Many choices for San Bruno votersBy Christine Morente
In the only city in San Mateo County where people vote for mayor, incumbent Larry Franzella is fighting political newcomer Michael Salazar for the two-year seat.
Similarly, five newcomers are working to unseat incumbent Councilmen Ken Ibarra and Chris Pallas, who have a combined 30 years of experience on the San Bruno City Council. The five challengers are Scott Buschman, Bradley Forcier, Rico E. Medina and Stephen Pieraldi.
In two other races, City Clerk Ed Simon and City Treasurer Karen Hornung are retiring from their elected posts. Carol Bonner and Joyce Ann Fritz are running for the city clerk, and Linda Freitas and Luis Adona are running for treasurer.
Franzella has been on the City Council and has been mayor for six years. With the council, Franzella said he has worked to cut $6 million in two years without affecting residents and has worked to bring new development into San Bruno.
He added that he has helped improved code enforcement and now sees an "uphill growth pattern" for the city.
Franzella wants to focus on improving city revenues, customer service and maintaining the quality of life in San Bruno.
Salazar said the city needs a capital-improvement plan. He said he's starting to see new development, but there are costs to development that the council has not yet looked into as more people move into the city. He said he is concerned about parking and traffic issues, and littering.
Salazar also wants to focus on the city's taking the lead on using renewable energy, as well as on conservation and limiting the amount of waste production in the city.
"I think there's still opportunity in downtown without additional development," he said. "The city needs to figure out what there's a market for."
City Council Race
Buschman said he believes 85 percent of San Bruno looks good, while the remaining 10 to 15 percent hasn't been taken care of. So he advocates a higher standard of code enforcement in order for businesses can thrive. Buschman's priorities also include police and fire services. He wants to bring their salaries up and have more officers on the streets.
He wants the fire stations fully operational.
"We're getting back-up service from Daly City, Millbrae and Pacifica," he said. "It's one of those risks I'm not willing to take.
Ibarra, like Pallas and Franzella, has had to make decisions on cutting the city budget with minimal effect to residents. Ibarra said he wants to keep the city on a "positive upswing" and maintain its economic base.
He supports bringing back the staffing that the council reduced, or paying for basic service. Ibarra wants to encourage economic development with mixed-use housing and better retail.
"Big companies aren't going to come until we can prove that we're making the effort and the investment in improving the area," he said. "We can go beyond that to the El Camino Real and San Bruno Avenue corridors."
Rico E. Medina
Like Buschman, Medina wants to focus on code enforcement.
"The sidewalks haven't been repaired, roads haven't been paved because of budget constraints," Medina said. "Look at the infrastructure to (city) facilities. The library, the swimming pool and the recreation center were built in the late'50s. (We need) secure resources and funding to address the influx of people coming in."
The third-generation San Bruno resident also wants the Crossing development to push for a nice restaurant to attract people and to allow residents to continue spending their money in the community and encourage more business.
Pallas, who has been on the City Council for 25 years, still has many concerns on his plate.
He wants the city to depend more on its wells, wants to bring the council chamber back to City Hall, enlarge the Senior Center, increase the day-care center's capacity and provide more money to the police and fire departments to protect residents from aggressive animals. He also wants the Crossing development to build a major hotel and restaurant on site and to ensure that city employees are trained in first aid in case of a natural disaster.
Pallas supports building housing near transit "so people can get out of bed and take the train to work," he said. "So many things have to be done right away."
Pieraldi, if elected, wants to focus on San Mateo Avenue, San Bruno Avenue and El Camino Real. He wants to fix up San Bruno Avenue because it is the "gateway" to the city, noting that it is "shabby."
The El Camino Real corridor soon would be integrated with the corridor in other cities and should be the focus for the next four years. Pieraldi believes that getting residents interested in redevelopment is also important.
Forcier did not return any calls and could not be reached for comment.
Bonner, an AVP Premier Banker for Wells Fargo in Millbrae, believes her banking experience and desire to help people will give her the boost needed to be the next City Clerk.
"I love people, I just love people," she said.
She wants to make it "easy and enjoyable" for people who visit San Bruno City Hall. She also wants to make it easier to view City Council packets on the city's Web site.
Each year, Wells Fargo -- at her request -- donates $3,300 a year to the Millbrae Senior Center's "Brown Bag" program, which provides weekly groceries to Millbrae Seniors. She wants to continue that for San Bruno seniors, she said.
Joyce Ann Fritz
Fritz has worked at San Bruno City Hall for 14 years in the Public Works and Engineering department and said she knows the inner workings of the city clerk position. Fritz said her former co-workers asked her to run.
"(The city employees) want someone in the city clerk's office they could work with," she said. "They wanted someone who is flexible and is helpful."
Committed to more than one term, if elected, Fritz would like to establish a telephone life-line for senior citizens living alone. She also would like to provide an after-school tutoring pro gram at City Hall with city employees as tutors, start a city government internship program with Capuchino High School and Skyline College students, and start a city-wide garage sale.
Freitas is the Burlingame deputy treasurer. Having done it for 14 years, the San Bruno resident said it was time to run for treasurer in her own city.
She's worked for the city of Burlingame for 21 years, starting in the water and business license department. She also has banking experience. As San Bruno treasurer, she said she will keep up on state laws that would affect city investment policies.
"I really enjoy what I do," Freitas said. "I hope I can do for them what I've done for Burlingame all these years."
Adona did not return calls and could not be reached for comment.
Copyright ©2005 San Mateo County Times. Published 10/20/2005.