Parking, development and shared services are some of the most pressing issues in Millbrae, the packed field of eight City Council candidates agrees.
The biggest issue facing the city in the coming years is the Site One development alongside the BART/Caltrain station and whether eminent domain should be used to speed along the process.
All said they agree a parking garage is needed downtown, but the size and cost split some of the candidates; each generally supports sharing fire services with Burlingame and Hillsborough if public safety is preserved.
There are no incumbents in this race for three open seats, although handyman Daniel Quigg was termed out of office two years ago and is now eligible to run again.
City officials said they hoped the 10-year-old, $250 million development around the BART station will revitalize the area, but work has been stalled due to property owners in the area who do not wish to sell their land.
The city has eminent domain power to force those owners out, however. San Francisco fire official Lorrie Kalos-Gunn, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Paul Seto, retired businesswoman Marge Colapietro and Quigg all said they would not be in favor of using eminent domain, but would not rule out the possibility for the good of the project.
Retired Millbrae police Sgt. Rich Dixon said he would not hesitate to use the power to force out businesses in this instance because no residents would have to relocate.
Planning Commissioner Wayne Lee and Millbrae School District trustee John Darro would not consider that recourse. Lee said that action would inevitably lead to a lawsuit against the city.
There are two options for the parking garage, which is being debated by the current council: A smaller $4 million project or a three-story $9 million structure. Businesses and residents are fed up with lack of parking, while nearby residents do not want the structure built in their backyards.
Seto said the bigger structure would yield “more bang for your buck” — and Kalos-Gunn was most concerned with building the best garage that would not put the city into debt. Darro favored the smaller structure to save money and because it would blend in with nearby buildings, which are mostly small.
The city’s annual $1.4 million fire assessment expires in 2009, and the best method to ensuring continued fire services at the same level will be a partnership with the Central County Fire Department, the candidates agreed.
Candidate Ron Caine did not respond to inquiries, despite attempts to contact via telephone and e-mail.
» Age: 63
» Years in Millbrae: 35
» Endorsements: State Sen. Leland Yee, Assemblymember Gene Mullin, San Mateo County Supervisor Mark Church
» Age: 40
» Years in Millbrae: 13
» Endorsements: Darro said he is running an independent campaign and does not believe in endorsements or campaign contri-butions.
» Age: 58
» Years in Millbrae: 10
» Endorsements: Former Millbrae Mayor Janet Fogarty, local businessman George Corey, retired Broadmoor police Chief Tim Guiney
» Age: 46
» Years in Millbrae: Eight
» Endorsements: Departing Vice Mayor Nadia Holober, San Mateo County Times, The Daily News
» Age: 44
» Years in Millbrae: 23
» Endorsements: Departing Mayor Marc Hershman, departing Councilmember Linda Larson, future mayor Gina Papan
» Age: 67
» Years in Millbrae: 39
» Endorsements: San Mateo County firefighters, San Mateo County Supervisor Mark Church, San Mateo County Labor Council
» Age: 43
» Years in Millbrae: Five
» Endorsements: Departing Mayor Marc Hershman, departing Vice Mayor Nadia Holober, San Mateo County Supervisor Mark Church