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May 27, 2015



Take a walk around the neighborhood between Carolan, Rollins, this project, and Burlingame Avenue - it's filled with lush, green lawns! Our neighbors would do well to stop their conspicuous waste before complaining about the (much smaller) amount of water used by those of us who live in apartments.


Unfortunately it's a Catch 22 scenario.

Thinking residents would take this drought much more seriously if our cities on the Peninsula would do the same.

Can't build, build, build and have it both ways!


When did a lawn become a "waste"? My lawn is important to my well-being. I spent a lot of time caring for it and sitting on it meditating. I don't need to drive to some exercise class or the therapist's office. All I do is go outside. Do you go to the city parks? Should we let them all wither too? For what? So we can have a bunch of rack 'em stack 'em boxes? We have enough big apartment buildings already. And where are all of those kids going to go to? Hoover?


And they say millenials are self-centered! Is your emotional well-being more important than affordable rent and a shower a day to someone living in an apartment? How could he possibly have enough apartment buildings with our current rate of population growth and skyrocketing rents?


The last sentence of my previous comment should begin "How could we possibly". We regret the error.

Occasional Contributor


I don't see the residents who approved cited in the article...


The other issue worth mentioning is that this project is getting kudos for being next to public transit. The Broadway Caltrain station hasn't had weekday service in years and won't regain that service until Caltrain is electrified..and who knows if and when that will happen? Even if it did, there is no guarantee that we will get Broadway service back. So much for Transit Oriented Housing. Can't wait to see Rollins and Carolan with wall-to-wall cars, both parked and in traffic.

Peter Garrison

Plus no faster way to get across the old train tracks with the new flood of cars using the new on and off ramps from the renovated Broadway overpass. The Carolan/Broadway T intersection will look like a Chinese interlocking puzzle game.

High-density is the pc word for crowded.


Ahh, there's the anti-growth sentiment that is the backbone of the Burlingame Voice. It's like a warm summer morning, so comforting, like visiting an old friend.


I have to say that I support this project. Unless there's consensus among voters, including the approximately 50 percent of residents who are renters, that we don't want to build any more housing, we've got to identify projects that are workable. I have close friends with kids who are slowly being squeezed out of the rental market, and its stressful for both parents and kids. This project alone obviously won't change their situation or any one family's situation, but unless we want to curtail any further development because of traffic, school and other impacts (and the developer is paying BSD some fees for student impacts), this seems like a viable project.

Bruce Dickinson

Russ, Russ, Russ, you are being too nice for your own good, so let Dr. Dickinson be the BV “Rottweiler" and let’s start right from the top and take a bite out of the faux arguments as it were.

First of all, how does Burlingame spell “outreach”? Apparently, not with letters, but with numbers, namely a 2 followed by six zeroes! That’s right, the development company paid for the rubber stamp, and I don’t blame the company, as you need enablers to allow ransoms to be offered for hostage taking. I know, happens all the time in Anytown, USA and is perfectly legal. Why is the City of Burlingame getting ANY money for this? We all know that Burlingame school district or San Mateo Union school district will be those that will need ALL the money. It’s really not that much harder for a fire department and police department to serve a dense location. This seems to be about paying the city workers, their pensions, and the hiring of questionable positions (“green consultant”… c’mon fellas!).

Aside from the two commissioners who spoke up, who are the only ones who seem to exhibit cojones (other than Bruce Dickinson, of course), what are the rest of the bobble-heads doing other than nodding yes all the time? While I get that it’s tough to afford rents in this town, guys, you gotta understand what chaps Burlingamer’s hides. Just look to the north and south. To the north, we have Poop Gardens, namely that ugly green apartment building on California, and to the south, we have Diarrhea Tower, the ugly brown apartment monstrosity that is on the corner of Peninsular and California. Do you think these types of buildings work in Burlingame? Yes, it’s largely an aesthetic question, but Burlingame was built on aesthetics, with its unique interaction of artichecture, trees, and human-scaled development. That is what influences property values. More on that later.

