Mayor says she’s committed to her new post

Newly appointed Mayor Gina Papan — faced with a new team of City Council members and a run for state Assembly in 2008 — said she still will have plenty of time to devote to her city and that the council will run business as usual.

Papan, elected in 2005 and cycled through as the new mayor, is running for Gene Mullin’s vacated state Assembly seat in November 2008 against two challengers, including Richard Holober, the husband of departing Millbrae Vice Mayor Nadia Holober.

Papan also faces the obstacle of working with a new cast of council members, of whom only Dan Quigg has past council experience. Quigg, Paul Seto and Marge Colapietro take over for veterans Marc Hershman, Nadia Holober and Linda Larson, who were termed out.

With her overwhelming political responsibilities, Papan recently took a leave of absence from her job as deputy attorney general to be “absolutely” focused on her mayoral duties.

The trio of newcomers said that despite the shakeup and uncertainty over Papan’s future with the council, they do not feel like the group will operate much differently than the old one, or that any major changes would take place.

In fact, the new members expect to expedite major issues in the city’s future, including the stalled $250 million development near the BART-Caltrain station, deciding on a new downtown parking garage, resolving a dispute with the school district over field renovations and deciding whether to merge with other cities’ fire departments.

The four remaining council members will determine the fate of Papan’s seat — which does not expire until November 2009 — if she wins the spot in the assembly, City Clerk Deborah Konkol said.

The council could interview potential candidates or call for a special election within 30 days of Papan’s appointment. The three termed-out council members would not be eligible because they would need to wait at least two years to rejoin the council.

Papan and Quigg were in favor of appointing a new member because of the excess costs associated with a special election. Colapietro and Seto, meanwhile, said they have not yet weighed the values of saving money by appointing someone over ensuring the council was the people’s choice by holding an election.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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