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.

Commuting, Carbon Footprints and Data Mining

I was recently motivated to write an op ed about how the carbon footprint of commuting generally gets overlooked in discussions about addressing climate change. I’ll publish the piece online after the print edition comes out, but here I wanted to talk about how you can access all sorts of…

Comments on Redrawing County Districts

I made a brief version of these comments at today’s County Board of Supervisors meeting (there were so many commenters the Board chose to limit public comments to one minute rather than the normal two…which is perfectly understandable but was unanticipated by me :)). Good morning, and thanks for giving…

Room to Represent Us

This op ed was published November 9, 2021 in the San Mateo Daily Journal. This version may be slightly different due to editing by the Journal. “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your…

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…