Longtime Councilwoman Karyl Matsumoto announced she will continue her run for the two-year seat on the South San Francisco City Council during a candidate forum last night.
Just last week, Matsumoto, 70, said at a City Council meeting that she would suspend her campaign for this upcoming November election. Matsumoto said her announcement to withdraw from the race at last week’s council meeting came as a result of personal and political issues all coming to a head at one time.
“I’m here this evening as a fully running candidate,” said Matsumoto. “Now, I’ve listened to the plethora of individuals explaining to me why I have to run. I intend to remain in this race, but will be taking some time off to attend to my 100-year-old mother.”
At the debate, further developing the city was a top concern shared by candidates running for the two-year seat on the council during a forum last night moderated by the League of Women Voters. The two-year seat is the completion of Kevin Mullin’s term necessitated when he was elected to the Assembly. Pradeep Gupta, who was appointed to the seat, is running for one of the three open four-year seats, one of which is currently held by Matsumoto.
Matsumoto, Collin K. Post and Carlos Martin are running for the one open two-year seat on the council.
At last night’s forum, candidates discussed ways to bring more business to the city and its downtown.
“We need good incentives to retailers to make them want to come to South San Francisco,” Post said.
Showing property owners the city has great infrastructure is important, Matsumoto said, noting that adding mixed-use housing and retail on Grand Avenue will also bring in more business.
Additionally, establishing a new economic development agency would help to bring in new business, Martin said. He added that the city needs to work with biotech companies to keep them in town.
Matsumo agreed that biotechnology companies are a huge part of South San Francisco.
“South San Francisco is the biotech capital of the world,” Matsumoto said. Further, in creating a new library in town, Post suggested adding more computers to the city’s libraries.
“I feel that we should get on board with making everything computerized,” Post said.
The city’s libraries are social centers and important to the community, Martin noted, while Matsumoto said the city has prioritized establishing a new library by creating a library board.
“The programs they provide for our city are above and beyond any in this county,” Matsumoto said.
In terms of funding items on their agendas in light of dwindling resources, Martin said the city needs to think creatively about using its resources.
Further, Matsumoto added that the city should create a balance for its expenses.
Candidates discussed revitalizing downtown as well. Post is not pleased with the current state of downtown, which he believes is unsafe.
“Downtown is still the way it was when I ran for City Council in 1996. “We need to really clean up downtown,” Post said, adding he would have a program for businesses to keep it clean and notify police of loitering. Matsumoto said the city gets a bad rap because all the community services are downtown, but that things aren’t really worse than other cities along the Peninsula, like in San Mateo.
“I’m proud of what we’ve been doing in the South San Francisco downtown area,” Matsumoto.
Martin did agree with Post in some respects. There has been a bigger homeless problem in town, Martin said. Restaurants, startups and theater would be on Martin’s agenda for a revitalized downtown.
The city’s housing needs were also felt by those running.
Martin noted that people should be able to live closer to where they work. A variety of groups need housing and high density is key to this, Matsumoto said. Walkable communities are key for seniors, she added. Transportation was also a concern for candidates such as Post, who noted that the location of Caltrain is currently very unsafe.
“It’s kind of like a desert, it’s just out there,” Post said. Increasing bicycle paths in South San Francisco was a suggestion from Martin in terms of improving transportation.
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