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November 10, 2014


Peter Garrison

What about the water shortage?

Dave Mac

Burlingame is an absolute Cluster-uck right now.

It’s clearly a broken system when people pay over 1M for a home and kids are not guaranteed a spot in their neighborhood school. Do not allow the building of one more residential unit in Burlingame until the school problem is fixed. It’s as simple as that. Any counsel member who disagrees with that should not be making decisions for the rest of us. There is clearly a huge disconnect between residents of Burlingame and those making decisions on our behalf.

On the topic of overcrowding and congestion, I saw a mother holding a baby come about 8 inches from getting hit by a car in the middle of a crosswalk at Burlingame/Park on Saturday. Drivers trying to nudge out; pedestrians, including kids, everywhere; it's a nightmare downtown. The congestion is awful, is getting worse every weekend, and someone is going to get hurt or killed soon. Make downtown a pleasant experience again (and do pedestrians a favor in the process) and close off Burlingame Ave between Primrose and Cali, and the North ends of Park and Lorton (north of the parking lot) to cars on the weekends (think Golden Gate Park). We live in Northern California for goodness’ sake; we like the exercise. And build some more parking asap.

Summary: stop developing; more parking; make schools a top priority.


100% agree with Dave Mac


Agree with Dave and this also goes for other cities up and down the Peninsula that are building like there is no tomorrow!

Those making the decisions today I bet will not be around for the consequences!


1. Mello Roos fees for new building.

2. Agree with closing streets on weekends. It will bring MORE people to Burlingame in good weather!


For those not familiar with KRNs idea, from Wikipedia:

Districts and taxes
A Mello-Roos District is an area where a special property tax on real estate, in addition to the normal property tax, is imposed on those real property owners within a Community Facilities District. These districts seek public financing through the sale of bonds for the purpose of financing public improvements and services.[3] These services may include streets, water, sewage and drainage, electricity, infrastructure, schools, parks and police protection to newly developing areas. The tax paid is used to make the payments of principal and interest on the bonds.

New communities
Many communities requiring new schools and infrastructures such as public parks and roads impose Mello-Roos. While property tax is assessed as a percentage of the value of the home, Mello-Roos is independent, could rise or fall, and is not subject to Proposition 13.[4]

Older communities
Many older communities have imposed Mello-Roos on areas that include older homes, not previously subject to Mello-Roos. This is done when property taxes begin to fall short of what is necessary. Many areas also renew expiring Mello-Roos and increase existing Mello-Roos. Current laws requires a 2/3 vote of the community for this to pass.

I'm not an expert (although I know one) but it is a possibility for these massive (100+ unit) developments.

Bruce Dickinson

Hi fellas, I just got back from a trip to Japan and while I'm still adjusting to the time, I saw the dynamite response from Dave Mac above. Bruce Dickinson loves giving nicknames, and mine for Dave Mac is Mac the Knife! He deserves this nickname (in addition to 5 cowbell rings) for cutting through all the BS faster than a Benihana chef can cut through a pile of shrimp.

Local government is basically as myopic and singularly focused as a Kamikaze pilot, except, after the damage is done, the government still lives on, crashing into another ship, causing more damage. There is no survival of the fittest in Government, folks, as the consequences for messing up are more opportunities to mess up and the only people paying the price are Burlingame residents.

How could a discussion of high density, transit oriented housing not occur without a realistic assessment of whether such transit exists. With the Republicans solidly in charge of purse strings for the next two years, the HSR pipe dream has basically been pulverized. So has the electrified cal train. So let's build more housing, with insufficient parking, and overcrowd the schools. So how could a discussion of increasing such housing not involve a projection of the supply of school space? And how will those children get to school? Will they take the train? Or will their parents have to have cars, like they do now, to drive them. Just getting Hooverville, a tiny school for 250 students is not going to solve many problems and the cost is 4x that of the recent school additions.

