RE-ELECT Karen Cunningham

Safety, Vision, Environmentalism, Progress

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Candidate Statement 2020

Karen Cunningham

Small Business Owner


Safety, Vision, Environmentalism, Progress

During the past three years I have had the honor and privilege of serving my Community as one of your elected City Council Members; as part of those duties I serve on 18 City and County appointed Boards, Commissions and sub-Committees. Due to the current pandemic, my re-election campaign will be self-funded, so no donations please.

I have very much valued this time to serve my Community for the betterment of the entire community, striving for equality and representation for all. It is a job that I have grown to love. My priorities have always been safety first, fiscal responsibility, quality of life Issues for our entire Community, helping to grow our Business sector, pursuing the possibilities for additional education opportunities, for preschool through high school and maintaining control over our small town atmosphere.

We have achieved much: I continue to promote proactive local decision making and big picture ideas, also reaching out to form positive alliances with others in our County. With the passing of measure JJ, we have as a City, retained full control of the Baylands process despite tremendous pressure from outside influencers.

I have been involved in the renovation of the Brisbane dog park, the Brisbane Library, many Capital Improvement safety upgrades, the approval of the Lunafest Film Series, the introduction of Junior Volunteer of the Year Award, the creation of the Public Arts Sub-Committee, instituted the banning of unhosted STR’s and the ongoing planning for the Brisbane Baylands as well as continually updating our plans for Brisbane's future for all.

Due to Covid-19 crisis we are facing logistical and financial challenges and if re-elected, I know I will be calling on the people in our Community who are willing and able to step up to help others. I expect some fiscal conservatism will be absolutely necessary and know that we will succeed just as we did in the 2008 financial crisis. As work from home may become a norm that is preferred by some Companies and their Workers, our transportation needs and commercial space needs may change dramatically. We need to have a can do and flexible mindset to rise to these challenges as they present themselves.

Moving forward I desire to continue to be honorable, useful, compassionate and yearn to keep making a difference for everyone in our fair city.

2020 Re~Election Endorsements (Please let me know if I can add your name to the list ~ DAILY UPDATES)

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Thanks Dolores Gomez

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ENDORSEMENT COMMENTS (adding to this daily so please check back often)

"Karen brings her passion and intuition to the decision making process on the council. She also volunteers many hours to humanitarian projects for people, animals and the environment. I have enjoyed serving with Karen the past 3 years!"

W. Clarke Conway

"Karen Cunningham is a fierce defender of Brisbane's interests and its future in San Mateo County. I have watched her stare down Caltrain, push back on developers, and amplify Brisbane's voice with senior politicos and bureaucrats. Karen is a passionate, progressive visionary for Brisbane." ~ Mike Brownrigg, Burlingame City Council

Karen has been an excellent communicator with our community, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. I look forward to seeing her continue in her role as a part of our city council, and trust her to make solid decisions for our town and local businesses. - Kristen Hayer

It is my great pleasure to endorse Karen Cunningham for another term on the Brisbane City Council. Her record speaks for itself and has made my decision to support her for a second term, a very easy one.

Signed, Rory Wilberg

Karen has the business sense, political acumen, & teaming ability to guide Brisbane through change and uncertainty. I trust her stewardship of our town's identity. ~ Chris Hayer

Karen Cunningham is an excellent candidate for city council. She brings experience, competence, compassion, commitment and passion. She is thoughtful and is committed to thoroughly understanding the issues and listening to the public's concerns. I am confident that Karen will continue to bring wisdom to the issues facing us today and in days to come. I highly recommend Karen. She has my endorsement and support and I urge your favorable consideration of her track record ~ Victoria Vargas

Yes, I'd be honored to endorse you. Thank you for continuing to serve our community! ~ Lori Lui

I wish you Good Luck with your endorsements. My husband is willing to endorse you as well ~ Judith and George Champion

Absolutely ~ Leesa Whitten

"Karen listens. She shows up, steps up and makes a difference. Great to have Karen serving on the council for people of Brisbane. " ~ Marie Chuang

