Martin Ricard
650-906-4580 martin@patch.com Follow San Bruno Patch on Twitter. Become a San Bruno Patch fan on Facebook. Watch a video about Patch here. Hometown: Hayward, Calif. Birthday: Jan. 19 Bio: I'm a true Bay Area native. I grew up in Hayward and attended public schools there through high school, then attended UC Berkeley twice—the first time for my B.A., the second time for my master's in multimedia journalism. While most of my experience comes from living in the East Bay, I approach the majority of things with a perspective that appreciates the entire Bay Area, knowing that I've been influenced by the diversity that truly exists across this region. My journalism experience has been pretty much grounded in community journalism. Since I've been a reporter, I've covered local news in Berkeley, San Francisco, Fremont, and I spent two years covering San Leandro and general assignment stories for The Daily Review in Hayward. As a graduate student, I helped launch a hyperlocal news website in Oakland. And although the Bay Area has always found a way to keep pulling me back, I had the opportunity to write on the Metro desk for The Washington Post. I also had the privilege of reporting on the global food crisis in Rome and reporting on youth and agriculture in Sierra Leone while I was a student at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. Beliefs: At Patch, we promise always to report the facts as objectively as possible and otherwise adhere to the principles of good journalism. However, we also acknowledge that true impartiality is impossible and human beings have beliefs. So in the spirit of simple honesty, our policy is to encourage our editors to reveal certain key beliefs to the extent they feel comfortable.  This disclosure is not a license for our editors to inject these beliefs into stories or to dictate coverage according to them. In fact, the intent is the opposite: we hope that the knowledge that our beliefs are on the record will force us to be ever mindful to write, report, and edit in a fair, balanced way. And if you, the user, ever think you see evidence that we failed in this mission, we wholeheartedly invite you to let us know. Politics How would you describe your political beliefs? In terms of politics, I tend to lean on both sides of the fence, depending on the issue.  Religion How religious would you say you are? Casual, observant, devout, non-religious? As a Christian, I don't limit my relationship to God to one day a week. I try to live it through everything I do.   Local Hot Button Issues What do you think are the most important issues facing the community? The most important issue in San Bruno right now is the Caltrain grade separation project. The city has been waiting a long time for the project to start, and when it does people will be scrutinizing it because it will change the landscape of the city. Not only will the project result in a new overpass for trains in downtown, but it will also replace the current Caltrain station at Sylvan Avenue, it will have a direct result on the revitalization of the main downtown corridor, and it will essentially create a big wall separating the city. Related to that issue is what to do about downtown San Bruno. The city has just put together a plan to redevelop its downtown corridor, with the hope of making it more pedestrian-friendly, using mixed-development to drive commerce and increasing the height limits of buildings. The plan has the potential to make or break the entire downtown area. Where do you stand on each of these issues? The grade separation project seems like it has many implications for the future of San Bruno. If it works, it addresses a number of issues all at once, including traffic, public safety and tax revenue. What seems to be clear is the vision for what city officials, residents and business owners want to see happen. But there will be many unknowns that could catch people off-guard, mostly once construction begins. The city and the company overseeing the project will have to do any extremely good job of managing the project to keep people happy and confident that the project will stay true to the vision. In terms of the downtown area, I think the city's plan is a bit too ambitious. When you walk or drive down San Mateo Avenue, you get a sense that there is a lack of cohesion among the stores that are there. And when you talk to businesses, some owners say they don't feel like city officials understand their concerns. However, it's good to have a plan and change, for the most part, is good. We'll just have to see which vision downtown San Bruno follows and whether everyone can truly work together to bring it all together.
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