South San Francisco voters certainly have many options for three open four-year seats and eight candidates. Every candidate brings a lot of heart to the discussion and a variety of experience and good ideas.
But the three candidates who rise to the top are incumbent Mark Addiego, appointed incumbent Pradeep Gupta and Maurice Goodman, trustee on the South San Francisco Unified School District Board.
Addiego has the deepest knowledge of city issues and has proven he has the city’s best interests at heart. He telegraphs leadership and will prove to be a valuable asset as the city rebuilds its management team after retirements. He is quick with his facts and practical when it comes to city policy, whether it be improving downtown, facilitating ferry ridership, steering new developments through the public planning process or managing the city’s budget.
Gupta, while only on the council for about a year, also has a keen grasp of city issues and automatically breaks down resolutions to key issues into short-, mid- and long-term plans. As a retired engineer, he has an analytical mind and uses it effectively when it comes to city business including its budget and pension obligations. He also has the ability to see how the city may have previously erred in its ways such as relying on redevelopment money that was taken away from the state while also seeing what the future might bring through envisioning a biotech facility that would be like the Exploratorium for middle and high school students.
The other candidates are also very strong and it is a shame there cannot be a seat for them all. However, of them, Goodman seems the most capable. He has a wealth of ideas and an everyman philosophy that will not leave anyone behind as the city gets better. He has a strong emphasis on empowerment and resolve and would like to see the council reflect those tenets in its decision-making. That is refreshing, and needed. But he doesn’t just rely on philosophy and buzzwords. He also has a track record of creative ideas at the school district and a bevy of ideas on how to improve the city. He envisions more entertainment uses on the east side of Highway 101 and would like to see more specificity in development agreements on public transit uses, including the ferry service. But it is also his emphasis on inclusive government that makes him such an appealing choice.
The city is fortunate to have such a wide array of choices for these open seats. William Lock, Rick Ochsenhirt, John Harry Prouty and Liza Normandy are all top-notch candidates with a wealth of experience and ideas. However, for the best combination of experience, know-how and enthusiasm, we think Addiego, Goodman and Gupta are the best choices in this race.