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May 06, 2021


Just Visiting

The reactionary anger that exists on this site towards people with different points of view is unbecoming.

Jennifer Pfaff's letter in the SMDJ the other day hit on a lot of good points, including the backlash against overly aggressive activists labeling single-family home owners racists. There are a lot of people of color in Burlingame who really like their R-1-zoned neighborhoods (and some of them spoke at the council meeting the other night).

There are huge problems with Sacramento imposing state-wide zoning laws, but it wouldn't have come to this if many cities--including historically, but not now, Burlingame (but look at Palo Alto for a current very NIMBY council)--had kept up with housing demand. Perhaps Sacramento would be better served looking at CEQA and other laws and other policies that make building housing more expensive than building commercial space. And perhaps Sacramento should focus more energy on addressing cities (like Palo Alto, Hillsborough, etc.) that still stubbornly resist any new, higher density housing. But--if the housing advocates continue their current tone, there is a backlash likely coming very soon. It's great that the young people came out and participated, but the brutal truth is that home owners vote much more consistently. Policy makers alienate home owners at their own risk.

There's also the problem that there's little evidence that outlawing R-1 zoning will significantly increase housing supply or affordability. How many new duplexes (or larger) have replaced single family homes in Burlingame's R-3 zoned areas? The answer is precious few. That's because of market demand. Of course, the counter to that is that maybe doing away with R-1 zoning will have a negligible impact on the currently R-1 zoned neighborhoods, so why fight it? And seriously, how bad would it be if you had a duplex or two on your street? Also, the advocates are correct that stubbornly resisting change in the R-1 neighborhoods is literally Not In My BackYard behavior. I doubt that R-3 zoning everywhere is the answer, but perhaps there is middle ground? Like not freaking out that Mercy wants to allow non-nuns to live in its already built housing, while building ten single family homes where they would easily fit, and no one who wasn't upset about the loss of a slice of their personal park space across the street would even know it was a change, on a single-family-zoned street--adding what amounts to a few cars a day to the neighborhood?

We would also be better served if the folks who run and comment on this site would open their minds a little to the reality of the housing crisis and the privilege they have enjoyed by stepping onto the Bay Area housing escalator far in advance of 2021. Was it hard at the time? For most folks it really was. Does that mean it was as hard as it is now? Nope. Right now, dual-wage earning professionals (say a married doctor and lawyer) have a hard time buying into a starter home in Burlingame. That's not a good look for a city that has a history--that most of its residents appreciate--of socio-economic diversity.

And no, Joe, adding a thousand residents isn't nearly as hard on our water supply as the wasted water dedicated to lawns (and the EIR for the new general plan specifically considered water resources).

Regardless of the debate about the actual nuances of these issues, everyone would be better served with a little less name calling and fragility.

Just Visiting

PS I meant R2, not R3.

Paloma Ave

Hey Just Visiting - There is no housing crisis! I'll keep saying it until it sinks in.

What we have here is an overabundance of employers and we live in a highly desirable area. People from all over the world want to live here. But, there is a finite amount of space.

Pack and stack housing will only make this a less desirable area to live. DON"T RUIN THIS AREA by overbuilding.

We are also talking about building more housing DURING A PROLONGED DROUGHT. WHY?

Perhaps a fair way to divide up needed water is to shut off water according to when a building was constructed. Last constructed would be the first to be cut-off. (O.k. newer home owners, bring it on).


@JustVisiting, please read the post about the water study session that was right before the council meeting that had the anti-SB9 letter discussion. I think you are under-informed.


Eyes Wide Shut-School Diversity Numbers

These comments parroted by students reflect the ignorance of their teachers who are pushing the agenda.

(Note- Hispanic is the term listed by the SMUHSD)

The following schools have a demographic spike reflecting the de-facto housing choices.

BHS is 48% White
Mills is 57.7% Asian
Capuchino is 50% Hispanic
SMHS is 43% Hispanic

So do students at Mills say there are, "too many Asians here?

Cap and SMHS, "Too many Hispanics?"

