2018 City Council Candidate Responses to RCNU Questionnaire

On Sept. 10, 2018, RCNU sent all seven 2018 Redwood City Council candidates – Jason Galisatus, Giselle Hale, Diane Howard, Rick Hunter, Diana Reddy, Ernie Schmidt, and Christina Umhofer – a Candidate Questionnaire that requested their positions on issues related to development in Redwood City and along Redwood City's bayfront. 

Although Cargill/DMB Pacific Ventures withdrew their initial Saltworks Project years ago, they advised the City that a new development plan for the salt ponds would likely be submitted in the future. With subsequent new data on the likelihood for increased rates of sea level rise due to climate change, we believe that it is more important than ever to reserve these lands for future wetlands restoration to aid in flood protection and greenhouse gas reduction. RCNU also seeks to limit the City’s future risk from climate change by endorsing policies and practices that reduce development pressure on lands east of 101 that are in the direct path of sea level rise.

We’re delighted to announce that all seven candidates provided responses to our Candidate Questionnaire, and RCNU really appreciates their participation.

As election day approaches, we hope this information helps inform Redwood City voters about the candidates’ views on several vital issues affecting our city.  Each candidate had two weeks to prepare responses to our questionnaire, thus providing them the time to research and thoughtfully respond to the questions - something that candidate forums or meet and greets don't always provide. Our goal is to offer insights into each candidate's perspective and potential for leadership on these important bayfront planning and environmental stewardship issues.

While RCNU is not endorsing any candidate, these survey responses empower voters to pursue their own questions and follow-up as opportunities arise during the remaining few weeks before the election.

The collated results of the questionnaire is below. In addition, links below point to the candidates' original responses.

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Q1: Redwood City’s General Plan directs future growth to a revitalized downtown and along existing transit corridors, while conserving open space and protecting our quality of life. It also sets limits on the intensity of development within various land-use categories.

a) Do you agree with our community’s current vision for building in the urbanized core of our City and not in areas that the General Plan designates as open space, such as the Redwood City salt ponds? Please explain your answer.

Jason Galisatus
Yes. Redwood City has underutilized lands around transit that could successfully accommodate greater density. From this standpoint, our Downtown is an ever-evolving success story, in that the Downtown Precise Plan promoted compact infill development within an urban core centered around high-quality transit. This type of development is appropriate. Development that encroaches on land designated as open space is neither appropriate nor needed.

Giselle Hale
Yes. I’m a smart growth advocate and our current General Plan follows those principles.

Diane Howard
Yes. There was a lot of time, effort and community input in developing and approving Redwood City’s General Plan. I believe the message was clear from the community input we received that future building and density should be focused in and around our Downtown and along our transit corridors and not in areas designated as open space.

Rick Hunter
I agree with our General Plan that building should be focused on urbanized, transit-oriented areas and not in areas designated as open space.

Diana Reddy
I am running on a platform of environmental, economic, and housing justice. My interest in building adequate affordable housing will not be met by building on the salt ponds. I support building along existing transit corridors. For what it’s worth – I was endorsed by Sierra Club – partially, I’m sure, because of my position on building on the salt ponds.

Ernie Schmidt
I supported our DTP, which Phase 1 is complete. Now we must go back to the community and ask "What's next"? More so than ever before we must ensure open space is a priority.

Christina Umhofer
Absolutely, I agree with the vision and the premise that thoughtful  transit-oriented development (TOD) is critical to relieving pressure to develop on the salt ponds or the hillsides. Given our severe housing crises, we need to produce more housing units and high-density development gets us to that goal faster than building is less optimal locations.

b) Do you agree with the land-use mix and development intensity within the current General Plan? Please identify changes you would like to see, if any.

Jason Galisatus
I would like to see certain updates to our General Plan including updates to the live/work zoning along El Camino Real, the expansion of the Mixed Use Corridor zoning along Veterans Boulevard, expansion of open space zoning in the downtown core, and mixed-use zoning designation to reimagine Sequoia Station.

Giselle Hale
Generally, yes. I do think there are rezoning opportunities to open up more opportunities to add to our housing supply.

