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April 22, 2009


A couple of other letters in support of the storm drain fee, in addition to ours, appeared in yesterday's San Mateo County Times, as well:


i read the "full page" story in the Examiner regarding Burlingames planting of trees.
There were also some mentions of the services that will not be provided... regarding watering trees.
As I understand it people who get a FREE TREE planted in front of their house are not able to water/care for it.
What has happened to the place we live in?
Trees are what has made our City prope rty value what it is.
Shame on anyone who cannot water a tree.


I got a letter and some robo-calls from the People's Advocate PAC in opposition to the storm drain ballot. Anyone know who exactly is behind this effort?

The People's Advocate political action group is a right-wing group opposed to taxes of any kind. It is run by people outside of Burlingame. They are sending out misinformation about the storm drain measure, which is essential for the health and safety of our community.

For example, when water overwhelms our storm drain system and mixes with our sewage system, it carries sewage into our bay - a violation for which our city can be fined $10,000 per day, not to mention the effects on the environment.

Here is the NY Times obituary for the founder of "People's Advocate":

September 12, 1989
Paul Gann, Co-Author of California Tax Revolt Measure, Dies at 77
Paul Gann, co-author of the Proposition 13 tax revolt referendum a decade ago in California, died yesterday in a Sacramento hospital from pneumonia, complicated by AIDS. He was 77 years old.

Mr. Gann developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome in 1987, five years after he received a blood transfusion in emergency heart surgery. Over the last few years he dedicated himself to the cause of AIDS treatment, expanding testing for the fatal disease and reporting its incidence.

He had been under treatment for a broken hip in the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Sacramento since a fall at his Carmichael home on Sept. 2.

In announcing that he had AIDS in 1987, Mr. Gann said he was not angry at the blood donor from whom he contracted the virus when he received 40 pints of blood. ''The person could have been perfectly innocent,'' Mr. Gann said.

But Mr. Gann also said he believed that people who knowingly transmitted the disease should be strongly punished. ''They should be tried for murder, because if you give it to someone, it's a death sentence,'' he said. AIDS Referendum Fails

His strong views on AIDS led him to sponsor another referendum, listed on the California ballot in 1986 as Proposition 102.

Among its many provisions, the initiative, which was rejected by the voters, would have required doctors to report to state health officials the names and addresses of those carrying the AIDS virus or those they ''reasonably believe'' might be infected.

Opponents feared that passage of the initiative would prompt discriminatory practices and would thus discourage infected people from seeking care.

Many in the homosexual community viewed Mr. Gann as a vindictive man who was lashing out at carriers of the virus. Mr. Gann insisted that homosexuals, a high risk group for AIDS, should not take his crusade as an attack on themselves.

''I don't mind telling you I don't understand homosexuals and that's the truth,'' he said in an interview in October. ''I can't imagine a man going to bed with a man. That's beyond my comprehension. But I don't run around fighting gay people. I'm fighting AIDS. I would fight my own church choir if they were spreading a disease that would kill people.'' Formed Conservative Group

Born in Arkansas, the son of a minister, Mr. Gann lived in Texas for a time before moving to the Sacramento area, where he worked in real estate and automobile sales.

He entered politics in 1974 by forming a conservative citizen group called People's Advocate.

He was the 1980 Republican challenger in the United States Senate race. Although he lost his only bid for elective office to Senator Alan Cranston, the Democratic incumbent, he remained in the political arena with a series of petition campaigns intended, he said, ''to get the Government off the backs of both working people and businessmen.''

Mr. Gann championed Proposition 13 with Howard Jarvis, who died in 1986 at the age of 82. California voters approved the measure by a vote of almost 2 to 1. The proposition, named the Jarvis-Gann Amendment, had the effect of cutting Californa's property taxes in half and gave rise to similar tax revolt measures across the nation.

Gov. George Deukmejian of California called Mr. Gann ''a tireless crusader on behalf of lower taxes, fiscal responsibility and good government'' and added that he and Mr. Jarvis ''will be remembered for leading the modern-day version of the Boston Tea Party.'' Spending Hits 'Gann Limits'

The year after the Proposition 13 victory, Mr. Gann successfully sponsored another voter petition drive, this one setting s government spending limits. The measure has emerged in recent years as potentially even more far-reaching as the state and hundreds of California local governments are forced to restrict spending when they hit ''Gann Limits.''

Mr. Gann moved to California in 1935, where he and his wife, Nell, reared their four children in Carmichael, a Sacramento suburb.

Mr. Gann is survived by his wife; four children, Polly, Richard, Linda and Jody; 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Photo of Paul Gann (AP, 1988)


October 23, 2007, Burlingame Daily News:

Burlingame Public Works Director Syed Murtuza disputed Baykeeper's key allegation. "I'm not aware of any incidents where raw sewage went into the Bay," he said.

May 1, 2009, Burlingame Voice blog, Councilwoman Terry Nagel:

For example, when water overwhelms our storm drain system and mixes with our sewage system, it carries sewage into our bay - a violation for which our city can be fined $10,000 per day, not to mention the effects on the environment.