The diversity the BHS students are speaking of (and seeking) is African American students. According to data sources (2018) there were ONLY 75 (0.8%) African American students in the entire district. The number of African American students has continued to decline year after year.

The ill informed students want to know why their school doesn't look like TV or their social media feed?

The SMUHSD diversity distribution is balanced given the de-facto cultural housing and school choices made by families:

A robust conversation of

The argument that affordable housing equals more diversity simply does not add up. BHS is at student capacity so if more people move to Burlingame, those who transfer in will have to leave.

The real answer is that the total number of African Americans living in the SMUHSD is falling.

Burlingame-The City
African Americans-1.2%

Burlingame High School
Pacific Islander-0.5%
African Americans-0.4%

So if BHS were 10 students
5 Whites
2 Hispanics
2 Asians
1 AfricanAmerican/Pacific Islander

So BHS kids are stating that they want to trade at least one white kid for a future draft pick.Its like a packed nightclub with a one out one in policy. To get more kids of color, white kids have to leave.

SMUHSD Totals District/School
AHS- 26.4%
BHS -48%.
CHS- 18.9%
HHS- 38.1%
MHS- 12%

Hispanic or Latino:
AHS- 27.2%
BHS -18.8%

AHS- 29.7%
BHS -21.4%
CHS- 18.9%
MHS- 57.5%

Pacific Islander:
BHS -0.5%

African Americans:
SMUHSD- 0.8%
BHS – 0.4%
HHS- 1.2%
MHS- 0.3%

By Comparison,
New Trier High School-(a powerhouse) outside of Chicago with almost 3000 students has the following breakdown:

Other 4%

Affordable Housing does not bring down the price of food, gas, or other related living expense that are actually HIGHER in places like Burlingame. Studies show that families may be BETTER OFF by moving to gain lower costs of living without taking wage loss.

This post was to support a more balanced and robust look at the current demographics in the schools.

Paloma Ave

Are there any BHS students who would enlighten us on the names of teachers who are indoctrinating students to believe that socialism is the way to go?

We need some transparency here.

The Purge of the Right- The elimination of thought @ BHS

BHS-The Purge of the Right- The elimination of any view that challenges liberal ideology.

Woke History-101

BHS announced earlier this year that it was eliminating its AP European History course and replacing it with AP World History,

The following is in the Burlingame Bee March 2021

“This push to create a more diverse curriculum has been a frequent conversation within the Burlingame administration."

"[There is a] conversation that has been happening in the [social science] department around a more global, less Eurocentric perspective," principal Paul Belzer said.

"… in addition to the Ethnic Studies course in the 9th grade."

"We want to make sure that we are offering a culturally relevant and culturally responsive curriculum," Belzer said.

"This change was welcomed by teachers and students alike, prompting the social science department to tackle what they saw as the problematic tenth grade curriculum. “


The previous robust AP Government and AP Economics (full year of Micro and Macro) program at BHS taught for years (decades?) by Mills and Nelson was built upon strong academic foundations and a depth of ideological exploration.

The course used Mankiw’s Economics, (a conservative text and professor) embracing and encouraging student exploration of ALL sides of the subject.

The core political science and economics content was instructed with conviction and not criticism of student belief or ideological bias by the instructor.

Mills was the first to be run off by Principal Yim. Nelson was then “set up” and transferred from BHS. There is nothing organic about these events.

After Nelson's removal from BHS, the AP Government and AP Economics course enrollment dropped by 65 students(two full sections), students fled the course in droves as the Mankiw text was banished, and an extreme liberal ideology mandate was established in the classroom.

The AP Gov/AP Econ enrollment drop was so shocking that BHS has to address it in writing in its WASC Report.

On the day after Principal Yim’s resignation, Mr. Nelson submitted a legal statement to Dr. Skelly and the Board of his intention to stay at his legal employment placement at for the past 26 years, Burlingame High School. (see below)

In an emergency meeting called by Yim and announcing her resignation (before a student/community walkout supporting Nelson) a small group of 3 or 4 teachers known as the Mean Girls yelled to Dr. Skelly after Yim's announcement, “so is that it? Nelson gets to stay?”

