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October 24, 2009



I do not agree with this endorsement but in the spirit of being fair as in parsing and clipping and cutting the newspaper articles, I would like to add what the newspaper wrote about Mr. Brownrigg:

- "Brownrigg, a venture capitalist and former U.S. diplomat, has the kind of business and financial skills that would help the city stay fiscally prudent and grow the business base to increase city revenues. His experience on the Planning Commission has given him expertise on city matters and he is well qualified to serve on the City Council."


Brownrigg over O'Mahony. It is easy to endorse incumbents as a blanket. It is clear the Brownrigg has the experience to lead.


Brownrigg has more experience than O'Mahony? Really? Who's buying that one?


I am still waiting for Michael to acknowledge that he is wrong about the bond issued by the city to cover the Calpers liability. This was a clear example of refinancing expensive debt with cheaper debt and he played politics with the question at the debate. The longer I wait the more I distrust his motives.


Rosalie's "experience" as a council member for 20 years is over and above "experience". Nobody can devalue that kind of experience.

Anyone who has taken the time to meet and ask Mr. Brownrigg's questions about the issues have stated that, along with other pluses, they value his "experience" - ie his business and financial experience in the business world.


SJM -- Pension obligation bonds are not simply a matter of "high to low" refinancing. You're refinancing a "soft" liability based ultimately on actuarial/accounting assumptions into an actual "hard" debt obligation. Only when the bonds mature will one know if it added economic value. At this point, Burlingame issued a series of bonds costing more than 5% annually interest; they, in turn, handed the $30 million dollars over the Calpers (net of the issuance costs they had to pay to their investment banker), and Calpers invested these proceeds. Given what the market has done since the funds were invested, I would imagine the proceeds are worth less than $30 million -- but, we're still stuck with a $30 million debt liability (which, by the way, did not require voter approval)


Meant to also include this link for more additional detail on how these bonds work:
http://www.csmfo.org/download/index.cfm?fuseaction=download&cid=1337#306,20,Why Do Cities and Counties Issue POBs?

Mr. Slate

Where did I get the idea that the City was paying CAPERS about 7.5% on this "soft" liability before the bond? If that is the case, then the 5% with all its uncertainties sounds like a good alternative.

These links serve only to muddle the issue unless you comment on how they relate to this specific transaction. The link above serves to once again, show that the unfunded penision liabilities are not just a Burlingame issue and the use of bonds to fund these are common. The big question is: what alternative would Mr. Brownrigg have used to the Bond?


Brownrigg over Baylock. She can contribute off council, and embroil herself in that silly society, preservation, and bookeeping (hmm)


The thing I like about her is you know where she stands on things like the bullet train and neighborhoods. Michael has been a planning commissioner for 8 years but his take on the latest flap is that he needs more information. Don't get that.


Sometimes the things candidates don't say are more important than the things they do say.

Has Browrigg ever said that the investing he has done is primarily in China, the most pollutted country in the world. His campaign material and his rhetoric never mention this. What does a diplomat do anyway? And what was he a diplomat to? China?

Keigrahn's campaign material never mention the fact that she has brought $0 dollars to the city. Oh, the revitalization of Broadway is her claim to fame...what revitilization? There are still empty storefronts and what exactly did she do anyway?

I know OMahony and Baylock have brought in serious money for infrastucture, bike paths, etc. that is documented, not just campaign chatter.


Good question! What should the Council have done instead of the Bond? What options were available and which one does Mr. Brownrigg think they should have taken?


Sometimes councilmembers that work "anonymously" says more about them than what they do upfront and personally and honestly.


If Brownrigg has the best financial experience to be on the City Council - why did he vote FOR the High Speed Rail? Didn't he have to foresight to see the impact on Burlingame and other communities that the HSR will eventually travel through? Didn't he see that it is NOT wise to be adding a large bond obligation to our already financially strapped state?


The Daily Post tells us today that the San Mateo County Association of Realtors has "rescinded its endorsement of Candidate Baylock after she blocked the sale of her neighbors' home by turning in documents that showed the home had historical value".

The newspaper reports that a $3,000 property analysis found "that it wasn't historic". No surprise to anyone and should not have been to the Historical Society who had conducted a previous house history on this property.

Is this unusual for an organization to rescind their endorsement of a candidate?

