Council candidates to focus on Colma’s new neighborhoods

Two new neighborhoods in town will be the focal point of the upcoming Town Council campaigns, candidates said, thanks in part to the scant number of total voters in the town.

In April, 275 of Colma’s 626 total registered voters voted on Measure R, approving unlimited wagering at the town’s lifeblood Lucky Chances 247-28. The newest members of the electorate are the residents of the Verano and Hoffman residential developments, which have been built since the last council race in 2004.

Verano consists of 63 housing units on Old Mission Road near Lawndale, while Hoffman is 18 units tucked into the northeast corner of Colma alongthe Daly City border.

Two of the three candidates running for the two seats on the Town Council acknowledged that the new developments would be a focal point in their campaigns because of the new voters and their influence on the outcome of the election.

Mayor Helen Fisicaro and Councilmember Philip Lum Jr. will try to stave off a challenge from Joanne del Rosario, the president of the Filipino American Association of Colma.

Del Rosario, 53, acknowledged she had a “big uphill battle” against the name recognition and experience of Fisicaro and Lum, who have served on the council for a combined 32 years, but said she’d seek to tap new voters in Verano and Hoffman.

“It just seems that there’s a certain group of people that have been very active in this community for so long, and perhaps it was time to bring in new ideas and a new perspective to the community,” del Rosario said.

Fisicaro, 55, said Colma’s population has grown significantly since 2002 and also stressed the importance of getting her name out in Verano and Hoffman, noting that she wouldn’t “forget the true and diehard Colma residents” in other neighborhoods, such as Sterling Park.

Del Rosario, who lives on E Street near the BART station, said she also wanted to get out the Filipino vote.

Lum, who could not be reached for comment on his campaign, traveled to the Philippines last October as part of a two-week trade mission with the local Chamber of Commerce to improve trade links with the country and northern San Mateo County.

He is running for his sixth term since 1986, having been mayor five times, while Fisicaro, a mayor three times over, is running for her fourth term since 1994.

Fisicaro touted the work the city had done recently in the wake of state-imposed wagering limits at Lucky Chances severely cutting revenues to the city, saying that they’ve been out in front to makesure the city is protected from too much sustained revenue loss.

dsmith@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocalPeninsula

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