Referring to Yim departure and the acknowledgement that Nelson would now stay at BHS.

According to Superintendent Kevin Skelly in a February 2019 memo to the Board (see below for links), in the week following Principal Yim’s resignation announcement, Superintendent. Skelly was contacted separately by two Burlingame High School teachers who wanted Nelson transferred. There were no complaints filed, incidents cited, documents produced, noting just an empty claim to the Superintendent. (Why wait?).

Dr. Skelly has stated that he, as the Superintendent of the SMUHSD DID NOT investigate these claims for validity and he refused (upon a legal request) to identify the teachers who contacted him. Skelly claims that he did not even know the teachers who came to him. (Yet he believed them?). Deputy Superintendent Black and Principal Yim (at Skelly's side) knew very well the identity and backgrounds of the two "Mystery Teachers."

Why make a false report to the Superintendent?

It was common knowledge at BHS prior to Yim’s resignation, that Nelson and another AP teacher had filed the "required paperwork to interview at other SMUHSD sites" prior to a teacher moving schools. The paperwork is a procedure and not a mandate.

(The other teacher remains at BHS today)

Nelson and the other teacher were looking to transfer from BHS because of the abusive environment and individual targeting by Principal Yim.

Yim’s employment troubles and impending "resignation" was known amongst her inner circle, the "Mean Girls."

The Mean Girls knew that Yim had negotiated a resignation deal and was going to be allowed to stay at BHS until the end of 2015-16 school year.

Yim would also and would hire NEW BHS teachers for any open positions before she left.

The Mean Girls had orchestrated with Yim, the hiring of a former teacher to take over the AP Government and AP Economics programs Nelson had taught for 20+ years and “turn it far left.”

Principal Yim's resignation removed any legal and employment need to remove Nelson from BHS. The only way for the Mean Girls to get rid of Nelson AFTER Yim's announcement was to lie to the Superintendent.

Dr. Skelly (new to the SMUHSD and ignorant of its past) was convinced to continue with the Nelson's Involuntary Transfer by Deputy Superintendent Black and Principal Yim, who Skelly trusted as truthful advisors.

Principal Yim and Deputy Superintendent Black (knew the backgrounds and legal problems of the Mean Girls) supported the "stories" of the two BHS “mystery teachers” and made Nelson the scapegoat for the problems at BHS.

Why would Yim, Black, and the Mean Girls force out Nelson?

Public Documents show that Yim, Black, and the Mean Girls were the ones under investigation by the United States Office of Civil Rights in 2015 for civil rights violations against students.

This was retaliation and collectively sacrificed Nelson, persuading Skelly to blame Nelson for their negligence.

THEY were personally named in the Civil Rights complaint and its investigation, but ALL of this was blocked from Superintendent Skelly and the Board by Black and Yim themselves.

These teachers, along with the administrators, are now subjects of investigation by the California Teacher Commission Educator Misconduct Division. The CTC investigators have already found Skelly and Black guilty, now they are just adding charges and collecting credentials.

Statements and Public Record Documents cited above can be found at the parent created Facebook site @CitizensforMr.NelsonandtheTRUTHatBHS


AP courses -- and those exams -- are a bit of a racket (quite the money maker for the College Board). But they can be useful if students are strategic.
A motivated student can get study guides, take the exams and get the credits and use them to place out of some required intro or breadth courses in college without even taking the AP classes. One of my kids and some of his friends did this to get additional credits beyond the classes they could take in HS.
Some kids take the classes to get the GPA boost but don't take the exams (or are selective which exams they take) because they check how the colleges they are interested in credit AP courses. Some AP courses aren't worth the exam credit depending on where you go to college or what you are planning to major in. (Other kid and his friends were strategic that way.)
European vs. World history in HS? Well, I'd argue if you are going to take an intro survey course, take World history first, and then take European history after to go deeper.
As for what textbooks AP courses use -- whatever texts are used, the curriculum is designed to cover things that are on the AP exam. Of course, teachers have their own spin on things and how they teach a curriculum, but they are going to make sure they cover what the students are going to need to know for the AP exam. After all, if kids taking the AP exams aren't getting the scores they need to get the credits, parents are going to start complaining about why they are shelling out the money for these expensive exams.

