Adam Eisen, youngest member of Half Moon Bay City Council, was recently appointed the title of mayor. A resident of Half Moon Bay for about 16 years, Eisen’s been serving on City Council for about three years now and was vice mayor in 2019. Half Moon Bay Councilman Robert Brownstone was named vice mayor at the Dec. 17 council meeting.
The Half Moon Bay Review’s Libby Leyden sat down with Eisen at the Half Moon Bay Library recently to discuss his background and plans for 2020.
Review: What is your history in terms of Half Moon Bay? How did you get involved in local politics? I know your mother serves on the Parks and Recreation Commission?
Eisen: My wife and I were in Connecticut and looking to move to California as part of her Ph.D. program. We had lived in Hawaii previously as well. We both loved to surf. As we were looking at places, we found Half Moon Bay and that was our spot.
People have described the city as an onion, and as you keep living here and you peel back each layer, you become more appreciative of what it has to offer. For me, it is the ability to be outdoors and be surrounded by beauty, ocean and trees without having to get in my vehicle. I live here with my wife and our 11-year-old and 8-year-old sons. Both attend schools in the Cabrillo Unified School District.
I was not tremendously involved in politics in Half Moon Bay until a tractor ran into a bridge that my family used to bike over to see my mom. When that bridge went down, I came to council and asked them to do something about it because we could no longer bike to my mom’s house safely. I went to council meetings and there were a lot of people who wanted to get involved and council was not able to accept any of those requests. That is what got me involved. I could not figure out why it took so long to move on this. The bridge did get fixed; it just took a few years and it’s fantastic.
I wanted to give back to the community to proactively foresee things that would come in the future and not let things erode where it affects the community in the negative way.
Review: In 2016 you decided to run for City Council for the first time. What was that process like?
Eisen: I knew running for office with no previous experience I was going to have to do a lot of door-to-door and neighborhood get-togethers. You also have to be able to raise money, which is a weird process. You have to be able to figure out what money to take, because you don’t want money in politics.
Review: What are you most proud of during your time on City Council? What do you feel you’ve had the most direct involvement with?
Eisen: As a council, we have taken a long-term vision for the town, instead of piecing things together as they come up. (Among) the things we initiated while I’ve been on council, I’ve been a big part of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. Each one of those plans is not something that can be moved on immediately, but we are prioritizing which one of the projects has the most bang for the buck. But it allows us to have this long-term vision.
People complain about the traffic in Half Moon Bay and, to me, if there is a way for our local community to bike everywhere, it is a great way to deal with the issue.
Review: What are you committed to working on this coming year?
Eisen: Making sure we do not get involved in any lawsuits in a negative way that affects the town. I feel I’ve been instrumental in this. We’ve been working on the unification of different districts. One of the big ones we are working on right now is the school board and City Council and making sure they are in lock step with each other.
I also want to be transparent, which I think the council tries to be. One of the biggest things I’ve been doing is getting young families signed up to the city’s listserv to get emailed council agendas. We do not need people to attend every meeting, but we need people to know what we are talking about. I’ve signed up hundreds of families to this and they are now using me as their voice. They now have a sense of what is going on.
The No. 1 thing I can do is to get more people involved. I want them to understand what is going on in their local community.