Diane Howard
Yes, I agree with the land-use mix and development intensity within the current General Plan. Because of the time and community input gathered during the 4-5 year process of updating our General Plan, I feel that it is still a relevant document that was planned to be for our use until 2030. There may be times that a General Plan amendment may be advisable, but I don’t take that lightly.

Rick Hunter
I agree with the vision in the General Plan.

Diana Reddy
Current developments have been built without adequate community benefits. I will only support developments when adequate community benefits are included, regardless of what is currently listed in the General Plan. I will not support commercial developments without the housing and other benefits to support them.

Ernie Schmidt
Yes, but we need to work w/ all who propose a project to include an element of open space and think outside the box, especially in areas along the El Camino corridor.

Christina Umhofer
Yes, I mostly agree with the current General Plan. It took hundreds of hours of community input before it was adopted by the Planning Commission and City Council back in 2010; however, it has been eight years and much has changed in that time. Given our mounting housing crises, it is time to reassess and look at using Industrial Restricted (IR) and Light Industrial (LI) zones, if close to transit, for creative housing. We should consider uses for the floors above the ground floor (that are currently used for business), for creative housing solutions. I also believe the Mixed-used Live/Work (MULW) zoning areas of the City are worth revisiting because they have not accomplished the goal of providing housing. The MULW zoning district was first adopted in 2013 and primarily applies in the northeastern portion of the El Camino Real Corridor Plan Area. However, since its adoption, there haven’t been any significant housing projects that have utilized this designation to build or convert space to MULW housing. It’s imperative that we get a better understanding of the impediments to successful implementation of the MULW and steps that might improve the potential of this land use.
 

Q2: In considering the current Harbor View proposal, a council member argued that the City has an obligation to grant the developer “due process” by studying the project – eg. allowing the project to move forward with required environmental studies and initiation of a General Plan Amendment. California law, however, allows a city to deny outright, without further studies, any development proposal that is not in conformance with its General Plan.

In your opinion, what obligation does the City have to process an application and conduct environmental studies for a development project that is not consistent with its General Plan and current zoning?

Jason Galisatus
I prefer that the General Plan amendments be taken as part of a broader, more comprehensive discussion. However, if a project came before council that had the potential to enhance the community it should not be categorically ruled out for consideration. While it may not be a legal obligation, the Council has an obligation to the community to see what the project has to offer the City.

Giselle Hale
I don’t believe we are obligated.

Diane Howard
The City Council has the ability to vote to process an application for a project that may or may not be consistent with its General Plan and current zoning. Before Council makes this decision, the Planning Commission and the City Attorney’s office review the application and make recommendations that are given to the Council. The City Council is not obligated to approve the application even if it is processed and an environmental document completed.

Rick Hunter
The City does not have an obligation to process an application and conduct environmental studies for such a development project.  The City should give any applicant a fair hearing and due process to determine the merits of their application.  But after a hearing by the Planning Commission or City Council, the City may then determine that the project does not warrant opening up the General Plan. 

That is exactly what I did as a Planning Commissioner.  I listened carefully to all the public testimony and discussion by the Commissioners, and determined, with the majority, that that Planning Commission meeting provided due process to the applicant, and that the proposed project did not warrant beginning the process of amending the General Plan.

Diana Reddy
The Harbor View proposal is an example of how residents trusted the process behind the General Plan, but that process was circumvented by developers not interested in Redwood City and city council members, who (in my opinion) put those developers above the needs of the residents and Redwood City’s future.

Ernie Schmidt
I believe that is an individual choice of each Council member. I learned so much, for example, from the DMB process. So much that I ended up determining it was not the right project for RWC.

Christina Umhofer
None, and to be frank, the property owner knew the zoning restrictions of Industrial Restricted (IR)  zoning when he bought the property. Given the high demand for IR uses on the peninsula, I suggest that the developer bring a plan that fits within the parameters of the current IR zoning. The current IR zoning already allows for 800k+ of development (with half being office space). There is nothing in the request for rezoning that would lead me to believe that Redwood City needs or can absorb a non-TOD office park that would allow for 6,000+ office workers at this location. The developer of this project should have been told no and saved all of us, including the developer, a lot of time and money.
 

