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March 06, 2019


Bruce Dickinson

Funny as wasn't a few weeks ago that our own City Council completely caved into one of the telecom companies' requests to put up more cell sites and approved a controversial and unpopular application? It caused quite the brouhaha, from what Bruce Dickinson understands, with lots of community members rallying in opposition.

Bruce Dickinson's understanding is that they're not even doing the "cloaked" towers and settled for the ugly ones, albeit with slimmed down equipment, making them slightly less heinous than the first proposal. Nowhere near what some of these other communities such as Palo Alto are considering.

Disappointed again, in our Council for the "easy out" which is to avoid confrontation and allow outside interests to trump local views and walk all over Burlingame.

If Bruce Dickinson were a sitting council member, you bet that I wouldn't let outsiders steamroll us. Palo Alto seems to have no problem in doing this!

Whatever happened to all the scrappy fighters that Burlingame was once famous for?

Time for real leadership!

Just Visiting

Does Bruce Dickinson want the City elders to invite a lawsuit that the City will lose, costing the city tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars where the chances of success are essentially nil?

Just curious where that fits into BD's worldview and opinions about fiscal responsibility.

Bruce Dickinson

Need I remind you, that the last lawsuit over similar towers was easily won by Burlingame.

Also, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and other cities seem to have no problems getting the telecommunications firms to pony up for the right type of poles and hidden equipment. Maybe they're not afraid of lawsuits and take a more aggressive stance resulting in better outcomes.

Why failure here?

A few hundred thousand with a high probability of success that will have a major impact on quality of life and aesthetics seems like a reasonable risk/reward in Bruce Dickinson's book. If you want to get into the fiscal responsibility argument, there are much much much bigger fish to fry with Burlingame. Actually tackling those issues enables you the flexibility to fight the right battles than can have meaningful impacts on the community.

Just judging by the uproar this caused, I would argue that the residents would have preferred to take a stronger stance on this issue.

But then again, living in Belmont, how would you know this?

*mic drop*

 It Don't Come Easy

I agree they are ugly and a blight (I feel that way about telephone poles as well). I don't think there is sufficient data to prove it's safer than 4G. I understand they emit more radiation than 4G. Why isn't safety being discussed? Perhaps the technology is ready yet?

Just Visiting

I live right here in Burlingame, thanks.

How much does Mr. Dickinson know about the FCC, its new rule making as of September 2018 on 5G build-out, and the Supremacy Clause?

Apparently not much.

Bruce Dickinson

Hey, let's just say that I know enough to own more Ferraris than you do!

Seriously, other cities are getting the better, more hidden equipment (e.g. Palo Alto) and more effectively fighting the telecom companies to pony up extra money for the more expensive equipment.

Burlingame is not.

That is a big problem!

Just Visiting

Privilege doesn't equal knowledge.

And no, Palo Alto isn't doing better than Burlingame. Palo Alto got exactly what Burlingame got: antennas painted to match the poles they are put on--and a lot of residents angry at the City Council because it--like Burlingame's Council--can't overrule the FCC.

Palo Alto did not get underground vaults; they got boxes next to the poles, despite resident anguish over this--very similar to Burlingame.

Burligname's Council has begun the process of outlining objective criteria for installation of such facilities, but in the meantime, the FCC--federal law--mandates approval of these facilities.

You're good at picking cars and throwing mud. Neither one is effective governance.


The comment about "the Italians" is hilarious.
The City of Burlingame, CA. is most likely a "Multi Billion Dollar Corporation."
The City of Burlingame Manager, the City of Burlingame Elders are incapable of Managing such a large "Trust Fund."
To be a City Elder should not be a vote, it should be a Community Interview. Most importantly, Any US City Manager should be an MBA, worked in Finance, and just have a lot of experience..
Not Civil Service/Government employment, experience of being assertive and honest.(Not easy to do.)
Hiring the Best of the Best.
If that means over a Million Dollars a year, plus benefits, a special financial separation contract,WILL create a prosperous community.
We have got to come together, admit the Andy Griffith- Mayberry RFD way of managing never worked, and become the Jewel of the Peninsula. Ask yourselves, how much longer will I sit on my ass, before Burlingame becomes just another IT Coal Mine?
I know, that last part did not make sense, but you know what I mean.

Bruce Dickinson

The article that Joe references above is a direct contradiction to your statement as they got equipment in utility poles in the much more attractive pole cylinders for some of the applications. San Francisco also did the same for several of its micro towers.

