San Mateo Mayor Joe Goethals is proposing to delay two competing measures on building height limits slated for the November ballot because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but supporters of one of the measures are not open to the proposal.

Measure P, which caps building height in the city at 55 feet and limits density to 50 units per acre, will sunset by the end of the year. In 2018, a group called San Mateans for Responsive Government, or SMRG, gathered the requisite number of signatures to place a proposed extension of Measure P on the ballot. The measure, which was delayed in 2019, has qualified for the November ballot.

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(7) comments

Madeline B

Good for Mayor Goethals! The group of homeowners styling itself as for "responsive" government wants to stop all government input on these important issues for decades, and constantly lies about why they didn't make the 2018 election (it's because they conned the people signing their proposition, by changing the wording!). Let's focus on San Mateo issues other than propping up home prices with artificial scarcity.


With the advent of COVID-19, there should be a moratorium on increasing housing density.


Tarzantom - Now that's wisdom !!

Thomas Morgan

Neither measure is perfect, but both are the result of inaction on the part of City Council. SMERG clearly has a lead and their measure does not necessarily need to be delayed, in order to give the new group an opportunity to gather signatures.

If the new measure advocates can get enough signatures, they can certainly get enough votes to defeat the SMERG measure.

My problem with the new measure is the message from Council has been to go follow the General Plan Process (this has been placed on hold, making SMERG's measure more reasonable). In my opinion a few are getting an unfair advantage (those property owners surrounding the Caltrain Stations). At the detriment to the Citizens and other property owners (all should get the same deal or no deal). For those who oppose Prop 13 land use up zoning is no different (it is a once in a lifetime benefit, available to those at a point in time).

If Council postpones, and the new advocates can pass their measure, this will poison the General Plan Process. SMERG’s focus will be directed elsewhere and we will end up with less overall. Sometimes you need to lose a battle to win a war.


Adam Alberti is the same person who led the then LA based group in closing Bay Meadows Race Track. End of story.

Goethals is 100 per cent correct.


To get involved in our grassroots efforts to protect our city from overzealous development without neighborhood support and consideration, please visit


Unfortunately, the Journal left out a lot of important information on this shameful ploy by our mayor. Full release follows:

San Mateans for Responsive Government is astonished by Joe Goethals' comments that this is not the time for the voters to decide about the important issues of height and density. As SMRG spokesman Michael Weinhauer said, "The Council has a legal duty to place this measure on the Nov 2020 ballot." At what point are we to witness the city condoning voter suppression?

In early 2018, over 7000 San Mateo voters submitted signatures which the County verified and the City certified. The next step should have been the ballot. Yet at every turn, the Council, often with Joe the most vocal, found a reason to put this measure off & delay it until the November 2020 ballot. Now Joe has another reason this should not happen?

The grapevine says that the developer proponents of the new initiative want the CC to place their measure on the ballot, despite not doing what SMRG accomplished with untold hours of volunteer effort. This would be unjust, since the CC refused to put the citizens' initiative on the 2018 ballot and delayed it until 2020. If their measure is to be voted on this November, let the developers do what's legally required. Otherwise, we await their attempt for the Nov 2022 election.

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