The Purge of the Right- The elimination of thought @ BHS

The response was based on the question, which BHS teachers are "indoctrinating students to believe that socialism is the way to go."

This is not to engage in a debate but to put some facts and history on the table.

First, the AP Course content and instruction resembles IKEA assembly instructions. Just follow the pictures and ANYONE can put it together.

This is the intent of the College Board, for ANYONE to be able to deliver a higher level of content.

Many competitive colleges do not grant college credit for AP courses anymore, they only use the course enrollment for admissions evaluation. Taking AP exams and reporting AP scores to colleges are NOT required. (unless a college SPECIFICALLY asks for test scores. Some colleges require the student to report EVERY standardized test taken.- They are looking for the kid who took the SAT 5 times reflecting a "coached" score "Ding")

BHS is eliminating the AP European History course because it is too white.

"[There is a] conversation that has been happening in the [social science] department around a more global, less Eurocentric perspective," principal Paul Belzer said.(Burlingame Bee)

A good instructor offers a variety of perspectives on the content, embraces students understanding and curiosity, and does not use the classroom as a political pulpit of indoctrination and mandate.

If instructors do not offer a variety of contrasting credible sources and/or have skewed the content to reach a mandated conclusion, then the students just become robots, parroting the talking points fed to them.

What is worse occurs when alternative views are squashed, not allowed to be spoken in class or the student is subjected to shamed into silence or outright threatened all by the teacher!

Here is an easy question, "How many Red MAGA Hats were seen on the BHS campus or in a classroom over the past four years?

How many teachers banned the MAGA hats or threatened a student who dared to wear one?

Donald Trump was the elected President of the United States, the RED MAGA hat is a protected political statement in the taxpayer funded public schools.

At one SMUHSD School, students created personal wifi networks on their phones (as many do) and titled them "Trump 2020." Administrators wanted these removed as Hate Speech. -BTW-there were plenty networks that were titled with HATE SPEECH, but no action was taken.

While instructors have their opinions on the Red MAGA Hat, the hats themselves do not translate into racism or discrimination. For many students the hat stood for smaller government, lower taxes, a conservative Supreme Court, 2nd Amendment Rights, Capitalism, and many other political positions.

White Male conservative students did report incidents of harassment and threats by teachers because they took a stand and/or responded in class or on assignments with their facts and positions. These threats included lowered grades in AP courses and/or the teacher sending negative information to the colleges where the student had been admitted.

Suppressing academic content in an attempt to advance a position just makes things worse off. There are many arguments that the increased incidents at BHS are linked to the actions described above proliferating and growing since 2016.

Students who are singled out as "angry white males" begin to embrace and act out on how they have been characterized by their teachers because they refuse to "toe the liberal line" and parrot the ideology of the instructor.

Conservative students should be able to challenge the ideas of Mandatory Minimum Wage, Open Immigration, and Taxes on the Wealthy without fear.

Liberal students should be exposed to Ann Rand, Milton Friedman, and the benefits of Capitalism to better understand what they are protesting against.

The delivery of specific content that is unquestionable by students is not teaching.

It's just called controlling.


@Ernie Camacho We have taken your comment down as you did not provide any context or back-up for the statement. If you have any information that can back it up, please post it or send it to editor@burlingamevoice.com.

Barking Dog

Becker voted YES on SB9 today

Paloma Ave

Damn voters of San Mateo County voted for a socialist who wants to ruin our neighbors!

You people will get what you deserve!

Wait until Biden does away with stepped up basis, your children will inherit next to nothing, because democrats want all of your money, ALL THE TIME!

