Local Politicians Address a Variety of Questions at Candidate Forum

Three boards and nine candidates touch on local issues at Sunday's Canada Cove forum in Half Moon Bay.

Candidates for the Half Moon Bay City Council, Harbor District and San Mateo County Board of Supervisors met on Sunday for a candidates forum held at Canada Cove from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The candidates that showed up were: John Muller, Marina Fraser, Harvey Rarback, and John Ullom, running for the Half Moon Bay City Council; Pietro Parravano, Sabrina Brennan, Neil Merrilees, and Will Holsinger, running for the Harbor District; and Shelly Masur, running for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

There were roughly two dozen people in attendance. Each candidate was given five minutes to kick off the forum, which was more than enough time for them to provide an introduction and a bio and talk about their views and issues. They all took advantage of that time.

I found the mix of boards present interesting, however, with nine candidates representing three different boards, it allowed for a fairly broad range of discussion by the candidates and not a lot of real “dig” into just one agency.

If you think about it, with each candidate starting off with a five-minute dissertation, times the nine candidates, the first hour provided no back and forth with the audience at all.

Still, those in attendance did get a fair overview on a wide range of topics.

Then came the Q&A. The audience members were allowed to ask questions of the candidates.

The first question, provided by Cid Young, was directed to the Half Moon Bay City Council candidates: “How are you going to spend the $10 Million that the City was awarded in arbitration with the insurance company for Beachwood? Will you vote to use the funds to pay down the debt of the judgement?”

The next question, provided by Don Freese, asked all the candidates what they would do to attract more visitors to Half Moon Bay.

The next questions were asked by me:

1) Is the $10 million award assured, guaranteed, no way we won’t get it?

2) Seeing as how HMB has its own Certified LCP (Local Coastal Program) and is entirely in the Coastal Zone, with the ability to write its own CDP’s, why didn’t the City issue itself a CDP for the Kehoe Ditch clean-up?

Young got one last question in, just before the buzzer, regarding the Kehoe Ditch: Why did the City cut brush on property they did not own?

Want to know their answers? Just ask me. I found the event to be informative and it provided the public with the opportunity to put a face to a name and hear from those candidates in attendance, which is always a good thing.

I would like to thank Canada Cove for sponsoring the event. They did a fine job from set-up right through to the end with even ice cream and cookies to boot. It was an organized, thoughtful and well-done forum. Makes one wish there were many more.

Each candidate had ample opportunity to express their pertinent background, identify their issues and provide us with their visions, and I am glad I attended.

Another candidate’s forum for the Half Moon Bay City Council will be held on Tuesday, Oct., 30, 2012, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Ted Adcock Center and will be sponsored by the Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce and League of Women Voters.

Want to know the answer to one of the questions asked at the Canada Cove forum? Tell us which one in the Comments section and we’ll get back to you with the answer.


