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February 22, 2014


Account Deleted

Thanks Joe -- FYI, although I won't mention him by name, another "eagle eye" deserves credit for referring me to that list on Burlingame's website (he, too, is a fellow resident,Burlingame business owner, and school parent).


OK, shall we just call him EagleEye? :-)


That is a very old building with lots of history.
I believe that Removal of that Rec Center would be better off in another section of Burlingame.
The Bay Front.
In that 30 plus year abandoned Drive In Theater space.
How/Why is it that The City of Burlingame does not take advantage of the beauty, nature, views of San Francisco, East Bay, Mt. Diablo, the multiple Resteraunt and Hotels inject-"put your money where your mouth " into a beautiful Civic Center on the most valuable propety in Burlingame?
I am sure a commitment from The City of Burlingame to put a Civic Center; ie City Hall, Park & Rec Center, all administration facilities in one place would encourage business, as well as increase the value of the land ten fold.
Like the Trousdale Human Warehousing, who are the people "Dropping The Ball" over and over regarding the development of creating a beautiful, efficient and logical solution for the future of the City of Burlingame?
The Rec Center was labled a liability @ 15 years ago... Do you folks know that this is the place "We" are supposed to go in the event of a Large Earthquake for sanctuary.
Look it up. Ask your neighborhood Elder.
The point I am making is that there has been more that enough time and opportunity, as well as funds available to create a better Burlingame.
The City of Burlingame Elders are voted into office because they save a tree, belong to the Lions Club, have their finger on the pulse of Real Estate Market, insist on Crossing Guards at BHS, baseball field, soccer, and dog parks maintenance.
Due to their collective lack of Community Planning are reactive, instaed of proactive regarding the long term benefits that have needed to be instituted for years and years.
Whenever I see mentioned remodling of the Burlingame Rec Center, it make me cry.

Bruce Dickinson

Listen, guys we're not even a year into burlingame revenues growing faster than expenses and starting to make a dent in pension obligations, and already the city is even considering spending $56 million dollars on a new governmental complex?!? I've said it before and I'll say it again, this City has a spending addiction problem, and yes, it can only be stopped with an intervention!

First of all, Bruce Dickinson doesn't know how part of City Hall (council chambers) is "underutilized" but we need a new site or completely razed building? Just knock down the council chambers wing and build something with removable seating or room dividers for conference rooms, etc. Build a basement for file storage. You don't need to buy land or raze the entire existing building. Explore the existing space, guys.

Secondly, in the "Civic Center" proposal, the new City Hall would be 30,000 square feet, which is the same size as the current one?!

Third, why would you want to acquire another site in the midst of a real estate bubble that is making architects, developers and Stanley Lo rich, when you are already sitting on "free" land where the current rec center and city hall are? New land assumed to be an extra $14 million dollars (probably too Lo, no pun intended). Not to mention the likely hiring of and overcharging by Burlingame's own architects sitting in our government (look at the Hoover debacle)… you and I know who the favorite city-connected architects will be hired for any of the possible proposals.

Fourth, don't show a messy, disorganized worker's office as demonstration of "we're running out of space". Whomever that person's office belongs to needs to clean clean things up and lead an organized life…it's bad "fung shui" as Mr. Longwong probably would say. To use that messy office as one of two prime pictorial examples of running out of space tells Bruce Dickinson that they're not being truthful.

Fifth, it seems that this document is so focused on new buildings and space to improve customer service. Personally I don't care if a developer has to climb a flight of stairs to get his plans rubber stamped by the building department or if the A/V equipment in chambers shows the wrong hues for his powerpoint slideshow renderings or if he can't hear the planning commissioners softball question that has to be repeated. The last thing we need is drive-through fast food type of development approvals and if things are a little inconvenient for developers, then so be it…not worth millions to change it.

Finally the last thing this city needs is a monument to itself with a new city hall that will only serve to reinforce the same ego issues that have the audacity to even consider spending $56 million dollars of our money (and more my money than yours probably considering how much property tax I pay.

Bruce Dickinson has produced many artists that at one time had addiction issues, but my rule was you abuse drugs while I'm producing your to-be-platinum record, I'll invoke the breach of contract clause with Columbia and enforce it rigorously!!! While a difference In this case ,I'm calling out a breach of the public contract of trust with our City and elected officials in that they must present to the burlingame public a truthful depiction of the problem and realistic solutions. Yes, I would be in favor of lower cost additions/tear downs to existing city hall edifices or a new rec center, but it has to be convincingly proven to us that there is an issue and it must be rectified in the cheapest way possible (which does NOT mean acquire land and build a new building).

I would be remiss if I didn't say that it appears that Ric Ortiz is the lonely voice in talking about financial prudence and saving for a rainy day. He to be listened to by the City. Between this, the Post Office project, and the Hoover school issues, Bruce Dickinson can proclaim that I got a FEVER..and the only prescription is an addiction intervention program!!! So come join me, intervention works better when there are more people involved, because it helps the abuser overcome the denial stage!

