The San Mateo County Harbor District may not make decisions that have a direct impact on everyone in the county’s day-to-day lives, but it is funded by our tax dollars and is the steward of two well-established and critical gateways to our community. The first gateway is at Pillar Point Harbor on the coast — the only place for most commercial, recreational and charter fishermen to launch their vessels to collect the ocean’s bounty. That enterprise is constantly facing challenges and needs thoughtful assistance by those in charge of the harbor. The second gateway is the Oyster Point Marina/Park with ferry service to and from the East Bay. It is providing an alternative transit opportunity for those who live and work in South San Francisco, though it is mainly used as a way for workers who live in the East Bay to get to the biotech hub of South San Francisco. There is an opportunity for progressive thought in getting more transit alternatives, whether it be additional ferry stops or finding new and sustainable ways to get workers to their places of work once they arrive at the Bay shore.
Fortunately for voters in San Mateo County, there are six people running for three seats on the Harbor District’s Board of Commissioners and an opportunity for new ideas.
Of the six, we recommend Sabrina Brennan, William Holsinger and Pietro Parravano. All three bring a variety of experience and ideas to the table. For Brennan, maintaining water quality of both locations is key to its success and development at either site should be embarked upon with the environment and community access at the forefront. Brennan is quick with new ideas, and suggested a bike rental station at Pillar Point as a way to allow visitors quick access to more of what the coast has to offer while also providing revenue for the district. Her fiscal conservatism is refreshing from someone so focused on environmental stewardship. Holsinger has filled the seat of former commissioner Sally Campbell since after her death earlier this year. As a former candidate for a seat several years ago, Holsinger has been a quick study and, as an attorney, has a keen eye when it comes to legal language. Parravano understands the needs of the fishermen and has spent years working toward finding ways to make it a viable career. His idea of creating a curriculum at local community colleges for the fishing industry is a solid step in formalizing the ins and outs of the industry knowledge whether it be navigation, boat maintenance or marketing. That last component is key since many fishermen have significant work to do once their boats are tied up after the day’s catch. By providing new avenues of selling their catch, they can maintain an industry that has as many ebbs and flows as the ocean itself. Brennan, too, would like to extend the reach of the seafood caught off the coast and would like to work with local companies with in-house chefs or restaurants with chefs who understand the importance of local and sustainable seafood. Parravano also has a track record of getting fishermen to branch out when fishing is not allowed in partnering with research groups to the benefit of both.
The fishing industry is in constant change, and the environment of Pillar Point Harbor is key to its welfare. Members of the Board of Commissioners serve in a support role for the industry while taking care of the natural resource of the harbor that houses the industry. Key too is the Oyster Point Marina/Park and its capability to provide new ways for people to enter our county for work or for pleasure. Brennan, Holsinger and Parravano would provide the best balance of experience, points of view and forward-thinking for both, and for all of us.