Q3: In 2009, the City Council voted to accept the initial Saltworks development application and begin a lengthy (and divisive) environmental review process to fill in restorable wetlands on the Cargill salt ponds, which have long been designated as “Open Space” in the General Plan and are zoned “Tidal Plain”.

If elected and a future development proposal for any portion of the salt ponds comes before you:

a) would you be inclined to accept the application and vote to initiate environmental studies and a General Plan Amendment process? Please explain why or why not.

Jason Galisatus
I would not be inclined to support an amendment to the General Plan for development of the salt ponds. The salt ponds play a critical role in mitigating sea level rise and flooding impacts in the Harbor Village Mobile Home Park as well as in the Friendly Acres neighborhood, provide open space and recreational opportunities for the community, and are a critical natural habitat for wildlife in the Bay and the marshlands. Further, its proximity to heavy industrial uses make the site inappropriate for any use other than open space.

Giselle Hale
Yes. This is an important area for addressing sea level rise. I’m very interested in solidifying our mitigation plans to address impending sea level rise following the Office of Sustainability study.

Diane Howard
No, I would not be inclined to accept an application for a General Plan amendment for land designated as Preservation Open Space. Part of the Salt Ponds area is designated as “Urban Reserve” in our General Plan. We have spent many years on this issue. Our City has been through 2 councils, much public review, and a major division of opinion in our community. I have serious reservations about making any General Plan changes to this designation.

Rick Hunter
As stated above regarding the Harbor View proposal, the proposal should first be reviewed by the Planning Commission at a public meeting.  After hearing all the testimony, the Commissioners should decide if the application has enough benefits to the community to initiate a General Plan amendment process.  The Planning Commission (or City Council) has no obligation to initiate a General Plan amendment simply because a development is proposed, however.

Diana Reddy
No. City Council members are leaders in our community, and, I believe, have made a covenant with the community to be clear about their values and to govern by those values. Accepting the application, etc., would be against those values for me and against my promise to support a platform of environmental justice.

Ernie Schmidt
Cargill was an extremely divisive project and I believe that the community spoke quite loudly, that this was not the right thing to build, if any, out there. Many years ago Mr. Stulsaft wanted to build at his property but because the community and Council felt that it was not the right project, he donated it and we have a great park. Imagine if we can find a way to have the salt ponds restored!

Christina Umhofer
No, any Salt ponds project would be a huge mistake for Redwood City and neighboring communities. There are many compelling reasons why over 100+ local and regional officials signed a letter voicing their displeasure for the original project. Given its location and the current dysfunctional state of 101/84, the traffic implications would be severe, unavoidable and could not be fully mitigated. And just as important, we have no way of maintaining a reliable, sustainable supply of water for the development. The costs of impacts to the residents and the nearby businesses will be severe and this should be enough of a reason alone to not develop in this location. DMB/Cargill’s focus on housing growth on an isolated parcel east of Highway 101, far from existing public transit, adjacent to heavy industry, and sitting at or below sea level where it will need to be protected by flood levees is reckless and misguided. Bottom line: this is housing in the wrong location!

b) are there any circumstances that you believe would justify a Council decision to approve a development on the salt ponds? Please explain your answer.

Jason Galisatus
Some of the fondest memories I have from my childhood are biking and rollerblading on the Bay Trail with my family. Just minutes from our home we could experience the beauty of nature and its restorative effects on the mind and body. I also remember taking a boat out into the Bay with the Marine Science Institute and learning about the Bay, the namesake of our region, and being inspired by the wildlife.

I believe future generations of Redwood City residents should be afforded this experience.

I see no circumstance that would justify a Council decision to approve development on the salt ponds. The harm to our environment is simply intolerable for Redwood City, our region, our ecosystem, and for future generations to come. The salt ponds should be restored as wetlands.

Giselle Hale
None come to mind.

Diane Howard
Again, I would not be inclined to accept an application for a General Plan amendment or zoning change to land designated as Preservation Open Space. For the Urban Reserve portion of the Cargill lands, if the City were to deny the land owner any value from the property as it is currently designated, that would be considered “a taking”, which is illegal.

