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September 18, 2014



As to the guy who made this comment on the DJ site:

"$35 to $40 mil for a parks building ... of which the City will contribute a goodly sum. Yet the City doesn't want to contribute $1 mil towards an affordable housing building for low income seniors and disabled people who have lived here most of their lives and are losing their apartments due to the housing crisis."

There is no such thing as "affordable housing"--you refer to another subsidy that raises the cost of housing or other city services for other people, so please call it what it is.

Peter Garrison

For five years don't do anything. Don't spend money you don't have. Finish the infrastrucure projects we have now, pay down the pension fiasco, cut staff and see what happens as we start saving some money.

Any recent building seems about 1/3 overbuilt. Look at the number of street lights installed on Burlingame Avenue. How much light do we need? How many heights of poles? You could saw down every other pole and have a uncluttered street lit nicely in spaced pools of illumination.

Hanging baskets AND banners? We are starting to look as if we try too hard.

And wait until the Broadway exchange takes place with crossovers the width of 28L at SFO. All was needed to ease the traffic was to allow longer time for the left turn signal eastbound off California to 101 and westbound off 101 to Broadway. What would that cost? $100 to re-time the lights?

We can have recreation activites and city hall meetings in the newly renovated school auditoriums. No high-density aircraft-carrier designs as in Millbrae and San Bruno or San Mateo.

We don't have enough water for more people, so call it what you will: "sustainability," "green guilt," or plain common sense, but stop building for a while. Take a breath and appreciate what we have before we mess it up.


I vote for 1 & 6.
Here are my thoughts:
Combine City Hall and the Community Center. The building site for both would be Cuernavaca Park, 1 block off Trousdale.
Wide Safe Streets.
Plenty of room and plenty of parking space. The impact on that area as opposed to "Hooverville" is that there is easy access to 101/280/El Camino Real.
Wide, Safe, and very visable streets.
The project will only effect a relatively small group of neighbors.
The Cuernavaca Park is barley used as it is.
Sell City Hall to some developer. Use the money to rebuild Bayside Park.
Tear Down the Rec/Community Center and create low cost homes for whichever "group deJour" is the most needy at the time. Or just tear town the current Rec/Community Center and give it back to Washington Park.


The key to solving the $20 million parking problem downtown is first to not make it worse with lousy planning decisions like raising the height limit and buying into the transit oriented BS.

Dave Mac

#1 will help.

Stop building anything that will cause more crowding and congestion. Period. Spend money on updating things or alleviating congestion.

In 8 years I have not talked to a single resident of Burlingame who thinks that our town is lacking in retail, housing, or office space. In that same time period I've talked to hundreds of residents who express the same concerns over and over –too congested (especially in the last few years), overcrowded school, driving/parking downtown is a nightmare, and too much development for no reason (other than to make money for people who don’t live here) and no concern for long term effects on residents.

Take your foot off the pedal and put it on the brake. Turn off the car and look out the window. This town is awesome. Stop destroying it with new growth.

If I were king for a day the avenue would have been re-designed as a pedestrian-only street (with careful planning of course) with outside seating at restaurants and parking behind the stores. Talk about housing prices going up here.

Vision for Burlingame - more like a little European village and less like Millbrae.

Dave Mac

Just ready the Daily Journal article; concerned about comments about "keeping momentum" going on projects. Seems like there is a drive to keep developing, and I think that is a very bad sign.

Why is it that every time a building needs to be torn down the city's first question is "how do we make as much money as possible from this?" Why isn't the first question - "how do we use this rare opportunity to make the city better for residents?" The fact that a realtor wants to turn the city hall land into housing is irrelevant. And of course the land has value, but does that mean that it has to be used to generate value? Of course not. People are asking the wrong questions and being motivated by the wrong reasons.

Bring more people into Burlingame, build more parking structures, bring more people in, build more parking structures, rinse, repeat. We need to stop this madness/stupidity.

There is a reason many (not all) people prefer Burlingame over places like San Mateo or Millbrae - because Burlingame is charming, cute, and relatively uncongested (i.e., it's not Millbrae or San Mateo). Stop turning Bgame into those towns.


I believe that if people would just take a look at the Obscene amount of Banks, in and around Burlingame Ave. you will easily be able to extrapolate the reason, and need-for the Banks, to keep "The Momentum" going.
In my opinion there is to much money in to few hands.
Thereby HSP, High Density Housing, and little or nothing we can do about it.

Peter Garrison

Why short ginkgo trees west of Sam Malouf's to Walgreens? Come the fall when the ginkos turn bright yellow, the streetscape is going to fall apart.

Bruce Dickinson

Bravo, Burlingamers! I agree with all of the above comments and I would be remiss if I didn't say that I have very little to add.

Well, actually just one thing. When City council votes for these things, they should vote for what the people voted for, period. If a majority of the City Council votes for #6, then you whose interest they're not representing: namely, yours!

Also I hope that "none of the above" was also a choice in this purported poll. Does anyone know whether it was?

Agree with some comments that the phrase "Keeping Momentum" a very true yet troubling, yes very troubling, quote.

Bruce Dickinson both asks and answers a question:

Q: What time is it?

A: Time for a regime change!


Thank you very much Mr. Garrison for keeping the issues that most people would consider "little things" forefront.
City of Burlingame Employee's make the decisions that effect the community.
They are not elected.
Therefore, there is NO WAY their poor judgment, or mistakes will be held against them.
So-More of the same.
How Sad.


The actual number one project should be the city staff (past and present) unfunded pension and health benefits liabilities.


I agree.
Best way to start off with a "Clean Slate."


i like the streetscape expansion to the tune of $25 million....sounds a bit much to destroy the rest of the downtown trees and make the rest of downtown as ugly as burlingame aveune.

Account Deleted

I would imagine there's a decent chance Burlingame may be following in San Carlos' footsteps in the near future, in terms of a bond/tax measure on next November's ballot (at the risk of beating a dead horse, newer property owners better watch their backs if it turns out to be a general obligation bond/assessed value tax!). Not sure when this inventory wish list which appears on Burlingame's website was last updated, but here are the priority projects and associated price tags:


And here's today's SM Daily Journal article about San Carlos:

Account Deleted

Looks like we're moving forward with issuing bonds for capital projects. Here's a staff report re: the contract for a new bond advisor from this past week's Council meeting:


Cathy Baylock

Lorne, also in the mix could be Certificates of Participation once the Library debt from 1996 is paid off. I believe there is one to two years left on that particular debt repayment schedule which would free up additional borrowing capacity outside of bonds that would have to be paid back via property owners,

Account Deleted

Thanks Cathy - I'm curious how much bonding capacity the city has without going to voters with a new tax (particularly one that would penalize newer property owners!). My understanding from the most latest comprehensive annual financial report is that the 2006 pension bonds took up a lot of debt capacity on the city's balance sheet (it was the largest debt item per the following):


Account Deleted

I wonder if the city is considering this form of taxation for their desired capital/infrastructure spending needs:


Clear the air on The Ave!

I'd like to see a significant local tax on tobacco sales.

It might clear the air on The Ave!

Account Deleted

See page 2 of the staff report below (for next week's Council meeting), which lists the individual Council members' project priorities for a potential bond/tax measure. I'm curious why downtown parking doesn't appear on the poll, as this was previously one of the top unfunded capital project priorities (perhaps the current thinking is this could be funded without a new voter-approved tax??)


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