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March 19, 2004
Contact person: Janet Fogarty: 650-652-5601
(Janet Fogarty is a two-term former Mayor of Millbrae, and a Real Property and Land Use Attorney. Ms. Fogarty formerly taught Land Use Law at San Jose State in a Masters of Urban Planning Program.)
FORMER MILLBRAE MAYOR OFFERS MILLBRAE COUNCIL PRO BONO SERVICES TO PROVE THAT TIR OPTION IS NOT ILLEGAL
Former Millbrae Mayor and Land Use Attorney, Janet Fogarty, has urged at public meetings that the City mitigate its fiscal crisis by approving a contract between the Millbrae Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and the City to provide for public safety services in the RDA area. This has been dubbed the TIR Option by Ms. Fogarty and members of Millbrae Tomorrow, a local group of concerned citizens who oppose the sale of open space property to balance the City’s budget. The TIR Option would allocate between $1.3 million and $1.7 million of local property tax revenues to providing police and fire services in the RDA area. The RDA area includes all of the City’s commercial districts, the El Camino Real corridor, the BART/Caltrain Station, and portions of Highway 101.
Ms. Fogarty argues that there is no prohibition against contracting between the RDA and the City if it results in providing a benefit to the RDA area. Said Ms. Fogarty, “Certainly with today’s heightened security concerns, given the proximity of the RDA to the 5th busiest airport in the world, the location of a regional multi-modal transit station, and three State Highways which run adjacent to or through our town, providing increased public safety services to the busiest area of our town is justified. The proper nexus can be made between the benefit to the RDA for the services provided to satisfy the requirements of the law. Given that the TIR Option would fund less than a quarter of the public safety budget, the City and RDA could justify funding police and fire calls to the RDA area from these funds.”
The City has received a contrary opinion from Sacramento attorney, Iris Yang. In order to resolve the issue, Ms. Fogarty has suggested that the City file an action for Declaratory Relief, in which a Superior Court judge could make a determination as to whether this option is “legal” or not. Ms. Fogarty, in a letter to the Interim City Administrator today, offered to represent the City pro bono (free of charge) in court so the Council would have the comfort of relying upon a legal opinion from a judge. Said Ms. Fogarty in her letter: “The fact of the matter is that there is no prohibition in the law against a contract between the Millbrae Redevelopment Agency and the City of Millbrae for public safety services which benefit the Millbrae Redevelopment Area. I am so confident in this that I am willing to offer my services to the City pro bono to prove it to a San Mateo Superior Court judge.”
The City Council will take up the matter at its City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 23rd.