Rick Hunter
I do not support intense residential or commercial development of the salt ponds. The General Plan says that tidal marshland and wetland ecosystems are among the most biologically productive natural ecosystems in the world.  These lands should be preserved for tidal marsh restoration, flood protection, recreation, and as a buffer against sea level rise.  I cannot say there are no circumstances that would justify any development, for example a park and related recreational uses, but this would have to be consistent with its primary designation as open space and wetlands.

Diana Reddy
No. In addition to Sea Level Rise being real(!), I am very concerned about protecting the residents in the mobile home parks, which are the last bastions of affordable housing for many of our residents. Those residents are at risk during King Tides and flooding from Redwood Creek. When our city council supports development and not residents, those residents are at risk of losing their homes, which are attractive to developers with their eye on bayside properties.

Ernie Schmidt
No.

Christina Umhofer
No, we already have several large housing projects and millions of square feet of office development already proposed along our transit corridor to consider. These projects are in alignment with the vision of  our General Plan and its TOD desires  and don’t require a amendment to our General Plan. I want to VERY clear -- the bayfront salt ponds should never be developed.
 

Q4: Redwood City’s 2013 Climate Action Plan states that “while the City has taken significant action on climate change in the past 7 years, it becomes increasingly important to begin climate adaptation planning as well”, and suggests developing recommendations for adaptation measures based on the 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy, which includes measures for increasing, protecting and restoring wetlands as well as avoiding or limiting development in areas subject to sea level rise.

a) If elected, would you encourage Council/City staff to work with other agencies to increase areas of tidal marsh for flood protection in Redwood City?

Jason Galisatus
Yes. I having extensive experience working at the County and federal levels and would bring these experiences and relationships to bear.

Giselle Hale
Yes.

Diane Howard
Recognizing that flood protection is a real priority in the Friendly Acres and the Bayfront Area, we are currently working with Menlo Park, Atherton and the County to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. I would be very open to working with additional agencies to ensure flood protection and would be open to best practices, potentially including increasing areas of tidal marsh.

Rick Hunter
Yes.

Diana Reddy
Yes.

Ernie Schmidt
Yes.

Christina Umhofer
Yes, without question, this will require collaboration with nearby agencies. As an elected official, I promise to do everything within my power to make this a big priority for our City going forward.
 

b) If elected, would you be in favor of the City including adaptive measures for restoring and increasing tidal marsh in its Climate Action Plan?

Jason Galisatus
Redwood City has the opportunity to be a part of the largest wetlands restoration project in the West. We should take advantage of this opportunity and continue to lead the way in environmental conservation.

Giselle Hale
Yes.

Diane Howard
At this time we are in the process of updating our Climate Action Plan based on new science and best practices. The Council will be receiving this information in the fall, and I’d be very open to suggestions for improving and updating the Plan.

Rick Hunter
Yes.

Diana Reddy
Yes.

Ernie Schmidt
Yes. So long as we include the community to help us determine what those measures will be.

Christina Umhofer
Yes, there are many benefits to the restoration of our tidal marsh. The incredible efforts of Ralph Noble and the Friends of Redwood City to restore the Bair Island wetlands is one one of our environmental  crowning achievements. As a potential member of City Council, I promise to do everything within my power to carry on that legacy by encouraging the restoration of our remaining and growing tidal marshes.

c) If elected, would you consider approving future development in areas subject to sea level rise beyond what is currently allowed by the General Plan? Please explain your answer.

Jason Galisatus
Because the Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment conducted by the County found that 40% of all of Redwood City stands to be affected by sea level rise, the City should remain open to considering amendments.

Giselle Hale
No. But if there was a project that could protect an area to sea level rise, I would want to look at the project .

Diane Howard
I would be interested in knowing what the current projections are at this time for sea level rise. That information may initiate a review of our current assumptions in the General Plan. If adjustments are needed, there would have to be a public process created to address all the implications including flooding, property rights and state and federal regulations.

Rick Hunter
I would generally not favor such development not allowed in the General Plan in areas subject to sea level rise.  I will work to minimize encroachment into sensitive habitat and to ensure that our wetlands can be used to protect against sea level rise.

Diana Reddy
No – except that we are losing light industrial, and the idea of relocating on the bay side is interesting to me.

