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November 5, 2019 — Local Elections
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Local

City of San BrunoCandidate for City Council

Photo of Irene O'Connell

Irene O'Connell

Incumbent
2,144 votes (21.1%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Build a new library to better serve all San Bruno residents.
  • Foster thoughtful implementation of our city's Transit Corridor Plan - preserve, protect, and produce housing to benefit both current and future residents.
  • Further enhance our parks, recreation and senior programs.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Education Consultant
Education Consultant, Various schools through the Archdioscese of San Francisco (2014–current)
Councilwoman, City of San Bruno — Elected position (1995–current)
Board member, City/County Association of Governments — Appointed position (1996–current)
Board member/Chair/Vice Chair, Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency — Appointed position (2003–current)
Chair/Vice Chair, Advanced Life Support-Joint Powers Authority — Appointed position (1999–current)
Member-at-Large, Colma Creek Advisory Committee — Appointed position (2009–current)
School Librarian, Star-of-the-Sea Catholic School, San Francisco (2008–2012)
School librarian (volunteer), St. Verionica School (1991–1998)
Teacher, St. Veronica Catholic School, South San Francisco (1978–1986)

Education

San Francisco State University Bachelor of Arts (B.A.); Master of Arts (M.A.); Teaching Credential, liberal arts with an emphasis in mathematics; elementary education (1978)

Community Activities

Founder, San Bruno Library Foundation (1997–current)
Founder, Chair, Beautiication Task Force (1996–current)
Member, Board of Directors, Carlton Corners Association (1994–2005)
Board member, Art-Rise (1981–1987)

Biography

Who supports this candidate?

Elected Officials (4)

  • Congresswoman Jackie Speier
  • State Senator Jerry Hill
  • Assemblyman Kevin Mullin
  • Supervisor Dave Pine

Individuals (1)

  • Jim Ruane, Former Mayor of San Bruno

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Introduction

Summary

Public Service

Dear San Bruno Voters,

As your Councilwoman and Vice Mayor, I have a strong record of dedicated public service to you. I am seeking reelection to keep my experience working for the community where I was born and raised, our community where my husband and I chose to raised our three children.

 In addition to creating San Bruno Library Foundation, the Beautification Task Force, and Operation Clean Sweep, I represent our City on numerous boards/commissions; e.g., Chair of Advanced Life Support-Joint Powers Agency that implemented paramedic/firefighter services in San Bruno and throughout the county, and as past Chair of Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, a multi-county board.

 San Bruno is positioned on the crest of the most exciting chapter in our City’s more than 100-year history, including the BayHill Development, Transit Corridor Plan, Downtown Street Scape and Parking Plans, and the new Recreation/Aquatic Center complex.

 Concurrently, we face challenges; finding the means to build a new library/media center; dealing with sea level rise; congestion management; housing concerns; and identifying compassionate ways to help homeless children and adults in our community.

 I bring determination and leadership skills to these issues. Thank you for your past and continued support to keep my experience working for you

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Bruno Cable

Summary

What steps should the Council take to improve and expand San Bruno cable services? What kind of program should the City put in place for San Bruno Cable to provide Fiber service to ALL properties in San Bruno?

The cable television business in general has experienced tremendous change in the last dozen years. The city originally went into the cable business to better serve our residents. Television reception was, at best, a chancy thing in many parts of the city. I remember if my mother ran her sewing machine in the kitchen while we were watching a program in the living room, the TV would go fuzzy. Transmitting the program signals directly to your television eliminated those problems. Broadcasting companies were eager to sign on with us. We soon faced more and more competition that was able to leverage their greater size and purchasing capacity against us. To continue to provide our residents with a desirable product, we’ve had to replace and upgrade equipment, add services such as ‘telephonie’ and internet connections. As technology changes and our customers’ needs change, we continually evaluate and re-evaluate how to best serve them. Costs increase and our customer base has shifted. We’ve renegotiated contracts, added more non-English channels, and re-bundled offerings in response to customers’ suggestions.

 

Our next challenge is providing fiber to our residents. We have completed a pilot project consisting of providing fiber to each housing unit at Shelter Creek. The resulting increase in San Bruno Cable subscribers was encouraging. Using that experience, the Cable Department staff is developing a financial and business plan together with a phased build out approach for the City Council to consider adopting. I foresee the most difficult part will be financing – how to pay for it all without over-burdening San Bruno Cable subscribers. Support for these types of projects could come from a combination of public benefit payments through negotiated development agreements, grant funding, and other sources. Fiber to every home in the City of San Bruno would be a positive benefit for everyone.

The cable television business in general has experienced tremendous change in the last dozen years. The city originally went into the cable business to better serve our residents. Television reception was, at best, a chancy thing in many parts of the city. I remember if my mother ran her sewing machine in the kitchen while we were watching a program in the living room, the TV would go fuzzy. Transmitting the program signals directly to your television eliminated those problems. Broadcasting companies were eager to sign on with us. We soon faced more and more competition that was able to leverage their greater size and purchasing capacity against us. To continue to provide our residents with a desirable product, we’ve had to replace and upgrade equipment, add services such as ‘telephonie’ and internet connections. As technology changes and our customers’ needs change, we continually evaluate and re-evaluate how to best serve them. Costs increase and our customer base has shifted. We’ve renegotiated contracts, added more non-English channels, and re-bundled offerings in response to customers’ suggestions.

 

Our next challenge is providing fiber to our residents. We have completed a pilot project consisting of providing fiber to each housing unit at Shelter Creek. The resulting increase in San Bruno Cable subscribers was encouraging. Using that experience, the Cable Department staff is developing a financial and business plan together with a phased build out approach for the City Council to consider adopting. I foresee the most difficult part will be financing – how to pay for it all without over-burdening San Bruno Cable subscribers. Support for these types of projects could come from a combination of public benefit payments through negotiated development agreements, grant funding, and other sources. Fiber to every home in the City of San Bruno would be a positive benefit for everyone.

Term Limits

Summary

What is your opinion about term limits for the City Council positions in the City of San Bruno?

I believe we already have “Term Limits” for council members and the mayor. In a normal election cycle, the mayor’s seat is open every two years along with two council seats. During the next election cycle, the mayor’s seat is up again along with two other council seats. That means that every two years the residents of San Bruno have the opportunity to participate in an election and determine in which direction their city should go. While some studies show that incumbents can have an advantage over new candidates let me remind everyone that when Rico Medina first ran for council, he ran against long-time Councilmember Chris Pallas and won; likewise, four years ago, Marty Medina ran against incumbent Michael Salazar and won. Also, keep in mind that while being a Councilmember is a commitment of time and effort, it isn’t a full time job such as a Senator or Assemblyperson. It takes some time and effort to be an effective, knowledgeable and experienced council member.

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