Teens grill candidates in debate

Forget sidewalks, Safeway and housing options — Tuesday’s Burlingame City Council debate was all about what teens want, and they apparently want entertainment and recreation options.

In the last public debate before the Nov. 6 election, a panel of three Burlingame High School economics students chosen for their civic interests grilled the five candidates about adding a new teen center, next year’s centennial bash and bringing in new sports fields.

But the message from the council members, more often than not, was that the cityhad higher priorities.

Candidate Gene Condon wants to add a new teen center in the city’s old post office building. Mayor Terry Nagel, however, said that piece of land was not for sale and the city should first focus on improving its flood protection.

Hopeful Peter Comaroto, a Parks and Recreation commissioner, made a new community center a priority during his campaign. Planning Commission Chair Jerry Deal said a new center could go on top of a new Safeway if one is ever built. Councilmember Russ Cohen said the city has other priorities and that teens do not attend the current community center.

Most of the candidates supported a new sports complex, but none of them expressed that it would be a priority.

The city’s 100th anniversary celebration next year sparked mixed thoughts. Of note was Comaroto’s comment that the city should postpone the celebration a year or two because it does not have enough money.

Nagel refuted this statement, saying $10,000 has been saved each of the past five years just for the events, and that proceeds from the celebration would pay that money back.

Cohen sees the occasion as an opportunity to educate the community on its history. Condon and Deal said the events would be important to the city’s residents as well, as long as it is within the city’s budget.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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