Again, you will people will get what you voted for!

Yes, I am extremely (term for urinating).

Paloma Ave

Sorry about the errors, yes I am having beverages.


John Horgan has a good piece in today's DJ



Here's just a snip:

But they forge ahead using arguments that have lately turned bitter and include allegations of racism on the part of municipal authorities and, by strong implication, suburban homeowners themselves, especially if they oppose sweeping measures like SB 9 and similar proposed legislation.

In other words, if you somehow pull together enough money to buy a single-family home in Redwood City, Foster City, Millbrae or anywhere else in this area and you prefer to keep the neighborhood as it is, you are, by definition, suspect in the fevered minds of some of those protesting the status quo.

The thousands of minority homeowners and their children living in these neighborhoods zoned R-1 (single-family residential) are somehow irrelevant in this tangled train of thought.
Horgan starts by saying "Opposition to it is growing with each passing week." We will see if it is too little too late.


Barking Dog where did you find that Becker vote?

Barking Dog

Same person who called Burlingame the most NIMBY town



Here is a Change.org petition to stop SB9--go for it:


Barking Dog

SB 10 just passed assembly committee on 6/30


Barking Dog


Paloma Ave

In a recent letter to the editor M. Dunham claims we need more housing. The fact is we do NOT need more housing, we are full. What Dunham should have done was move to an area where he could afford to live.

He moved from upstate New York, where a house costs $160,000.00 to a city where a house costs $2,700,000.00 and now complains that he cannot afford to live here. (Mike should have done his research before deciding to move to this area. One would think a person with multiple college degrees would have made a more intelligent choice.)

We need single family homeowners and renters to contact their state legislators and remind them they were elected to represent their constituents who choose to live in a suburb. Please contact Assemblyman Phil Teng at (415) 557-2312, Assemblyman Kevin Mullin at (650) 349-2200 and Assemblyman Marc Berman at (650) 324-0224 and remind them to vote no on SB 9. (State Senator Josh Becker already sold us out!)

Local control is much more important than state mandates. Please make your voices heard.

Paloma Ave

A big thank you to the California Assembly and Senate officials for selling out those who own or rent in single family neighborhoods.

California elected officials have chosen not to represent voters, but to instead push the agenda of developers, who only want to make more money and further congest our neighborhoods.

It is unfortunate that Kevin Mullin, Marc Berman and Josh Becker have chosen to ensure future campaign contributions instead of representing their constituents.

Paloma Ave

Has local whiner and complainer Mike Dumdum, moved from Burlingame to Redwood City?

Dumdum seems proud that SB 9 recently was passed by our sellout assembly members.

Yet, looking at his three top priorities in running for Burlingame City Council, in 2019, he lists:

My Top 3 Priorities:

Hold Big Tech accountable for building housing;

Address parking issues on residential streets;

Remove barriers to filling empty storefronts.

How is SB 9, which allows multiple units in single family neighborhoods, going to resolve parking issues on residential streets? Just wondering (or will say anything to try and get elected?)


According to John Horgan Josh Becker voted for SB9 and courageously abstained on SB10. Courage would have been a NO vote.

Paloma Ave

The sellout by the democRATS is complete now. Greasy Gavin has signed SB9 and SB10.

All of us single family homeowners and renters have been confirmed to be racist and segregationists.

The sellout democRATS have not only grabbed their ankles for labor union contributions, but not now have grabbed their ankles for developer dollars.

Are you democRAT voters happy now?


Why keep voting for Democrats?
It’s got to be a plan to make people lazy by accepting “free” money and so used to big government at the expense of individual initiative.
It can’t be people really like the border mess, the Afghanistan disaster, mask mandates, and shut-downs, forest mismanagement,
ethical clumsiness, and the broken promises of HSR?
Covid only remains on the radar as a distraction from all the other messes- I think even the fumbled Covid reports are staged to keep people confused and tuned-in.
The only slight break in the Democrat armor is that, once again, Ms. Clinton is shown to be a stinker. But she’ll skip free I bet.

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