Library a top issue for San Bruno council 

One first-time candidate goes up against two longtime incumbents in next week’s vote for City Council, a board that hasn’t seen much turnover in years.

Newcomer and student Miguel Araujo, 27, aims for one of two available spots also being vied for by incumbents Irene O’Connell, 55, and Jim Ruane, 60.

The candidates jostle for positions on the council as the city focuses attention on revamping downtown, especially San Mateo Avenue, and seeks funding for a new library to replace the aging one on Angus Avenue.

The library would be funded with proceeds from Measure F, which would raise the citywide sales tax by half a penny, also on the November ballot.

Both O’Connell and Ruane said the approval of Measure F is critical to the timely construction of a new library and other city services.

"We need the passage of Measure F to avoid the continuing Band-aid approach for the library and the other needed facility upgrades — recreation complex, fire stations and the day-to-day street and infrastructure improvements," Ruane said. "The bond process is costly and project specific."

The city tried unsuccessfully in 2001 to pass a bond measure to fund a new library, capturing 57 percent of the vote.

O’Connell said she feels strongly that libraries should be placed in the same category as schools, which can pass construction bonds by only 55 percent, instead of two-thirds, and she would lobby for such consideration should Measure F fail.

Araujo says other concerns, such as potholes, should be more of a priority.

O’Connell, whose priorities include revamping downtown, building a new library and improving teen services, said the city has already made considerable headway on San Mateo Avenue and she looks forward to seeing it through to completion.

Ruane said making headway on a laundry list of infrastructure improvements is also a high priority.

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