"There is a distinguished list of “go to” people in our midst, people who get things done. Whatever the task is, simple or complex, Karen Cunningham is one of those people who takes it on, large and small and delivers. She delivers with her whole heart, with focus to get to resolution, no matter what it takes. I endorse Karen Cunningham for reelection to Brisbane City Council with every ounce of my being." ~Lilli Rey

"Thank you for bringing news and views that help lift us up <3" ~ Bernadette Oliviera Larkin

I’d be proud to endorse you. You do so much for our community on both a personal and professional level. Keep up the good work. Tamara Palmer-Heath

You are welcome to include my name and title on your list of regional endorsements if you think it would be helpful. Thanks for the great work you are doing for Brisbane and our region! I've really enjoyed working with you on C/CAG's BPAC and look forward to collaborating with you for many years to come.

Good luck in your race!





Brisbane will make a spectacular comeback as soon as we get this pandemic, and now, devastating wildfires behind us, or at least under some form of serious control. We are in good shape (financially and otherwise), largely because the people of Brisbane have been accountable to themselves and others, showing sheer strength, leadership and personal accountability and a willingness to act responsibly. I am so proud to belong to this amazing progressive Community.

This year has proven to be one of the most challenging in most of our lifetimes for certain. Everything is different, everything will be different moving forward. We will be working together to create new ways of doing almost every aspect of our lives. Shopping, restaurants, school and all forms of business. Creating opportunities for us to collaborate on how and what new ways we can do our normal everyday things is going to take time and a lot of effort. And now, we need to add another group of people to our list of those in need: Those affected by these fires. YES, this is unfathomable to say the least.

Of extreme importance; we must become more creative and resourceful for our children, for their emotional and pedagogic well being. We must also find or create the resources necessary to assist with the childcare and homecare burdens of our families. It is something that our Schools, the School Board and our City Staff are furiously working on.

Of course our Business Community is also suffering from this pandemic and we are all working together to find ways and solutions to help and encourage our businesses in any way that we can.

I am not rooted in the status quo and have no issue driving reforms of any antiquated systems as and if they arise. We must look forward to a Brisbane of the future.

Promises ~ I will not make promises that I cannot keep. When raising our son, we rarely made promises because we cannot predict the future; this was a point of contention with our son on many occasions, but over time it built trust. I feel the same way today on the City Council

Working in collaboration and with the mindset of forming alliances across the County for the betterment of Brisbane. This is critical to the long term welfare of Brisbane as we join forces with other Cities in the County to keep our decisions local to each Community. We are no longer sequestered; all eyes are on our town. We must do what we can to keep Brisbane as independent as possible and retain local control of our future, therefore I will be seeking endorsements from people with whom I have formed good working relationships within our County. We have many Committees, Sub-Committees and Boards that the Brisbane City Council members fill. I currently serve on 18 such positions throughout the County and this takes up much of my time

In Brisbane we have so much to look forward to ~ If re-elected I would also really push for more downtown beautification, especially at the entrances to town, more social activities that connect our Community from old Brisbane to the Ridge; more music, art, social and civic opportunities. I believe that we have accomplished much in this area in the last three years. It is such a pleasure living in a City where we have so many positive people making huge efforts to make life better for us all. Let's work on that together and make life even better for everyone. Let's work together on our "can do" attitude.

The Brisbane Baylands ~ With the passing of measure JJ, Brisbane retained control of the decision making for the Baylands. In the next couple of years it will be up to the Citizenry to be part of the decision making as to what benefits they would like for the City as a result of this future development. Much has yet to be done before anything can proceed, but it is never too early to start mapping out what you would like to see and bring it to the attention of your Council. What do you want ? A local high school, an incredible set of sporting and artistic facilities? Or how about a first class linear park available to everyone that links old and new Brisbane to the Baylands and Public transportation? Help bring your desires to a reality. And whatever choices are made, I will be supporting the hiring of Labor Union personnel to get the job done right and fairly

School Children and others Residents in need ~ It is a travesty to me that even one person in our Community could even go unfed for one meal ~ EVER. I do not know how to permanently fix that, but I would certainly like to continue with the programs in place that are designed to be safety nets within our Community. is one fine example as to the cooperation between various leadership groups (Lions, BVHH, Chamber of Commerce and the City)