Bruce Dickinson has actually asked one of my many lawyers about this issue, and he feels it can be fought and won. I trust him over some yokel on the BV who is far more interested in contradicting yours truly because of some other underlying issues rather than bettering the community. Let’s just let the BV readers be the judge as to whom has enlightened everyone with some great and not-so-conventional ideas. And guess what? You do NOT become successful by taking consensus opinions! Bruce Dickinson’s track record in this area is beyond reproach!

Several other cities are also fighting these applications and believe it is worthwhile litigation with a decent probability of winning. My legal guy tells me the case law seems to favor local ordinances (which Burlingame has) superseding Federal and State laws (which do have loop holes allowing for this) Read the staff report on the application in Burlingame. The telecom lawyer actually says the same thing as my guy does in essence. Burlingame should have joined the consortium below to split the legal fees:


We’ll start seeing if this litigation or threat of litigation results in better outcomes.

And, by the way, my success and wealth was 100% earned and created by me! In fact, I have probably grown up with far less privilege than most posters on the BV, most likely including you, just judging by the tone of your writing!

Now on to far more important (and prolific) things…

Just Visiting

Reading comprehension. Try it. The City of Burlingame's minutes and staff reports are on line for all to see.

And your "legal guy" isn't paying attention if he thinks that something some city did two years ago matters in the current environment.

Oh, and after Palo Alto's Planning Commission said no, Palo Alto's City Council said yes:

But yes, on to more fruitful endeavors


Best comment of the year

"I know, that last part did not make sense, but you know what I mean."

No, I'm afraid I don't. But don't try to explain either. It won't help.

Bruce Dickinson

So I talk to my guy (the lawyer) about the issue, and believe me, I had to endure a quasi-berating from him on how we’re even using his time to respond to yokels on the BV who don’t even live in Burlingame or bordering cities, but after all, Bruce Dickinson pays his bills and I promised him I wouldn’t bug him on this again.

So, before anybody contradicts my expert (and highly paid, I might add) staff, let’s have a real lesson in reading comprehension and talking only when you have all the facts and aren’t using local papers as your primary resource. These “newspapers” are far inferior to the BV, with varying standards of writing that oftentimes give the word “journalism” a bad rap.

This is from the Jan 22 City Council Meeting as part of the staff report


Basically gives the legal conditions under which local communities have discretion superseding the FCC.

Now, let’s say you didn’t have a team of lawyers and experts like I do. Let’s put the common sense hat on and think about it. Why would you have a public hearing with multiple approval bodies if the FCC trumped all? That’s because it doesn’t! The Planning Commission and City Councils have conditional (however limited) discretionary powers over the placement of telecommunications equipment, as described in this opinion prepared for the City of Burlingame (my guy actually found something else not mentioned in the memo, but we’ll keep that in my back pocket for now). This is why other cities are pursuing legal action, it’s because it’s unclear and the litigation is under the auspices of most of the points raised in the memo.

Sometimes when you don’t have all the information, you have to think about why other parties are taking courses of action that go against your intuition! Usually that’s a red flag to really not be too self-indulgent and trust your intuition and instincts too much as there may be counter-factuals that disprove your point!

Some people never learn!


On the day a tech blog started the first testing of 5G with a Mot on Verizon small footprint in downtown Chicago, the California Supreme Court also gave cities a bit of control over cell site positioning. The Chronicle reports:

San Francisco and other cities can protect their scenic views by prohibiting wireless telephone companies from installing antennas on utility poles, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The justices unanimously upheld a 2011 San Francisco ordinance requiring telecommunications companies to obtain a city permit before installing large antennas and related equipment on roadside poles.

The ordinance said permit applications would be reviewed more closely in certain scenic and historic areas.


Just Visiting

If it makes people happier to remain uniformed--or, in this case, to read what they agree with and avoid what contradicts them, I suppose that is their right.

Here is the decision relating to San Francisco: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S238001.PDF

It does not address the FCC and federal regulations--nor could it address a September 26, 2018 rule making--the appeal was filed in 2016. But on the tangentially related side of things, San Francisco relies on an ordinance with some specificity about aesthetics--specificity that is required under the FCC's new rules to deny permits for 5G towers.

It's good that BD took the time to read the staff report--and the good analysis provided--that BD links (that was current as of September 4, 2018). Feel free to take the time to read the FCC rule, published September 26, 2018--which is now the law of the land:

You can skip to page 43 and start reading at Paragraph 81. Then you will realize that doing what the City Council has begun work on, i.e., putting together an objective aesthetic standard, is the only course Burlingame can reasonably take--unless you want to flush tens of thousands (or more) dollars down the losing at litigation toilet. Personally, I don't want my elected officials flushing my tax dollars.

