Sunday, September 30, 2012

San Mateo Sister City Ambassadors Announcement Dinner

On Thursday Sept 27 at City Hall the San Mateo Sister City Ambassadors were formally announced to the City of San Mateo.

Sharon Borden, Cameron Hill, and Guy Geva, accompanied by their families were introduced at a welcome dinner. Highlights included music by the Hillsdale High School Jazz Band and speeches by each of the ambassadors.

Ms. Borden and Ms. Hill will travel to San Mateo's sister city of Toyonaka, Japan in July 2012 on a goodwill cultural exchange, while Mr. Geva will host the Toyonaka students when they visit San Mateo later in the summer.

Congratulations to our new student ambassadors!

Wine Walk

Congratulations to the Downtown San Mateo Association for a successful Wine Walk event!

Th bands were awesome, the crowds lively, and the wine superb, all on a beautiful, sunny San Mateo Saturday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The San Mateo Sister City Association is proud to introduce its inaugural Student Ambassadors to Toyonaka, Japan.

Student Ambassadors Sharon Borden and Cameron Hill were selected to travel to Toyonaka, Japan in July 2013 as part of a goodwill exchange tour. Student Ambassador Guy Geva was selected as an alternate, and will serve as a host ambassador for Toyonaka students that will visit San Mateo in 2013.

The Student Ambassadors will be honored at an announcement dinner being held on Thursday, September 27 from 6-8 PM at San Mateo City Hall. Individuals interested in attending may contact David Lim at (415) 290-4044 for more information.

Ms. Borden is a senior at Aragon High School, where she is secretary of the student body, serves on the recycling club, and participates in mock trial, Harvard Model Congress, and is on the varsity swim and water polo teams. An avid surfer, Ms. Borden is looking forward “to observing and partaking in Japanese daily life and having the chance to share my knowledge of San Mateo and American culture with the people of Toyonaka.”

Ms. Hill, a lifelong resident of San Mateo, attends Castilleja School in Palo Alto, where she is involved in community service, journalism, and debate team. A sophomore, Ms. Hill plays varsity basketball and softball and has previously travelled on an exchange program to Kenya. Ms. Hill is excited to connect with her ancestry and share her pride in the city of San Mateo.”

Mr. Geva is a sophomore at Aragon High School. A member of the robotics team and chamber orchestra, Mr. Geva is interested in math and computer programming, but also found time to volunteer as a junior lifeguard for the City of San Mateo for two summers. Mr. Geva is excited to serve as a host/alternate ambassador “to see and learn about the relationship between San Mateo and Toyonaka.”

The Student Ambassadors were selected by the San Mateo Sister City Association after a competitive application process open to all San Mateo residents between the ages of 16-20. The two Student Ambassadors will receive an all-expense paid trip to Japan in July 2013, where they will stay with host families in Toyonaka , and represent the City of San Mateo as cultural ambassadors.

“We are thrilled to have three intelligent and outstanding Student Ambassadors representing the City of San Mateo in this inaugural year of our student exchange program,” said Anne Harris, a Board Member of the San Mateo Sister City Association, and member of the selection committee. “We are confident these Student Ambassadors will represent the best of San Mateo, while making memories and friendships to last a lifetime.”

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Community Meeting for Beresford Park Playground Sept 26

On Wednesday Sept 26 at 7 PM the City will host a community workshop to discuss redesign of the Beresford Park playground.

All interested neighbors should plan to attend this event and be heard. The event will be held at the Senior Center across from Beresford Park on Alameda de las Pulgas. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Coastal Cleanup Day 2012

Last weekend I was happy to attend Coastal Cleanup Day at the San Mateo Shoreline near Ryder Park.

With over 500 volunteers in attendance, we cleaned up over 3 miles of San Mateo shoreline!

Thanks to sponsor Whole Foods for their donation of food for the volunteer picnic!

With San Mateo Public Works Commissioner Joe Goethals

With Assemblyman Jerry Hill

With Planning Commissioner Joshua Hugg
Thanks to our great city staff!

7-Eleven approval met with scrutiny

September 19, 2012, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff
Daily Journal file photo The former Stangelini's Italian Deli & Hilltop Market in San Mateo has been vacant for nearly two years.

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A 7-Eleven has been approved to replace the vacant Stangelini’s Italian Deli & Hilltop Market in San Mateo by city staff but Deputy Mayor David Lim has requested a series of public hearings to determine whether the land should be kept as residential, as it is currently zoned.

The deli was vacant for so long, nearly two years, that the property on North San Mateo Drive is now zoned for multi-family residences. A 7-Eleven or any other retail establishment proposed for the site is considered a non-conforming use since the land is zoned residential.

City staff approved 7-Eleven’s zoning application Aug. 30 after developer, Portfolio Development Partners, held a community outreach meeting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in February.

Portfolio was granted a zoning code amendment, since the building is now considered non-conforming, to re-establish a grocery store use on the site.

Lim requested a hearing regarding the possible termination and removal of the non-conforming use at 501 N. San Mateo Drive, near the Burlingame border, after hearing from neighbors near the site who complained about the potential for increased crime, traffic and the oversaturation of convenience stores in the area.

Lim suspects neighborhood residents would be more favorable to a use similar to Stangelini’s rather than a 7-Eleven, which stays open 24 hours a day and sells alcohol and cigarettes.

An official with Portfolio would not comment to the Daily Journal yesterday on the issue.

The initial plan was to restore the property as a grocery store but Josh Amoroso with Portfolio previously told the Daily Journal that housing was also a possibility for the site.

Lim and other councilmembers have received numerous emails from neighbors near the site in the past week saying they had concerns about a 7-Eleven popping up in the area.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing in October on the use of the property and the City Council is tentatively scheduled to hear the matter at its Nov. 19 meeting.

If the council finds the 7-Eleven to be a non-conforming use for the site, the developer will have a minimum of two years and maximum of up to five years to maintain a non-conforming use on the site. After that, the use would revert to residential.

Lim is seeking to have the hearings soon since the developer has not invested any serious money in improvements to the property, Lim said.

Lane Kashiwahara and his wife attended the community meeting at the King Center in February and left it with the impression that a “neighborhood market” was proposed for the site.

“City employees assured us that there would be additional information and notices sent out related to this project. As you know, we received no further communication,” Kashiwahara wrote Lim in an email.

The Kashiwahara’s contend a 7-Eleven would “sacrifice the integrity of the neighborhood and its charm.”

There are plenty of other markets in the area, they wrote, that already serve alcohol and cigarettes.
Lim is seeking a review of the non-conforming use since the deli’s use was authorized more than 20 years ago.

Now is the time to determine whether the non-conforming use is proper, so as to minimize the impact on the property owners, Lim wrote City Manager Susan Loftus when making his request for a public hearing.

“The surrounding community deserves a public hearing to weigh in on whether the current non-conforming use should remain in the community,” Lim wrote to Loftus.

Bill Silverfarb can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.