a Peninsula that is quieter, smaller and less crowded.

These are the sustaining themes that cut through many of the races, as we are confronted by an entirely new economic reality.

There may be no more dramatic example than Measure JJ on the Brisbane ballot, a proposal to amend the city general plan and allow construction of up to 1,800-2,200 new homes and 6.5 million square feet of new commercial development in the Baylands area.

It was put on the ballot in the face of immense regional pressure to develop what is seen by many as one of the few remaining large plots of developable land in the Bay Area. The resulting development could easily double Brisbane’s population.

In South San Francisco, big plans for downtown development has prompted the usual complaints that the nature of the community is at risk.

The same concerns are at hand in Redwood City and Menlo Park, the latter being the company town for booming Facebook.

Change, albeit on a more modest scale, is also the issue in Belmont, where a unified City Council is looking to build a new downtown center to the community.

It always strikes me as ironic that Belmont has a downtown park, but no downtown, while Redwood City has a downtown but no downtown park.

Anyway, here are how some of the races seem to be shaping up.

AROUND THE HORN: In Belmont, incumbents Julia Mates, Warren Lieberman and Charles Stone have run as a slate, hoping to collectively overwhelm challenger Deniz Bolbol, who represents the out-of-power old guard of a decade ago. A sweep by the incumbents could be a mandate for their approach to transforming Belmont.

Daly City Mayor Ray Buenaventura, up for re-election and expected to win easily, has heavily backed Pamela DiGiovanni, so the election will be a test of his influence.

In South City, three seats are up and incumbents Mark Addiego and Pradeep Gupta are running. Congressional aide Mark Nagales has the support of most of the county’s political establishment, but the uneasiness in this town could put one of the incumbents at risk.

In East Palo Alto, longtime incumbents Donna Rutherford and Ruben Abrica face five challengers, so their election will be a measure of whether there is widespread dissatisfaction in their community, driven by the traffic and gentrification spurred by the presence of Facebook.

In Foster City, the absence of any incumbents has drawn six candidates for two seats. The race has been quite heated and the outcome quite uncertain. The usual movers and shakers in Foster City politics are spread out in this race.

In Half Moon Bay – Coastside politics always are as bracing as the ocean temperature – incumbents Debbie Ruddock and Deborah Penrose should be assured of re-election, but it is notable that neither of them listed their incumbency for their ballot designation, hinting that there could be turmoil.

In Menlo Park, where they have gone to district elections for the first time, two incumbents, Peter Ohtaki and Kirsten Keith, have drawn opposition. Ohtaki appears to be the safer of the two, aided by two challengers who can split the vote. Political insiders think Keith is in some trouble. Her challenger, Drew Combs, almost won a seat citywide last election, and Keith’s high-profile approach to issues has made some city leaders uneasy.

In Redwood City, the highest-profile race in the county, the seven-candidate race for three seats is anyone’s guess. Incumbent Diane Howard would be safe under normal circumstances, but the backlash against development undermines that sense of safety.

The race will measure how widespread is the dissatisfaction with how Redwood City has changed and will continue to change. It is hard to tell. Unhappy residents are always louder.

Two candidates are running classic political campaigns, Giselle Hale and Jason Galisatus: Raise money, build a high profile, issue targeted mail and build a presence on social media that remains positive, phone bank and knock on doors. The other candidates – Howard, Diana Reddy, Rick Hunter, Ernie Schmidt and Christina Umhofer — have relied more on grassroots and a network of neighbors, although all of them have raised enough money to send out some mail pieces and, Reddy, in particular, has been a prominent presence in social media.

Reddy also has been the target of an extraordinarily aggressive opposition campaign from the California Apartment Association, which sent out six negative mail pieces, the most of anyone in this race. The election also will be a test of CAA’s ability not only to oppose rent control measures but affect a city council race.

AND SO IT GOES: As I said at the beginning, it’s a full ballot.

Six of the city ballot measures are to increase a local hotel tax and five of them are to put some kind of tax on cannabis businesses.

There are races for control of the Sequoia Healthcare District board of directors and the San Mateo County Harbor District Commission.

Two San Mateo County Community College District Trustees – Rich Holober and Tom Mohr – are running against each other in the first district elections and it’s anyone’s guess how that will turn out.

