I’m running for the San Mateo County Harbor District because I love our beautiful county beaches and harbors. I’m running to protect the precious coastal and bay environment, while supporting recreational opportunities and a strong sustainable commercial fishing industry.

I grew up windsurfing and sailing in San Mateo County. During my undergraduate years at UCSB, I worked on SCUBA diving boats at the Santa Barbara Harbor. More recently, I was on a masters rowing team with BIAC at the Port of Redwood City. I am an avid backpacker and yoga instructor. I have had a law practice in Redwood City for over twenty years.

My eight years of experience on the Menlo Park City Council (two as Mayor), seven years as a Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency Director and seven years as a Director of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (SFCJPA), illustrate my commitment to public service and my ability to serve the residents of San Mateo County as your first District 5 Harbor Commissioner. Especially pertinent to the Harbor District position, I have dealt with sea level rise and flooding issues. As a Director of the SFCJPA, we completed a $76 million dollar flood control and sea level rise project to prevent the City of East Palo Alto, including over 1000 homes, from flooding.

What is the San Mateo County Harbor District

The San Mateo County Harbor District was created in 1933, by the Board of Supervisors with San Mateo County as the District’s boundaries. The Harbor District manages Pillar Point Harbor on the Pacific Ocean and Oyster Point Marina in South San Francisco on the bay.

The District was originally formed to build a harbor at Redwood City. When that didn’t happen, a breakwater at Pillar Point to support the fishing fleet was completed in 1961, followed by Johnson Pier, docks and 369 berths, and the inner breakwater which today form a major commercial and sport fishing harbor.

The District assumed operation of Oyster Point Marina/Park from the City of South San Francisco in 1977 and completed construction of docks and 589 berths, a new breakwater, and onshore facilities. The District diversified this recreational marina bringing in the San Francisco Bay Ferry Service from Oakland’s Jack London Square to South San Francisco.

My Top Priorities for the Harbor District

Ensure Strong Environmental Stewardship

A 2018 Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment highlights crucial environmental concerns including sea level rise, severe weather incidents, increased erosion problems, restoring habitat near the ice plant at Surfers Beach sand dunes, growing needs for water quality and wildlife protection in and around the harbors.

We need a climate change resiliency plan that addresses:

  • Impacts to docks and other infrastructure.
  • Management of sand from increased sediment flow and storm action.
  • More resilient, natural protective barriers and living levees instead of physical barriers that lead to sand depletion.
  • Preparedness for threat of tsunamis and other extreme weather events.

Complete the Strategic Plan and Facilities Master Plan

With community input, the Harbor Commission, has developed its 2019 Draft Strategic Plan. I have the experience and insight to help complete this important process, having implemented strategic and master plans for Menlo Park’s vision and development. As part of the Harbor District’s planning process, I am committed to improving preparedness for sea level rise and other climate-driven emergencies.

Enhance Public Safety

It is important for visitors, including those with disabilities, to experience a real working commercial harbor, and purchase seafood direct from the vessels, in a safe manner that does not adversely impact important operations on the pier. We need to ensure that the visiting public is well informed and safe when they visit the Harbor. I support implementation of:

  • Public safety programs, including surfing rescue and first aid training.
  • Harbor safety educational tours.
  • Opportunities to obtain a California Boater Card.
  • Development of a Harbor evacuation plan.
  • Environmental guidelines for kayakers, paddle boarders and other water users.

Implement Facility upgrades

We must implement a master plan that ensures high-quality, modern facilities that serve lessees, harbor users, and visitors in a safe, reliable, efficient cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.

The infrastructure at Pillar Point Harbor needs substantial upgrade and replacement to include:

  • Johnson Pier improvements.
  • Addressing ADA concerns.
  • Dredging and beach replenishment.
  • Fuel dock improvements.
  • Coastal trail improvements, including the West Shoreline Trail Restroom & Parking Lot.
  • Install EV car charging stations.
  • Improved wayfinding.
  • RV park public restrooms and green space design.

Ensure Fiscal Responsibility

The District’s financial position is strong, but it needs better financial reporting and transparency, and financial planning that is longer-term and more detailed. The District loses substantial revenue due to legacy contracts that don’t provide adequate revenue for proper maintenance and services. The District must update these contracts to provide fair and reasonable lease terms for all.

My goals include the following:

  • Managing debt appropriately and develop a debt policy plan.
  • Following policies to ensure future leases and contracts are fair and beneficial to both the Harbor District and lessees.
  • Evaluating lease contracts to identify opportunities to better enforce or improve lease contracts to provide adequate returns to pay for proper harbor services and maintenance. Contracts should be fair to both the District and the lessee.
  • Continued improvement of financial reporting. Update the budget plan to achieve the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (CAFR).
  • Ensuring that the Annual Financial Report is complete, transparent, and understandable so that the Commission, staff, and interested members of the public can assess the financial health of the District.
  • Subscribing to OpenGov. to proactively, transparently share Harbor District financial data with the public. The Harbor District Budget should be easily available and organized in the best manner for the public to use.
  • Ensuring that there is always a balanced budget and a plan to pay for improvements.