It is not often when there are nine candidates for three open seats on a city council but such is the case with Burlingame this election season. With two incumbents seeking re-election and one incumbent, Cathy Baylock, opting out of the race, a number of residents with divergent points of view have come forward to throw their hat in the ring.
In the last few years, the city has been the beneficiary of a modicum of calm on the council after some years of disquiet.
Aside from the disruption of Burlingame Avenue for a streetscape project that, believe it or not, is moving along quite well, there has been more quiet than controversy. Part of that is because the council has been more about consensus than not, and appreciative of the citizenry’s contribution to their decision-making rather than being beholden to an arduous public process. So, in essence, things are getting done, and people are being listened to. And that’s progress.
The two incumbents running for re-election, Ann Keighran and Michael Brownrigg, are thoughtful, smart and responsive to the community. From development to finances, both have a firm grasp on the city’s issues and know what it takes to meet new challenges moving forward. Both have the ability to be receptive to various points of views then make decisions based on what is best for the city. Both deserve your support.
The other candidates bring unique points of view and ideas. We were impressed with Ricardo Ortiz’s moderate stances and ability to understand city finances and welcome the input of Andrew Peceimer when it comes to emphasizing the need to make the best decisions when it comes to the public’s money. However, former councilman Russ Cohen also holds those abilities and brings a unique perspective as someone who has already served on the council, been involved in the community through countless projects and understands the need to retain certain amounts of the city’s charm and character. Baylock has long been known as the member of the council who would stand up for the city’s history and character and Cohen would carry that mantle with ease.
Cohen has also demonstrated a willingness to stand up for what he believes is right whether it be stopping high-speed rail or ensuring the city’s historic buildings are preserved. Additionally, because of his experience both off and on the council, Cohen is extremely knowledgeable of city issues and would hit the ground running. There have been times in which Cohen has been too strident with misplaced levity, but we sense a new maturity from him that comes from the passage of time.
The city as a whole is the beneficiary of such a large number of candidates and the discussion created by them. However, the city will be best served with Brownrigg, Cohen and Keighran on the council.