Meeting by the Bay Tree | Columnists

Meeting by the Bay Tree | Columnists

My homeowner association meets for a social coffee under the Bay Tree in San Mateo every Saturday morning. I attended for the first time last week. What a meet and greet it turned out to be.

Our new assemblywoman Diane Papan was there with her smiling husband, relieved the campaign was over. Don’t underestimate how challenging and emotional political campaigns are on the candidates’ family. So was congressional candidate and county supervisor David Canepa. It turns out his campaign assistant is Alex Sell, the son of Steve and Karen Sell, longtime Baywood residents. Steve is also the athletic director and football coach at Aragon High School. Then Charles Stone, Belmont councilmember arrived. He is a good friend of Baywood resident Lisa Nash. Nash is running for council in District 1 and has been endorsed by the county establishment. She is planning a mega coffee for Stone, who is running for supervisor against Noelia Corzo, San Mateo-Foster City School District board trustee. Stone said he had some great news — a very important endorsement — but asked me not to print it yet. But you can probably guess what it is.

It turns out Nash does have an opponent with an impressive financial resume.

This is what Nick Atkeson sent me: “I have lived in San Mateo County for 30 years. I currently live at 111 W. Third Ave. with my wife, Kathi. We have three children. Two graduated from Burlingame High School. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa in economics from Haverford College and have an MBA from Stanford University (class of 1988). The majority of my career has been in operations and finance including working for Price Waterhouse, Chevron, Bank of America and Susquehanna. For a couple of years in the early 1990s, I was president of a small Texas railroad based in San Antonio. Today, I am running Delta Investment Management, an SEC registered investment advisory company in San Francisco that I began in 2009. We provide investment services to both individuals and other financial institutions. I am the treasurer of the Baywood Plaza HOA and have enjoyed very much improving our operational efficiencies and working with the board to make our building run well. I am enrolled in the San Mateo City Services Academy.”

Nash is no slouch when it comes to financial matters. She worked for Visa for many years, throughout the world and most recently here in San Mateo. In any event, while it is nice to have competition, Atkeson doesn’t stand much of a chance against a powerhouse like Nash. Too bad he can’t run districtwide.

Former state Sen. Jerry Hill will be endorsing Robert Newsom who is running for City Council in District 3 against Sarah Fields, a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission. Newsom is on the Personnel Board which plays a behind the scenes role in employee disputes. Fields has the support of the council majority and the member she hopes to replace, Joe Goethals. Nash was endorsing Newsom but has decided to remain neutral in this race. Also running in District 3 is Sergio Zygmunt, a young tech executive.

Candidates who have qualified as a candidate: District 1: Nick Atkeson and Lisa Diaz Nash; District 3: Sergio Zygmunt; Sarah Fields and Robert Newsom; District 5: Rod Linhares and Adam Loraine. There could be some last-minute filings, but by the time you read this column we will know who will be on the ballot in November.

District elections are creating havoc in many school board races. Either you have two qualified people running against each other, or no one running in a district; or someone with a reputation as a trouble maker running without any opponent. That’s what’s happening in the San Mateo Union High School District. Meanwhile two experienced members of the board are termed out because of redistricting. They are Linda Lees Dwyer and Peter Hanley. Dwyer’s seat will go to fellow Trustee Greg Land, former Burlingame school board member and educator. There is no candidate for District 3. Plus there is a new superintendent. Let’s hope these changes don’t tarnish the reputation of the San Mateo Union High School District as being one of the best in the state.

Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. Her column runs every Monday. You can be reached at

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2022-08-15 11:15:00