The only real choice you have is to watch Peninsula TV (Channel 26, pentv.tv) tonight, starting at 8 p.m. There, Assemblyman Kevin Mullin and I will wade through it all – national, state and, especially, local races, joined by our own analyst/expert, Melissa Michelson of Menlo College.

One thing is sure: It will be fun. Dial by.

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.

Voter registration — and participation — skyrockets in San Mateo County

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San Mateo County voter registration has surged in advance of today’s gubernatorial general election and has reached record levels, elections officials reported yesterday.

The San Mateo County Elections Division reported that 400,000 voters have registered out of about 503,000 eligible voters, nearly 80 percent of those who could cast a ballot.

It’s a first in county elections history.

“We got close to that with the Obama election and close with the Trump election, but we never got over 400,000,” said the county’s Chief Elections Officer Jim Irizarry.

Not only is voter registration up — so is voter participation. As of 5 p.m. Monday, the Elections Office received 141,324 mailed ballots. Another 5,571 ballots were case on voting machines. That far eclipses the total 97,447 ballots cast for the 2014 gubernatorial ballot. In 2010, turnout was 226,359 out of 346,516 registered voters, or 65.32 percent — which at the time marked the highest non-presidential turnout.

There are plenty of ballots left to receive.

“If history is any indicator of what’s happening [today], we are going to receive thousands upon thousands of ballots [today] and through Friday,” Irizarry sad. “People have till midnight tomorrow night to have the ballot post marked and put in mail or dropped off at ballot drop off at voting locations. You will see a big rush of ballots coming in [today].”

He added, “The amounts of ballots coming in, the number of people showing up at the vote centers today, it’s pretty remarkable.”

What’s happening in San Mateo County is happening nationwide. As Politico noted:

“A staggering 36 million voters cast their ballots ahead of Election Day this year, setting the stage for much-higher-than-usual turnout for a midterm — and, potentially, big surprises on Tuesday night. Republican enthusiasm for President Donald Trump and Democrats’ itch to repudiate him at the ballot box have driven people to the polls far faster than in 2014, when 27.2 million people voted early, according to Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who tracks voter turnout.”

Political Climate with Mark Simon: Measure W is profoundly necessary

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SamTrans board approves express bus feasibility study

Tomorrow’s ballot is loaded with critical issues and elections, but none may be more important to the future of San Mateo County than Measure W, the half-cent sales tax increase that will fund badly needed transit and transportation projects.

Full disclosure: For 15 years, ending last year, I was an executive at the San Mateo County Transit District, which manages the SamTrans bus and paratransit system, the Caltrain commuter rail system and the Transportation Authority, which spends taxpayer money on transportation projects.

I am a full-throated supporter of Measure W. I was involved in its genesis and believe profoundly in its necessity.

SamTrans is more than 40 years old and needs to change to reflect a changed county that is bedeviled by traffic and spurred by economic growth that was inconceivable a generation ago.

In 1976, voters approved a half-cent sales tax to fund SamTrans. At the time, it provided essential transportation to service workers who need the bus to get to work, to young people going to school, and to the elderly who couldn’t afford a car or who couldn’t drive. And it provides paratransit service for those whose independence and mobility depend on specialized vehicles and assistance.

SamTrans still needs to do all these things, but it also needs to be a central part of the solution to our traffic problems. Or those problems won’t get solved.

DOING MORE WITH MORE: Since passage of the 1976 tax, SamTrans has gotten by on that single revenue source. To do more – and we all need it to do more – it will need more money.

Without additional funds, SamTrans may not be able to keep doing what it has been doing. It certainly will not be able to do all the things it needs to do to become nimbler, more useful, more essential to us all.

We want to get out of our cars. We want a transit system made up of all kinds of vehicles, big and small, reflecting our collectively individualized needs. We want to get picked up in a convenient place, go where we need to go and do all that in a timely and affordable way.

That means “microtransit,” on-demand service using small vehicles. That means creative scheduling that looks beyond main, centralized routes to serve the complicated geography of the Peninsula. That means fuel-efficient vehicles that reduce greenhouse gases.

It means more – more service, more vehicles, more people doing more to meet our growing needs.

If Measure W passes, it will mean more of the kind of transit system all of us say we should have.

WHY DOESN’T TRANSIT WORK BETTER? Here’s why: They don’t have enough money. Pass Measure W and they will.

