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August 14, 2018

Comments

 It Don't Come Easy

Wrong news site for this comment (please move it where it belongs--thanks), but if anyone can procure the old door knobs, latches, or hinges from the Burlingame cottages about to be bulldozed on Myrtle Ave., that would be great for many reasons. I would hate to see them go to land fill. Or, if the BHS can obtain them, perhaps they can sell them to raise money. What a shame to loose these little cottages (gems, really).

Camille

As a renter in Burlingame, I feel completely unwanted- like the "real" Burlingamers (aka people who inherited their houses they could never afford to purchase today) look down their noses at the horrible renters who are bringing down their beloved city. Nevermind, our dollars are going into your economy. Without us, how would our landlords afford to restore classic cars all day and have no real job? I can't wait to get out of here honestly. The rents are ridiculous for what you get. Burlingame is ok. It's cute. But it's not worth what people are forced to pay for our capitalist rents. Not to mention the campaigns around rent issues that make it very clear you all think of renters as "dangerous outsiders" with your nonsense "keep Burlingame safe" campaigns. Hard to feel connected to a place that clearly doesn't want you there.
Some socialism sounds good. Or maybe just some social skills and some empathy for those of us who didn't get lucky enough to inherit a home in the bay area.

Jennifer

I'm not sure we have a mechanism through the city, to salvage hardware, old windows, or anything like that. It's a pity, I agree-- really nice oak floors have been trashed over and over again, and these are great for repair. The Historical Society doesn't have the space, nor bandwidth to salvage most, either, though on occasion, we do take "special" items for our collection. I don't know what to tell you. It's also a liability issue, if a company like Omega or even Joe private citizen comes in to salvage a home ready for demo, they may need to go through hoops to get into private property to take items.

My own house has front door stoop newel posts that came from the stairs of the craftsman home demolished on Primrose (across from City Hall) for condos, many years ago, and some windows purchased at a salvage yard in SF, but it would be nice to have something local.

Joe

@Camille, B'game has been about 55% renters for decades. There is no generalized anti-renter sentiment that I am aware of. The anti-rent control sentiment is a reaction to some very, very bad ideas that were in the last initiative. Click on the Rent Control category on the right frame here and read about the ridiculous "right of return" http://www.burlingamevoice.com/2016/10/rent-control-part-13-like-a-bad-penny.html#comments or the totally rigged "Housing Commission" here http://www.burlingamevoice.com/2016/09/rent-contol-part-3-rigging-the-commission.html#comments

We have more than enough socialism already in California and the U.S. I'm sorry you don't feel like you are getting your money's worth, but you have options--more than in Venezuela.

resident

But, but, but rent control is working so well in San Francisco!!!!! NOT

Sign Me Up

Dear Camille,
Try any of these places on for size

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_Utopian_communities

All you need to do is go back to the 1840s.

Camille

My apartment mail was absolutely inundated with materials that made it quite clear what the people of Burlingame think of renters during the 2016 election. Landlords in this town get away with anything they want because they know we have no recourse. There's a way to say "I don't want you to pay an affordable rate for your housing" without making it seem like renters are trash. I've honestly never lived somewhere I felt so unwanted, and I've lived a lot of places in the US. Will soon enough live somewhere else. Y'all can keep your moldy $2200 a month apartments.

Bruce Dickinson

Sorry, but Camille you really need to explore the space. By this I mean get a better cross section of both renters and homeowners and you will see that many don't fit your stereotype.

First, talk to renting families who have children in the Burlingame School District. Like it or not, there is no city in the Bay Area (let alone very few in the USA) where 50% of the population rents and the schools are so good. Of course, all renters have full access to the Burlingame schools (no waitlists, busing programs, lotteries, etc). And why are the schools so good? Yes, it may be because of higher socio-economics associated with wealthy parents and being born in the right "womb", but it isn't entirely explained by this. Native Spanish speakers in the district's Spanish Immersion program are testing at the exact same level as more privileged children by middle school. What you see underlying many social economically disadvantaged children in Burlingame are individual families/parents who work incredibly hard and realize the value of education, so the value of living here is understood and smartly capitalized upon. The "bargain" as it were, is obvious.

