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San Mateo residents will protest at City Hall demanding a new mayor

San Mateo City Hall
Photo: Twitter City of San Mateo

Civic leaders and members of the community have organized for this Monday, December 12, a protest in front of the San Mateo City Hall to demand that all Council members abide by the City Charter and immediately vote for a mayor and vice mayor.

The protest will take place this Monday, December 12, at 6:00 p.m. in front of City Hall located at 330 W 20th Avenue in the city of San Mateo, just when the Council meeting session scheduled for today, after a long session held last Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by Rudy Espinoza Murray, spokesman for a coalition in support of Councilwoman Amourence Lee, who was rotated to be the city's mayor, the planned protest comes after breaking a 128-year tradition. of peaceful transfer of power during the annual reorganization meeting of the San Mateo City Council. 

Espinoza points out that recent councilmembers Lisa Díaz Nash and Robert Newsom Jr, Gov. Gavin Newsom's second cousin, ignored the City Manager and City Attorney's recommendation to comply with Section 2.09 of the City Charter. , and they refused to complete their first and only task as Council members by electing a mayor and vice mayor on Monday, December 5, 2022, the same day they were sworn in.

This departure from the protocol, the spokesperson said, has gained the attention of California state senator Josh Becker and congressman-elect Kevin Mullin, who have declared their support for Councilwoman Amourence Lee for mayor of the city of San Mateo. 

The San Mateo County Democratic Party also issued a statement condemning the actions of Nash and Newsom, calling on them to correct course and appoint Lee as mayor. Community members organized a Change.org petition that has collected more than 500 signatures, he said.

In the session held last Wednesday, Diaz Nash seconded by Newsom ?second cousin of the governor of California? He said sticking to the fundamentals, waiting for a fifth councilor to exist in order to vote for a new mayor, because, he said, it would not be correct for the missing councilor not to issue his opinion on who should take office.

In a long session that reached the early hours of Thursday, despite the disagreement of the four councilors, it was unanimously decided that on Monday, December 12, it will be decided who of the nine current candidates will occupy the available seat on the Council, to later vote for a new or new mayoress.

As the hearings progress and the days go by, the polarization and division between residents has become increasingly evident through social networks, some in support of Diaz Nash and Newsom and others with Lee and Adam Loraine, councilman for the district. 5 of San Mateo.

Currently, the largest city in San Mateo County finds itself in an unprecedented situation of not having a mayor or vice mayor to preside over Council meetings, act as spokespersons for the city in an emergency, or carry out other governmental functions. Mayor's office.

“The continued failure to appoint a mayor and deputy mayor places an undue burden on city staff, risking prolonged dysfunction, instability and deadlock in the legislative body. This could impede the representation of San Mateo in the regional boards and commissions, since these appointments are made by the mayor,” Espinoza stressed.

The actions of Diaz Nash and Newsom have generated reactions from residents and officials from the county and surrounding cities in the midst of a city that is becoming more divided every day.

Per city council guidelines, Councilmember Amourence Lee must rotate as mayor. Lee has served on the San Mateo City Council since 2019 and is the only councilwoman with bench experience. 

In turn, Lee is the only remaining councilwoman elected at-large by nearly 24,000 voters, more than the total number of votes that elected the other three council members combined. Councilwoman Lee would be the first Asian-Jewish mayor in the city's 128-year history.

Amourence Lee has lived in San Mateo with her family for more than a decade, joined the Council in 2019, and is the first Asian and Jewish woman of color to serve in the city.

You may be interested in: San Mateo residents reject actions by Diaz Nash and Rob Newsom

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.


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