Shakey Grounds...

Yes, let's call a spade a spade.

The Democratic Party and even The Republican Party...has a massive spending and debt problem.

If there's a 70% chance of a major earthquake in the next 30 years, and if Burlingame is directly next to one of the largest earthquake faults in the world...this makes our need to not spend and not take on more debt that much more important.

Our town needs to be run with the acknowledgement that an earthquake might causes millions or even billions in damage in our immediate area.

Further, instability is engineered into our town's operating budget > 35% of our revenue comes from the hotel transient occupancy tax ($18M). This visitor gouging tax makes or breaks our town. And, during "The Great Recession" the hotel industry was the worst hit asset class in commercial real estate, and it dramatically impacted our town's fiscal health.

The more the city council holds up our SFO area land waiting for Godot...I mean more hotel developers to feed our coffers via TOT, the more we double down on the hotel industry vs. others. Any Urban Planning undergrad can tell you that it's critical to have diverse industries in your town.

When you look at Burlingame's largest employers from the 2011 financial report, you'll notice that 60% of them have left Burlingame since then! Does the existing city council even know this? In their frenzy to worship Obama and his entourage, do they realize that we want to ATTRACT successful businesses to Burlingame, not scare them aware with 20 year permitting processes?

Yes, budget surpluses can help us pay down our $70M+ unfunded city worker pension liabilities (based on giving free health care to you and your spouse after just 5 years of service...'cause cities had their hey-hay' says the city manager and city hr manager). And budget surpluses can help us save up for the city council's wish list of construction deals.

My apologies for sounding negative by questioning our town's long-term and on-going mismanagement.

Please demand long-term ethical and responsible governance of our town!


I just spent around 30 minutes fixing everything that is wrong with Burlingame.. Again.
I went to post and was timed out.
I HAD it all figured out people.
Even something you could get behind Longsong..
Nevertheless, what iT all comes down to, and I know Bruce Dikinson will agree with me, "is all we need is


I only have three things to add to this lovely polylog:

1) Holyroller has forgotten that the Drive-in property is spoken for. Go here for the story:


2) Shakey Grounds missed the change to the Council benefits package that happened about 5 years ago (maybe more). The 5 year plan is ancient history.

3) I know it's not going to happen, but can you all try, try - not a little tenderness - just to stay on topic.

We have perfectly good threads for the Drive-in, the Rec Center, benefits, the city budget, etc. If I need to start a Cowbell category, so be it.


More Cow Bell Joe.
More Cow Bell...



I didn't forget that the sweetheart free healthcare was discontinued.

My point was we're still living with the legacy of such poor fiscal planning.


A lot of tl;dr above. $56 million? How about buy the post office for $6 million and call it a day.

Account Deleted

FYI, new survey and community outreach for infrastructure spending "wish list" (see cut and paste below). I wonder if any of the organizations they reference include newer property owners (who would be penalized if the city uses general obligation bonds)..
Help Set Funding Priorities
The City of Burlingame has launched a community engagement effort to seek input from residents and the business community on 11 unfunded capital improvement projects. The unfunded projects include building a new community center, upgrading several City-owned facilities, constructing a downtown parking garage, and extending the beautiful Burlingame Avenue streetscape improvements to the surrounding commercial streets.

As part of this initiative, City staff is making presentations to numerous community groups and organizations and asking attendees and other community members to complete a survey rating the projects’ importance. The City Council will use the results to help them set funding priorities.

All Burlingame residents and business community members are encouraged to participate and can access the survey by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BurlingameAssessment

If you are a member of a Burlingame-based organization and would like to schedule a presentation, please send a note to City staff at [email protected]


I don't know if there is any money for any of these projects and I don't plan to vote for any more bonds for anything. It's nice to take a vote but just remember it is a straw vote.

Account Deleted

Yes, it would have been useful - and perhaps more meaningful- if the survey included options about how these projects would be actually paid for. And not just to get a sense of what my own potential, personal "investment" might be, but how this outlay would compare proportionally to other residents/property owners.


A City the size and population of Burlingame has very little need for a Recreation Center.
I understand the need for people to have employment. However, the organizations(Baseball, Soccer, Bingo, Community Garden, have the ability to manage themselves with out any reliance on City of Burlingame Recreation Dept.
If the City of Burlingame Recreation Dept.and all the tax money that funds the employee's that work there, were to disappear tomorrow. The organizations that rely on the Recreation Dept. to schedule events would immediately come up with their own Management Program.
It would work very easily.
There are 100 non-profit, church, Lion Clubs, sport clubs, gyms, for any sport all along Rollins Road that have a very good place to conduct events for small children, Senior Citizens, throughout the City of Burlingame.
@30,000 people live in Burlingame.
A Recreation Center is a ridiculous concept to consider.
I am embarrassed to see the concept of a Recreation Center even put forward.
To be fair...
What is the Cost/benefit to the community, vs. upgrading important infrastructure?
What is the cost of making "emotional and political decisions," vs. the reality of limited funds, to use for the benefit of all the City of Burlingame who live here, and have business's here, that should be able to grow?
Any funding to keep and maintain a City of Burlingame Recreation Center, as well as most likely a yearly Multi Million Dollar patrol, is worthy of a City of Burlingame Council Recall vote.
I totally agree with Lorne.


