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December 31, 2013



I agree with Elder Ortiz. That building looks like it has been abandoned by the people who finaced it development.
Elder Ortiz,
What are your opinions regarding the sale, construction issues, effect on the neighborhood's safety, traffic and property value around the Hoover School?


The problem I have with this interview is Ortiz seems like he gets it with the Yogi Berra quote even if he doesn't know its Yogi. No one goes there anymore its too crowded. Then he turns around and mimics the same old we need more parking BS. Says who. Anyone who has to walk more than 5 storefronts to their destination thinks we have a parking probelm. BS. I hear the same from the other Elders and it doesn't stand up to the light of day. Sure at 6:45 in the evening on Thursdays or Fridays or Saturdays is it tight but so what. It supposed to be tight then otherwise the tail is waggin' the dog.


Newspaper truly are dead. What a waste of an interview! If I want to watch softball, I just need to go to Ray Park, not listen to fat pitch questions that don't really reveal anything new or insightful.

Also, if people think that parking is bad now, wait until condos go up in downtown Burlingame in that hideous public-private "partnership" post office proposal (the PPPPoP!!) for high density condos with insufficient parking. Clearly the City Council is not listening to the people that elect them. Knock on doors, everyone says parking is a problem, so what does Burlingame do, build a parking structure....AND condos, which will need more parking?!!?? Ridiculous.




Will Elder Ortiz respond to these basic concerns or not?
The same goes for any other City of Burlingame Elder.
What do you think about the problems around the Hoover School purchase, Enviormental Impact Report, and the use of the school by an "elite" student body? (Elite meaning wealthy, connected, parents taking advantage of a situation that was obviously ripe for picking.)
We can not blame them, or their children for being smarter than the average City of Burlingame Elder.
Lets just get some answers and inputs from the mouths of our elected officals without the City Attorney stepping in.

This is an issue that will not go away.
The lack of input from COB Elders, is going to bite them all in the but.


The parking problem in Burlingame is not BS abd it is not bad just on weekend nights. San Mateo addressed their parking problem and their downtown is thriving and they still feel a need to address the parking situation. I've heard plenty of business owners and shoppers complain about the lack of parking in downtown Burlingame. If it is not dealt with it will hamstring the revenue of local businesses and the city.

Burlingame Betty

I have only ever had to loop around a few times downtown at high volume times - every other time I easily find space - we don't want to live in a town filled with parking lots - and really what a good problem to have - people actually patronizing our downtown....

I do agree that the proposed mix housing at the post office location will be a nightmare which may lead me to change my opinion -

Let's talk about Jennifer's great idea about city hall moving to that spot - adding underground parking and open space and put the condo's over where the rest of the housing is - also this idea could add extra public meeting rooms for groups and classes.....


You can't add underground parking there, that is where the storm drain is.


Storm drains can be rerouted. Been done before. Safeway is one example.


Actually, I hadn't necessarily meant underground parking, I meant simply reconfiguring the parking on what would be our civic center project. The surface parking would include the USPO employee parking lot and (former) garage facing Lorton, and some of the current green area because it is probably larger than what would be necessary for a significant open space. We are a clever city and a parking lot doesn't have to be ugly. We could work in paseos, etc. making it much more pedestrian friendly. People are going to walk through the area, one way or another anyhow.

Looking at the aerial, it appears that we could reconfigure the entire parcel to have many more spaces than we currently have. With all the design power we have, I am certain that we could make a beautiful open space area.

Underground parking is really expensive, rerouting a culvert, or not. Unfortunately paying for it is at least a significant reason why Grosvenor says it "needs" 100 units of residential. They aren't as interested in office, because that would require even more parking. Parking is driving everything, as it always has, even though the parking requirements have been altered in that area, from 2 spaces per unit, to 1.5. Office can involve some "share" arrangements, but in this climate, I don't think that is realistic. As is, office space is 1 spot per every 300 sq. ft. Not clear what Live-Work space is, but probably the same as regular residential.

So, on the one hand we have what will be a residential "complex" in the heart of our downtown that provides no additional parking (just what is required for their own project, plus the spots they are removing from the city lot) and underwhelming open space, OR we may be able to have a proper 'civic' area with additional parking available immediately and an open space, sized and located to our own liking. Then, if desired (and affordable) in the future, there is still space there for structured parking, even above the culvert- but this doesn't have to be done right away.