Ernie Schmidt
I will look at every project that comes before me and I have done in the past, look at it based on its merits.

Christina Umhofer
No, given all the recent data and  scientific research that has been released since our General Plan was adopted in 2010, it would be reckless to consider any additional development than currently allowed in the General Plan. In fact, given the new and compellimng data on the impacts of sea level rise, I strongly believe this section of the General Plan should be revisited soon.
 

Q5: The July 2016 Redwood City Climate Action Plan and Environmental Initiatives Update states that “if the current trend continues unchanged, the City’s 2020 [greenhouse gas] reduction goal will not be met”. This conclusion was based on GHG inventories that ended in 2013, before the recent boom in office development and corresponding traffic increases.

a) Do you believe that it is important for Redwood City to strive to meet its community-wide goal of a 15% decrease in GHG over 2005 levels by 2020, and/or to meet California’s goal of a 40% reduction in GHG over 1990 levels by 2030?

Jason Galisatus
Yes. Following the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, cities, states, and private entities must make an even stronger effort to achieve GHG reduction targets.

Giselle Hale
We should strive to meet or exceed this goal.

Diane Howard
Yes, I believe it is important. At this time we are in the process of updating our Climate Action Plan based on new science and best practices. The Council will be receiving this information in the fall and I’d be very open to suggestions for the Plan.

Rick Hunter
Yes.

Diana Reddy
I do.

Ernie Schmidt
Yes.

Christina Umhofer
Yes, while it’s disappointing that we haven’t reached our objectives, that is not a reason to stop trying.
 

b) If elected, would you support adoption of local codes, ordinances and/or programs, as some other cities have enacted, that would help achieve those goals? 

Jason Galisatus
Yes.

Giselle Hale
Yes, I support the adoption of regulatory tools to meet goals.

Diane Howard
The City has always been very proactive and would look for opportunities to achieve the goals that we have set.

Rick Hunter
Yes.  I look forward to learning more about such programs and about best practices that other cities have adopted.

Diana Reddy
I would.

Ernie Schmidt
Yes, so long as the community is involved in the decision making process.

Christina Umhofer
Yes, I would support any efforts to achieve those goals.
 

Q6: The current Highway 101/Woodside Road interchange improvement plan did not incorporate any increased traffic from potential development east of Hwy 101 beyond what is accounted for in the General Plan. If substantial new development there is allowed, the expected traffic relief for current commuters and Seaport industries from these improvements could be short-lived, or traffic through the interchange could end up worse than current conditions.

If elected, would you approve a development project east of Highway 101 if it would significantly increase traffic impacts on current Redwood City commuters and nearby industries? Please explain your answer.

Jason Galisatus
Fiscal Year 2017/2018 was the most productive in the history of the Port, with 49% increase in cargo from previous years. Traffic impacts along the interchange must be mitigated along with the development of new projects in order to protect port industries and reduce congestion.

Giselle Hale
No, any projects in that area, because they are not near alternative transit options, would need a hefty TDM so as to not compound the current traffic situation. We would also need line of sight on plans to complete the Bloomquist extension and the Woodside/84 project.

I did vote to approve 853 Main, an office project because it will revitalize a part of the Downtown the community and businessowners wanted to see improved and this project makes that possible.

Diane Howard
As I have said, I have grave concerns about making any changes to the current General Plan designation to lands east of 101. I will have traffic concerns regardless of where the traffic comes from. We have identified possible solutions such as the 101 and Highway 84 Interchange and Blomquist Extension, but have a shortfall in funding to build them at this time. Traffic, its impacts and solutions, will have to be studied very thoroughly.

Rick Hunter
While I cannot say in advance how I would vote on any project, I would have the following concerns that must be addressed:

  • Changing the General Plan.  The General Plan which was adopted in 2010 had substantial public input and reflects the community’s preferences.  Although it is a living document that can be amended, there should be significant benefit to the community to justify making major changes.
  • Traffic. Situated next to the worst intersection in the city, and not near transit, we need to know how the traffic consequences will be mitigated.
  • Loss of light industrial business.  This is a key contributor to our economy, which we are gradually losing as areas are re-zoned.
  • Jobs-housing imbalance. Adding thousands of new jobs without providing commensurate housing will make the affordable housing crisis even worse.