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Cid October 09, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Nice piece George. You summed it up perfectly. Everyone did appreciate the Ice Cream and cookies that were provided by Karen Anderson, and I especially found John Ullom and Harvey Rarback to be like needed breaths of fresh air and sunlight shining on the darkness that has been over-hanging the City Council, after so many poor decisions of late. I still don't really know why they chose to cut the willows in the Kehoe Ditch when the property is not owned by the City. All Farmer John did was acknowledge that it is is owned by The Sewer Authority MidCoast (a J.P.A.), and not by the City. The weak excuse that "citizens" (un-named) had been requesting that the city "do something" sure wasn't the right answer. If they don't own the land, what gave them the right to even go on it while violating the required process to do it properly to boot? A costly mistake that I hope will not be repeated.
George Muteff October 10, 2012 at 12:37 AM
This will require more space ("characters) than allowed for one post, so I will split them up to get them here. Cid was at the forum and she has provided part of the response that was offered. Muller also stated that they, the Council, were trying to protect the homeowners that back up to the Kehoe Ditch. That part I can't argue with. They needed help and had beseeched the Council for help for years. Muller called it a "health and safety" issue. I agree; it was / is. Muller also stated that because of the Kehoe Ditch and all that now comes with it, that every contract goes to the City Attorney now before action. Fraser, in her response, stated that the ditch used to be cleaned regularly - which is absolutely true. Muller did state that the ditch belongs to SAM; but is that right? Many of the homeowners that abut the ditch are under the impression that the homeowner side of the ditch is theirs and the opposing side is SAM's. If that is so, that makes it interesting. Why? Because as a result of the lack of maintenance (when the no growth majority stopped the maintenance), the water that runs through the ditch (runoff) - particularly in the winter, has altered the course of the ditch. That presents an issue, if the homeowners are right.
George Muteff October 10, 2012 at 12:39 AM
One more add here, as long as we are talking the Kehoe Ditch. HMB has a Certified LCP (Local Coastal Program). The City Council, starting shortly after the 2005 election, changed the rules on and for the PD (Planning Director). There was a time before them that the PD had the right to issue CDP's. The Council just before the 2005 election stopped that. Shortly after the 2005 election, the new Council majority reinstated that right, so that all the City needs for a CDP is the PD's signature, and s/he is a City employee who serves at the pleasure of the Council. Steve Flint was the Planning Director in 2009 and was hand picked for the job by the 2006 Council, which included both Fraser and Muller, to replace Jack Liebster who had been given the job by the no growth Council prior to the 2005 election. When asked why the City didn't sign its own CDP for the Ditch project, both Fraser and Muller dumped all over Steve Flint. That troubled me. Why? Because the buck stops at the Council. Each Council member is responsible for that action and they left it to the new (at the time) Interim City Manager Michael Dolder, who had just come onboard in January of 2009. The Ditch was cleaned in February 2009. Steve Flint answered directly to Dolder. But apparently the two incumbents didn't / don't see it that way.
Cid October 10, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Sorry, George, but it sounds to me like Steve Flint got the scapegoat treatment over the Kehoe matter. Am I reading you right?
George Muteff October 10, 2012 at 03:13 PM
That sure is the way I heard it, Cic. You were there. What did it sound like to you? Neither Council member, Fraser nor Muller, took the blame for the matter. Both were clear in their answers to the question. Both said it was Flint's fault. Funny thing is had there not been any backlash, you know that both would have added the Kehoe Ditch clean-up to their "list of accomplishments". I'd say we got a fair look at the old bureaucratic two step, if you ask me (and you did). Flint answered to Dolder, who answered directly to and only to the City Council. Look at the flow chart of City staff: http://www.hmbcity.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=124&Itemid=126 Hit the Annual Budget 2012-2013 and scroll down to page A18 and see the chart for yourself. The two incumbents don't seem to feel that they, as two of five members of HMB's City Council, which is the equivalent of a company's Board of Directors, that they are responsible for their staff. They didn't hesitate, when asked about the Kehoe Ditch, to dump on Flint. In fact, Muller went as far as to admit the Council thought it was a "health and safety issue", which tells us they knew what they were doing, yet blamed that darned Planning Director anyway, making him a rogue Director. Flint was fired by the current City Manager (Snideman) after the Settlement Agreement was announced, and replaced with a friend of the City Manager (Webb).
Leonard Woren October 15, 2012 at 06:12 AM
George, if you look at the parcel map http://www.smcare.org/apps/ParcelMaps/apnraster/BK048/04829.tif it seems very unlikely that the Kehoe watercourse would be a property boundary. Property lines are cast at subdivision time, and if the watercourse moves, that would not move the property lines. Notice that the parcel dimensions are shown down to hundredths of a foot. Does the watercourse run right up against the rear fences? I don't know but I suspect not. We should get a definitive answer but I'd guess that the watercourse is completely on the SAM property until nearly Pilarcitos Ave. http://goo.gl/maps/v8Isy If I owned property there I'd probably be more worried about erosion than flooding. Removing the vegetation in the channel will allow water to flow faster, increasing the erosion. The only maintenance that's appropriate, and it would be interesting to know what permits are required, would be to keep the channel from getting blocked such that water doesn't flow, which would then potentially cause flooding.


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