Millbrae legislative candidates gird for first faceoff

Eight Millbrae City Council candidates will have the opportunity to state their cases for filling three open positions as they answer the public’s questions during the first forum of the election season tonight.

There are no incumbents in this race, although candidate Daniel Quigg formerly sat on the council before being termed out.

The biggest issues candidates mentioned were public safety, redevelopment near the BART/Caltrain station, the expiring fire tax in 2009 that may require a merger with other departments and increasing revenue to maintain a reserve.

John Darro, Millbrae Elementary School District Board member, says he wants to increase parks and recreation services by possibly building a large recreation center that could host sporting events, barbecues and other activities.

Both Darro and retired Millbrae police Sgt. Rich Dixon say they want to increase the police force,as the city continues to grow due to condominium projects, including one currently in the works near the BART/Caltrain station. Dixon says he also wants to see affordable housing for teachers.

Planning Commission Vice Chairman Wayne Jone Lee says he wants to pay firefighters and police officers more to avoid turnover. He also wants to increase the city’s revenue by approving big projects and providing more parking.

Planning Commissioner Lorrie Kalos-Gunn says she wants to diversify the city’s income in order that Millbrae does not have to rely so much on hotel taxes for funding. She says she wants to develop underdeveloped properties, increase revenue from sales tax by adding more businesses downtown and make sure the city continues to grow while the community remains safe.

Banker Paul Seto says he wants to build the community by constructing a small city field to host events for all ages — from knitting classes for seniors to a Millbrae Idol contest for singers. His other priority is to stabilize the city’s budget, he said.

Retired business owner Marge Colapietro has big dreams: She says she is looking at improving 16 issues, including the city’s aging infrastructure, attracting revenue-generating businesses and surpassing the 10 percent minimum reserve requirement.

Quigg, the only candidate with council experience, was unavailable for comment, as was retired police Sgt. Ronald Caine.

Marc Hershman, Nadia Holober and Linda Larson are being termed out of the council; Gina Papan and Robert Gottschalk will retain their seats.

The Millbrae council forum will be at the Council Chambers on 621 Magnolia Ave. at 7 p.m. and the school board forum will follow at 9 p.m.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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