Welcome!

My name is Mark Olbert, and I’m a member of the City Council in San Carlos, California. This is my site for staying in touch with my constituents.

Here you’ll find my blog, links to articles about municipal issues, and material that will help you understand my take on the Council’s work. All these can be accessed through the menu links at the top of every page.

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Enjoy! And if you have a moment, drop me a line to let me know what’s on your mind.

Mike Brownrigg for State Senate

When I think about who I want representing me in government I look at more than just how closely a candidate’s views mirror my own. Granted, that’s an important factor. But there’s something even more important. I want a candidate who will probe the issues, push on the accepted wisdom,…

Freedom and the Law

A recent NextDoor comment asserted the Council broke the law regarding how our train depot was treated in the Transit Village/Trestle Apartment project. Because the depot is on the National Register of Historic Places development around it must, by law, protect its historic status. While people are entitled to hold…

The High Cost of Free Parking

After writing this I was asked how much money is in the Parking In-Lieu fund. The answer is $172,713 as of 6/30/2019 (I doubt it’s changed much since then). That represents only about 17 parking spaces at the current fee rate. The San Mateo Daily Journal ran an article today…

State Density Bonuses

I’m writing this post based on community discussion occurring around the 626 Walnut Street condominium project. As far as I can recall this is the first project claiming to be entitled to density bonuses to come forward in San Carlos since I joined the Council. Consequently I’m still learning about…

Allocating Property Taxes

Ever since I became an elected official I’ve been asked why we can’t reallocate our property taxes among the various public agencies they fund to reflect the community’s current priorities. This came up recently because the City of San Carlos is running significant surpluses while the San Carlos Elementary School…

Mayors and General Law Cities

Recently there was a VOCA poll that asked people from San Carlos how the mayor should be chosen. Three options were offered: Rotated among council members Appointed by majority vote of City Council Directly elected by voters I think it’s great that VOCA is trying to use web technologies to…