Secondly, what Burlingame residents are supporting this? The only “resident" quoted in the article was a guy who lives in San Mateo and works in Burlingame? Sorry fella, but go poop in your own bathroom, don’t dictate what we in Burlingame want. We’ll vote our own way, like we have for the past century. Folks, this is why Burlingame dirt is worth $1 million dollars while the exact same dirt across Peninsular Ave in San Mateo is worth $700,000 and while Millbrae dirt is worth $600,000. Same location, but very different environments.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that anyone who believes that you build for an HSR and electrified Cal-train that does not yet exist, with densely packed sardine housing with not enough parking, as Russ said, is going to be a disaster. Bruce Dickinson has a lot of equally wealthy friends working on the latest and greatest, and believe me the driverless cars coming within 7 years are going to make public transportation as we see it, essentially obsolete. Guys that’s like a record company deciding to duplicate albums on 8-track while iTunes is just about to take off. I’m seven decades old and even I can see this! Do you plan for fantasies? Who is putting faith in this $100 billion dollar HSR boondoggle? Please speak up and give me your phone number, as Bruce Dickinson has a bridge to sell you too. Seriously folks, these are people you are trusting to make decisions for you??

Lastly, while I feel for the blight of the rental population, there is no solution to this problem and one building or ten buildings aren’t going to make a difference. To Bruce Dickinson, this seems obvious, but it bears reminding. Why do developers build? Is it to provide low cost housing? Is it to support rent control? Is it because they care about renters? Or is it to make a profit? Let me give you the answer, it’s D. If a builder buys millions of dollars worth of dirt, they can’t rent it out or sell it cheaply and give it away. They gotta make money. To make money, they have to rent or sell at a certain price. And that price is going to be similar to other properties that are also expensive. Simple economics folks, if you think tall buildings are going to result in substantially cheaper housing, sorry to rain on your parade, but new housing going to be costly for most of the renters and buyers and will be more costly than old housing. There will be a few below market units, but what is below market? Half a million? more?

If renters are finding it difficult to rent in Burlingame, well there is Millbrae, San Mateo, and San Bruno where properties and rents are a lot cheaper and is just as close to your jobs as Burlingame is, actually is probably closer to freeways. But what about Burlingame schools? They are in general better, right? Yes, they are, but why? The property tax distribution system is the same for every town, but why do Burlingame students get more resources? It’s because the community donates a lot of money. Yes, that’s right, people living in the multi-million dollar houses that some like to poop on are giving lots of money (including yours truly despite my kids being grown up) to the Burlingame fundraiser for the school district. So those renting in Burlingame and sending their kids to school are getting a pretty big subsidy to give their kids dynamite educations, and believe me people such as Bruce Dickinson are happy to oblige. BUT..what makes wealthy people move to a community? It’s the community’s characteristics, that is, a beautiful town, in a lush urban forest with dynamite architecture, and human scaled development. See how it all ties in folks? You cannot have your cake and eat it too, it is all interrelated in a big picture sorta way.

Fellas, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that this is the type big picture of thinking that needs to occur in our city government. Actually, it might occur, but the powers of self-interest and job sustainment, or greasing developer buddies paws takes precedence over all the above. So yes, Bruce Dickinson is concerned about keeping Burlingame mostly the way it is, as unhindered growth (though some growth should be allowed, just not excessively) will make it less appealing for homeowners. If growth is too much, too fast, creating a ton of externalities, the community will be less appealing, which means the money you see swishing around will go to other communities and schools elsewhere, working against the reasons why people moved to Burlingame in the first place.

Just a little straight talk (or bark), from your community Rottweiler, Bruce Dickinson. Woof!


How may portables can you get for a million bucks? Does that include the desks and chairs? How about a water fountain? Major rip-off for parents on the horizon.

290 units is about one new school worth. Not gonna happen. No land. Forget the conference room. The school folks should demand a school get built on the lot along with the housing.


Here is a little reminder from two months ago which you can find at


"Over the next five years, the district expects 125 units of housing will be built in Burlingame, which should bring 50 elementary school students and 13 middle school students to the district, according to the report."

So 290 units is 232% of the district's estimate for the whole town in this one project. And if we use their low estimate of kids/unit that is 116 elementary students or roughly 4 classrooms of kids.

Can you say "uh, oh"? This goes to the point I have made in the past: where I grew up (in Massachusetts) the school department was a city department and thus the city leaders had dual responsibility to consider the full impact. Not so here.


