BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Seven candidates are vying for three spots on the San Mateo City Council on Tuesday (Nov. 7), including two incumbents.
Those running are Deputy Mayor Rick Bonilla, Councilman Joe Goethals, Planning Commissioners Eric
Rodriguez and Charlie Drechsler, San Mateo-Foster City School District board President Chelsea Bonini,
transit manager Rob Newsom Jr. and retiree Mark DePaula.
San Mateo has nearly $180 million in unfunded pension costs, and Rodriguez, Goethals, Drechsler and Bonini said that the city needs to increase revenue to help pay them.
Goethals noted that with San Mateo’s “dwindling sales tax from retail,” the city will need to look at expanding revenues with hotel taxes by working with San Mateo County to build a hotel at the Event Center.
Rodriguez said he wants to look for new revenue. Drechsler said the council needs to put together a long-term plan, which could include having fewer outside contractors, seeing if city fees need to be raised and looking at new funding opportunities.
Bonini suggested assessing the city’s fee rates and looking at applying the city’s hotel tax on short-term rentals like Airbnb. She also suggests exploring whether to make the building department self-funding.
Last year, San Mateo voters rejected rent control at the polls. Bonini said the city needs to look at rent control again. She also said it should look at having landlords pay to relocate residents, landlord/tenant mediation, a
renters review board and just-cause evictions.
She also said the city ought to look into increasing housing for working-class residents who may not qualify for
low-income housing but still need somewhere to live.
Drechsler told the One San Mateo group that he thinks the council ought to revisit rent control. Drechsler also said a housing commission ought to be formed, to look at just-cause eviction rules and relocation assistance.
Rodriguez and Goethals said they don’t think that council ought to revisit rent control, and Bonilla and Newsom, who did not respond to the Post’s inquiries, told One San Mateo the same thing. DePaula also did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment.
Rodriguez said he would like to look into a relocation assistance program, creating the option for renters to have longer leases and finding ways to make it easier for landlords to accept Section 8 housing assistance
Goethals said he supports year-long leases for renters and for renters to be protected from landlord retaliation for reporting unsafe living conditions and to get relocation assistance from landlords.
Bonilla told One San Mateo that he supports having year-long leases, relocation assistance and just-cause eviction protection. He also said the city needs to build more affordable, taller and denser housing projects.
Newsom told One San Mateo the city should create housing in which all of the homes are for low-income and working-class residents. He also said that renters need to be protected from the landlords who retaliate after reports of safety and health hazards in units.