City Council Appointment Update: Who should be appointed?

South San Francisco, CA  January 16, 2021

The current City Council is tasked with appointing a Council member to the 2 year ‘At Large’ position that was made available when Mark Nagales campaigned and won his seat to represent his District 2 in this past November election. Nagales had been elected in 2018 to serve a 4-year ‘At Large’ term while our City transitioned to District elections. Nagales previously was a Park and Rec Commissioner.


Nagales is now our Vice Mayor and will continue as a representative for District 4 through 2024 on our Council.


In December 2020, the City sent out a notice of soliciting interest for this 2-year term and the application deadline was yesterday January 15, 2021. Per the City website, 20 South City residents have applied for this appointment. (CLICK HERE) *Scroll to bottom to see list


The City is inviting residents to submit questions for consideration when the ‘City Council interviews those candidates with interviews occurring during a special city council meeting on Wednesday, January 20th at 5:00 p.m. There will be a second round of interviews on Friday, January 22 at 5:00 p.m. Both meetings will be televised.’

South City resident, John Baker, had written an opinion piece making the point that whomever was appointed should not run for election in 2022 due to the fact they could then list ‘incumbent’ as their occupation. Further citing the percentages of those incumbents who are elected/ re-elected, Baker stated what a candidate lists as their occupation goes a long way on the voter pamphlet. While Baker acknowledged his appointment to the SSF School Board helped his re-election, he was clear he was writing as a resident and it was not reflective of his Trustee position.



Baker writes the Council –

Please, set an example by appointing someone to the council that pledges they will not run again. Further, because it seems you cannot compel that pledge, and because this seat is an “at-large” one rather than limited to a specific district, I encourage councilmembers to intentionally consider someone who will be ineligible to run again in 2022 because their home council district will not be up for election.

His sums up his letter;

South San Francisco has been leading change on the Peninsula for decades. I suspect we’ll see that evolution continue in the next election, so let’s appoint a true caretaker who will allow that evolution to thrive rather than someone who will potentially occupy that seat for years.


This concept of not appointing someone who would run again in 2022, was echoed by newly elected Councilmember James Coleman in the SMDJ:

The newest councilmember’s support for the arrangement (appointment vs special election) was conditional, however, as Coleman said he felt the appointee should not be someone eligible or interested in running for re-election, due to concerns over awarding an incumbent’s advantage in 2022.



Why does this matter? Because in 2022, the year this 2-year at large position ends, Districts 1,3 and 5 will be holding Council elections. To limit a qualified candidate to be from District 2 or 4 which are filled for 4-years does not serve the full City, as this is at large position.


As former Planning Commissioner Marty Romero suggested in his letter to the editor, along with other interesting points – do read his full letter:

‘Although appointment of an applicant from district 2 and 4 (who cannot run for election in 2022) will solve the problem for {current elected officials} Mr. Baker, Ms. Nicholas, and Mr. Addiego, that would be unfair to over half the population of the city.’ {read full letter HERE}



In response to John Baker’s letter of opinion, South City resident Cynthia Marcopulos  responded in part :


‘I agree, Mr. Baker, that from the Federal Government right down to the local levels, we should not have career politicians, but I must disagree that a potential candidate be disregarded because they may want to serve by running for the seat they’re appointed to if they are the most qualified.’ {read full letter HERE}



Because there was push back on this proposed qualification, we put a survey out to gain insight from our neighbors -(see results below)


Should the South San Francisco City Council require that someone who is appointed to City Council, be asked to waive their right to run for public office?


And while the City Attorney has said officials cannot mandate the appointee sit out the upcoming election, this question still was part of the application process, giving pause to many that this information will be used when make their decision.



The past November 2020 election cycle has helped identify a large division and it is important that South City residents continue to find common ground from where we might grow.


We look forward to our current council using good judgement as these 4 individuals are basically voting on behalf of us all.




If you would like to weigh in on this issue, or if you have a question you’d like the candidates to be asked, please send them to The Council will gather and review all of the questions for consideration during this interview process.



A sampling of the results of our informational survey below:



**OTHER Comments:

*not sure i understand the question. but if you mean should a candidate not agree to run again, then i say “no”, anyone should be allowed to run as many times as they want, as long as they are qualified for the job.


*No opinion.




The following have applied for the position 2-year at large position as a City Council member. Their applications have been accepted as qualified by our City Clerk.

* Amir Thagavis (District 5)
* George Mardikian (District 2)
* Hermes Monzon (District 5)
* Robert Uy (District 2)
* Scott Grindy (District 5)
* Norman Faria (District 5)
*Kimberly Samayoa (District 5)
*Vishalkumar ‘BJ’ Patel (District 3)
*Oswald Rojas (District 5)
*Pradeep Gupta (District 1)
*Krista Martinelli (District 3),
*Steven Ponce-Ramirez (District 3),
*Joshua Aguirre (District 5)
*Alan Wong (District 5)
*Michael Coutts (District 3)
*Reynoldo Tanada Jr (District 2)
*Eduard (Eddie) Flores (District 1)
*PaulaClaudine Hobson-Coard (District 5)
*Matthew William Janiga (District 4)
*Sarah Angela Funes (District 4)



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