...and a P.S. for Fred: that warm breeze you feel is common sense blowing over the conversation. You confuse "anti-growth" with manageable, i.e. sustainable growth.

acquisition mode

It's like $325 per square foot for a nice portable classroom.

Prime land is selling for $11m per acre in Burlingame right now. Less in other areas. Less if you can't put housing there.

I'm on one of the school district's strategic planning committees. The super took my advice to buy up adjacent land around existing schools. Most of the school districts are going into acquisition mode right now.

I think that the Rollins Corridor would actually be the best next school site in Burlingame. Some large parcels, good traffic access, even commercial recreation in the area.


Thanks Bruce for being the pit bull to my poodle.


The city must demand at least $5 million and at least $4 million of that must go to BSD. This is absurd.

Donating to the gov't.

Folks, if you want math and logic to work regarding residential developments and corresponding support of public schools (besides the property tax base increasing), then stop voting to give more of Burlingame property tax to other people's communities.

Remember that Prop that you voted for? Even Jerry Brown said that it was a good idea.

It's tough to give your money to the gov't and have it, too.

Bruce Dickinson

Ok, guys, listen up. We need to get in the prescription business, fast! What do you do when you have a headache? Get a brain transplant? No! you take a little purple pill and see if it gets better. Seriously, ground control to Private Tom, namely the poster above on other planet, you need to return to Earth. Does repealing a proposition statewide that is nearly four decades old sound like a realistic prescription to avoid a bad case of developers multi-familahrrea in Burlingame? Let me give you the two-letter answer: No. The prescription for the prescription, if you will, is that you have got to get your derrieres down to the city, planning commission and in front of the city council to voice your concerns, write letters, get on the horn and scream, get in the papers, protest, demonstrate etc, whatever it takes to get attention. That my friends is the only way you can stop things from negatively affecting you at the local level, is you go to the local source of the problem. What do you do when you disagree with the President of the US of A? Do you tell Putin to invade? No, you affect change within the US. Seriously, folks sometimes I don’t want to use the Dr. in front of Dickinson anymore as what some may need is a teacher at the very entry level of elementary education.

Let's get with the program!


Major Tom. No demotions especially to Private.


"Housing project gets thumbs up: Burlingame City Council gives huge development unanimous approval"



Welcome to the new Boringame. It is every bit as drab, plastic, congested and chain store filled as all the other drab, plastic, congested, chain store filled towns to the north and south. The schools might be 20% better which will prop up the property values a bit verses the other drab, plastic, congested chain store filled towns but over time it will just revert to the mean.


Jeez. I thought story poles come BEFORE you approve a project.

And what makes you think the schools will stay 20% better with all the portables they will have to add? Maybe the city can use some of the $147 million dollars of new value to help BSD buy them and hire some more teachers. Don't bet on it.

your representative, not your ruler.

Story poles are used in single family residential areas, not in commercial areas typically.

APIs and similar measures of performance of students are primarily driven by #1 The Parent's DNA, and #2, The Parents Culture at Home, and #3, The Student's Friend Circle Culture.

I know that my children have learned 85% of what they know from my wife and I and by the selections and culture that we create around them.

Good teachers are certainly very important, but Burlingame definitely does not have a monopoly on good schools - the public schools are all the same company, Jerry Brown & Co.

And, Burlingame does not have the best school APIs.


The biggest threat to a positive culture/environment and performance for students in our area is the Gang Culture that is alive and well throughout the Peninsula. Part of that Gang Culture which has become indirectly cool for even the wealthiest of kids, is that strong academic performance is not cool. Our schools even teach a version of this- competition is not good, "only the collective good matters." It exists because Jerry Brown & Co let it exist.

All of the cities in California are hyped up and bought into letting new housing be developed En Masse, because that's what Jerry Brown & Co has mandated.

Jerry Brown & Co literally mandates a ton of new housing, and literally commits felonies by purposely letting thousands of new folks enter our state illegally, and then we wonder why we're running short of water and funding.

