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Council duo co-chairing Burlingame candidate race

By rgordon
Tuesday, August 21st, 2007 at 9:14 pm in Uncategorized.

Forget endorsing. Apparently, it’s all about co-chairing this election season.

Case in point is the Web site for Burlingame City Council candidate Jerry Deal which has this fine print on the home page: “Committee to Elect Jerry Deal – Co-Chairs Vice Mayor Rosalie O’Mahony, Council Member Ann Keighran.”

Deal, the chair of the Planning Commission, is a newcomer to the council race circuit. That means he’s challenging one of two incumbents, whose terms are up this November, for their seats. That would also seem to mean that O’Mahony and Keighran wish to see either Mayor Terry Nagel or Councilman Russ Cohen replaced by their pal.

“I’ll put it this way,” Cohen said. “I’m pretty satisfied with having diverse perspectives on the council but it seems that two of our council members aren’t happy with having other perspectives on the council. Perhaps that’s why they’re chairing a challenger’s campaign, so they can have at least three people that are alike.”

“I think different perspectives are a healthy thing,” he added.

Deal said that Keighran and O’Mahony were actually “honorary” co-chairs, merely lending their name recognition to enhance the visibility of his campaign and acting as advisors. Deal said his wife, JoAnn Johnson-Deal, and Geraldine O’Connor, the former spokeswoman for state Assemblyman Gene Mullin, D-South San Francisco, are managing the day-to-day work.

Deal said he’s known his honorary co-chairs for years and counts them as “good friends.” O’Mahony, he said, asked him to be on the Planning Commission 13 years ago. Deal served on the Planning Commission with Keighran for several years.

“Their names are very important, and it shows the citizens of Burlingame that these two people think it’s very important that I get elected. It’s showing strong support,” said Deal, who owns a residential design firm called JD and Associates. “They both told me that we need leadership and people who can make sound decisions on the council. They don’t just think – they know I can do that.”

Keighran said that Deal “has qualities of a council person that I admire.”

So does that mean she doesn’t admire the qualities of either Nagel or Cohen and wants to see them replaced?

“What I’m saying is that there are people that you like. Some have philosophies that are similar to yours that you gravitate towards,” Keighran said. “All of the council members are very good at certain things and lack qualities in other things, but there are people that you work with better than others. I think Jerry Deal has some of those qualities that might lack on the current council.”

Nagel’s sure she’s not lacking in anything.

“I will be running as an independent candidate,” she said. “I fully encourage people to explore not only the folks who are endorsing them but to look into the folks that are financing them. Check into their record.”

Nagel said she recalled that, during ethics training, City Manager Jim Nantell discouraged council members from endorsing one another’s campaigns “because we all have to work together” in the end.

“But a lot of times people don’t pay attention to that,” Nagel said. “So what are you going to do?”

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