Former Carlmont student runs for San Carlos City Council


JT Eden's campaign

San Carlos voters show support for JT Eden with yard signs.

JT Eden, a former Carlmont student and current San Carlos City Council candidate, hopes to bring new improvements and fresh perspectives to the city.

Eden graduated from Carlmont last year and is now running for a city council position in his hometown of San Carlos. Eden previously worked as an intern for Rep. Jackie Speier.

“It [the internship] was my first intro to public service, and that was something I found really enjoyable and meaningful,” Eden said. “I thought it was very powerful talking to constituents every day about the issues they faced and how the government could respond to those to make their lives better.”

Last July, city council member Mark Olbert announced that he would not be running for reelection. Eden is one of four candidates campaigning to fill two city council positions.

“I believe that young people getting involved in politics is important to bring in new ideas and new energy to the discussion. I believe that I am qualified for office and have a connection to the community that would allow me to be a strong city council member,” Eden said.

One of Eden’s main concerns is the local housing crisis.

“Right now, we are in a situation where housing is so expensive that young people and people who don’t have necessarily enough economic resources are being priced out of our area as a whole,” he stated.

Eden blames the housing crisis on poor land allocation. His campaign aims to allow the construction of duplexes and quadruplexes in neighborhoods currently consisting of only single-family homes. He explains that adding more housing units in San Carlos neighborhoods is necessary to meet the increasing demand for affordable housing.

Aside from a more aggressive approach to housing development, Eden’s campaign also wants to take action on the current climate crisis. Climate change has massive implications for San Carlos.

“If you look at a map of San Carlos, you see about a third of the city is in a high danger zone for fire,” he said. “And then the other eastern part of the city that’s near the water is completely in the flooding danger zone.”

Climate change is a pressing issue for many young people because they will have to live with the impact of the disasters caused by previous generations. As climate change progresses, the damage caused by natural disasters will increase, and the burden to resolve these issues will increasingly fall on the youth.

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We’re very close. And we’ve always been pretty close. We play games together and we hang out together all the time. We play video games and go on walks and play board games. He’s a pretty great brother.”

— Luc Eden

One of Eden’s endorsers is Jill Nida, an English teacher at Tierra Linda Middle School. Eden was one of Nida’s former students.

“I love that he’s a progressive,” she said. “He’s thinking about the environment. He’s also thinking about the racial inequalities that we still have in our systems.”

“We’ve done a lot of good discussions in our community around racism and injustice, but I’d like to see more policy work around it,” Eden said.

One of Eden’s proposals is creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission on a municipal level. The commission’s goal is to promote a multiplicity of voices and viewpoints in the San Carlos community. Eden hopes that with this commission, he will be able to support underserved and underrepresented people in San Carlos by allocating resources to those who need them most.

“This… has to be driven on the community level and through discussion about making sure that everyone feels comfortable and welcome in San Carlos,” Eden said.

JT Eden visits the San Carlos farmers market to strengthen community bonds. Source: JT Eden’s campaign

While Eden’s campaign stands for a multitude of things, for many voters, Eden’s most compelling quality is his age and connection to the community.

Luc Eden is JT Eden’s younger brother. He is a member of the San Carlos Youth Advisory Council and a junior at Carlmont. He thinks that JT Eden is trying to bring a perspective to the city council that would benefit the youth.

“I know that he is looking to bring new perspectives to the council because there are a lot of people who have been there for a while and have a view of the community that doesn’t represent the youth,” Luc Eden said. “He’s looking to bring a fresh voice and have that age diversity.”

Many young people feel represented by JT Eden because of his age. As far as his enforcers go, most of his support doesn’t come from large institutions.

“If you look into my campaign, I’m not surprised… I don’t have a lot of local leaders endorsing me. And so if my campaign wins, it will show that the people who should and will be winning elections are people who have the ideas that resonate with people, ” JT Eden said.

However, Mabel Sum, a junior at Carlmont, has concerns about JT Eden’s candidacy.
“I am totally in support for younger people going into politics and especially into positions of power,” Sum said. “As young as I’d like to see people in power, I’m not sure if this is too young or not. I’ve never really seen anybody this young actually going into a higher position of power.”

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…you shouldn’t vote for somebody because of… their gender, their age, any of that it should be what they advocate for and if they’re actually prepared for that kind of power in that position.”

— Mabel Sum

Sum worries that JT Eden won’t be able to actualize his ideas.

“I’m not sure how strongly he would push for them, especially if he does not have a clear idea of what he can do to make these changes,” Sum said. “I think a lot of young people […] in general, don’t have a comprehensive plan. There’s no real solid plan behind that. So as much as his word really means a lot to some people, some actual policy would be very helpful.”

Despite these concerns, JT Eden still has confidence.

“I believe I can win… and I believe that if I win, it will show that anyone can get involved in politics, regardless of your age, and that you can be successful by having the best ideas and the best connection to the community.”