A Pivotal Moment

In March 2019 I delivered a “state of the city” address as chair of the Council. This event, sponsored by the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce, is a tradition established by Omar Ahmad some years ago when he was mayor/chair.

These presentations typically focus on significant current and near-term development projects. My presentation includes that, too. But I also wanted to share what I’ve learned about how development policy is set, why it’s designed the way it is, and how interested residents can have the most impact on how the future of San Carlos is (literally) built.

Most importantly, I want my fellow residents to understand why we are at a pivotal moment in San Carlos’ history. Decisions our community makes today — or chooses not to make today, leaving earlier choices in place — will have significant repercussions for many years to come.

For convenience I’ve broken the presentation up into shorter segments, described below. The video is pulled directly from PowerPoint, so you won’t see me highlight particular items “on screen”. The audio was recorded during the actual presentation. Click on the links to watch the videos.


Kicks off the presentation after I’m introduced by Tom Davids, the Chamber’s CEO. Provides a brief overview of how San Carlos is shaped today and describes some recent significant events and changes.
Current Projects (part 1)6:12
Discusses several recent and pending major projects and their impact on the community (Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Wheeler Plaza, Trestle Apartments, Black Mountain/Vista del Grande, Marriott Residence Inn/Hyatt hotels)
Current Projects (part 2)7:41
Discusses several recent and pending major projects and their impact on the community (Meridian 25, the pending biotech complex at Brittan/Industrial). Also describes why continued commercial development is critical to the community’s well-being.
San Carlos’ Economic Environment5:39
Describes the regional economic environment and its significant impact on San Carlos and our local development situation.
How Development Policy Is Set9:01
An overview of how councils set development policy, how those policies are enforced, the risks of trying to change them while a project is moving through the approval process and the best time for community members to seek policy changes.
Where Do We Go from Here?7:34
Closing remarks on what all of these means for us today, and a suggestion that our ultimate goal as a community should be to build a place that those who come after us will enjoy as much as we do…even if they do so in ways we cannot clearly imagine today.
Questions and Answers13:07