A Partial Guide to San Mateo Elections 2020

October 5, 2020 - -

In the last few years, I’ve been doing more housing and transit advocacy as a member of Peninsula For Everyone. I think housing is a root problem that impacts cost of living, homelessness, traffic, and the environment to name a few. I am also tired of seeing my friends pushed out of the Bay Area because of a paucity of housing.

Here’s a few local ballot props I’m passionate about.

No on Measure Y

Cities need the freedom to grow to fit their changing needs and demographics. Artificially limiting the growth of a city with onerous height and density restrictions has insidious side effects, particularly for a desirable city like San Mateo. When supply is not allowed to keep up with demand, rent prices go up. And, when there are substantial rent increases like the Bay Area has seen in the last 2 decades, the most affected are the most vulnerable. Those with lower incomes and tighter budgets are pushed farther, and farther away.

As a result, the Bay Area leads the nation in supercommuters, those who travel more than 90 minutes each way, in the country. By pushing more people out, we’ve increased their risk to wildfires, increased the amount of driving necessary to commute, increased congestion, and increased carbon emissions. There is a shockingly low percentage of San Mateo firefighters, teachers, and other civil servants that actually live in the area because it is simply too expensive. These are people are fundamental to the fabric of our society, and they’re just a couple examples of those being forced to live outside San Mateo.

Measure Y is opposed by all members of City Council, Peninsula Young Democrats, Habitat for Humanity, Housing Leadership Council, and nearly every local housing and economic development advocacy group in the region.

No on Y lets us move forward and lets the General Plan process work to meet the needs of our community.

Yes on Measure RR

I’ve taken Caltrain for every job that I’ve had in the Bay Area from Santa Clara to San Francisco. I’ve taken it for Giants games, Sharks games, to visit friends, and to connect to Bart. Caltrain has been an indispensible part of my life and many others for the past 15 years, and we need to save it.

I know everyone’s wondering what a post-covid transit world is going to look like. However, 70% of frequent Caltrain riders plan to use Caltrain as much or more than before once the pandemic is over.

I don’t love regressive taxes, but at this point, there’s no Plan B. One cent for every $8 spent with essentials like groceries, rent, and medicine exempted is probably not going to break the bank. I also feel better about supporting a non-fare based revenue source; Caltrain is the only major transit system in the Bay Area without its own dedicated funding source. Additionally, the Caltrain board is about to approve policies supporting equity and connectivity.

Caltrain has a bright future. They’re in the process of electrifying the entire corridor by 2022, and have aggressive goals to expand service to every 15 minutes. Pre-Covid, Caltrain removed 400 million driving miles per year from the roads. This would grow by about 240 million with improvements funded by the tax, removing 110 additional metric tons of carbon emissions each day.

Yes on RR to save Caltrain, reduce traffic, and help the environment.

Amourence Lee for San Mateo City Council

Councilwoman Amourence Lee is easily the most progressive and thoughtful voice running for City Council. She loves San Mateo, and demonstrates a strong understanding of local housing, transit, and economic issues. I’ve gotten to know her better this year, and I’m thrilled to be a part of her grassroots campaign. She’s done an amazing job in her first year on City Council, so let’s bring her back!.