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.

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…

Closing Remarks as Chair of the Council

These are the remarks I delivered on December 9, 2019 as I was wrapping up my year as chair of the Council (aka mayor). This year’s been a great reboot for the Council! I also hope you all had some fun along the way. No job is so serious that…

Another Banner Year

The city typically has two big financial events annually. The first, and the one that gets the most attention, is in the Spring when the budget is discussed and adopted. That’s where the Council decides, in some detail, how it intends to provide for public health and safety and maintain…