Your high priced lawyers know that's true. Unless they just want your money.

Bruce Dickinson

Well, look who now backhandedly agrees with Bruce Dickinson! The aesthetic argument was always the strongest point (per the memo), and that remains pre-or-post the FCC ruling (this was discussed in another of the Staff report documents). A less strong point, but one that is debatable on the applications at hand was that the existing service at one of the locations was not deemed to be insufficient at the 4G level, which also could have been fought under the new rules (burden of proof on insufficient service not met).

That is the whole point of fighting for the more hidden, less obtrusive poles/hidden equipment and macro cells and pole sharing. I never said no micro cells period. Who has reading comprehension issues!!??

From my original post:

"Palo Alto, San Francisco, and other cities seem to have no problems getting the telecommunications firms to pony up for the right type of poles and hidden equipment. Maybe they're not afraid of lawsuits and take a more aggressive stance resulting in better outcomes."

I've said it before and will say it again, just made the damn equipment less obtrusive and the City of Burlingame could have played a little more hardball and gotten it instead of caving in.

Seriously, looks like you are just trying to pick a fight with yours truly, just for the sake of it for whatever strange reason. I know you're not a resident here, but I can assure you, the community uproar over the cells was huge, and all I am concerned about is properly representing the community and it's views, which is what our Council is tasked with. I think the community support for a lawsuit is there.

One thing's for sure, at least I got you to read the stuff you hadn't read before now that you've had a chance to catch up over the three weeks where you've been radio silent to come up with your "retort" which looks more like an agreement. And since you're so concerned about how I spend all my money, my lawyer (who is extremely efficient) literally spent maybe 20-25 minutes on the issue (15 of it was just talking to me), so let's call it $500 for the billable time.

Need I remind you, my opponents generally never got the better of me and I can assure you, have far smaller car collections!

Long live the Great Bruce Dickinson!

Bruce Dickinson

Also, forgot to mention, Burlingame already HAS an ordinance governing aesthetics of cell phone towers/equipment; one that was written after it won the first lawsuit.

Just Visiting

Wrong on the facts, wrong on the law, wrong on the ordinance (no objective criteria in it), and still suffering from reading comprehension problems. The council said it needs to update our ordinance regarding the aesthetics because right now it's not good enough to pass legal muster (i.e., it doesn't support rejecting these towers on an objective basis); and Burlingame--like Palo Alto--got *some* aesthetic changes to try to disguise the new towers (both got paint, and that's about it).

As many words as BD writes won't change that Burlingame would lose a legal challenge, but burn through a bunch of cash in the process. Hooray?

Bomb throwing isn't productive--nor is spreading misinformation.

Joe, your efforts to keep the people informed are appreciated, but keep trying to include a dose of reality.

Bruce Dickinson

Look, it's the new president of the Not-Living-In Burlingame Revisionist History club!

Waste of everyone's time!

Just Visiting

I'm a Burlingame resident. Are you? All those Ferrari's don't fit in many Burlingame houses--feels a lot more Hillsborough.

And don't want my tax dollars wasted on losing litigation--that is a waste of time.

Bruce Dickinson

Well, not to stoke any additional feelings of envy or resentment towards yours truly, but since inquiring minds want to know: two cars at my Burlingame residence, two cars at a Burlingame facility, three cars in storage in a Menlo Park facility, one car at my Anderson Valley property, one at my Hawaii property, one at my Topanga Canyon property

Yeah, I think that's it...got 'em all!

Richard Marino

I find it disturbing that people are concerned about the aesthetic aspect when the real issue at hand is public health. Were all going to get microwaved but hopefully it looks good while it happens.

Jennifer Pfaff

Microwave (health) at this point is not allowed as a "defense" because it is not universally acknowledged as real science. I'm totally with you--better safe, than sorry, but that is what I understood from the last hearings of City Council with a consultant and attorney present. I think aesthetics are (still) valid if there are reasonable feasible alternatives-- though I would not be surprised if that, too, disappears at some point.


5G will bring education to the masses on-demand and finally put these useless public schools out of their misery.

For us renters throughout the area who will soon make up 75% of the voting block, please install it soon.

Take a look at the ugly buildings being built in the area and you are worried about a small box near a telephone pole?


Let's increase the 75%.


working on it with SF

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