On December 14th, I attended my last Council meeting as Mayor and Councilmember, and was truly touched by all the kind words spoken by my colleagues and our regional elected representatives. I was deeply honored to be recognized by Congresswoman Jackie Speier in the Congressional Record for my work on behalf of the Brisbane community.
It has been an honor to represent my neighbors and fellow Brisbane residents on the City Council. As a mother of young children, I hope I served as a role model to other women, to mothers, and most importantly, to all of our children in showing them that when you put your heart and mind to it, anything is possible.
My decision not to run for re-election allows me to spend more time focusing on my family. But, I love our city and remain committed to helping the Council as it sets a course for our future.
Our City’s greatest current challenge is how we manage any development of the Baylands.
Brisbane has a proud history of environmentalism, self-reliance and partnership. We were incorporated in part to help preserve San Bruno Mountain. We have overcome repeated financial challenges few outside the city may appreciate. And, we have always been a responsible and reliable regional partner to the cities, counties, and communities throughout the Bay Area.
There are competing forces at work as we consider development of the Baylands. There’s an undeniable need for housing in the Bay Area and, from a distance, the Baylands must seem an obvious place for it. There is also a strong commitment to ensuring development in Brisbane is environmentally responsible and sustainable. Satisfying these principles is difficult with the Baylands. Any thoughtful person who takes a close look will find there are very real public health concerns in placing housing on the Baylands. Before anything can be built, we owe it to current and future residents of Brisbane to make sure any development is safe.
Despite these complexities, we continue to face pressure from Sacramento to build housing on the Baylands and are lately hearing from regional representatives that State legislation might be used to make this decision for us. Local land use is a local decision precisely because it is complicated and requires on the ground knowledge and judgment to get it right. Given this, it is vital that our Council continue to do everything it can to ensure that Brisbane maintains its leadership in determining a safe, responsible and sustainable future for the Baylands.
While I have completed my term as Mayor, I am still a resident and a voter, and I will remain active in the effort to ensure Council control over land use decisions. I commit to being open to new ideas, which may include developing some housing on a part of the Baylands, but only if any development is safe, responsible and a benefit to our community. And, I commit to thinking about our children first so that any decisions made today are not haunting them tomorrow.
Above all, Brisbane has been and will always continue to be a responsible regional partner, and a leader in protecting the public. What seems to be lost on Sacramento and in the limited coverage so far provided by the media, is that partnership works both ways. Brisbane is committed to working with the State and the developer to transform the Baylands from a contaminated site to one that is fully developable as a model of safety, environmental responsibility and sustainability. But we need partners, not one-way mandates from Sacramento and broken promises from an absentee owner.
I am confident in the future of Brisbane because I know that the people of this city and the new Council are good-hearted, forward-thinking and willing to listen in order to do what is best for the City and region. Together we will do the right thing.