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February 23, 2020


Barking Dog

Nice work Joe and thank you for writing your well thought out letter to the city council.

Mr. Brownrigg's investment/family members home on Columbus Ave(not his family residence on Columbus ) was just sold for north of 3.5 mil) after a total teardown and remodel of the property. There is a gas line that that connects to the property...I'm sure with a high end Viking/Wolf range in the kitchen. Before this sold recently, Mr Brownrigg from what I had read, his reservations about banning natural gas, but once this property was sold at a high dollar amount(and a lower cost amount to build out with natural gas hookups) he is now want to ban natural gas. Come on Mike...dont be that Limousine Liberal to garner a votes. Practice what you preach to your constituents. You are a better man than that.

I think it was in the winter of 82 or 83 a huge eucalyptus tree fell on Burlingame Ave by the Rec Center. My family was without power for 4 days. Thankfully we had(have) a gas stove, waterheater and wood burning fireplace...

Peter Garrison

Thanks Joe.
Good nudge on the Golden Rule for this council and study session:

If they don’t want to bear the personal expense and hassle, then they may not ask others to suffer the expense and hassle.

Bruce Dickinson

Folks, Bruce Dickinson thinks this idea is borderline preposterous, considering over 40% of energy in California is produced via natural gas, which is still a cleaner source of energy over its full life cycle and is extremely cheap to produce. Look how low natural gas prices are--that's right multi-year lows!

With so much of California's baseload electricity produced by natural gas, that a theoretical "all electric home" is still consuming electricity produced by natural gas. It might make sense if solar/renewables make far greater than the 20% of baseload electricity generation, but as of now, seems like an idea being used to generate votes and tap into popular feel-good environmentalism versus making a decision that makes practical and economic sense.

If at a certain point, natural gas becomes too expensive or unpalatable for consumers, then just let them "cut the pipe", cancel their gas service and go all solar. No need for a nanny-state to dictate what is best for us while we wait decades to become 100% renewable. Not even sure that will fully happen as massive loads of electricity is tough to store (giant battery farms built, which also use high mining-intensive/not environmentally friendly production of rare earth minerals) and what happens when the sun isn't shining or winds aren't blowing?

Also, what about all the gourmet home chefs in our midst that will have to deal with an electric stove!!? Will this mean that older houses that will continue to have gas connections become MORE valuable than homes that don't!!!

Bruce Dickinson, despite being a registered Democrat, finds it rather amusing how this "Nanny-State" mentality is so patronizing to CA's citizens. Yes, these politician-geniuses, the same people who came up with HSR, allowed PG&E to go bankrupt twice through their crazy rules, cannot balance a budget during a recession, allowed other cities to ship their homeless to our cities (without any of our politicians noticing), believes that building more affordable housing solves homelessness, and oversaw the continuous decline of California' state education programs to nearly last place in the nation, while continuously raising income and sales taxes with very little to show for it... are now telling us how to run things!!!???!

Thanks but no thanks, with such a terrible track record, the less they are in charge of and the fewer decisions they make for us the better! The incredibly lousy record speaks for itself!!!

Papes Fan

Me thinks the council people should stock up on old-fashion charcoal and lighter fluid and a Weber because the meat they cook on an electric stove or electric grill will be yuck yuck yucky.

Barking Dog

Bruce, well said and articulate as always. You sure you lean left of center in today's California??
Papers Fan bring up a good point, does this include outdoor gas grills?

Mr Brownrigg disappoints me with this. Maybe he was just playing to the Advocate crowd in the room pushing the issue. All I know is he lost my vote next Tues. I hope the 15 Advocate votes Mr Brownrigg garnered in that room, was worth the many more he lost by pushing this "reach" code.

Ms Beach, go sell this to the small Massachusetts town you grew up in. My guess is it wont fly up there. Go tell the people of Mass, in Dec, we a cutting off your gas/oil to heat your home...


Dear Pols,
Natural gas is relatively cheap, safe, clean, abundant, and affordable.
Leave it alone.


Paloma Ave

Why is our city council even thinking out loud about limiting choices?

This is America!

Stick with the business of filling potholes, repairing broken sidewalks and keeping traffic moving.

And please don't feel the need to follow the practices of the Peoples Republic of Berkeley.


Does anybody really think this is not the nose of the camel sneaking under the tent to eventually outlaw gas in single family homes? Just read the letter in today's Chronicle from a woman in Walnutty Creek. I quote "A great next step for California to achieve net zero carbon emissions is to help current homeowners transition to electric appliances with incentives or a tax break to replace gas furnaces, stoves and water heaters with electric appliances"

Burglingame Voter

ZERO impact on climate but negative consequences for our town and for our citizens.

I'm writing in Joe Baylock on my ballot.

Bruce Dickinson

Also, Bruce Dickinson has to laugh about that Walnut Creek woman proclaiming how morally great it would be for California in achieving zero net carbon emissions. Well, sorry, but never gonna happen, because guess what?

