Editor’s note: A profile of Horsley’s opponent, Dan Stegink, was published on March 15.
BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley is facing re-election on June 5 for his third and final term on the board of supervisors, and has a list of projects he hopes to complete, or at least move forward before he’s termed out in 2022.
A big goal for Horsley, 75, is to execute a plan to help residents of unincorporated west Menlo Park to reduce speeding along Alameda de las Pulgas and Santa Cruz Avenue.
“I think I have the experience and ability to go back to the board and fix that traffic for the community,” Horsley said. “(The traffic is among) the worst in my entire district. There’s a lot of traffic on the coastside, but nothing like this where it’s in residential neighborhoods.”
Horsley said he has been working with residents in the area to try to come up with plans to improve safety, such as removing the slip lanes on Santa Cruz Avenue, so pedestrians can safely cross the street.
Horsley wants to reduce traffic in his district — which encompasses the coastside as well as Atherton, San Carlos, Woodside, Portola Valley, Emerald Hills and part of Menlo Park west of El Camino Real — and throughout the county, particularly Highway 101. And he’d like to bring back the Dumbarton rail line.
“Highway 101 is the economic driver Supervisor Don Horsley for the whole Bay Area,” Horsley said. “While we can’t fix it entirely, we need to link up the auxiliary roads, and put (carpool) lanes along it, and that’s what planners are telling us will help move traffic.”
While working on 101 is one fix, Horsley also wants to put money into extending stations and into bridges that separate the train tracks from the road, called grade separations.
“People talk about high-speed rail and how many more people you can move with it, no you can’t until more grade separations are put in,” Horsley said.
But how will these projects be funded? One way is to use the $80 million in revenue that would be raised for transportation projects if a county-wide half-cent sales tax is approved by voters.
The board of supervisors and SamTrans’ board must vote whether to put the tax on the November ballot. The plan is for the Board of Supervisors to control the purse strings on the sales tax money, and Horsley hopes priority will be given to grade separations.
The other big goal for Horsley is to see housing be built in the county, and to hopefully see some additional funding for low-income housing from Stanford’s plans to expand the campus.
Santa Clara County is currently working on the environmental impact report for the new Stanford General Use Permit, which allows for 2.3 million square-feet of new development to be added to the university’s main campus by 2035. It is expected to bring about 9,600 new students and employees to campus.
San Mateo County’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (April 24) requested that some of the money Stanford gives Santa Clara County to build low-income housing will also be given to San Mateo County, since Stanford borders the county.
While not in his district, Horsley said there are hopes to see 300 homes built in North Fair Oaks along Middlefield Road next to the county clinic.
Despite the urge to build more housing, Horsley firmly defended the county’s plan to spend $700 million on county government office projects. The projects include building a third office building at the county center in Redwood City, constructing a parking structure, and making improvements to the county hospital and mental health facility.
The third office building will be in downtown Redwood City, a location surounded by new apartment buildings. The $86.8 million, 120,968-squarefoot building would be located on Hamilton Street, across from the county’s Hall of Justice in the block that now includes the former First American Title Company and the Lebsack buildings.
“Really when you think about it, Redwood City is the geographic center of Silicon Valley, of the (top) 25 high tech businesses, 12 are in San Mateo County,” Horsley said. “The ground floor will pretty much be open space and will enhance downtown and put us on the map as the center of Silicon Valley.”
Horsley, who lives in the Emerald Hills area above Redwood City, began his career in public service as a deputy sheriff in 1972, patrolling East Palo Alto. He worked his way up through the ranks. He was elected county sheriff in 1993, a job he held for 14 years. He then served on the Sequoia Healthcare District board for four years. After that, he was elected to the county Board of Supervisors eight years ago.
Horsley’s challenger Despite Horsley preparing for his future on the board, he does have a challenger, Pacifica Planning Commissioner Dan Stegink.
Stegink’s main campaign promise is he will not take a pension from the county, and will only run for one term.
Other goals he has if elected would be to close the Ox Mountain Landfill near Half Moon Bay and to ban commercial trucks on Highway 92 during commute hours.
As of yesterday (April 25), no financial forms for Stegink’s campaign were uploaded to the county’s election office website. Horsley has reported raising $60,200.