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November 07, 2013



From today's DJ, new reporter Angela Swartz recaps the basics:

Election Day results which showed Ricardo Ortiz with 10 more votes than Russ Cohen for the third and final slot on the Burlingame City Council have been updated and now show Cohen with 17 more votes than Ortiz.

The San Mateo County Elections Office released updated numbers from the Nov. 5 election 4:30 p.m. Friday. Another update will be posted at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz and former councilman Cohen, formerly had 15.6 percent of the vote with 1,644 votes and Cohen taking 15.5 percent of the vote with 1,634 votes, respectively. Now, it’s flipped, with Cohen taking 15.6 percent of the vote with 1,966 and Ortiz with 15.5 percent of the vote and 1,949 votes.

Cohen said the numbers are still too close for comfort for either candidate.

“It’s still too close to call,” said Cohen, 54. “With 17 votes and provisional ballots still out, we certainly can’t say either of us are decisive members of the council. Historically, we’ve always had close races in Burlingame and I expected that.”

The provisional ballot count hasn’t been completed yet and Elections Office doesn’t keep records of vote counting subtotals, so it is unsure how many votes are still left to count, Elections Office officials said. All absentee ballots have been counted. Once the votes are counted, the Elections Office will begin its 1 percent manual tally Nov. 14 in anticipation of certifying the results in early December. The tally confirms that the election was properly conducted.


This is as close as close can get - If you look at the top 4 candidates all are pretty smart and talented, agree or disagree with them, very little argument there. I am surprised at Brownrigg not topping Keighran, but maybe that's an indication that some residents really are not keen on hearing lots of pro-development talk, especially as it relates to downtown. Maybe also because of his formulaic demeanor- back in the day when I was working I remember these consultants coming in from Anderson and Boston Consulting Group and they all spoke exactly like him, hand gestures and all. Whereas someone like Keighran seems a little more genuine. Ortiz as well, seems like smart genuine guy, though there was less publicity on his views in comparison to the others.

Been here forever

Looks like Cohen is ahead by 3 votes. When is the race to be called?


It's pretty crazy BHF. 12,842 votes have been counted and the win-lose margin is THREE VOTES!!! Maybe we should just expand the council to 6 seats for the next four years. Whaddya think?


are the results final?

if not when and where will it be posted?


The update for today which appears to be final (pending some checking on votes already counted) has Ricardo Ortiz up by 8 votes-- 2048 to 2040 for Russ Cohen.

Here is the website: http://racetracker.shapethefuture.org/summary_results.aspx

We'll have to see how it plays out from here! EIGHT VOTES--don't ever say your vote doesn't count in B'game!

Tom Hornblower

I was told this afternoon there are still a few votes not counted and Thursday they start doing some kind of a 1% of the votes double checking procedure and hope to finish by Friday and then it has to be certified, so it sounds like we won't know for sure until next week. Keep checking here for status: https://www.shapethefuture.org/elections/results/2013/nov/


Very close race for sure. Congratulations to all who ran, who participated and had an opinion to express. Always good to check in with 'the folk' on our city's direction.


Holy Cow! I hate to say it, but can you spell R-E-C-O-U-N-T?

Been here forever

I actually like the idea of a 6 person council and maybe that would quiet those who say the council votes with each other and there are not enough individual voices. Seems like something to ponder with a race coming out this close. Why not for 4 years? Many times change is good and opens people's eyes. But who am I? Nobody who can institute that kind of change.



I wonder how many people vote for both Ortiz and Cohen, I know my partner did.


Ortiz got a seat?

Just read this on San Mateo Times online


russ to ask for recount?

a vote for russ is a vote for us


They are both good, honest men. During the campaign I also encountered many residents who intended to or had already voted for both because they bring different abilities and interests to the table.

Because of the closeness of this race, there will be a 10% audit of ballots, (larger than the typical sample) if I understand correctly. See below-

Phase 4: One Percent Manual Tally
The manual tally of a portion of the total votes cast is a means of verifying the accuracy of the automated system count. We hand count all the ballots voted in one percent—randomly selected— of the total number of precincts, plus one additional precinct for each race not included in the randomly selected group (only the individual race shall be recounted). The official has discretion to select more precincts.
Following the SOS’ “Top-to-Bottom Review” of the state’s voting systems in late 2007, additional manual tally requirements were announced: • Larger Sample for Close Races. For any contest where the victory margin is less than one half of
one percent (0.5%), the manual tally shall increase to 10% of randomly selected precincts
• Escalation Requirements for Variances. When variances between the semifinal official canvass results and the manual tally results are discovered, elections officials must document and disclose those variances and take steps to resolve the variances
The process is open to the public, following at least five days public notice of the time and place of the One Percent Manual Tally and of the random selection of the precincts to be included in the tally. Voting machine votes are recounted using the printed paper tape sealed inside the voting machine’s VBO component, and this tape governs resolution of any discrepancy. Manual tally totals are compared to the automated system count to verify the system’s accuracy. The Statement of the Vote must include a report of the recount results, including every discrepancy and its resolution. [EC 336.5, 15360]


San Mateo County TImes 11-13-2013
John Horgan

Bitter Burlingame
With a final result in the Burlingame City Council election still pending (the winner of an open seat vacated by Cathy Baylock has yet to be determined because candidates Russ Cohen and Ricardo Ortiz have been locked in a virtual tie) Wednesday afternoon, bad feelings are fresh and raw.
Mainly, that's a direct consequence of veteran Councilwoman Terry Nagel's openly negative campaign against a number of challengers, especially Cohen.
Nagel's strong backing of Nirmala Bandrapalli was perfectly legitimate but, in the view of her critics, Nagel went way too far in trashing her favorite's foes, Cohen in particular.
And, in the end, it didn't work anyway. Nagel gambled and lost. Nirmala wound up finishing fifth, well out of the money. The bitterness doesn't figure to subside anytime soon. Burlingame is a small town after all.


Cannot wait until Nagel's seat is up. There is a treasure trove of documented material from her in this election that whomever runs against her has a win served up on a silver platter.


My wife says that what Nagel did this election is just politics and she reminded me that in the past Burlingame council members have used their position to stacked the council, that O'Mahoney and Keighran were Jerry Deal's "honorary campaign chairs" and Nagel openly backed Brownrigg when he ran against O'Mahoney.

I don't know if I agree. Nagel is out of control, first she puts her puppet on Planning commission to give the appearance that she was a legitimate candidate then spending the weeks leading up to the election "bad mouthing" the other candidates.

So where does that leave Burlingame?

Is Nagel going to be able to work with newly elected Ortiz?

Is Nagel's puppet going to finish her planning commission term or will a replacement have to be found?

Does this need to be fixed?

Do we need to asked the council members to abide by a code of "election" ethics?

Been here forever

And what is so amazing and ridiculous in the same breath is that Nagel used to be a supporter of Cohen. Fair weather friends or so we say. Karma will come back to bite her on the butt. Her re-election to city council will end up just like her run for supervisor or whatever she ran for and lost. Losers breed losers.


I figure this is the Terry Nagel quote they are talking about:

"If you vote for one of the challengers who perpetually rails at the norm, spins conspiracy theories or wants to take Burlingame back to the past instead of into the future, that person will be out of step with the rest of the council and will not have a chance of getting support for his ideas."

Seems a lot less harmless than that racist crap Fiduciary wrote that many here think is funny.


"less harmful" That stuff was not right or funny.


The "SOS Top-to-Bottom-Review" larger tally (of votes) sample for close races requirement apparently expired in 2009. Wonder why the County hasn't updated their website material in 4 years ?*!

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