On behalf of the City of San Mateo, our thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Baker's family and friends.
Below is an article printed by the San Mateo County Times in 2004, detailing Ms. Baker's many contributions to the City of San Mateo.
Battling Jane Baker to be honored
She took a council seat in 1973 to save Sugarloaf Mountain, and
fought to preserve quality of life
By Erin Sherbert
San Mateo County Times
May 6, 2004
SAN MATEO -- The many plaques that cover the walls inside Jane
Baker's Laurelwood home tell a story of an accomplished leader whose
life paved the way for women in politics.
Though Baker, now 80, is best known for being San Mateo's first
female mayor, her success story goes far beyond that.
Baker's political career spans 20 years on the San Mateo City
Council, where she served six times as mayor before stepping down in
And she has much to brag about.
"I saved Sugarloaf Mountain as a start," Baker said from her home.
"I made sure we had trees left; and there were no new park lands
for 30 years before I got onto the council."
Marked as one of San Mateo's most influential leaders, Baker is being
honored at a luncheon Friday, hosted by the League of Women Voters.
More than 130 people have signed up to attend, including her friends
and former colleagues.
"Everyone loved Jane Baker," said Tom Mack, a San Mateo resident who
served on the council with Baker from 1987 to 1991. "She was fair and
objective and very diligent about maintaining the uniqueness of our
Her effort to save Sugarloaf Mountain from being developed into
office space won her a seat on the City Council in 1973 -- a time
when local government was dominated by men.
Her environmentalist platform had become so appealing to voters that
Baker, with just $2,000 in the bank, beat the two incumbents.
"I was surprised," said Baker, adding that there were only 30 female
mayors in the Unites States at the time. "Word got around to vote for
the woman. People wanted a breath of fresh air on the council."
Being the only woman on the council, Baker said, it was difficult at
first to get anything on her agenda done.
She immediately became the minority opinion on the council,
voting "no" on most everything that came her way, including a
proposal to develop a cement plant near a neighborhood.
"She was really a neighborhood and homeowners' representative," said
Supervisor Jerry Hill, who served on the council with Baker in the
1990s. "She was very concerned about preserving the quality of life."
Aside from sitting on the council, Baker chaired the Metropolitan
Transportation Commission; she was active in the League of Women
Voters and American Association University of Women, and played a
major role in shaping the development of the BART extension to the
But after 20 years on the council, Baker retired from politics in
Now, more than a decade later, Baker still likes to talk local
politics. But when it comes to getting involved, Baker tries to
steer clear of City Hall these days.
"I don't miss the problems," Baker said, referring to the city's
budget crisis. "I miss the people."