Burlingame’s new mayor ready for what’s coming 

In the next 12 months, Burlingame’s newly appointed mayor wants to complete the needed steps to allow the decade-old Safeway project to break ground and create a strategic plan to guide the city on how to work with the planned California High-Speed Rail project.

Cathy Baylock, who was first elected to the Burlingame City Council in 2001, was appointed in December to serve a one-year term as mayor, her second time to hold the post.

One of her main goals for 2010, she said, is to give Burlingame a bigger voice in the statewide rail discussions.

“We want to make sure it doesn’t physically divide our town,” she said. “We’re working hard so we have a seat at the table and not being a victim of what’s happening.”

California voters approved a $10 billion bond in 2008 to build a high-speed rail system that would connect San Francisco with Los Angeles. The plan, however, has been met with opposition in the Peninsula over the route as well as its placement above or below ground.

Burlingame and other Peninsula cities, including Menlo Park and Atherton, have concerns about the planned placement of the rail, which is still going through the environmental review process. The current plan would divide parts of these three cities with a large dirt berm, which is unacceptable, Baylock said

Former Mayor Ann Keighran agreed that the high-speed rail project will be one of the major concerns the city faces in 2010.

“If its coming, we want to see it underground,” she said. “It’s not worth separating our community.”

The latest plan for a Safeway development at Burlingame Avenue, which was first introduced in 1998 and has been challenged by some city leaders and residents ever since, is nearing the final stages of approval. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to take action on the project Monday.

Baylock said that the current group of city officials are anxiously waiting for construction to get underway.

The city’s budget is another issue she and the members of the city council will have to address, Baylock said. Last year, Burlingame faced a $4 million deficit. In November voters passed a hotel tax which is expected to generate about $2 million annually for the city.

Although revenues are down, layoffs are not expected at this time. Cuts, however, will have to be made, Baylock said.

Cathy Baylock

- First elected to the Burlingame City Council in November 2001
- Re-elected in November 2005
- Appointed mayor in 2009
- 20 year-plus resident of Burlingame

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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