It is particularly disappointing that the two local newspapers came out against the measure. Their arguments suggest neither of them understands local transit, the complexities of transit funding, nor the desperate need for these funds.

One editorial was critical that not enough has been done with the money they already have. That’s a mistake – the money currently being spent on transportation projects doesn’t help SamTrans run its buses. Money spent on projects, like freeway improvements, are from the Transportation Authority.

It’s also wrong. A grade separation project in San Bruno was funded by the TA. So was the new Broadway overpass in Burlingame. So are improvements to all the Caltrain grade crossings in the county. And newly acquired Caltrain railcars were funded, in part, by the TA.

At the same time, another newspaper sharply criticized SamTrans for buying new electric buses when it’s asking for more money. The word used was “chutzpah.”

So, essentially, while it’s asking for money to do more, SamTrans should stop trying to do more.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

The other side of that argument, one I made while working at SamTrans, is they needed to demonstrate to the public that the agency is not standing still. That it is working to try new things and ready to innovate and reinvent itself as a modern mobility agency if it receives an infusion of new revenue, which it hasn’t received for 40 years.

Let’s make this clear. SamTrans is trying to operate in a new atmosphere with a funding basis that dates from the Ford administration.

And it has been trying within the limits of a sharply constrained budget, producing new, innovative service to schools in San Carlos and to Woodside High School and a new “microtransit” experiment in Pacifica. And, yes, new electric buses.

It’s not chutzpah. It’s a promise to the public of what will come if Measure W passes.

There are a lot of other things in this proposal – more money for street and road maintenance, money for bike and pedestrian pathways, money for Caltrain’s electrification project. The spending plan is the result of an extended community outreach and consensus and to say it doesn’t include one thing or another is classic nitpicking.

We all tend to think of traffic in the spirit of the famous Mark Twain quote: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

Here’s a chance to do something about it.

FOOTING THE BILL: An array of the county’s business interests is lined up behind Measure W and have provided a campaign treasury in excess of $1 million. That would seem like a lot, given that there is no organized opposition, but the campaign organizers had been hoping to raise twice that much.

Measure W requires a two-thirds vote. With tax increases on a number of local ballots and the statewide measure to repeal the recent gas tax increase, Proposition 6, campaign officials are nervous that the two-thirds threshold may be too high a bar.

Nonetheless, big money has weighed in big numbers at a level that may be unprecedented in San Mateo County and reflects the reality that a place once known as solely a bedroom community now is a major economic force.

The big donors: Facebook, Genentech, the David D. Bohannon organization (owners of the Hillsdale Shopping Center and a Menlo Park business park) and the San Mateo County Economic Development Association all have come in for $100,000, and Harbor View Property, seeking to develop a major site in Redwood City, is in for $99,500.

Other big ones: Silicon Valley Community Foundation, $40,000; Herzog Contracting Group, the St. Louis-based company that currently operates Caltrain, $50,000.

The San Francisco Laborers union, Irvine-based real estate firm Nuquest Ventures, the Operating Engineers union, real-estate firm the Sobrato Organization, ambulance services company American Medical Response, Burlingame auto dealer Putnam Automotive Group, and Hanson Bridgett, the law firm that serves the transit district, all came in for $25,000 each.  The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Livermore -based bus manufacturer Gillig came in for $10,000 each. The Northern California Carpenters union came in for $20,000.

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.

Redwood City police arrest kidnapping suspect

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Redwood City police arrest kidnapping suspect

A 36-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping Thursday after Redwood City police say he physically removed a woman from her workplace and attempted to force her into his car, police said Monday.

Santos Estrada was booked into San Mateo County Jail for kidnapping, robbery, criminal threats, spousal battery, and violation of a criminal protective order in connection with the incident involving his wife of 13 years, with whom he has two children.

Police responded about 9 a.m. Thursday to the 1900 block of El Camino Real on a report that the couple had been arguing. Estrada had fled before police arrived, and learned from the victim that she had a restraining order against him.

“During the incident the suspect threatened to kill her and took her cell phone that was in her possession,” police said. “The victim was able to break free and call 911.”

Police later found Estrada at his home in possession of the victim’s cell phone, and he was arrested.

Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Redwood City Police Department at 650-780-7100 or the Redwood City Police Department’s Tip Line at 650-780-7107.

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