Diana Reddy
To be honest, understanding traffic relief and planning is not currently one of my strengths. It happens that I have scheduled a meeting with a friend whose expertise is traffic. I can better respond once I more fully understand the ramifications of this question. In fact, I’m happy to have this question, because I intend to ask it of him. I can add that I truly want to be able to ask hard questions and support the point of view of people I trust – people whose point of view is coming from their values and not their self interest. I look forward to seeking advice from and supporting the views of RCNU in the future – whether I am elected or not.

Ernie Schmidt
I am looking forward to hearing more about this project, assuming you are referring to Harbor View, to make an informed decision.

Christina Umhofer
No, our infrastructure is straining and can barely support the development that has been built since the DTPP was adopted in 2011 -- how can it support more development? It simply can’t support further significant growth without a massive infrastructure investment, including, but not limited to, the 101/84 exchange, Samtrans, Caltrain, and multiple grade separations.
 

Q7: Despite significant housing construction in the last several years, the worsening jobs/housing imbalance in Redwood City contributes to our housing affordability crisis, adds to commute times and greenhouse gas emissions, and creates increased pressure to develop on open space lands.

a) Do you believe the City's Downtown Precise Plan should be reopened to allow for additional office space development? Why or why not?

Jason Galisatus
I prefer mixed-use projects in the downtown core, and often office space finances other desired uses and allows the project pencil, since the per square foot price for office is much higher than for housing or for retail.
If additional office is considered in a second downtown precise plan I would like to see a housing linkage requirement, so that housing is built commensurate with office. I would categorically oppose first floor office space and would support and strongly enforce a requirement that any new office space must include first floor retail in the downtown core.

Giselle Hale
I believe new projects should go through the standard planning process until DTPP2 can be discussed as a community.

Diane Howard
I support the reopening of the DTPP but not necessarily to look for increasing more office development. I want to look at our caps and what has been produced within those caps. I would consider it imperative to have a full community process regarding next steps for development in our downtown and what should be focused on.  Currently, the ratio of jobs to housing is 20 to 1 throughout the County. We do not have enough housing inventory available to close this gap. I would look for areas in and around our Downtown to produce more Affordable and Below Market Rate housing inventory. I think it is important for all cities and the county to continue to close this gap.

Rick Hunter
Since the commercial and residential caps in the DTPP have now been met, the City should begin the community engagement process to determine what the residents would like to see next.  I believe that we should slow the rate of office growth until jobs and housing are more in balance, but I do not want to stop office growth or harm our economic vitality.  Since building near transit is the most responsible place to put new offices and residences, I will be open-minded about allowing new office space downtown.

Diana Reddy
A couple of years ago I participated in the Redwood City piece of a Berkeley Urban Displacement Study. The conclusion of that study was: Should the City succeed in its economic development goals, there will be a mismatch between housing supply and job growth that goes against the core of sustainable development. The over 2000 units of housing were not built for our residents, many of whom have been displaced and are now commuting long distances to continue to work here. I do not support commercial development without the housing to support it. Our community desperately needs affordable housing to support diversity and residents essential to a sustainable community.

Ernie Schmidt
If anything is done in the DTP, we need to go back to the community and see what they envision next.

Christina Umhofer
No, with the rapid growth that we experienced and dozens of  projects that have yet to come online, it would be rather foolish and a bit reckless to think about expanding the existing DTPP. We have no way of knowing the impacts until more of the already approved projects are completed. The office and residential caps in the DTPP are providing the necessary pause in development that our some of our Councilmembers promised but failed to deliver. I fully support an extensive vetting and community engagement process that would come with the initiation of the DTPP2. Only then, would I consider more projects in our DTPP than what is currently allowed.
 

b) Do you agree with the recent 4-2 City Council decision to proceed with the study of the Harbor View project proposal to amend the General Plan to allow for construction of more than 1 million square feet of office space and thousands of additional workers east of Highway 101? Why or why not?

