Thanks for the opportunity to tell you a bit more about my campaign and my answers to questions about the Coastside. Please see below:
1. What do you see as the most important issues for the Coastside?
Coastside residents face some issues that they share with residents over the hill (concerns about over-development, too much traffic congestion, crumbling infrastructure, the rising cost of housing), others that are unique to the coast but are caused by common problems (sea level rise causing coastal erosion in some Coastside communities and contamination of freshwater aquifers used by farmers in others), and many issues that are very unique to the coast (access to pristine public places like Martin’s Beach, the impacts of climate change on hard working local fishermen, the enforcement of coastal law by the CA Coastal Commission).
One of the most important issues for the Coastside is the long-term impact of sea level rise. While Caltrans and San Mateo County are doing their best to come up with short-term solutions to coastal erosion on the Surfer’s Beach shoreline, the combination of sea level rise and King tides will likely eventually compromise Highway 1. The state needs to work with the county and local communities to come up with long-term climate adaptation plans for the Coastside, likely including the need to relocate sections of Highway 1 further east. We don’t know exactly what the future will bring, but we know that a certain amount of sea level rise is inevitable. It’s imperative that we plan ahead to address the range of possibilities.
Assemblymember Rich Gordon, who has endorsed my campaign, has been a leader in bringing attention to this issue and making sure that California continues to be a leader in addressing and adapting to climate change. As Chair of the Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy, Gordon authored legislation that established a first-of-its-kind statewide online database for sea level rise planning, allowing communities to share best practices in developing methods of adaptation.
It’s also important to protect Coastside values. People don’t move to the coast because they want to live in a big city. They move there to live in quieter communities that are within commuting distance of jobs and amenities either in SF or on the peninsula. The legislature established the CA Coastal Commission to govern land use in the coastal zone in coordination with local governments along the coast. However, the Coastal Commission has seen its budget slashed by 26% and its staff cut nearly in half since 1980, and until recently they had minimal enforcement authority. We need to fully fund the Coastal Commission and strengthen and streamline its enforcement authority so that it can quickly work through the backlog of thousands of unresolved enforcement cases.
2. Have you had any contact with the Coastside, worked with any community groups here, helped with any issues on the coast?
I spent time on the Coastside in 2015 working to develop a better understanding of Coastside issues, including attending a Brews & Views discussion on sea level rise between Assemblymember Gordon and Supervisor Dave Pine at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company in November. The overflowing crowd at this event and great questions from the audience emphasized for me the importance of this issue. I look forward to spending much more time on the coast in the coming months (and hopefully years!).
3. Do you have any endorsements from the Coastside?
I’m proud to be endorsed by state and regional leaders including Assemblymembers Rich Gordon and Kevin Mullin, as well as Supervisor Don Horsley, who represent dozens of miles of coastline between them. I’ve also received endorsements and contributions from friends who live in Half Moon Bay and Pacifica.
4. How would you propose to learn more about Coastside issues and the communities here?
There’s no substitute for seeing and learning in person. I’ve already begun visiting the Coastside to learn more about issues that are unique to the communities on the coast, and I look forward to doing that more in the coming months. I’ve also begun reading the Half Moon Bay Review, and would love to learn about other news sources that I should be reading regularly. I will be attending the Half Moon Bay Chamber Annual Dinner on January 27th, and already have Farm Day on my calendar for April 1st.
In addition, I’ve met with folks like Don Horsley and Lenny Mendonca to get a better understanding of Coastside issues. Supervisor Horsley has offered to take me around to the Coastside communities that he represents, and we are scheduling a good time to do that.
In between undergrad and law school, I worked as a community organizer for Democrats running for US Senate or Governor in South Dakota, Louisiana and Kentucky. I would move into states and cities that I knew nothing about, and work 12-hour days to intimately get to know both the individuals and issues in these communities. This ranged from cattle auctions and pheasant hunting in western South Dakota to issues of poverty and the long-term effects of segregation in the parishes around Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I love getting out, talking to folks face-to-face, learning about the issues that impact them every day, and then figuring out how I can help. This will be my approach during this campaign and if given the opportunity to represent the Coastside in the California State Assembly.
5. Would you be interested in attending a Meet the Candidates night on the Coastside?
I would love to.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any additional questions.
INFORMATION FROM MARC’S WEBSITE
I’m excited to announce that I’m running to represent the 24th District in the CA State Assembly. As Governor Brown highlighted in his recent State of the State speech, it’s imperative that California dedicate itself to decreasing the achievement gap in our public schools, establish ambitious goals to confront the threat that climate change poses to our planet, and focus on repairing our crumbling infrastructure that has gone neglected for too long. These are issues that I’ve been working on either in my day job at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation or in my night job on the Palo Alto City Council, and I’m excited to take that leadership and experience to Sacramento.
Marc Berman is a council member for the City of Palo Alto. A lawyer by training, Marc is the Development Director at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, a non-profit focused on STEM education and closing the achievement gap in public schools in Silicon Valley.
Marc has been a leader on the City Council on issues such as infrastructure improvements and financial transparency. A member of Palo Alto’s Infrastructure Committee, Marc served on the campaign committee for Measure B, a ballot measure that passed with over 76% of the vote in 2014 to help fund public safety, street, sidewalk, and park improvements. This was the culmination of five years of work that Marc spent on infrastructure improvements, beginning with his appointment to Palo Alto’s Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission (IBRC) in 2010.
As chair of the Finance Committee, Marc worked with the Office of Management and Budget to create the Budget in Brief. Rather than expect residents to sort through 800+ pages of budget documents, the Budget in Brief provides the public with an easy to understand 7-page overview of Palo Alto’s $470 million budget, increasing transparency and public awareness of how their money is spent.
Driven by his passion for service and for the area where he grew up, Marc has become a leader in numerous regional civic organizations, including serving as president of the Peninsula Democratic Coalition. Marc is also a founding member of the Advisory Board of New Leaders Council – Silicon Valley, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that trains civic-minded young professionals in how to create positive change in our community. In 2010, wanting to give back to the schools he attended, Marc volunteered on the Measure A campaign committee to raise funds to provide additional resources and opportunities to students in Palo Alto’s public schools.
Marc began his public service in Palo Alto, working in Congresswoman Anna Eshoo’s District Office after his freshman year in college. Marc got his first taste of campaigning the following summer when, as an intern for Congressman Mike Honda’s campaign, he often spoke to students at local high schools about the benefits of community involvement and encouraged the students to get involved themselves.
Marc graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Political Science. While in college, Marc served as a summer analyst in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Marc went on to graduate from law school at the University of Southern California, where he was elected president of the Student Bar Association and served for two years on the Southern California Law Review.
Prior to his work in the non-profit sector, Marc was an attorney with Latham & Watkins LLP and Merino Yebri, LLP. Marc has successfully represented pro bono clients seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act, asylum in the United States due to political persecution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and has served as pro bono counsel to Spark, a national youth development non-profit.