A controversial development on a landfill known as Baylands is center stage in Brisbane’s City Council race.
Two veteran councilmen and one newcomer are competing for two open seats in the November election. The second seat opened up when Councilman Steve Waldo decided to step down, reportedly for health reasons.
Waldo has endorsed Ray Miller, a professor emeritus of political economy at San Francisco State University who left the council in 1995 after three terms.
Since then, Miller, 77, has spent 13 years on the open-space and ecology committee. He wants his old job back to help determine the fate of the 600-acre Baylands site.
Click the picture to see a slideshow of all three candidates.
While a developer seeks to build 4,434 homes on the land, which includes an old dump once used by San Francisco, Miller has called the proposal “outrageous and clearly contradictory to our small-town character.”
All three candidates said an alternative-energy research site or solar farm would make more sense than a residential development on Baylands, parts of which are likely contaminated with heavy metals and toxic chemicals.
But the decision should be up to residents, said Miller.
Cyril Bologoff, 79, is running for his fifth term. Although he has high hopes for Baylands, Bologoff said it won’t provide revenue quickly enough to help with the city’s pressing financial concerns — soon to be exacerbated by the departure of the chemical distributor Van Waters and Rogers.
“I can temper the loss and coast us along so that there is a minimum impact upon the people and the services we provide,” said Bologoff. The company’s departure will leave 150 people jobless and cost Brisbane $1.5 million in sales-tax revenue, Bologoff said.
Further complicating matters is that a deal with Recology to process trash and rent city land — the golden ring city officials hope to grab — is up in the air due to the company’s difficulties in San Francisco, Bologoff said. While cuts may be necessary, Bologoff said he would not target water, fire, police or swimming pools, but instead go after City Hall staff and recreation services.
Terry O’Connell, a political newcomer and Brisbane resident of 20 years, said the current council was not proactive enough and had let Universal Paragon Corp. set the agenda of the Baylands debate.
The environmentally minded candidate is “very strongly” against putting housing on Baylands.
O’Connell served as co-chair of the quarry housing campaign, which she said helped motivate voters to preserve open space on San Bruno Mountain.