Just fishwrap

It's more unusual than a cub reporter continuing to misreport the news. Any article that says anyone blocked anything is immediately suspect since that didn't happen.

This piece from the Daily Compost is no different except that more council members are quoted saying we need to change the code. But who can tell since all of the quotes are month old. It just fishwrap.


It is never "fishwrap" when an endorsement is rescinded by an organization such as this one. Are you blaming the reporter on this one too?

Go ask those who have also changed their support over this issue.

Vote tomorrow

Thanks for the reminder of who got the endorsements this time. I appreciate it!


Well, well, well - a rescinded endorsement.

That must be a first?


Actually the folks at the San Mateo County Association of Realtors do things differently than most organizations.

Last election they endorsed more candidates than there were seats. One election they endorsed a candidate that didn't even show up for their interview.

Makes you wonder if their endorsement really means anything anyway.


Looks like this endorsement has "meant something" to this association if they feel strongly enough to rescind their endorsement for Baylock.

Ditto rescind for some residents who are concerned about their property rights.


Yeah, they're talking to themselves. Thanks for pointing that out.

Two Cents

Sign Awards:

The winner for Silliest campaign sign location:
Mr. Ice Cream truck driving around town with Keighran's signs plastered in his window. Wonder how much she's paying him?

Best Sign location:
Brownrigg's sign on ECR construction site near Broadway


Burlingame home that sparked controversy has no historical value
By Mike Rosenberg, San Mateo County Times

BURLINGAME — A month after a home sale was blocked by the suggestion that it may have historical significance, an independent firm has ruled the house in question has no historical value.

The verdict should allow homeowners Rawson and Sarah Groves Hobart to more easily sell their house at 1540 Newlands Ave., although the process already cost them thousands of dollars and a prospective buyer. The saga put the couple, both 48, at the center of a property rights controversy that has frustrated Burlingame residents, Realtors and officials who fear older homes could be subjected to similar scrutiny.

San Francisco-based architectural firm Page & Turnbull said in a report released Friday that the 87-year-old home should not be protected under the California Register of Historical Resources. As a result, the future owners will be free to plan construction on the home.

Specifically, Page & Turnbull's report said the two-story home was not architecturally special, never played host to famous inhabitants and was not part of any significant historical events.

Rawson Groves Hobart said Monday the entire process, including the $3,000 report and expenses to restage the house for sale, cost his family about $7,500. "I've got a senior in high school that's going to college next year, and that $7,500 is really important to us," he said, adding that their former buyer is no longer returning their calls.

The couple in late September
had a deal in place to sell the house, which was on the market for $2.25 million. But Vice Mayor Cathy Baylock, their neighbor and longtime Burlingame Historical Society member, said she was legally bound days later to submit a resident's research from 2004 that details the history of their street and the surrounding neighborhood.

The information prompted city planners, citing state law, to require a historic resources report before any construction on the home, and the prospective homebuyer backed out of the purchase.

Realtors have since begun disclosing the threat of a historic resources report to prospective Burlingame homebuyers, and city officials are debating how to prevent future historic home sale problems. Officials have placed a FAQ on the topic on the city Web site, and the item will go before the planning commission on Monday.

Baylock had suggested the city fund its own historic resources report to lift the burden from homeowners. She did not return a call seeking comment Monday.

Groves Hobart said the couple was relieved the report verified their home's lack of historical significance, although they had suspected it would.

"Personally, the most painful thing is we feel completely out of control of our home and our lives," he said. "We have felt, and we continue to feel, trapped."

He said the couple held their first open house Sunday, two days after receiving the report. He said many of the attendees merely wanted to see the house that has garnered such attention in the past month, and those interested in buying asked about the historic report.

The couple is becoming accustomed to the attention, although they don't care for it. "We sit at home at night and we see people drive by, and they slow down and they stare out the car windows at the house, and they point and chatter," he said. "We understand, but it's really desperately unpleasant."



Two Cents

If I hired a real estate agent to sell my 2.25 million house, she would be expected to know every disclosure required by law in any town she is selling property. This is her job!

Alicia Ruiz Johnson who lives in Burlingame and collects big fees for selling homes on the peninsula was negligent by not knowing disclosures in her own city.

I would think the Cashin Company would be completely embarrassed by her lack of knowledge.

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