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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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Local

City of Half Moon BayCandidate for City Council

Photo of Harvey Rarback

Harvey Rarback

Director, Coastside Fire Protection District
2,788 votes (31.3%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Listen to the citizens and see to it that your concerns are acted upon by the City Council. Please see HarveyRarback.org
  • Bring fiscal discipline to the City, holding down costs and improving efficiency.
  • Honor our Guiding Principles in protecting open space and preserving the small town coastal environment of Half Moon Bay.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Director, Coastside Fire District
Director, Coastside Fire Protection District — Elected position (2013–current)
Member, Peninsula Clean Energy Citizen's Advisory Committee — Appointed position (2014–current)
Senior Application Developer, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (1998–2012)
Beamline Scientist, Consortium for Advanced Radiation Sources (1993–1998)
Associate Scientist, Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory (1991–1993)
Associate Scientist, National Synchrotron Light Source (1983–1991)

Education

Stony Brook University PhD, Physics (1983)
Stony Brook University M.S., Physics (1970)
Haverford College B.A., Physics (1967)

Community Activities

Member, Coastside Emergency Action Program (2012–current)
Executive Committee Member, Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter (2012–current)
Treasurer, Sandy Cove Homeowners Association (2006–current)
Board member, Coastside Democratic Club (2013–current)
Senior Tax Aide, AARP Half Moon Bay tax site (2013–current)

Biography

I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1946.  I graduated from Haverford College in 1967 and went on to earn a Masters in physics from Stony Brook University.  I then taught physics and astronomy for six years at Miami-Dade College and then returned to Stony Brook where I earned a PhD in physics in 1983. 

My professional career took me to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge Massachusetts, the Medical Department at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, and finally to the SLAC National Laboratory in Palo Alto where I worked for 14 years as a Senior Application Developer.

I have been a resident of Half Moon Bay for the last 19 years.  After my retirement from SLAC, I  became more involved in public affairs. I ran for City Council in 2012, and lost by only 150 votes to an entrenched incumbent.

A year later I won a seat on the board of the Coastside Fire Protection District (CFPD) in a recall election which allowed the District to continue providing excellent emergency services to the Coastside as well as saving millions of dollars for our taxpayers.  Recently, the CFPD became the only northern California fire board to earn recognition as a District of Distinction from the California Special Districts Association.

I regularly attend City Council meetings and have often spoken in public comment, on such diverse topics as City contracting procedures, the use of bond measures to fund new projects, the maintenance of City infrastructure (like sidewalks), and ways the City could employ "green" building and maintenance techniques.

I am a board member of the Loma Prieta chapter of the Sierra Club, a member of the Peninsula Clean Energy Citizen Advisory Committee, a member of the Coastside Emergency Corps and a Tax-Aide volunteer with the AARP.

My training as a scientist has taught me how to make decisions analytically, My volunteer work wth the Sierra Club has helped protect our fragile Coastside environment. And I'm an experienced public servant, having served on the Board of the Coastside Fire Protection District for the past three years.

I am proudly married to Sally and have two children and three grandchildren.  My rescue dog Eliza loves walking along the Coastal Trail.  I love this town and want to work hard to preserve it for my children and grandchildren.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Half Moon Bay Review endorsed
  • Coastside Democrats
  • Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter

Organizations (1)

  • San Mateo County Democrats

Elected Officials (2)

  • Dr. Deborah Penrose, Half Moon Bay City Council
  • Deborah Ruddock, Half Moon Bay Vice-Mayor

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Please see HarveyRarback.org for more of my political philosophy.

I'm running for City Council because we need experienced people of good will to come together to map out a flourishing and vibrant future for Half Moon Bay.

The current process of updating our General Plan will determine whether the small town feeling that I have cherished during my 19 years on the Coastside will survive in the decades to come.  I want to see to it that our unique, small-town atmosphere and beloved Coastside environment remain vibrant and well-managed, to benefit not only current residents of Half Moon Bay, but generations to come.

I understand the importance of the California Coastal Act in maintaining the delicate balance between conservation and development.  I understand the current process of revising our General Plan and Local Coastal Plan, something that takes place about once every 20 years, and is now overdue.

I know that for some time, large tracts of land in Half Moon Bay that have been designated as Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) have been left without specific land use plans and know that development and approval of these plans will be a key responsibility of the incoming City Council and its Planning Commission members.

I know that development and conservation cannot be "all or nothing" concerns. The deeply-held beliefs of advocates on both sides of this debate have separated Half Moon Bay's population into two, often antagonistic, camps.  I would like to make progress in finding reasonable solutions for the problems that keep these camps separate, and bring them together to move our community forward.

I also believe that planning our future is too important to be left to "outside consultants." We need well-trained community planners on our full-time City staff, not just outside consultants who come in from "over the Hill," and consequently have no "skin in the game" when it comes to designing and approving projects in Half Moon Bay.

I intend to exercise fiscal restraint in the management of City projects, facilities, and resources.  Half Moon Bay is in the midst of a recovery from an economic downturn and some poor program and policy decisions which brought it to the edge of financial ruin. Although it is now on an upturn, the City still requires a firm hand on the financial tiller, and attention to the details of management and spending.

For instance, we have now embarked on the largest construction project in Half Moon Bay history--the building of the new library--with costs to be shared between San Mateo County and Half Moon Bay. At the time the City Council voted to approve the project, the City's share of project costs was estimated to be about $12 million, a sum which came within $2.4 million of equalling the entire revenue stream anticipated by the City for the current budget year.  I pledge to resist "budget creep" on the new library project.

In other budgetary matters, I have been outspoken before the Council in advocating for better conduct of the City's contracting efforts. By insisting on hard-nosed negotation on bids and contracts, and by improving staff's approach to procurement matters, we could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in procurement costs.

I will seek to establish a new position on City staff: a full-time Procurement Director, who can improve the content of bid and contract specifications, encourage more competition among offerors, and conduct tougher negotiations on befalf of the City, which will save money for us all.

I also believe that a promising area for saving money and improving the responsiveness of City government to the citizenry is an investigation and realignment of the vast sums that Half Moon Bay currently spends on "outside consultants" in many areas of City operations.

One area in which this over-reliance on private consultants has been particularly expensive to, and less than optimally effective for, the City has been that of planning. I believe that we need full-time planning staff, who are seriously committed to shaping the city in the ways preferred by its residents. I also believe that we can save a lot of money by cutting back on consultant salaries, overhead, and fees, while at the same time receiving better service.

If you elect me to the Council, I'll be there to listen to you. We need to engage more citizens in determining the direction our city should take.  I intend to have a part of City Council meetings which will afford a time for Councilmembers to agendize issues that citizens have brought before the Council.

 

Position Papers

My official Candidate Statement

Summary

Why I am running for City Council.

I'm running for City Council because we need experienced people of good will to come together to map out a flourishing and vibrant future for Half Moon Bay.

The current process of updating our General Plan will determine whether the small town feeling that I have cherished during my 19 years on the Coastside will survive in the decades to come.

"If you elect me to the Council, I'll be there to listen to you. We need to engage more citizens in determining the direction our city should take.

Councilmember Deborah Penrose says, 'Harvey will be an asset on the Council, and I'm eager to work with him.'  Vice Mayor Debbie Ruddock says, 'I believe Harvey has a good overview of the city's situation He can help us steer a sound course toward the future.'

My training as a scientist has taught me how to make decisions analytically, My volunteer work wth the Sierra Club has helped protect our fragile Coastside environment. And I'm an experienced public servant, having served on the Board of the Coastside Fire Protection District for the past three years.

Candidate Contact Info

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