Is this realisic?? I have no idea. I also haven't any idea what it would cost us to add 3 or 4 stories off the back of the USPO, which would be new construction. Call it a daydream, but before we considering spending 11 million someday in the future for fixing (not expanding, just fixing) the current city hall, I think some other creative options should be discussed.

A 3-4 story beautiful "civic" building could integrate what the covenant has established as integral to its historic value. The lobby and offices on the wings seem like a natural fit for a city hall. But this would include not only our city offices and departments, but also other office space for rent as well as a Council chamber that could work as flexible space for community events, like film and theater, for example. This could take some of the burden and costs off of what will be needed as part of a community center down the road. Best of all, we'd be in control of what happens there, now, and in the future.

'Not sure what we could get for parcel on which City Hall currently sits but for what it is worth, on Zillow, the two neighboring properties of varying ages, albeit smaller parcels, are around 5-6 million. The potential worth is the fact that here, Grosvenor (or whoever) can build to 75 feet, rather than 55 ft. on Park Road. I can't remember, but I think the City hall area was originally 2 parcels, conjoined at some point in the 1960s. Already has some underground, so we know it is possible, there.

It's just something to think about.....

The beauty of the Voice is not just to gripe, but to raise awareness, and to be creative now and then, whether ideas are ultimately realistic, or not.


Thank you Jennifer..
Seriously, you have a very indepth ability to comprehend and disperse information in such a way that I think you should run for City Elder of Burlingame.
I also appreciate the way you hold City Elders, Dept. Managers, and Supervisors "feet to the fire from time to time. Not out of Malice, out of the Greater Good for the Community of Burlingame.
In my opinion, you are probably to nice and honest to ever be a City Manager, but being a City ofBurlingame Elder is something that you should consider one day.
Thank you Jennifer!


Thank you Holy--'appreciate your comments.

I'm looking at a current Google aerial of the present parking and building configuration of the USPO and Lot E together. I'm counting 32 usable spots on the government lot, with the garage structure removed. They are all symmetrical, so easy to calculate. This is not even infringing on any of the cement/lawn areas by the USPO structure, though I think there is plenty of room to spare, there.

But let's start nice and clean without using them. If I add in the parallel parking spaces currently located on that private service road behind the USPO I have 16 more spots. That makes 48. If these were diagonally striped (and there is room for that), there would be several more available on that service road, even.

There are more areas available in the loading dock portion, but let's not include those. If this were a proper city hall-civic center, parking could be where the front (insignificant) lawn area is right now, and in the service road area, at least some would be reserved for city employees and visitors. So simply 'as is', we have at least 48 new parking spots on the lot. These are not nearly as efficiently configured as what Public Works could figure out. Giving up some of the areas of concrete and lawn off of the Lorton side, there are even more to be had. I'm imagining the open space on the Lorton side, though anything would work- our choice.

If we get to the neighborhood of 60 new public spaces, that isn't too shabby. Helps to make a dent immediately, at least and gives lots of flexibility if needed down the road, including possibility for retail frontages on Lorton that the city could own, if we end up going in that direction.

J. Mir

THANK YOU Ricardo for leading with the derelict Trousdale development. I sooooo happy it's on your radar - and one of the reasons I'm glad I voted for you this past November. The last we heard, in September, is they are still "seeking financing." Sunrise was supposed to provide monthly updates to the council. Guess what - I checked the council minutes since then, and they haven't provided any updates, and nobody on the council has called them on it. Time to step up the pressure big-time. Why not just throw out Sunrise, declare the property condemned, em-domain it, reclaim it, turn it into a park or something USEFUL for all of the 50+ families with little kids that live in the large number of rentals surrounding the property. Mills is already building a senior center much larger than Sunrise - who needs Sunrise? Seriously.

RE the parking in "Ave" (chuckle) I have never been able to find parking on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday during the prime time hours. 10 minutes minimum wait for parking, or worse. There was a recent Police Blotter report about fisticuffs in downtown b'game over what? Guess what, a fight over a downtown b'game parking space. NOT a surprise to anyone i'm sure! And if I have to wait 10 minutes for a spot, guess what else - i can get to san mateo in 10 minutes. Parking issues there too, but more parking available and more options for dining etc. Sorry B'game, swing and a miss, and a miss, and another miss...