I meant to say "Payroll" not patrol.


HR, you obviously know nothing about what the employees at the rec. center do or how often it is used by the citizens of Burlingame. For your comments about baseball and soccer, the employees spend hours and hours scheduling these groups and mediating field scheduling between the groups. If left to their own abilities, every non profit sports group would be out and our fields would be used by a very few kids. We have some of the best recreational programs on the peninsula and this is due in most part to our employees that run these excellent programs. Perhaps if you got up from behind your computer and actually took a walk through the rec center, you'd see how many residents use these programs.


I apologize by making "any argument" for not having a Recreation Center due to the employees who work there.
I am sure they do a great job, and might be underappreciated due to the work preformed "behind the scenes."
Nevertheless, I still believe that a city of 30,000 people has no business asking the tax payers for 56 Million Dollars, 30 Million, or 70 million dollars for a facility that will not ever be able to make a rational Argument for that expenditure in a City of 30,000 people.
I again want to apologize to the employees at the Recreation Dept. for my poor choice of argument regarding a Recreation Center.
The impact a group of employees has on the reason to spend 56 Million Dollars is very small.
I am very curious as to which City of Burlingame Elders are willing to get behind this "event."

I have been through the Recreation Center plenty of times Day, Night Weekends.
If you were to use just that comment to support a reason to build a new Recreation Dept., it would probably be the "Last Coffin Nail" to put the consideration of spending 56 Million Dollars to a final resting place.


Today's Daily Journal has a recap of some recent meetings here: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2014-04-16/preferred-community-center-bigger-two-stories-funding-still-a-key-next-step-for-building-new-burlingame-facility/1776425121583.html

The article notes:

A two-story 35,500-square-foot building located at the same location is the front-runner. At this time, there is no funding allocated for the project, so securing money for construction would also be part of the process. The Citizens Advisory Committee, or CAC, met Feb. 12 and helped identify both the preferred project and site option based on community input gathered at the Fresh Market, from the Recreation Center display and from the online survey. The current structure is 25,000 square feet.

Peter Garrison

The surveys can sometime be misleading in their questioning and the results obtained. As with HSR; if asked if you'd like HSR to get you to LA in 2 hours for $50- of course you'd reply yes. But that is now impossible and the money isn't available and the whole thing needs to be scrapped.

Same with the Rec. Ctr. questions: Who wouldn't want a new facility that offers cool classes and events- but, oops- no money.

Sometimes good enough is good enough.

Account Deleted

In case you missed it, capital expenditures were discussed at the last Council meeting, including freeing up an additional $250,000 for addition further rec center study/draft plans. You can scroll directly to agenda item 10b: http://burlingameca.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=237


One Quarter of one Million dollars...
I bet one out of 20 cars driving around Burlingame are equal or exceed that price.
However, I think that until the Rec Dept. People figure out what they want, what they can afford, who is going to use it, they should save the money and have vote on whether to turn the Recreation Dept. into a Private/Charter Corporation. Save the $250,000.00 for that study.
Bingo, babysitting.
What it is,ratio of Latin Nanny's with White Babies?
Who is taking care of the Latin Nanny's babies?
I believe a good use for that Extra $250,000.00 would be how the Park Dept. is going to maintain Parks , Trees, The Farm, while reducing water consumption by a minimum of 50%.
This Drought may last years.
The repercussions certainly will.
Dead Tree Removal. Baseball/Soccer Fields surface compacted as much as concrete hurting children and adults.
Lets think rationally about spending One Quarter of a Million Dollars on a study (Bingo, Cooking Classes) that only distracts the people from what the forthcoming issues really are.
Everything is not OK.
The sooner the City Elders admit that to themselves, we just might make everything work out OK.

Account Deleted

The City Council approved the master design plan for the new rec/community center last night. You can scroll directly to agenda item 10a to see the presentation; Council members' subsequent questions and comments start at 1:37:30. Also, here's the corresponding staff report. Included are minutes from the Citizens Advisory Committee which has been overseeing this project. Its interesting to note the minutes from September 10, 2013. A bit hard to understand within the broader context, but it looks like there was some concern about how parking issues would (or would not) be communicated at a broader Community meeting; according to one excerpt, discussion should be "more about programming, less about parking." Source: http://burlingameca.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=255&meta_id=19713

Account Deleted

Here's the link for the Council meeting video, which I forgot to include in my earlier post above (again, you can scroll directly to agenda item 10a, and Council comments/questions commence at 1:37:30.



Account Deleted

I should have noted upfront in my earlier post that the estimated price tag is $32.8 - $35.3 million. And as I've said before, although I support the underlying intent, I will adamantly oppose financing this project through general obligation bonds, for which newer property owners will disproportionally shoulder most of the burden.

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