Jason Galisatus
I do agree with the decision to advance the study. I see the Harbor View as distinct from the Cargill project, in that it does not propose changing an open space designation and does not propose filling in the Bay. Under current zoning, an indoor cannabis cultivation center could be allowed, and I believe the project should have been studied to see what alternative to light industrial would be possible, as well as to learn more and have further discussion on the developer’s plans to mitigate its impacts on transportation and housing as well as to secure a project labor agreement to examine the potential to bring high-quality union jobs to the area for working families.

As the developer continues to assess the proposed project, I would like to see a project that is smaller in scale with density closer to what the zoning allows, with greater investment in transportation improvements, that adds to our housing supply, and that includes a project labor agreement. This is an ongoing discussion I would like to continue to have with Harbor View, and denying studying the project would have denied the opportunity to have this important discussion.

Giselle Hale
We have a General Plan and it’s reflective of community input at the time of adoption. It allows for certain sized projects with certain uses. At the time Chair Radcliffe made a good point- the community isn’t looking for major deviations from the plan. Councilmember Masur’s comments also resonated with me, that we could learn a lot as a community about the natural state of that parcel by going through the EIR process without any obligation to vote for the project.

I won’t comment on the specific plan and how I would vote as I want to reserve the ability to weigh in from the dias as either a Planning Commissioner or Councilmember and not have to recuse myself for having already decided on the merits of the project.
 

Diane Howard
No, I did not agree with that decision. Unfortunately, I was not able to be at that meeting to cast my vote. When the proposed project comes back to the Council, I will listen and consider all the information as required, but still I have grave concerns.

Rick Hunter
No.  As a Planning Commissioner, I voted with the majority not to change Redwood City’s General Plan to allow development of the Harbor View office project just east of 101.  The general plan, for environmental and other reasons, did not allow large office buildings at that site, but instead zoned for light industrial, biotech, or Port-related businesses.

Diana Reddy
No. Explained above.

Ernie Schmidt
I do. It is very important to me that I listen to everyone's opinions, thoughts, and info to help me come to a decision. I learn a great deal from the process.


Christina Umhofer
No, as I have publicly stated, Jay Paul bought the Harbor View property knowing full well what what was permitted  in the IR zone. It is not in the best interests of Redwood City residents, nor should it be, that a developer bought in one zone and it now seeking to change the zoning for their personal gain. Simply stated, the current Harbor View project does not belong at this location.
 

Q8: In addition to publishing this questionnaire, RCNU will be informing voters about candidates’ past Council and Planning Commission votes as well as public comments that candidates have made at City Council/Planning Commission meetings or to the media that are related to the topics covered in this questionnaire. If you have any comments you would like to make regarding your past actions or public statements, please take this opportunity to discuss them below.

Jason Galisatus
[No response]

Giselle Hale
[No response]


Diane Howard
I can honestly say in my almost 20 years of serving on the City Council that my decisions have always been based, after thorough investigation, on what I believe is best for the residents of our Redwood City community. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to answer some of the concerns and questions you have about Redwood City’s future. I would consider it an honor to serve Redwood City once again.

Rick Hunter
[No response]

Diana Reddy
I don’t recall that any of my sentiments on the subject were ever made in public, but, in the spirit of full disclosure, I was an early supporter of the Cargill project. Cargill had donated tens of thousands of acres of former salt ponds to communities on the east side, the project would have included the largest privately owned wetlands in the State – something I had come to understand would be the most effective mitigation against Sea Level Rise, and affordable housing was promised – something I already knew we were going to desperately need. Well, it became clear to me that the City Council would not approve any affordable housing east of 101, and commercial building and market rate housing were being built with little regard for sustainability. I came to realize that my own environmental values needed to be checked. I support responsible development, which does not include the construction of more than one million square feet of office space, which is larger than our entire downtown.

If elected, I can be trusted to base my decisions on my values, not my self interest.

Ernie Schmidt
[No response]


Christina Umhofer
[No response]
 

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Original Candidate Responses (as transmitted to RCNU)

 

Jason Galisatus

Giselle Hale

Diane Howard

Rick Hunter

Diana Reddy

Ernie Schmidt

Christina Umhofer


If you have difficulty viewing the PDF files, please contact council2018@rcnu.org