Local governments really need to put aside the hubris and the "Great Emperor Knows Best" attitude and start listening to smart residents, who are obviously exuding more talent in their spare time than these supposed public servants are doing in their day jobs. Time to start thinking outside the Bento Box, where you think everything is nice, neat, and compartmentalized and look beyond at all the ingredients available for what it takes to make a full gourmet meal that satisfies everyone. Burlingame deserves Kobe Beef…not the Safeway meat they use at Benihana!


Today's Wall Street Journal has an article about the redevelopment of Candlestick Point by two companies - Macerich for a mall and Lennar for housing. The plan, that is apparently already approved, is for 6,225 homes. The article notes that Lennar also has another approved plan for 5,735 at the old Navy shipyards near Candlestick.

So we will be seeing 12,000 new homes a few miles north of us in the next 3-5 years! Basically a new city on the Peninsula.

The more I think about the future of B'game, the real distinction we might have is "we ain't like them" where you fill in the blank on them. Crowded, bland, character-free. Not like our beloved burg.


Ahh yes but just think what a nightmare it will be to venture out anywhere on the Peninsula or SF.

We can't always stay in our little bubble. I had already read this article and immediately thought OMG the traffic!

Dave Mac

I think a realistic future for burlingame is that in 10-15 years it becomes an "undesirable" place to live (at least for younger families). It will be stuck right in the middle of awful congestion extending from candlestick point to 92/101 (and beyond). It will be too far south to commute to SF, and too far north to commute down south. Living as close as possible to SF, Palo Alto, and San Jose will be at a premium. Burlingame will be left out in the cold.


But, but, but we'll have high-speed rail to get us to Palo Alto.


You do realize electric train cars (preferably not at grade) would take care of those commute problems?


If we are to assume young families will live here will those parents be taking the train to take their kids to school? Will they completely give up their cars and take public transportation?? I don't see that happening. It will become too expensive and too much of a hassle for young families to live here. Just think of the stress trying to pay rent or a mortgage here.
Crowded schools, crowded roads, lack of any additional open space, more crime. Burlingame and the Peninsula as we know it will be a very different place.


I was talking about commute traffic for working in SF or Silicon Valley. The too expensive part for young families is a real problem. The mom driving the kids to school is not.

Bruce Dickinson

Fellas, Bruce Dickinson may be the oldest guy here, but that doesn't make me the least "hip" to use a colloquialism, if you will. Yes, I know quite a few guys in the new media and emerging technologies sectors as well as some of my VC pals, and lemme tell you, you are in the middle of Tech Central Station, which has nothing to do with trains. I would be much more worried about maintaining the look, feel, and environment of Burlingame than about the traffic caused by 10,000 homes or an all but defunct HSR, doomed for failure whether or not it gets built.

Why so? Well guess what?!? We are about 7-10 years from full driverless cars, yes, this will render all these "transportation worries" essentially obsolete, including that ridiculous Cal-Trans ECR widening proposal at Floribunda. Even my new Mercedes S-Class is quasi-driverless in that it has sensors that detect cars in front of it and adjusts the cruise control to maintain a safe distance. Google's driverless test cars have a zero accident rate in tens of thousands of miles of testing. If HSR does get built, it will be a guaranteed failure as driverless cars will take care of traffic and will change the way we travel and commute. Can you imagine taking a trip to Hollywood in a comfortable van while sleeping or watching movies, enjoying drinks, or having quality, stress free conversation with family and friends. My friends, the quality of life will improve dramatically with the removal of all types of commuting stress. We may actually end up being much more well-rested, productive, and nicer people. Imagine that!

Focus your energy on preserving a future Burlingame that harnesses those qualities that make people happier, whether it be environment, traffic, safety, schools, et al. High Density transit oriented housing is last decade's idea that is not matching the realities of the future. When was the last time urban planners ever predicted anything correctly? I think Bruce Dickinson needs to bring some of my VC friends and Google execs to provide a "teach in" for the City of Burlingame and the City Council….I think they need to be more open minded to learning about what is really happening out there and "explore the space", as it were…. or else maybe someone will produce Google robots to replace them and make logical decisions that reflect the desires of citizens! It's an interesting future for sure, my friends, and you may call my wine glass half-full. Cheers!

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