Is there an explanation for the inconsistent statements? Is raw sewage going into the Bay from Burlingame, or not? If raw sewage is going into the Bay from Burlingame, it would seem that the folks who villified the Baykeeper group for threatening a lawsuit should apologize.


May I humbly suggest you go straight to the horse's mouth so to speak - to the Baykeeper website to be informed of what they have to say - here is the link -



Thanks, Fiona. I did look up your suggested link and it is a press release from Baykeeper announcing its intent to sue. I know what Baykeeper alleged -- so this press release didn't really answer my question (and perhaps I wasn't clear in asking it the first time).

My question was really what is the truth behind the allegations. Has Burlingame allowed raw sewage to flow into the Bay (as Councilwoman Nagel suggests above) or have there been no incidents of raw sewage going into the Bay (as our Public Works Director suggests above). It seems like these statements are very inconsistent.

There may be many other reasons to replace our storm system -- but I think the residents of Burlingame deserve an honest answer about raw sewage going into the Bay.

Call the city - they would know and after that call baykeeper - I am sure they would know too - and then your favorite councilmember who may - or may not - know "the honest answers".

Interesting to receive a glossy rather tacky brochure from these Sacramento people to "Vote No on May 19 (?) Burlingame $40 million storm drain tax"

They have at least one thing right - it will be a burden on us property owners now - as it will be for future property owners as the infrastructure will not magically, mystically, magnaminously and generously get fixed by an "advocate" group in Sacramento who sends out erroneous information in a tacky brochure.


who is "the city"...Joanne has sited quotes from city council and former mayor Terry, director of PW Syed, and Baykeeper.

is there another person with the official with the official city of burlingame position?


Mr. Nantell has always been very helpful, honest and forthright in answering my questions about city issues and, after all, he is "another person with the official with the official city of burlingame position" so why not try him?

There is also another councilmember who is closely aligned to the Burlingame Voice who could probably answer your questions on this website.


The city website dedicated to this issue (www.protectburlingame.org) answered my questions. Go to FAQ -- the last question asks why a new tax is being proposed when the city just increased water/sewer rates. The answer explains that the sewer system is totally separate from the storm drain system.

So I think Councilwoman Nagel misspoke when she posted the comment above that "when water overwhelms the storm drain and mixes with the sewer system it can carry sewage into the bay." That isn't accurate. When water overwhelms the storm drain, flooding results -- but the flooding caused by failed storm drains has nothing to do with sewage. (On the other hand, if the sewer lines fail, sewage can back up into the streets and enter the storm drains, but that would be true whether or not the storm drains were adequate or not).

As I understand the explanation on the city website, the measure before the voters now has nothing to do with keeping sewage out of the Bay, failed sewer lines or replacing sewer lines -- it is solely a storm drain/anti-flooding measure.


CONGRATULATIONS - To the 2,706 property owners who voted in support of the Burlingame Storm Drain Measure.

With 63.4% in favor the measure passes.

Thank you to those on the committee and a number of hardworking councilmembers who worked so hard to get this through - a positive move to fix something that needs fixing in Burlingame!


The numbers from the city are as follows:

Total Number of Votes Cast: 4,267

Votes For: 2,706 - 63.4%

Votes Against: 1,561 - 36.5%



...from Fiona's previous post..."thanks to a number of hardworking councilmembers?...

If one is to thank some council members, then they should ALL be thanked, because each and everyone of them worked hard to educate the community about the issue not only during this election cycle but during the Measure H election as well. I believe that the work done then laid much needed groundwork in educating our property owners of the importance of a well maintained infrastructure.

Simply because you did not witness someone working hard or they didn't broadcast how hard they were working doesn't mean they didn't actually bust their hump do get the job done.


Russ, we should thank whichever individual councilmembers you believe "busted their hump". It is a fact that some councilmembers work harder than others just as some volunteers work harder than others.

And in that vein, I'd like to thank Kevin and Neal for "busting their hump" and those city staff who answered our questions so we knew that the sewer system is a different system to the storm water system.

Holy Roller

Wherever the credit goes, thank goodness our community (the pragmatic ones) was able to get behind an issue that will contribute to the City we live in for years to come.

Holy Roller

I read something in the paper today about O'Mahoney running for office again.
I think that is a really bad idea.
She has provided leadership and fought for rightous things for our community.
She should go out on top of her game.
In the last few years I have heard her speak. Answer questions.
Unfortunetly,she always appears to have a handler.
Time to pass on the flame.
Thank you Rosilie!
You have fought the good fight!


Who is her handler?

I have heard good and bad things about Rosalie but I have never heard that one. She does not seem the puppet on the present council?

I value Rosalie's continuity, hard work and knowledge of the background on many issues from the past.

There is alot of talent out there in Burlingameland and I believe that our city is ready for some more hard workers on our council - those that bust their humps - or was it rumps!?

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