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March 16, 2014

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Bruce Dickinson

Listen guys, while Bruce Dickinson has been called a "Renaissance Man" numerous times in the past, I must give credit where credit is due. I will give you both the obvious and not so obvious. I gotta tell ya, I've got a lot of "guys", i.e. experts that help me deal in the art of adjudication in matters where I may not be as much of an expert as they are. For example, I've got my legal guy, my investment guy, my IT guy, my groundskeeper guy, my car guy, my secretary (well technically not a guy, but you know what I mean), my winemaker guy, etc.

Well one of my most important "guys" is my local dealmaker guy, whose first name is actually Guy, as it were, and whom I rely on for real estate and the major Dickinson-sized transactions, such as the steal of a property that I got in the Anderson Valley for the grapes I'm growing. I was just on the horn with Guy on Thursday, talking about Burlingame's gushing wound, namely Hoover. He said look Bruce, I'll tell you the facts and you adjudicate. McKinley and Lincoln expansions were done at $600,000 dollars per classroom. Hoover is being done at $2.4 million dollars per classroom. Backing out the land acquisition at around $5 million dollars, still comes out to around $2 million dollars per classroom and that is on the low side. The EIR and CEQA review costs can be doubled, delays will also cost more, and if the school is given the green light the parking/traffic improvements will cost more, and the legal fees will only balloon from here. And then consider this: what happens if the EIR is completed and the proposed school is not compliant with CEQA and is deemed to be illegal? Well if you take what has been spent to date and divide it by zero classrooms what is your answer?: UNDEFINED! (not to throw the concept of Infinitesimal Calculus at you guys, but it is what it is) Could you imagine spending $20 million dollars for nothing?!? My adjudication is that it would have been much easier/cheaper to expand at Franklin, Roosevelt, or even expansion #2 at Lincoln (and BIS will also have to be addressed at some juncture).

Well here's another nugget from Guy: someone saw the writing on the wall and got out of Dodge quick, yes really quick. Dr. Robert Clark, BSD Assistant Superintendent for Business Services, under whose purview the whole Hoover project and CEQA compliance was tasked, quietly left BSD last year to join a district in the East Bay. Sadly, this may be a case where the consultants used to perform the environmental report and gave BSD advice were over-confident in their historical success rate and the success of our own Planning Commissioner guy, Terrones, to get things slam dunked in the past. Well guess what? There is a simple legal challenge and the whole house of cards collapses because of over-confidence, lack of past CEQA challenges, and the belief that incestuous government would somehow save the day. Those consultants, who I would not be surprised also get hired by the City of Burlingame, should be fired immediately.

Another quote comes to mind of another well-known deal guy, "Lose money for the firm, I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless." The BSD Board of Trustees as well as the Burlingame City Council (with purview over the Planning Commission) needs to look hard at all the actors in this debacle, adjudicate, and take proper action if it is needed, plain and simple.

Joe

Bruce, I love that last quote about losing money/reputation. Who is the original source?

Locavore

Bruce, awesome quote in the last of the many paragraphs :) and I recognized it immediately. Is by businessman Warren Buffett. One of my all time favorite business quotes.

joe sarno

Bruce, you forgot to mention your local "bagman" guy

Also reminding you of one of your other favorite quotes - "Never, ever trust a bagman"

-JS

Benchmark

Folks,

I was recently hired to underwrite a public school construction project and long term land lease for a consortium of several government agencies.

[Undisclosed Education Organization] has proposed a project which involves the new construction of 12 classrooms, an extensive multi-purpose building, and various site improvements at the northeast side of the existing [undisclosed San Jose area] School.

The planned total building area is approximately 27,849 sf, and once constructed is expected to serve up to 168 children and 75 staff.

Expanded parking will be constructed along the west side of the site, increasing available site parking from 90 to 125 stalls, 7 of which will be handicap accessible.

Total construction cost including hard and soft costs = $14,900,000

apeceimer

Bruce,

Please keep posting. You are spot on. I have always thought if we are going to be furthered taxed for Burlingame Schools we need responsible people who have common business sense.

I would invite you all to look at the School Board Memebers background and their decision making with Hoover School.

Would anyone seriously have those members manamge your money let alone the millions of dollars for Burlingame Schools.

Bruce will you run for School Board so we can throw out the current memebers?

Bruce Dickinson

Listen, Joe Sarno, I don't use bagmen because Bruce Dickinson doesn't need to. Gold and Platinum records are quite legal and quite lucrative, thank you very much. It sounds like you're the one who needs to use Clorox ultra-whitener to get the stains out of your own dirty laundry. Don't assume that extraordinary success can be achieved with blood, sweat and tears, or in my case, with "ears", if you will.

Never assume, hypothesize, or speculate on anything related to *the* Bruce Dickinson. There is more to the *cock of the walk* than meets the eye, or maybe ears, as it sounds like you are hearing some very tall tales.

hillsider

I loved Blood Sweat & Tears. David Clayton-Thomas is a true voice of rock and the horns could match TOP or Chicago but weren't they on Columbia, Bruce? Not your label as I recall.

Hard Facts

Shinnyo-en was essentially threatened that if they didn't sell their private property (Temple) to the school district at a GREATLY impaired value of $4.9M (vs. the $7.6M that they had it in contract for to Valley International Academy), that The Temple would face Eminent Domain law suits. The Temple didn't understand that the school district probably wouldn't pursue such a controversial tactic, and so they sold at $4.9M, and The Temple got bilked out of $7.6M-$4.9M= $2.7M.

The stench of government abuse of power is overwhelming.

How would you like it if they bullied you and your neighbors out of millions in hard-earned (and donated in the case of the temple) life savings across that neighborhood?

resident

What hard proof do you have that this is true? I do not remember one whiff of eminent domain. I do remember Shinnyo-en being very generous to BSD which didn't surprise anyone.

Bruce Dickinson

Guys, listen, I agree with Resident's skepticism about the eminent domain "threat" and the Temple being bullied to sell to BSD. If I'm understanding this correctly, a Buddhist Temple getting commercial real estate and commercial quality legal advice gets bullied by the BSD and backs away from a real offer and sells at a hugely discounted price to its fair market value to BSD. This same 900 pound Gorilla bullying BSD is then confronted by a simple legal challenge under CEQA from a couple of neighbors and the whole Hoover project collapses like a house of cards?!? Sorry but that Gorilla was really a 20 pound monkey after all and this got discovered by 3 neighbors?

Also, eminent domain use requires fair compensation, and what better way to determine that than there being a real offer from another buyer. The Buddhist Temple should have let BSD seize the property via eminent domain, and have gotten compensated $2.7 million dollars more, as that is the fair market value established.

Call me a little confused but this does not pass Bruce Dickinson's simple logic test, unless I am completely missing something.

EPC

Actually, in eminent domain, an offer to purchase is inadmissible as evidence of fair market value. Only actual closed sales can establish market value.

locavore

EPC, think you have that wrong. Not what CA law says.

holyroller@hotwire.com

This is a great "thread."
I am very surprised and disappointed that this unusual use of public funds, has not received any Major SF Bay Area Media Coverage.
However, my understanding that a "School District "is an Autonomous Corporation, doing business within an Autonomous Development. Not beholden to any local laws, even building codes that apply to every other property owner in the community.
So, the people who provide service's-employees of the school district are exempt from normal law that apply to every other State of CA. business regulations.
Does anyone know if that is what a School District is?

EPC

Lovacore
Evidence Code section 822(a)(2) precludes an offer to purchase as evidence of value. It's basic Eminent Domain law.

Hard Facts

It was in contract at $7.6M pending city approval for a small boarding school that would have shuttled bused the intl students in from off site dorms.

I personally know the former head of Valley Intl, I just had coffee with him.

I personally know the real estate head of The Temple, and I just had lunch with him.

So, Bruce and all the rest can try to be funny about their platinum records and their whiffs and opinions, but I use primary resources not rumor and opinion.

"They said they were going to use eminent domain."

locavore

The government is required to pay the "fair market value" of the property it acquires by eminent domain. California's Eminent Domain Law generally defines fair market value as:

"The fair market value of the property taken is the highest price on the date of valuation that would be agreed to by the seller, being willing to sell but under no particular or urgent necessity for doing, nor obliged to sell, and a buyer, being ready, willing and able to buy but under no particular necessity for so doing, each dealing with the other with full knowledge of all the uses and purposes for which the property is reasonably adaptable and available."

Evidence of fair market value is generally presented to the jury by real estate appraisers retained by each of the parties. Real estate appraisal is not an exact science, and as such, appraisers often differ in their opinions of value in a particular case. In fact, in a great many cases, the government's appraiser and the owner's appraiser may disagree by tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars!

The evidence code thing is interesting, but does not mean that an appraisal can't help determine FMV which includes the marketability of the property per the definition of "fair market value"

If what people are saying is true on the interference of BSD in an arms-length transaction, I personally believe 1) that's terrible and unethical 2) the temple got bad legal advice; 3) a simple application of game theory would have saved the temple per Bruce's logic; 4) anyone with intimate knowledge of this - prepare to be subpoenaed!

JROC

There are many questions as to how we got were we are today. All very valid questions that should be pursued to make sure there was nothing illegal when it comes to contracting and influence peddling.

These charges are being used to justify the lawsuit that has halted construction delaying the opening. Detractors are using all kinds of issues to stop it but at the end of the day, they are not interested in safety, good fiscal policy, transparency or education. They have only one objective: stop the school from opening.