Secondly, it's the homeowners that are donating tons of money, far more than is required to support their own children, precisely because the community feels very strongly about maintaining the socio-economic diversity of the schools and have spots and instruction available for everyone. Could they be more racially diverse, yes? But it's pretty good especially considering $1,300 per square foot real estate values. Without the Burlingame School District fundraiser, which raises north of $2 million dollars per year, there is no way the quality of instruction would be as good. Do you see the same thing happen in rent controlled San Francisco or Berkeley? Having a private-school quality education from your public schools is a very large subsidy that so called "rent-affordable cities" cannot provide. Try to name one!?? When you factor in this cost PLUS the addition to probably what amounts to an extra $1,000 of property tax per year from each homeowner(called a parcel tax) to actually expand and build NEW schools (unheard of in CA) and access, Burlingame is actually a fantastic value. The renters who access the public schools are getting a very large subsidy by homeowners, which is why when you move out, there will probably be someone very willing to take over your place and pay more, especially if they have kids.

The second thing to consider is talk to some of the homeowners. For every older person that moves out of a house, a new family of 3 or 4 moves in. And that family is often not originally from the Bay Area and that family may be buying the one of dozens of new builds or remods happening in the area. These are not all trust-fund babies and inherit from mommy and daddy families. They started out just as scrappy as yours truly, but ended up making some good decisions, had a lot of luck too, and landed jobs in the Technology Sector, Biotech, Healthcare, Venture Cap, or what not. Of course the world's fastest sectors of wealth creation are Tech, Biotech, and Healthcare, which happens to pay a lot of money for top talent. One of the top centers for these industries is right here in the Bay Area, so of course normal working people, who happen to be paid a lot as their skills are in high demand, will be able to afford living here and the more move here, the higher prices are driven up, and consequently rents go up too. And when rents go up really high, then owners of those properties try to build more to sell more, especially condominiums or larger apartments, to make more money to supply the strong demand. It's a viscous cycle, but it's reality.

Yes, Burlingame is expensive, but let's face it, it's far worse in rent controlled cities such as Berkeley and SF. Housing is even more challenged, and for any new person/family moving in, they have to pay market rent, which will be higher, in order to subsidize the low rents of the people who realize what a good deal they have and never move out. Is this really fair for the new, young people and families moving in? No it isn't. Here again, the non-rent controlled and homeowners are subsidizing the rent controlled in order for this to continue.

The reality is that Burlingame rents are actually still pretty affordable given proximity to everything. Try to find a $2,200/month apartment in Daly City, San Bruno, San Mateo. If you've looked, you've come empty. Yes, it's unfortunate, but at least Burlingame has some relatively affordable units (compared to other Bay Area cities) and has unequaled access to some of the best public schools in the State that are heavily subsidized by homeowners!

Bruce Dickinson understands your frustration, but realize there are many other perspectives and factors to consider outside of your situation...you just gotta ask around and look at the big picture!

Joe

As I said in the original post, Herb Caen was a keen observer of things back in the 40's. I was reading deeper into Chapter 28 and came across this:

"Shortly after Congress first refused to lift the OPA restrictions on rentals, a small but indignant meeting of certain landlords took place in San Francisco. As they sputtered around for a way of properly expressing their outraged sensibilities, a landlord arose to propose that they all paint their building funereal black.

"That," he insisted, "will show Congress that our chances of making an honest buck are dead."

Another landlord promptly suggested that black wasn't subtle enough. "What we should do," he said, "is show 'em what we think of their socialistic nonsense by painting our buildings red."
---------------

Such a funny vignette from 1949! Good old Wikipedia helps out us young uns with an entry about the OPA:

The Office of Price Administration (OPA) was established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. The functions of the OPA were originally to control money (price controls) and rents after the outbreak of World War II.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Price_Administration

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