Friday, April 26, 2013

San Mateo Mayor David Lim talks bees, rail and 7-Eleven

April 26, 2013,  By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

San Mateo City Manager Susan Loftus is searching for an independent auditor to review the city’s Community Development Department after a number of “hiccups” it has had over the past several months, Mayor David Lim told a group of business leaders Thursday.

Lim sat down with a slew of tenants who call the Borel Estate Building home including lawyers, financiers and bankers in a meet and greet hosted by Linda Asbury with the Economic Development Growth Enterprise, an initiative of the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce.

Lim fielded questions about why the city does not allow for beekeeping, whether a public plaza should be built downtown, what the impacts of high-speed rail will be on the city and what the status of some of the city’s newest developments are, including Bay Meadows and Station Park Green, to be built on the current site where Kmart sits on Delaware Street.

A review of the Community Development Department will be undertaken because it oversees the city’s planning and building divisions and other city functions such as code enforcement, Lim said. Loftus should have an auditor picked within two months, he said.

 “We are doing more with less,” Lim said about city staff.  The 7-Eleven situation on San Mateo Drive is one of the hiccups to which Lim was referring. 

“The permits were issued in error. It was glaring. There were two different planners and no file,” he said.

Code enforcement also caused a stir for a group of mechanics and auto body shops on Claremont Street last year for being cited for violations they were unaware of, Lim said.  The proposed fines for the violation were exorbitant, Lim said. 

He was also asked whether the city is “welcoming” the California High-Speed Rail Authority project. The already approved “blended system,” Lim said, will electrify Caltrain and bring other benefits to the area and be less intrusive than the authority’s original proposals.

San Mateo will hopefully get a grade separation at 25th Avenue out of the deal, he said.

“We got to get what we can get,” said Lim, who is not convinced high-speed rail trains will ever actually access the Caltrain corridor.

Lim told the group that he’s most proud of his work on the council the past three years for his advocacy for small business.

He helped Silver Lake Seafood restaurant get a loading zone approved after it applied for one two years before. The restaurant owners called Lim who then found out that their permit application had simply been misplaced the whole time.

He also helped the owners of a building on 38th Avenue and El Camino Real where a Starbucks is located find another tenant for the two-storefront building after being told there was not enough parking on the site to accommodate another tenant. City staff had simply miscalculated the parking requirements, Lim said. The Shred Center now occupies the other storefront.

 Moving forward, the mayor envisions moving the tennis courts at Central Park in favor of building a community center on the site. He looks to enhance downtown with more cultural arts in the future, also.

Lim even fielded questions about bees, which the city limits.

The Beekeepers Alliance of San Mateo County approached the city recently about allowing for keepers to keep more bees on their properties.

The city limits one hive, or box per resident, however, Lim said, and that will not change.

Some who attended the meet and greet included Vince Cirigliano with Borel Financial Inc., Kenyon Mark Lee with Lee Law Offices, Timothy Martin with Martin Family Law firm, Daniel J. O’Brien with California Bank & Trust and Walter R. Chao with Dragon Financial Group. (650) 344-5200 ext. 106

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Meeting With The Community

Part of being an effective Mayor is getting out into the community to meet with neighborhood groups.  Over the past week I had the opportunity to meet with two distinct yet equally important groups.

On April 16, I met with residents of the Sunnybrae Neighborhood Association to discuss development trends, train noise, and public safety.

Then today, I had lunch with business leaders in San Mateo to discuss economic and development trends, as well as the general state of the City.

If you organization would like to meet with me, feel free to contact me at to arrange a meeting!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In Memory of the Victims in Boston

Following the horrific attacks at the Boston Marathon yesterday, following a directive from the President of the United States, I have requested all flags over City buildings and property in San Mateo be lowered to half staff in memory of the victims of this senseless act of terror. The flags will remain at half staff until April 21.

The City of San Mateo offers condolences to all those affected by this tragedy, and stands united behind the People and City of Boston during this troubling time.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Progress Seminar - Monterey

At the Progress Seminar with San Mateo elected, business and community leaders discussing regional issues.

Attending on my own dime -- no taxpayer funds used.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Drones Over San Mateo County?

Today I was dismayed to learn through local newspaper outlets that the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department won approval for federal funds to purchase an aerial drone through the Urban Areas Security Initiative. 

The City of San Mateo, including the San Mateo Police Department, was NOT involved in the decision to request or apply for the aerial drone. 

As your Mayor and Councilmember, I am opposed to the use of military hardware such as aerial drones over American Cities, especially the City of San Mateo.  I have sent an email to San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks asking for clarification on how the decision to purchase aerial drones was made, and why the public, including the San Mateo City Council, was not involved in the discussion.

I will continue to seek answers to this very troubling topic. 

My Letter to San Mateo County Sheriff Munks

Dear Sheriff Munks,

I was dismayed to read in the local media this evening that the County of San Mateo won approval of a military-style aerial drone for use over the communities of San Mateo.  While I understand that funding for the equipment may be delayed due to sequestration issues, I am nonetheless troubled that as the Mayor of one of the largest communities in San Mateo County, I am learning about this issue for the first time via the media.

Was there any outreach to local communities over this issue?  Were there public meetings to discuss the potential uses of this equipment?  While I understand that much of the federal funding goes for training and other vital equipment that helps local law enforcement agencies protect our communities, as you know aerial drones carry legitimate issues regarding privacy rights and civil liberties.  If I missed notification on this important topic, I apologize for the oversight, and ask for a chance to discuss this with you at your earliest convenience. 

On behalf of the residents of the City of San Mateo, I would like to discuss the planned uses of an aerial drone over the City of San Mateo prior to acquisition of such a device.  I also plan to bring this issue up at public meetings and before the entire City Council of San Mateo to discuss formulation of a policy on this issue.

Thank you for your time and service to our community, and I look forward to your response.
Mayor David Lim
San Mateo City Council
Drone funding approved for San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, Lockheed-Martin

San Mateo County’s request for money to purchase a drone was approved last month, but county officials said Monday that plans to deploy the controversial robot are not moving forward.

A grant of $70,000 for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office to buy a small surveillance drone dubbed a “fully autonomous first responder” by developer Lockheed-Martin was approved March 14 by the Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative, which doles out money to local law enforcement for counterterrorism activities.

San Mateo County’s request for the drone was first reported by the Oakland Tribune. Efforts by other Bay Area law enforcement agencies, including the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, to buy and deploy drones have been abandoned after public outcry.

Drones are a key part of the United States’ international efforts to combat terrorism, but lethal drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan have led to questions over their legality and the rights of due process.

Though the grant to acquire a drone was approved, the device will not be deployed anytime soon, according to a county spokeswoman.

Though the grant to acquire a drone was approved, the federal sequester means those funds are no longer available, and the device will not be deployed unless more money becomes available.

“Unless additional funding becomes available this project will not move forward,” Capt. Mark Wyss wrote in an email.

Drones are used by first responders to gauge the severity of fires and other disasters. The machines can stay in the air for about 25 minutes and transmit high-quality video, including at night using an infrared camera.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: