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April 23, 2014



In the vicinity of Broadway-- to the around Morrell, there are 50+ trees they have deemed problematic, space-wise, many are oaks (these tend to have more of a horizontal growth habit. Several others include the ornamental pears, and they were not well tended to (by Amtrak or whoever had the contract) when planted, so they look small and ragged.

It is safe to say that the lack of mature trees there will be very apparent. We have to be certain they've got a decent replacement plan in place, particularly with regard to watering and staking. Their track record has been poor.

The bigger mystery is north of Broadway, where the assessment was done with an aerial system of lasers of some sort. There are 30+ in that vicinity that probably will be coming out, but nobody knows (yet) what those are. For the people living along California Drive, that tree buffer is crucial, not only for aesthetics, but also measurable noise and wind buffer.

Somehow, I have trouble believing that Caltrain will be able to handle 2000 plus replacements and their care, up and down the Peninsula line. I think that is a tall order for any agency, and this one has been cutting back on maintenance at the stations, as is.

The Trojan Electric

I'd like to call for Caltrain to quit trying to sneak [The High Speed Fail] under the noses of the residents of California.

I'd like to call for Caltrain to give us an electrification proposal that does not prepare for High Speed Fail.

How much less would it be? How many fewer trees would be cut?

I think that The Trojan Electric is barely worth spending $68M for to eliminate the diesel exhaust and get less noisy operation.

The supposedly faster speed and 6 trains per hour is likely what the max capacity of the system will be, but not necessarily what will be delivered.

Is this just a Wolf (HSR) in Sheep's Clothing?


I agree with you Jennifer that the "Clear Lack of Maintenance" regarding any tree replacement by Cal Trans is proposing after any tree removal project.
If it was not for you being an advocate of tree replacement and maintenance on El Camino Real, all those Elm trees would have been dead and not replaced years ago.
The City of Burlingame should name a Tree after you.

Peter Garrison

Donovan already did: "Jennifer Juniper."

Cathy Baylock

Holy, Holy. I say "amen to that". Mrs. Pfaff is our city's Tree Guardian in Chief!

Bruce Dickinson

Listen, fellas, I have had the darnedest of times trying to post to this site!! Bruce Dickinson (or my IT guy, actually) believes that the Burlingame Voice is attempting to censor my comments by not allowing my IP address to post. The replies I've been able to post have been from my winery in Aderson Valley! Hopefully this is a big mix-up, as Bruce Dickinson believed he was quite the cult of personality and inspired some great ideas from Burlingame citizens and governmental officials alike. So administrators of the site, you may want to check IP addresses in Burlingame and make sure they are allowed to post.

Anyway, to move onto more urgent matters, guys, I gotta tell ya, Bruce Dickinson is going to have to agree with the Electric Trojan, which I must admit, is a clever double-entendre that is aptly named, if you will. While I agree with the dynamite job that Jennifer has accomplished, and yes Jen, we must meet someday, as I have heard nothing but residents singing your laurels and I have witnessed your very insightful and thoughtful comments on this site, we must not lose focus on where the battle rests: the presumption that an electrified Caltrain is a given.

There are no funds for it and HSR is on its 10th life. A realistic proposal of a non-HSR funded electrified Caltrain is sorely needed, because guess what? They are building a multi-billion dollar bus terminal in downtown San Francisco under the presumption that HSR and an underground, electrified Caltrain will go there. What makes you think they will not start the "Tree Pruning" and removal under the guise that electrified Caltrain is a fait accompli, if you will, and we will be left with no Caltrain, no trees, and a bunch of multifamily condos with insufficient parking??

Folks, this "steam roll" (or steam "train" as it were) happens everywhere all the time and transportation bureaucrats are the worst offenders, because no project = no job for half these people. Look at HSR and all the lying, cheating, information fabrication, smoke & mirrors, and "studio effects" applied that can even make a cat screeching sound good (trust me, Bruce Dickinson knows the tricks of the trade better than anyone, ahem, Madonna). Citizens of Burlingame, don't be sold a bill of goods and focus on the root cause and assumptions, not the secondary and tertiary effect that would not even occur if the root cause is properly attacked.


Hi there Bruce!

'Agree with you completely about the elephant in the room. What is even more aggravating was a revelation by Diane Harkey that HSR currently has around 170 people on its payroll, and they will likely remain there until this is stopped for good.

With regard to our trees--I've been around too long to have blinders on --"Trimming" as opposed to removal, is defined as anything 25% and under, and certainly that can go awry. Once removed, it will end up on each city's "to-do list" to monitor replacements and maintenance, as if we didn't already have enough to do.

In my opinion, these agencies do not have the bandwidth to accomplish this for over two thousand trees, even if they wanted to do things right.


I recently read the book "Command and Control" by Eric Schlossser.
The book has to do with the Cold War and Arms Race immediately after WW2.
Due to the Industrial Military Complex, that US Presidents attempted to bring to the attention of the US/World, infrastructure was funded and being actively built.
The kicker is that there was no product-missiles, even developed yet.
However, once the infrastructure was built, then US Citizens were now "on the hook" for whatever the price was going to be making this "concept" into reality.
HSR is a "Done Deal."
By the time HSP is ready to go, it will be obsolete.

By the way-anyone, have you ever said to a friend, neighbor, family member or heard:
"When are we going to get HSR?"

We really do not live in a Democracy any more. People who vote most likely do not comprehend what they are voting for. Or voting only for the Pro Gun, Pro Abortion, Pro Gay Marriage.
(By the way, I am all for all of the above)Letting all other considerations and special voting, to be left up to _______________________.

I believe we are very lucky to have an advocate like Bruce Dickenson to contribute to this site.
My opinion too.



What a terrible trimming job. The owner and/or the tree company need to be held accountable.


My heart goes out to the people who have come home to see there property "Literally Raped."
I believe if it was my trees, I do not know if I could continue to even live there.
If the City of Burlingame Arborist issued a permit to allow this desecration that person should be fired.
At the very least the City of Burlingame should be held to the same standards as anyone who removes a City of Burlingame Tree. That is to appraise the replacement value of the trees-size, age, health, and pay the homeowners.
I have heard the costs can be in the hundred's of thousands of dollars.
Did the tree business even have a business license, insurance, worker comp, legal employee's?
If a permit was issued by the City Arborist, that should be the department that takes a look at those bona fides.
If a permit was issued it is all on the Rec and park Dept.

85% of Burlingame


Just wait til the Dem-wits cut down ALL of the trees on El Camino Real as part of the Grand Boulevard Initiative and thousands along Caltrain as part of the High Speed Rail->Trojan Horse called Calrain Electrification, which is really just prep work for HSR.

85% of Burlingame voted for them.


Sometimes we just have to put our head down and except the inevitable.
When many people live in a "small space" will do what ever they have to do in order to justify their "lifestyle."
Asking forgiveness instead of permission is a fact in the removal of the trees.
Unfortunately as well Corporate Business is done as well throughout the US & beyond.
It is no mistake that the trees were removed when the homeowners were on vacation.
The City of Burlingame is truly a City of Trees.
I hope that the City Elders, as well as the City Manager will have more oversight on the "goings on" at the Recreation and Park Dept.
There are really some very "Kooky Ideas" that come out of that section of Burlingame Government.
IE- a new park built right at the bay front-drought, salt water, wind, global warming rising tides, and a new Recreation Center-for who?
Isn't the price tag @ 54 Million?
In the mean time I am looking forward to an explanation as to why the only excuse offered by the City Manager regarding the tree removals is, "We just do not know what the laws are."

85% of Burlingame

Well, that's the City Attorney's job.


Hopefully, the City Attorney was hired without the need to micromanage any Department Head.
Including the City of Burlingame Manager.
Unfortunately, with the exception of Elder Brownrigg, all City of Burlingame Elders, have little or Zero experience managing a multi-million dollar Corporation.
The little things in a City like Burlingame become the Big Things that determine the value of property, and the reason people want to live here.
In my opinion, the current City Elders have not contributed to the present or future of the future of Burlingame.
Most likely due to the voters who are out of touch with current events, supporters of Prop 13, and really do not give a shit about what happens 5-10 years from now.
I think Browrigg is doing everything he can to turn this ship in the right direction, but has little support from the people who matter.
City Manager
City Elders
The entire group of City Elders need to be replaced.
If the current Tree problem- The City of Trees, does not have an answer to a very invasive, life changing event, for a home owner who most likely lives in a $2,000,000.00-most likely now $1.3 can happen, and the only response from The City of Burlingame City Attorney/City Manager/ Recreation Director, can provide the homeowner and media is "we do not know what the laws are sorry"(this is a paraphrase)
There is really a lack of oversight by the City Elders.
Time for change...
Top to Bottom.

The Yu family are one of the nicest families I've met in Burlingame.

I will say that I've known The Yu family for several years, and Mr. Yu's parents ran a successful and well liked restaurant in Burlingame for 30 years or so.

The Yu family seem to be well liked and very conscientious and kind to other people.

It sounds like the City Manager and the City Council members that the Yus have spoken with about this misunderstanding all believe that the Yus acted properly in getting a tree trimming permit and then having the work completed.

I don't know all of the details yet, but I believe that there was a miscommunication, and that there was not any negative intent to trim more than was approved by the city. There may have been misunderstanding about what part of the land was city owned vs. easement. Either way, I'd encourage the good people of Burlingame to let the neighbors work out their concerns with the city and to be patient for the result until reasonable due diligence and further respectful discussions can be scheduled.

The Yu family are one of the nicest families I've met in Burlingame. I'm 100% positive that they will do their best to understand the concerns of the neighbors and to act graciously in the matter.


I am sure they are nice people too.
The family did what "they thought" they could do according to the City Arborist.
Bringing the poor communication from the City of Burlingame Administration to the public, may stop this from happening again.
Contact the City Elders, ask them why this continues to be the product of their administration.
Oh but wait, didn't the entire Hoover School "Incident" start with complaints regarding the Tree Removals at the site, approved by the City Arborist too.
Now look where the Hoover School Incident has gone.
Something is very wrong with the process of a City Arborist having so much input over the impact of his/her decisions.
If the process of tree removal at Hoover School was denied and looked into thoroughly by someone more qualified; at the very least reviewed by an engineer or attorney it may have been discovered that an Environmental Impact Report was not properly done. I do not think it is right or professional to give that responsibility to a City Arborist.
Live and Learn....
Again & again & again.
These continuing "mole hills turning into mountains" can all be laid at City Hall.
Top Down.
What's next?
Or what has happened that we do not know yet.
For example what's happening with the Hoover School problem?

Shouldn't we stop allowing our government to break our laws?


The essential problem is really the Super-Majority Dems taking the law into their own hands / not following the law because "they're allowed to do that" or because "that's what WE do".

To the contrary, you don't get to sell rocket launchers just because you're our Dem Senator, Leland Yee.

You don't get to drive 136 mph down Highway 101 without any emergency flashers on just because you're a Sheriff's deputy.

You don't get to take monetary honorariums from Labor Unions just because you're a city council member and because your parents did it that way too.

You don't get to try to have your husband's construction company hired for the city development project when you're on city council.

You don't get to block the legitimate market sale of Hoover to a boarding school with much less traffic, because the State/Union-run school wants it instead at a massive discount to the non-profit, private property owner's value.

You don't get to try to have the city hire your personally-owned development company to develop land while you're on city council.

The rule of law is a beautiful thing, as then we all know what to expect.

And, while there will always be lawless individuals and lawless corporations among the mostly good ones, the WORST type of lawlessness is a lawless government agency, because they can tax, audit, arrest, imprison, execute, fine, wire-tap, deport, exclude, slander, declare war, give away your tax money to other countries to buy weapons, blow things up, shoot people, and shut things down unnecessarily or just for kicks as some former government leaders have bragged to me about over a round of golf.

Shouldn't we STOP ALLOWING our government to break our laws?

Vote accordingly.


Thank you for reading my comments..
Once I saw that you somehow managed to shoehorn in blaming Democrat's for "everything wrong " I stop reading your comments.
Who cares what "Gang" you belong to.
I would prefer to know what your opinion is and how you come to it.
For example, What are you thoughts on more Cow Bell?

Bruce Dickinson

Guys, before everyone feels the need to be judge, jury, and executioner, let's all take a deep breath and think about the logic in all this. Dr. Dickinson to the rescue, again.

If this family has been in Burlingame for a while, it would be extremely unlikely that they would willingly sanction the desecration of these trees in such the twisted, grotesque manner in which this was done. It looks like a tree serial killer was hired for the maiming! This was probably a situation of mis-communication and I would not be surprised if the tree "trimmer" took some major liberties, to put it lightly.

It is also possible that some very "aggressive" third-party arborists were hired and they may have provided direction that was not intended by the City of Burlingame arborist. Making matters worse, this appears to be done on City property, which maybe should have had more oversight, again probably due to mis-communication.

Bruce Dickinson agrees with some of the posters above, that we need to have all the facts set before us. The person interviewed that hired the tree trimmer seems to have also been taken by surprise. Will be interesting to see if she objected to this and dialed 911 upon arriving at the scene of this hack-job. Will also be telling if the City of Burlingame decided to respond to the distress call, or sat idly by in the hopes that no charges would be pressed.

The City Council should be all over this one and while we can surmise, speculate, hypothesize, etc, reparations will need to be made, period, probably on the order of several hundred thousand dollars. The guys doing the trimming are likely culpable in this, even if they were found to be just following orders, as any tree trimmer in full sanity would realize the implications of this. The business of Burlingame is trees, period and if they don't know that, then they're idiots....or psychopaths!

Bruce Dickinson will be following this one.


The person that hired the tree service is quoted as saying the she didn't think the trimming was excessive. She doesn't seem taken by surprise. Everyone knows that it was excessive. If the trees had to be trimmed down to the trunks to gain a view, then shame on the owner for ordering that. If the city can pull the business license of the tree service, it should do so immediately.
Considering that the city officials have not provided any clarity in the aftermath, it seems as though it will be difficult for the neighbors to be made whole. And really, how would they be made whole? New mature trees? I have to imagine that will cost well into six figures.


I walk the hills of Burlingame and Hillsborogh each day and have noticed more and more old trees cut. Seems to be a trend -- new family moves in, trees are cut. Some relly old oaks and native pines. I understand there is a need for thinning, but when you see a 200 year oak chopped it is really sad. I see these signs as you enter that proclaim Burlingame as the a "Tree City." Let's get with it and live up to that honor!

Concerned resident

I actually know the home owners of the people who ordered the tree cutting. They were just as disgusted by the mutilation of trees as their neighbors. The family has owned that house for over 35 years, and the fact that almost everyone is accusing them of destroying their own neighborhood is just silly talk. They have been trying to contact the tree company, but of course got no response.

The real problem now though is that the neighbor down the canyon has started a string of online bashing and cyber bullying of the home owner. The neighbor posted the homeowner's personal information online and has had different people harass them in person. Their special needs autistic son has been having episodes because the mother has been so upset to the point of tears. The home owners apparently tried to reach out to the neighbor on multiple occasions, but the neighbor rejected them.

Burlingame is now not the "Tree City", but a "Bullying City".

More concerned

Am I the only one who thinks this sentence from the news article doesn't make any sense?

Rosalyn Yu, the neighbor who took out the permit to have the trees thinned and cleaned, moved into the house in 2013 and said the underbrush, huge bushes and leaves were a fire hazard and she did want to help with her view. She notes she also had pine and eucalyptus trees trimmed. She contends this is all on city-owned property, but the city is still looking into if this was the case, as some of the trees could have been in a 10-foot easement behind Shaw’s home that is her property.

Why would a private citizen get a permit to cut trees she thinks are on city property?

Bruce Dickinson

Guys, quite frankly, so much of it doesn't make sense, and if people are harassing this person to the point of her special needs son having episodes, shame on them..that is NOT the Burlingame way, no, not at all. Bruce Dickinson does not condone such behavior, period. Behaving this way means that you're not ready for the Burlingame big-boy pants, as it were. We're all adults here and here's my prescription: relax, take the little purple pill, take a nice autumn stroll, have a cocktail, drink some Pinot Noir, listen to your favorite Dickinson-produced album, go see your therapist, etc. As I mentioned above, let's let the facts and evidence reveal the truth, as what's done is done and let the narrative play out.

Concerned resident

Totally agree Bruce. We teach our children that bullying is wrong, but we turn around and do it to other people and think that it is acceptable. What is most annoying that is the minions and cronies just jump in and bash the poor home owners when they are not even involved, and definitely don't have any accurate information. So to the minions that chime in on the thread that is bashing the home owners "Shut the F up and stay out of it." To the blind followers that actually show up and/or drive up to the home owner's home to harass them "Get a life" and leave them alone! KEEP CYBER BULLYING OUT OF BURLINGAME!!! For children and adults.

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