Welcome!

My name is Mark Olbert, and I’m a former member of the San Carlos, California City Council. This was my site for staying in touch with my constituents. My last day on the Council was December 14, 2020. 

It’s now a platform I use to address local and regional issues that my neighbors may find interesting. 

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

If you’d like to be automatically notified when new content is added to this site just click the Subscribe button at the top of any page. If you’re already a subscriber you can use the Subscribe button to edit your subscription options.

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

Trust the Public with Hard Truths

This opinion piece, recently published in Nature, makes a point I think all elected leaders should keep in mind. Yes, a small percentage of the population will panic. But they will be greatly outnumbered by those who heed the call to adapt to a changed world. Moreover, not telling the…

What Defines a Good Community Benefit?

A comment on my recent op ed regarding how to increase diversity of our elected bodies made the following point: When you write “public financial assistance for campaigns” that really means more money coming out of taxpayers’ pockets… and perhaps you are OK with that idea. However, if you live…

Drawing the Lines

This piece was published in the San Mateo Daily Journal on Monday, October 11, 2021 under the title “Increasing diversity is more than lines on a map“. I appreciated Rudy Espinoza Murray’s recent guest perspective on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors redistricting process. Both Rudy and I serve…

It’s District Boundary Review Time!!!

Once every ten years, after the Federal census is completed, elected bodies that are based on districts1 have to review their boundaries and make adjustments. The County Board of Supervisors are elected on a district basis, so the Board of Supervisors must review and, as needed, modify their district maps.…

Requiring IDs to Vote

This post was prompted by a Trump-supporting friend of mine who circulated one of those repost-if-you-agree posts on Facebook, this one targeted at requiring presentation of some form of ID to vote. There’s an aspect to the debate over whether or not IDs should be required to vote which I…

Who Built All These Hills?!?

Elsewhere I’ve noted the fun I’ve been having dropping off door-hangers urging people to vote no on the gubernatorial recall. It’s a great time of year to be out walking in San Carlos1, getting some fresh air and exercise. Only…where did all these hills, steep driveways and multi-story walkways come…