Assembly rivals spotlight infrastructure in debate

Three Democratic heavyweights vying to take over one of the region’s most powerful offices traded jabs Tuesday on how to prevent sewage from spilling into the Bay.

During a debate in San Mateo between the three candidates battling to replace Assemblymember Gene Mullin, the candidates placed blame on cities for not fixing their infrastructure fast enough.

San Mateo Community College Board President Richard Holober said lawsuits, such as the one that Burlingame faces, are appropriate threats, forcing municipalities to pay up if their sewer systems are not fixed in a timely manner.

Millbrae Mayor Gina Papan, meanwhile, said measures should be placed before voters in cities with antiquated infrastructure so bond measures and increased taxes could help fund the repairs.

San Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill placed the onus on cities to repair their storm-water and sanitation systems quickly or face consequences.

The trio also discussed the fate of two Peninsula landmarks: the Cow Palace and Bay Meadows Race Track. The politicians mostly agreed with one another on those issues, saying that a compromise benefiting developers and the residents in the area would be the most beneficial solution.

The three candidates all have lengthy political backgrounds, similar donation records and plenty of endorsements.

Mullin, D-South San Francisco, is being termed out of office. The seat represents the 19th Assembly District, which is about half Democrats and 22 percent Republicans. Two Republicans and a Libertarian are also running, but the winner of the Democratic nomination is considered the favorite to succeed Mullin.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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