Water Catchment ~ Each rainy season, I am more and more baffled as to why we have made no attempt to catch the millions of gallons of water that flow from San Bruno Mountain into our sewer system and ultimately out to the ocean. We pay for that and then we pay SF to bring us water. There must be a better way. I see that SF has actually installed a pilot project on Holloway to collect 1 million gallons of water each year. It is good to see that we have made some improvements in that area with the new catchment areas along the safe routes to school areas, however there is much more we should be doing regarding water catchment and recycling. More residential permitting of water storage is certainly one approach

Parking ~ YES, it is a local nightmare and yes I think it is about time to address it. I am in favor of parking permits. Throughout the Brisbane Residential Area

Family Safety ~ As a long time member of the Brisbane CERT group (Community Emergency Response Team) I am painfully aware that our City of 4500 people could well be on our own in the event of a natural or other disaster. I have tried to push for more outreach and education of our Citizenry for years, but as there has been little interest from the Citizens, not much has happened. Every person we educate regarding how to respond after a disaster is one less person who will be requesting help. So, if re-elected I will have this on my short list of to do items as well.

Reaching Out

As Brisbane is no longer sequestered and invisible to outside influencers, I believe it is imperative that we reach out and build alliances with others within our County. We can achieve a much better outcome for Brisbane's future if we have working and trusted relationships with others. Because of this I will be seeking endorsements from other elected officials in San Mateo County. We are a giant piece in the Bay Area puzzle and all eyes are upon us.

Moved to Brisbane from San Francisco in 1994 and purchased my first home in 1995.


Congresswoman Jackie Speier (2006 - present)

Citizens group working with FAA and other groups to reduce noise in Brisbane (2006-present)

Citizens Committee for the Brisbane Swimming Pool (1998-1999)

Citizens Committee for the Brisbane Dog Park (2002-2004)

BBCAG ~ 2005 - 2007

CERT ~ 2004 - present

Brisbane Village Helping Hands Volunteer ~ 2013 - present

G3 Volunteer ~ 2017 - present

BES and Lipman Donor/Volunteer since 2005. Science Fair and Career Days volunteer

Nine Lives Foundation ~ Feral Cat TSNR rescue 2010 - present


Shapes Health and Fitness Center in Sydney Australia ~ 1983 - 1988

Owner and Managing Director

A 50,000sq ft facility that incorporated :- Aerobic, stretch, circuit training, prenatal and yoga classes. A separate free weight training area, creche, health food bar, medical center, weight loss and fitness training as well as a full service European style beauty salon.

Paper Tiger Productions ~ 1994 - 2014

A Full Service Agency for Art Direction and Styling services

Partial Client List:-

PAMF, Stanford Hospital, Mills Peninsula Hospital, Sequoia Hospital, Microsoft, Delta Dental, UCSF, Kaiser Permanente.

Recent Movies

The Bridge so Far, “a suspense story” by David L. Brown ~ Art Director (2005).

Cowspiracy ~ financial contributor (2014).

What the Health ~ financial contributor (2017).

Arbonne Independent Consultant ~ 2006 - present

Specializing in the 30 Day Healthy Eating Program.

364 Days of Healthy Eating (because nobody is perfect)

A Healthy Eating Guide with over 365 Vegan and Gluten Free recipes

Why Brisbane?

What struck me the first time I came to Brisbane was the obvious natural beauty and that country town atmosphere. And San Bruno Mountain. That incredibly breathtaking beauty. A recurring dream that I had as a child was living in a Country town in the middle of a big City. And here it was. Another thing that struck me and has been part of the reason I love Brisbane so much was that it seemed that "everybody" lived here. There were large and small homes, which I found very appealing. Indeed after moving here with my young son, it became clear that this was indeed a diverse community of people from all walks of life. We were not "on the map" back then. Brisbane was still that little working class City built next to San Francisco's dump. Indeed that has changed and we face many challenges moving forward.


Shipping Container Homes and Restaurants. I first saw these in Auckland New Zealand and fell in love with the concept. The restaurant is in Buenos Aires. Look how classy and fabulous it is. Some of the homes are also just amazing....Some of my vision for Brisbane. ? Out at the Marina? One of the reasons I love the idea is that they can be moved


Thank You