After indictment, Lum may lose council seat held for 20 years 

Colma — Five-time mayor and 20-year Colma Town Council member Philip Lum Jr. appeared likely to lose his seat Tuesday evening, following on the heels of his indictment on federal charges last month.

Lum, 53, remained optimistic going into electionnight despite the public corruption allegations, saying that the community’s response in the remaining month of the campaign had been "very cordial and very responsive." He called the federal charges a "big blow," acknowledging that he thought he’d lose around 25 percent of the vote because of them.

"I would never jeopardize the town," said Lum, who has maintained his innocence since the charges were filed. "I care more about the image of the town than myself."

Lum, the longest-serving councilman currently on the board, was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on allegations that he accepted plane tickets to the Philippines from the owner of Lucky Chances Casino without reporting them and made votes affecting the casino’s business after doing so.

The results in Colma capped an eventful election season for northern San Mateo County, which also included the dueling campaigns of divorced couple Leah and Frank Berlanga in the Daly City Council race.

Seven candidates sought three available seats in Daly City, one of the more heated races on the Peninsula this November. But incumbents Mike Guingona, Maggie Gomez and Carol Klatt appeared to hold strong leads Tuesday night.

Frank Berlanga’s campaign started while he was in jail on a probation violation for allegedly violating a restraining order Leah Berlanga took out against him in response to notes he allegedly left at her house. Though Leah Berlanga has accused her ex-husband of abuse and of entering the race to harass her, she did not have any comments Tuesday on the effect his candidacy might have had on hers.

Gomez, whose campaign was financed largely with the help of labor unions in town, said she balked at other candidates referring to the unions as special interest groups. She did, however, look forward to what would be her second term on the council.

"Labor is what puts food on the table," said Gomez, a unionmember herself in the California Nurses Association. "These are blue-collar people. Daly City is a blue-collar city."

In Pacifica, incumbents Jim Vreeland, Sue Digre and Julie Lancelle were the front-runners in a City Council race that also had seven candidates vying for three spots.

tramroop@examiner.com Staff writer David Smith contributed to this report.

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