Colapietro, Lee leading in Millbrae City Council race

Marge Colapietro was leading the pack along with Wayne Lee in the Millbrae City Council election. (Courtesy photo)Marge Colapietro was leading the pack along with Wayne Lee in the Millbrae City Council election. (Courtesy photo)

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election had Marge Colapietro and Wayne Lee leading the pack for three City Council seats, with Robert Gottschalk and Anne Oliva in a tight race for the last spot.

The hard-fought race centered on economic uncertainty, exacerbated by the departure of many businesses over the past year, which has led to chipping away of city services, staff and pensions.

Also central to the race was the Police Department, which reached a crisis point earlier this year after struggling to do its job with limited staff and no full-time chief.

Vice Mayor Colapietro, the only incumbent, ran a campaign in which she told voters she had put 10,000 hours into her previous term and fulfilled all her promises to the voters.

Colapietro said she was against dividing the BART station site to speed up its development.

Community volunteer and Planning Commissioner Lee, who lost by 67 votes in 2007, assured voters he would “think out of the box and get more revenues” for the city without raising taxes, but provided little details about his plans.

Lee, who called proposals to “revitalize” downtown a lot of hot air, said he was for splitting up the
8-acre BART site but against further cuts to city staff and services, which he called unsustainable.

San Francisco Fire Department Battalion Chief and Millbrae Planning Commissioner Lorrie Kalos-Gunn, who had tried twice before to land a seat on the council, ran with the goal of creating a strategic plan to lead the city out of financial trouble and toward sustainability. She, too, voiced interest in attracting more businesses to town.

Realtor and Planning Commissioner Oliva campaigned against new taxes, emphasized public safety and said she hoped to attract a central anchor store into the heart of Millbrae.

Attorney and former Councilman Gottschalk’s campaign emphasized his past experience and plans to simplify the business permitting process so as to attract more stores to town.

Former Police Commander Marc Farber waged a relatively shy campaign, avoiding the media spotlight and focusing primarily on the Police Department’s needs. Farber repeatedly critiqued the current council for failing to resolve the department’s problems, despite at least six years of deliberations.

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