California is the largest importer of electricity in the US!! That's right, we don't generate enough for our own baseload, so we need to buy nearly 30% of our power out of state! And how is that power generated? Let me tell ya, it ain't all solar panels and wind farms. It's natural gas, nuclear, and "big beautiful coal" (Trump's quote).


So Brownrigg, latching onto this ridiculous proposal, is clearly pandering to a bunch of eco-ignorants. Maybe that's what it takes you get you elected!?? But seriously, the only "statement" that Burlingame is really making by banning natural gas is "we are eliminating one of your choices for heating and cooking even though it has almost zero impact on making the world a greener place".

Dumb is a four-letter word! The less time our City Council spends on this "issue", the better off we are!


Dear Burglingame Voter, thank you for the laugh today. I'm going to assume your screen name is not a typo but a comment on people burglarizing your rights. I may plagiarize your term in the future. I only wish I had thought of it when the last sales tax measure came around. "Burglingame". Love it.

BruceD, Thank you as well. You are a font of wisdom on a number of fronts. We are already importing 30% of our electricity! Who knew?

Bruce Dickinson

Joe, yes, you read that correctly, over 33% of California's electricity is imported, to be more precise. What's even crazier is that the amount imported has actually increased from 25% in 2010!!! So much for this push for renwables, which by the way helped all of your power bills be 45% above the US average! See below:


Guys, yes, the Bruce Dickinson in about 5 minutes, pretty much obliterated any possible argument for getting rid of natural gas in Burlingame by exposing the hypocritical politicians who love to prey on emotions and totally ignore cold hard facts. And if you vote for their crazy proposal, guess what? Your power bill will be even higher!

I just saved everyone from wasting a bunch of time and money!! This proposal is DOA. My campaign advice to Brownrigg, drop it and move on to something more defensible that can have a real impact on bettering people's lives.

So, maybe Bernie Sanders is wrong in saying that all multimillionaires and billionaires shouldn't exist!!!?!??

Barking Dog

Do the property tax paying residents even have a chance to vote for/against this proposed "reach" code? Or doe it just take 3 of 5 council members to vote in favor of and become the new code?


They will take my gas stovetop when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands. Do any of the council members even cook?


I have gotten a response to my letter, but so far only one of our five councilmembers has responded to the direct question of "Will you swap over to all-electric" by stating they are in the process of getting quotes.

Still waiting on the other four.

Duff Beach

No one is taking anyone's already installed gas appliances (nor their replacements). This is about new infrastructure.

If you want to know more, read the information the city provides or ask your council member (or both).

I don't speak for Emily, but she does--just ask her. Not everyone will agree on this issue, or others (that's the nature of things), but I know she doesn't make any decision on the council on a whim or without doing her homework.


Thank you, Duff. Most people get that existing appliances aren't targeted, I certainly do. That is not the essence of the request. The above letter went to all five members, so we're just waiting for responses to come in.

Duff Beach

I’m not addressing the policy, but I will address the other question. The Beach family is blessed with a comfortable income that has allowed us to afford a nice home in Burlingame that we probably couldn’t afford to buy today. We do not have the money lying around to replace infrastructure in our home for no reason. We don’t have multiple homes, pools, etc.

However, if we needed to re-wire or re-plumb our house, it is obvious that only re-wiring, not also re-plumbing, would be less expensive. Additionally, when the power goes out, our gas heat and hot water also go out (because they also require electricity—as most modern gas furnaces do).

Sign me up

It looks like we have a situation where some people do the homework and still fail the test.

This whole thing is waste of time and should be put to bed now. Don't we have enough real issues in town.

Barking Dog

"The Beach family is blessed with a comfortable income that has allowed us to afford a nice home in Burlingame that we probably couldn’t afford to buy today. We do not have the money lying around to replace infrastructure in our home for no reason. We don’t have multiple homes, pools, etc."
Replace the Beach name with any other families name. Rings true with most families in Burlingame. I know it does mine.

Yes re-wiring less expensive, but unnecessary now and I still don't have the money to accomplish that if it was required. What I have works just fine(most of the time), safe, somewhat economical and I have to say, pretty reliable in my neighborhood. The $1100 investment I made 10yrs ago on a low noise gas generator enables my family to have a safe environment with heat and hot water when the power goes out or in an emergency situation.

Will agree to disagree with you Beach Duff, as I hope that the final outcome of this is common sense prevailing.

Common.... economical, cost efficient, environmental/sustainable, customer preferred...sense.


I don't spend a lot of time on NextDoor. The commercial features of it affect the design of the user interface which I find a little distracting. But when a topic "heats up" like this proposed natural gas ban, I tune in. With his permission, I am reposting a comment from Mark Hammitt--a guy I don't know--that I found exceptionally well-stated:

There's nothing wrong with a constituent asking his or her councilmember about various issues, going to meetings, and poring over meeting minutes. But we elect people based on a general trust that they're aligned with our interests and will represent us accordingly, which should relieve us from having to dedicate this degree of oversight.

