Mayor Richards to seek second term |

Mayor Richards to seek second term

Janet Urquhart

Mayor Rachel Richards will seek re-election in May, but if she wins, the next term will be her last, she vowed Tuesday.

Though she could run for a third two-year term, Richards followed in the footsteps of her predecessor, John Bennett, in declaring a second term would be her last. Bennett, however, changed his mind and ran successfully a third time. Richards said she won’t.

“I kind of hesitate to put it out there that way . why say something if you’re not sure of it?” she said. “I am sure this would be my final term.”

The two-term councilwoman, who was elected mayor in a four-way race in May 1999, said the decision to seek re-election required “some long, hard thought.”

Ultimately, Richards said she doesn’t feel she can walk away just yet and let some of her goals potentially slip away.

“The entrance to Aspen comes to mind right off the bat,” said Richards. “I think it’s real important to have someone there who’s committed to getting that entryway built.”

Various projects championed by Richards and approved by voters are now moving forward, like the planning for the Burlingame Village affordable housing project. However, a recent legal challenge to the city’s real estate transfer tax, or RETT, which provides a significant source of housing dollars, could prove a hurdle to construction of Burlingame and other housing developments.

The city needs a leader committed to finding creative solutions to difficult problems like the threatened RETT revenues, Richards said. The lawsuit, she added, “would give those who don’t want to see Burlingame built a very credible reason to pull back.”

Richards also pushed for passage of a valleywide Rural Transportation Authority to fund improved transit service, a new city open-space tax and tax support for the new recreational complex planned at Iselin Park. All three measures won voter support in November, and Richards said she wants to see them move forward.

“It’s really a commitment to finishing the things that we’ve started,” she said.

Richards will face at least one challenger on the May ballot. Helen Klanderud, who narrowly lost the mayor’s race two years ago, has already announced her intention to seek the post again this spring. Councilman Tom McCabe has said he is leaning toward a bid for mayor, as well.

Richards, however, said she is not running against potential opponents, but rather, for the position.

“I look at it as running for the job . offering my skills and abilities,” she said.

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