With four candidates for two open seats on the Millbrae City Council, voters have an interesting array of choices in front of them. Anne Oliva was appointed to fill the seat of the late Nadia Holober and Mayor Gina Papan is termed out. Oliva joins Reuben Holober, Douglas Radtke and Ann Schneider in this campaign.
Holober is incredibly impressive for someone of his age. While it might be easy to dismiss someone in their mid-20s as not having enough real-life experience, Holober has the firmest grasp on the city’s issues of all candidates and reveals a deep understanding of what it takes to lead the city into the future. From development and attracting new business to having a keen focus on the city’s finances and maintaining the proper approach to sharing services, Holober shows he has a tremendous command of the city’s past, present and future needs. He comes from a family of public servants. His mother served on the Millbrae City Council until her death earlier this year. His father, Richard Holober, serves on the San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees. But he has his own ideas and can express them eloquently. And he is the face of the city’s future. While being young could be seen as a liability, he represents the next generation of leaders and has the ability to begin that leadership now.
Radtke is also young and has some interesting ideas about the city’s finances and development plans. One idea he has is luring an anchor store such as Target to Site One, directly adjacent to the Millbrae BART/Caltrain station. Perhaps not the exact fit for the location, but it’s practical and an example of out-of-the-box thinking. However, Radtke doesn’t seem to have the mindset to work on a five-member council and could be more disruptive than it is worth. Coming up with new ideas is one thing, but working in collaboration with others who may have a different set of experiences and perspectives is quite another. We hope he remains interested and shares his point of view in a productive way.
Schneider has a history of community service and a broad knowledge of the city’s issues. We disagree with her desire to keep the fire assessment fee permanent, and would like to see the city explore new avenues of revenue instead. But that can be accomplished through thoughtful deliberation about the appropriate mix of development near transit and an emphasis on economic development. Schneider has a good handle on both and is also interested in further exploring partnerships with other governmental agencies such as school districts to get more bang out the city’s municipal buck.
Oliva has a solid tenure of community service and a vote for her would certainly not be wasted. However, as an appointed incumbent, we would have liked to have seen a better focus on details.
In this race, the best candidates for the two open seats are Holober and Schneider.