Forgetting for a moment how we got here, does anyone think is is good for the community at large to abandon the project and sell off the land for residential development at what would likely be a healthy profit for the School District?

I am not sure what options the district had to accommodate the growing student population. I don't know if the board bullied the temple. I don't know if it made sense to do a full EIR from the beginning. I don't know if Mr. Terrones used his position on the Planning Commission to influence the outcome. I do know that paying legal fees and having a half=built school is costing tax payers. For what? If we assume 250 students, some of which share rides, some of which will walk, then the number of cars traveling to and from is much lower that that. The traffic studies estimated 98 but lets say its 130. So here we are at at standstill over how to move 130 cars through for drop off and pick up. Does anyone here believe this is right? I feel we are being held hostage by a small number of neighbors intent on a land grab. They want the site abandoned as their own private playground while others bear the burden of overcrowded schools and congestion on their streets. Yes, lets look at all the issues above but in the meantime, lets get the school opened!

Lorne

Here are the minutes from the April 27, 2009 Burlingame Planning Commission meeting - the only meeting, I believe, during which Valley International School was on the agenda. Discussion of Valley International begins at the bottom of page 9 of the minutes, and concludes at the top of page 13. Following page 14 (the final page) of the minutes are the referenced Staff Report and attachments for the agenda item pertaining to Valley International:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/225680651/Burlingame-Planning-Commission-Minutes-April-27-2009-Valley-International-2200-Summit-Drive

holyroller@hotwire.com

I feel your reasoning/defense is the #1 factor as to how this ridiculous waste of taxpayer money, came about.

The entire project is obviously more about "people" connected with the building of the school, the selling and purchasing of the school, the contractor that received work, than the need for it.
This is like a "lead in" to a Soprano's TV show.
Eventually, the truth will come out.
I do not know if Justice will prevail due to this being a School District event.
I believe the school should be stopped from being completed, and ALL the people that made money or received any "compensation" whatsoever present their case to the community.
That way we can all understand how this project got started, and what justification given, most importantly, who gave the School the Green Light.
Really JROC...
All that money for 250 students?
This is not just about traffic, tree removals, smog. It is about
cheating-loopholes, influence peddling, I scratch your back now, I will scratch yours next time, in many ways a Premeditated theft of Public funds and trust.

EPC

JROC - before judging whether this school project was properly planned and studied, you should study the Judge's 45-page decision, along with the administrative record supporting it. Maybe then you will have an appreciation of what was (and wasn't) done by the District. This goes well beyond just a few neighbors' concerns. The "interests of the children" mantra should not be used to trump common sense or private property rights, among other things. The District violated the law, plain and simple. Now it must suffer the consequences of it's actions. The District was given fair warning from the beginning and could have chose a different path that would have minimized, if not eliminated the predicament it now faces. Blaming the neighbors for standing up to protect their rights and hold this rogue District accountable is both ignorant and unpatriotic.

Joe

I'm starting to worry that I may get a legal bill for all this "free" wisdom. All of you may continue, but we are not paying a dime, OK? The Voice's mission is to educate and inform--for free.

Your Property Rights at Risk

Good afternoon, my fine Burlingame neighbors...

I thought that you might enjoy checking out this upcoming event in Los Gatos:

http://www.theconservativecalendar.com/events.php?getevent=274

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
9:00 AM

Your Property Rights at Risk!!

Mimi Steel, founder of Citizens Alliance for Property Rights will be our speaker.

If you like your town you can keep your town, right?

Wrong if the 25 year plan that One Bay Area and The Association of Bay Area Governments has in store for you goes unchallenged.

Targeting every community in all nine counties, the character and control of those things traditionally determined by city councils will be transferred to appointed officials ruling from a regional over-structure.

The very character of the place you chose to live is in jeopardy of being altered and urbanized by un-elected bureaucrats in the name of themes like "distributive justice".

Plans for high density housing, re-zoning and transportation oriented development will result in higher costs of living and less freedom of lifestyle choice.

Please join us June 18TH to hear expert Mimi Steel of Bay Area Liberty and President of SF Bay Citizens Alliance for Property rights discuss this assault on liberty that threatens to effect us all.

Location: Garden Room at Los Gatos Lodge, 50 Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, Los Gatos near Highway 17.

Time: Check in 9:00 AM, Meeting begins at 9:30 AM

Cost: $15 includes continental breakfast

Visit our website for more information and to purchase tickets: www.SVARW.com

Cost: $15.00

Sponsored by: The Silicon Valley Association of Republican Women

holyroller@hotwire.com

What is your Candidates view on Proposition 13?

Your Property Rights at Risk

Holy,

I don't know, you should attend and ask her. I don't think that she's a candidate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHhGijAazuw

Your Property Rights at Risk

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