I'm disappointed both in the authoritarian tendency in Burlingame city government and the pack mentality ("all the other kids are doing it") used to justify these interventions (I'm looking at you, higher-than-mandated grocery bag fee).

Natural gas is really efficient at generating heat, just as electricity is really efficient (via LEDs) at generating light. Let them be.
That sense of a "general trust" in our electeds is critical for me. I have endorsed most of our current councilmembers for election at one time or another--sometimes more than once. And I GET IT, you sometimes disagree with an elected that you MOSTLY agree with. That's life in politics. Heck, I disagreed with one or two of my own wife's votes in 12 years (can anyone say "Roundabout"??).

So, thank you, Mark-that-I-don't-know. It's good to read a coherent statement about limiting the long arm of the council.

The original request of the councilmembers that started this post still stands as a legit request. Let's take this out of the realm of Staff Reports and into the real-world of bids, building code, reliable appliances, and even a nicely grilled piece of fish.

Bruce Dickinson

Listen guys, to be clear, Bruce Dickinson knows that the no natural gas proposal only applies to new homes, not existing homes. My point is why should this rule be imposed on new construction, when natural gas is very cheap (multi year lows), is fairly clean burning, is a major component of our baseload electricity generation, is a major component of California's IMPORTED electricity (33%), and is already fairly clean. Burlingame doing this for new homes isn't going to create any sort of dent in any greenhouse emissions. Also, with those who believe we must move away from natural gas by storing wind/solar power must also realize that rare earth mining of metals and minerals (for battery farms) is extremely environmentally unfriendly! Just because mining these elements in Russia or China and not here doesn't mean they don't affect the global environment.

Point is, if people are so worried that by switching to all electricity helps their conscience (in spite of natural gas driving so much electricity generation as mentioned above), let them, on THEIR OWN volition, either choose (at their sole discretion) to have their new home be all electric or keep the gas, or for existing homes, choose to "cut the pipe" and not use gas and get electric appliances, solar panels, Tesla battery or what not. Or they can choose to keep their existing gas appliances and continue to be amateur gourmet chefs to their hearts' content.

No need for "Nanny State" approaches in forcing action (removing any prospect for natural gas in new construction) down people's throats when there is very little economic or rational justification of doing so, considering that California's own and imported electric generation is dependent on natural gas, and the fact that this huge push to renewables has actually INCREASED our electric rates to 45% above the national average and put us in the position of importing more electricity than any other state as increasing capacity in solar and wind is a slow and expensive process. The "nanny state" track record of our elected officials at the State level is nothing short of abysmal as I highlighted in so many of the issues above. Choice needs to move down more to the local level given that trust with State officials has been breached in so many different capacities on dozens of important issues, thereby adversely affecting the health of our State.

My expectation is that Burlingame's elected officials should embrace more micro-local choices, and you can't get closer to true freedom of choice than to have each household decide on the direction of how to use their energy and appliances, especially when the economic and rational justification in maintaining the status quo is so overwhelmingly compelling.

Consider the "homework" already done!


From today's Chronicle opinion piece by San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo:

The result would be hefty rate hikes that force customers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more to Wall Street through their monthly utility bills. PG&E optimistically projects that electricity rates will increase by a third over the next three years, but more realistic assumptions would push energy bills even higher.



I can chime in as someone who voluntarily went almost all electric during a large remodel about two years ago. I put solar panels in, replaced my ancient gas heating (radiators) system with a forced air heat pump system, and replaced my gas water heater with a heat pump water heater (resistance heat as backup). Now only my stovetop and fireplace use gas, so my gas usage is practically negligible.

I really don't get the "re-wiring" comments above. Yes, you have to re-wire, but that is only part of it. You have to buy and maintain the electric appliances, and they aren't cheap in the case of a heating system and water heater. Heat pumps are really the only way to go because electrical resistance heat is very inefficient. Heat pumps are expensive and complicated (i.e., things go wrong).

The cost of the electricity to heat your home and water is enormous at our very high rates, even with an efficient system. It takes massive amounts of electricity to replace that gas. My solar panels were a necessary part of the plan because I could essentially lock in my electricity rates by prepaying for 20-25 years of electricity.

Anyway, I can tell you that I have had numerous minor problems with the heat pumps, and even when nothing is wrong, they are really poor at heating when temps get in the 30s.

Would I do it again knowing what I know now? It would be a close call.

The cost, simplicity, reliability, and longevity of gas heating systems are way better than their electric counterparts right now. Then add in the very high and rising cost of our electricity. Then add in the points that Bruce made about much of the electricity coming from gas plants anyway.

All in all, I wouldn't force people to go all-electric at this point in time. If people like me want to do it, great, but it should be a choice. I sure would pity the person who has an all-electric house and is at the mercy of our crazy electric rates.

$$$Envi - ous $$$$

I made the mistake of going with resistance heat for a really small space. Maybe 100 square feet. I thought how bad could it be. The unit comes from Envi and is sleek and wallmounted so it doesn't take up much space in the small space. But boy is it expensive for just minimal heat in a space that is really just storage. Ouch.

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