Why not have Q&A at City Hall that includes all City Elders.
The same questions will be presented to all City Elders.
The questions all pulled out of a "hat" by a moderator that has No Relationship to anything Burlingame.
No family, no business, no history of anything Burlingame, or any Politition.
Let the City of Burlingame HS Debate Team develope alloted Time for answers, as well as review the questions to determine an inquire from a statement.
As citizens of Burlingame it would be very special to know the "foundation and princples" of our elected officials.
In my humble opinion it would be almost impossible to get together this many Representatives, with so many conflicting opinions and special interests unless we were speaking of some Middle Eastern Country.
A Q&A would give everyone, including City Elders, City Managmenta very good idea who and how to deal with the people who hold the purse strings, and future of Burlingame.

Pete Garrison

Put a third or fourth story on the Donnelley parking lot.
Turn the post office into a park.
Everybody relax.


I guarantee J.Mir a parking spot any night of the week at peak times in Lot H. Guaranteed. Walk from there to the whole Avenue in under 4 minutes. Guaranteed. Did I mention it was guaranteed?


F has spaces also. It's the Mommies and their mini-vans who need more parking. And the valet at Il Fornaio is for all the restaurants not just that one. I don't want to spend a bunch of Burlingame money for Mommies, lazy asses and out of towners.

Bruce Dickinson

James baby, listen, it sounds like you're an old timer like me, but let's face it, the mommies are paying for the services of this city that everyone enjoys, plain and simple. Yes, Bruce Dickinson does pay a ton of property taxes, and such is the price for making gold records for 50 years, but for the most part its the rich mommies (or hubbies / daddys) that pay all the property taxes in Burlingame. We're not talking Prop 13 folks, but those who paid 1-3+ million dollars for their lovely houses and their 2-3 fancy sport utility vehicles and minivans.

But guess what? You pay, you play!! and if the mommies want more parking for minivans, a bigger recreation center, bigger houses, more restaurants, more cowbell, whatever, they're gonna get it, because they're paying for it. You gotta understand folks, Burlingame's demographic is changing, and the city is catering to those who pay the bills, as it should.

Yes, if you do go to dinner after 6 pm, there is a parking problem and it's pretty bad. Even Bruce Dickinson has problems locating a spot that won't get my vehicle scratched and I don't like circling around for 15 minutes trying to explore the parking spaces. Next time I'm going to follow those Il Fornaio parking attendants and see where they park, because the situation my friends has gotten way out of hand and needs to be rectified by this city A-S-A-P.

J. Mir

lot h and f? i'll check out lot f sometime, but lot h is a non-starter. That would be taking my life in my hands trying to cross el camino in the dark, after waiting more than a few minutes for the light. Oh well, lot h is a mere 5 minutes from San Mateo.

I love it when oldsters get all up in their pants about the "mommies" etc. Those awful new Moms! With their nose-dripping grubby-fingered rugrats, their double-wide strollers, offending the senses of the sensible, gobbling up and occupying precious 3 BR homes, subjecting themselves to the (notorious) planning gauntlet to add an addition to their 900 sqft $1M termite-ridden bungalow, commandeering ancient school sites, chopping trees for those sites, careening around in their MDXs carting kids to their (local) activities. What an outrage! Truly a nightmare for peaceable empty nesters to endure. Can't the people with kids just go "somewhere else" and leave us to enjoy our sunset years and our trees and our parking spaces?

But... those kiddies (if they're still around here in 20 years) will be caring for you in those copious amounts of senior centers that you're planning to build here. Ooops. So take care how you treat them...


Walking a block or two with the double stroller is good for them. My favorite Mommies are the ones who run with the double wides. If you think crossing from H is tough now wait til Caltrans widens EC. No more parking--just smarter parkers.


Regarding parking this past Saturday my daughter and I after spending the day in San Francisco decided to go to downtown San Mateo for dinner around 6:00 pm. After circling around several times for a parking space we finally gave up and decided to try downtown Burlingame instead. We parked by the train station and walked up Burlingame Ave to Sixto's and back.
Not a bad walk at all.

I have avoided going to San Mateo because of the parking hassles. In Burlingame I always seem to find parking even though I may have to walk a little bit.

With the possible reality of condos going up at the Post Office site I definitely foresee more serious parking issues in Burlingame.

Poppy Guy

Bah Humbug!


Joanne, you had to cross a busy thouroughfare and walk four blocks, yet this doesn't constitute a parking problem? I like the walk myself, but it does illustrate that parking in Burlingame is difficult at best.

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