“New Guys” Headed to SC City Council

This house on St. Francis in White Oaks called it.

School Board trustee Mark Olbert and businessman Ron Collins snagged the two open seats on the San Carlos City Council in a tight race…Olbert taking the lead, but only separated by a mere 32 votes. (Election certification expected within 28 days)

Mark Olbert sounded a bit overwhelmed when the Laurel Street Spy reached him by phone. Assuming the certification process doesn’t yield any surprises, Olbert said, “I’m very happy to have the opportunity to serve the community. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ron Collins said he’s excited about the chance to work on the challenges ahead, citing the high profile Transit Village and Wheeler Plaza redevelopment projects which will require community input.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve been thinking about this off and on for 20 years, but life events kept getting in the way,” Collins explained, adding he decided to get serious and “step up” after the sudden death of Mayor Omar Ahmad.

Council member Matt Grocott says he’s happy to see the “new guys” come onboard. “That should be interesting,” he added, saying he supported Mark Olbert because he liked Olbert’s message that he’d be “independent minded relative to staff.” Grocott further explained – in his opinion – that a good strong City Manager like Jeff Maltbie needs a strong, independent council.

“It’s a positive. It’s going to be interesting,” said council member Bob Grassilli, who explained he’s known Collins for a lot longer than Olbert.

“Collins is pragmatic,” said Grassilli, while “Mark comes in with a different perspective” which he said is critical to important to revitalizing discussion of important issues.

Mayor Andy Klein, while disappointed Royce would not be returning, said, “It’ll be good to get new blood on the city council.”

Randy Royce – who’ll step down in early December – said, “I think it’s great,” calling Olbert and Collins “bright and enthusiastic.”

He did have some parting advice which, he said, the future council is free to ignore. “The council is like a marriage of five people…and they’re all a little crazy because they ran for council! My wish for them is to concentrate on forging relationships and cultivating flexibility.”

The unofficial winner of the evening: vote-by-mail ballots. 5,558 people mailed them in (or dropped them off in person) while less than half – 2,073 – showed up in person to vote at one of San Carlos’ nine polling places. Incumbent Treasurer Mike Galvin scored the most mail-in votes of all the San Carlos candidates up for election in the city: 2,138.



Filed Under: Column 1San Carlos Politics


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