Senate candidate Annie Oliva is focused on housing

Editor’s note: This is one part of a series of stories about the candidates running for the state Senate seat being vacated by Jerry Hill. Six candidates will compete in the March 3 primary and the top-two vote-getters will go on to the general election in November. This was published Jan. 29.

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

Millbrae Councilwoman Annie Oliva, who is running to replace State Sen. Jerry Hill, said she’s known as “housing Annie,” and is against the housing bill SB50.

Olivia, 59, has been on the Millbrae City Council since 2013, and says that she helped bring housing into a mixed-use development near the Millbrae BART and Caltrain station. That project, Gateway at Millbrae, will consist of 400 apartments, 55 of which are reserved for veterans. It will also have 151,583 square feet of office space and 44,123 square feet of retail space. It was approved by Millbrae City Council in 2018.

Oliva says that as a Realtor for over 30 years, she has helped more than 600 people buy their first homes. If she is elected, Oliva said her first piece of legislation may dovetail on that fact, perhaps by helping first time homebuyers with down payments.

Oliva also said that if elected, she would want to be placed on any housing committee possible.

Oliva has raised $370,789 during her campaign, with a substantial number of donations from Realtors and the California Real Estate PAC.

In 2018, Oliva lost her brokers license after an audit by the state’s Real Estate Bureau in September 2016. The main issue was that funds from her bank accounts containing money Oliva had collected for her clients were transferred into her business’ account. According to documents related to the bureau’s inquiry into Oliva, the transfers occurred because of an overdraft in her business’ account, and her clients’ money was transferred to settle the overdrafts.
Oliva still has her sales license.

Candidates interviewed

Over the past two weeks, the Post has interviewed the six candidates running to replace termed-out Jerry Hill in the state senate. Hill represents Senate District 13, which spans from Brisbane to Sunnyvale. The candidates are facing off in the March 3 primary, and the top two vote-getters will appear on the November ballot.

The Post has already profiled Burlingame Councilman Michael Brownrigg, Menlo Park entrepreneur Josh Becker, Los Altos businessman Alex Glew, Redwood City Councilwoman Shelly Masur and former Assemblywoman Sally Lieber. All of the candidates except for Glew are Democrats. Glew is a Republican.

The Post asked Oliva about a variety of topics such as her position on the housing bill SB50, transit and PG&E.

Housing

Oliva does not support SB50, the bill seeking to increase housing near jobs, transit and education, saying there are “way better solutions” to solving the area’s housing crisis.

When the Post asked Oliva how she would want to increase housing on the Peninsula, she said that more projects like Gateway at Millbrae ought to be built, and that the area is “nicely built out.”

Oliva also mentioned that there needs to be more east-to-west rapid transportation so commuters from elsewhere can easily get to their jobs on the Peninsula.

Quiet and frequent

As far as improving transportation in the area, Oliva said that trains need to be “more quiet and frequent.”

“The best form of train is one that doesn’t have a schedule, where you don’t have to look at a schedule to see when the train is coming,” Oliva said.

Oliva said she’s not sure how she feels about the one-cent sales tax called FASTER Bay Area, which appears headed for the November ballot. Regarding sales taxes to fund transportation in general, Oliva said that instead of more taxes, existing money could be allocated better.

PG&E

Oliva said she doesn’t feel good about PG&E, saying that her parents lived a few blocks away from the San Bruno pipeline explosion in 2010, and knew people who lost their homes, and lives, due to the explosion.

If PG&E were to be disassembled today, state residents would have to pay off the utility’s debts, and is not in favor of a state takeover. Right now, Oliva said she wants to keep PG&E “accountable.”

According to a state ethics agency, Oliva and her treasurer for her Millbrae council campaign were fined $622 for not filing three documents saying who donated to her campaign. Oliva said once the error was pointed out, the problem was “immediately” fixed. The documents weren’t filed on time, Oliva said, because her treasurer from the senate campaign and her council campaign treasurer got their wires crossed and thought each other had filed the documents, while in reality, neither of them had.