The bad news is there is still a San Mateo County Harbor District. The good news is there are some good people seeking to guide it toward a better place.
Over the last 20 years, the Harbor Commission has been plagued by liars, egotists, incompetents, resume-padders and parasites more interested in a position that once offered free insurance than making the most of Pillar Point and Oyster Point marinas. In recent years, there have been dueling harassment claims, lost checks, and a revolving door in the administration office that left county officials with no confidence in the district even as they had no stomach for making the situation better.
It is true that “things are better,” but that is an exceedingly low bar for a small organization that county taxpayers grace with $6.5 million every year — not to mention another $4 million in user fees.
Into this breach come four candidates who all say they can stabilize the leaky boat that steers our harbors. We feel good recommending incumbent Ed Larenas and political newcomer Henry Sutter and admire their commitment to public service where it is sorely needed.
Coastsiders should know Larenas. He is a soft-spoken scientist who helped found the local chapter of Surfrider and has sailed many of the world’s oceans. He is an incumbent and lives in Moss Beach, so you know Coastside issues are important to him.
Larenas has used his pulpit to tackle big issues. He wrote a letter of support for National Marine Sanctuaries that was subsequently scuttled by the usual harbor politics. He has established commission committees with climate change and wildlife preservation at their core. He is simply the most thoughtful harbor commissioner in the last decade.
We also recommend Henry Sutter. He is a sergeant with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and has patrolled the Coastside. That has given him a unique perspective of the harbor and its place in the county. He is also an avid fisherman and a Coastsider.
Sutter says he wants to finally get to the strategic plan that is among the things Harbor District commissioners are forever getting to. He has an interesting idea for reconfiguring Johnson Pier that would separate commercial bustle from visitors. We’re not sure that makes sense, but it is worth a look and evidence of his support for the fishing industry. Sutter has the support of San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley.
The San Mateo County Harbor District governs two jewels. We’re hopeful that some new blood and your support for the best current commissioner will help nudge this special taxation district toward a brighter future.
— The Editorial Board
The Half Moon Bay Review is owned by Coastside News Group Inc. Lenny Mendonca is a CNGI board member and has separately endorsed Sepi Richardson and Henry Sutter for election to the San Mateo County Harbor Commission. He played no part in the newspaper’s endorsement of candidates.