Four candidates vying for controversial harbor commission

Daily Post Staff Writer

Four people are running for two seats on the San Mateo County Harbor Commission, which has become known for its dysfunction, infighting and drama.

The candidates include incumbent Ed Larenas, former Brisbane Mayor Sepi Richardson, former Woodside Architectural and Site Review commissioner Nancy Reyering and sheriff’s sergeant Henry Sutter. Robert Bernardo, the commission’s vice president, opted not to seek re-election.

This means at least one new face will be joining commissioners Sabrina Brennan, Virginia Chang Kiraly and Tom Mattusch on the board.

Larenas, a Moss Beach resident, was elected to a two-year term in 2016. Larenas has been chair of the county’s Surfrider Foundation chapter and he started a water quality testing lab 15 years ago. In the past two years, he created the board’s Wildlife Protection and Climate Change Resiliency committees.

His priorities for his second term would be to create policies to protect wildlife at the harbors and to further the work of his Climate Change Resiliency panel by improving water quality in the harbors. He also wants to create a strategic plan for the district.

Reyering, a Woodside resident who is endorsed by Larenas, said she is running because the district is working on projects that would benefit from her experience with conservation, real estate development and design review and working with others on public policy committees. Reyering said her main goals if she’s elected would be to balance development with environmental concerns at the harbors and develop a strategic plan for the district.

While there have been rumblings of potentially dissolving the district for years, Reyering said she believes in the work that the commission does and its importance.

Richardson, a Brisbane resident who was on City Council there for 15 years, runs her own finance consulting business that specializes in helping schools manage their resources and be fiscally sound.

Richardson is running to make sure the district is “financially healthy.” Her main goals are to ensure that the redevelopment at Oyster Point Marina in South San Francisco goes smoothly and explore running a public ferry service out of the county’s ports. She also wants an audit to be performed on the district’s finances to ensure the district is “utilizing all of our avenues to increase revenues, and reducing expenses where we need to.”

Richardson said she does not believe in dissolving the district because it’s managed “beautifully.”

“The district has amazing dedicated supporters, and with the help of an engaged public and dedicated functional commissioners, the conversation about dissolution might be the thing of the past,” Richardson said.

Sutter, of El Granada, has been a police officer for the past 45 years. He plans on retiring from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office in a few months, and he wants to give back to the community “by protecting the assets of the harbor and marina that I enjoy so much.”

Sutter calls Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay a jewel, and his goals are to protect the marinas in the county for future generations and regain the trust of voters and others to improve the district as a whole.

Sutter said that dissolution of the district ought to remain an option. He said the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and voters should be able to dissolve the district if it does not meet its goals of “assuring the public is provided with clean, safe, well-managed, financially sound and environmentally pleasant marinas.”