About The Laurel Street Spy

Debra Monroe is the Laurel Street Spy

When I’d sneak up on my mother and her sisters – gossiping as usual – she’d stop mid-sentence and say, “Que quires, metiche?”

In Spanish, this translates into, “What do you want, snoopy?”  I preferred to think of myself as curious, but my mother insisted on metiche’s slightly darker definition:  nosey.

No surprise I became a journalist.  What other career would allow me to ask so many questions.

Over the last twenty years, I’ve worked as a TV news producer, a content strategist for a new media start-up, written and produced stories for print, online and radio, including American Public Media’s Marketplace, This American Life with Ira Glass and NPR’s Day-to-Day.  What was my favorite story?  Hard to choose, but the most memorable was, “Love Letters Behind Bars” that placed me in the middle of the prison yard at San Quentin.

My family and I fell in love with San Carlos in 1999 after living in Studio City, Portland, Chicago, Dallas and Salt Lake City.  In twelve years, we’ve seen San Carlos transition from a town fondly referred to as, “for the newly wed or the nearly dead” to one with a vibrant, happening downtown, increasing gentrification and sky high housing costs.  It’s a great place to raise a family:  good schools, lots of parks and plenty of youth sports, if you can afford it all.

Walking around San Carlos, as I do most days, I think:  I’m so lucky to live here.  But my walks aren’t entirely peaceful.  I’ll stop in front of a building that’s empty and wonder, what happened to the merchant?  Who’s moving in now?  Will it be another nail salon?  Is there a plan for the tap end, the South side, of Laurel?  Will the El Camino always be so ugly?  Who are all those people who sell stuff at our farmer’s market and where do they come from?  For that matter, what’s the back story of Laurel Street shop owners and how’s business treating them?   Are buyers still over-bidding on houses?  What justifies a $13 glass of wine mid-Peninsula and what, exactly, is charcuterie?

Hence this site, the Laurel Street Spy.  To satisfy my inner-metiche, I’ll nosey around and find answers to my most pressing questions about San Carlos.   Of course, I’ll be sure to share the answers with you.

Debra Monroe



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