Why do those new housing projects in Millbrae and San Mateo look like crap? Because those elected officials approved massive density that didn't allow for appropriate set-backs or trees in front, etc. This is Transit Oriented Development, these are mandated housing, this is Agenda 21 inspired and all from Jerry Brown & Co. You voted for Jerry's philosophy, if you don't like it, stop contributing $$ and voting for it.

Just wait 'til The Grand Boulevard Initiative (GBI), Association of Bay Area Councils (ABAG), and High Speed Rail (HSR)...railroad you out of any individual voice on Burlingame and other community issues. Your Burlingame City Council elected residents do serve on these boards...email them, call them, meet with them if you don't like the GBI, ABAG, HSR High Density Train.

They are there to be your representative, not your ruler.

If you don't like your representatives, fire them this November.

Bruce Dickinson

Fellas, Bruce Dickinson is a registered Democrat, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I agree with most of what the above poster said. That is, you get what you vote for and this November, you’ll do the same. Now is Gov Moonbeam some brilliant genius (no, I did not vote for him this time around) implementing Agenda 21? C’mon, no he’s promoting some completely unsustainable HSR fantasy and my friends, he just ramrodded through the legislature a classic steamroll: You wanna build a HSR because of some idealistic vision of Europe or Japan, so you jam legislation to require high density, transportation corridor housing, which gets built before the HSR, so that now, it helps fulfill the HSR boondoggle and makes everyone accept high density and HSR as a reality of co-dependency. Moreover, it is under the guise of “reducing greenhouse gases”. Friends, this is all it is, create a self-fulling prophecy, which is a classic government strategy, to shift the debate away from the real questions that need to be asked

Now let's go down to the really small potatoes, namely city government. I think the problem with our City council rests in a combination of one or more factors: these guys are volunteers, basically, and to make controversial decisions is too much cost with too little benefit. Then there are the members who use the spot as a stepping stone, so they populate themselves all over various regional committees and organizations, really representing only their own political aspirations to rise within the Democratic party (in most counties in CA). Then you have those who are developers/spouses of developers/developers friends who get direct economic benefit, investment benefit or kickbacks from developers, which is where the money is really made and naturally there are big dollars in multi-family development. Finally you just have the dummies who just agree to what others say or what the city tells them, to as not to cause a stir or just want minimal work and effort.

Council members will only represent residents if there is a big controversy or there is a dumb, feel good issue to latch on to that will help them get re-elected (the no smoking in public places seems to be a the latest manifestation of this, before it was sidewalks and power outages). The fact that the high density apartment building approved, which may not look quite as bad as diarrhea or poop, but looks like half-digested regurgitation, looks strikingly similar to the apartments by Target and Bridgeport in Foster City, was implicitly signed off on by the neighborhood makes all the council members jump for joy on the ease of such a decision. The only thing missing from this development is a Red Robin right next door. Meanwhile, whispering in their ears are the City staff, worried about their salaries, ability to hire, and pensions that will strongly push for anything that increases the sales and property tax base. It’s funny reading how excited these council members were for this development. Is it that exciting? Is this such a dynamite thing for Burlingame? Maybe it helps meet the ABAG quotas. The giddiness and felicitations seems a bit misplaced for what is a mediocre building, at best, that is next to a rail line, that in electrified or high speed form, does not exist and will not be economically viable when driverless cars hit the market, render the huge infrastructure investment a stranded cost, and make a huge dent in greenhouse gases.

Of course the driverless cars never get mentioned, because they don’t benefit any of the above except the actual Agenda 21 item, which is a reduction of greenhouse gases and energy sustainability. That is what’s gonna make a difference, folks. So either drink the kool-aid, or be an independent thinker and let the facts be your guide rather than what any government official says. Just go out and read some independent news sources and studies and you’ll see that what our government is spoon feeding you is fast-food development and transportation nonsense.

Before Bruce Dickinson signs off, the poster above talked about API scores not being that high. Well, you find me a community with 50% rental population that has as high API scores, and then we’ll talk. Guys, this is simple data analysis, always gotta compare apples to apples. The fact that Burlingame is 50% multifamily renters, has great schools, and non-native Spanish speakers is unparalleled, plain and simple.

Let’s ask some tough questions this election season, and make the next council actually work as representatives. How novel would that be?!?

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