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October 23, 2021



And here is the ever-so-rich BS from Mullin from the same article in the DJ. This guy cannot be termed out soon enough:

Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, the author of the state rule being adopted, expressed surprise at the council’s decision.

“Cities have always had the right to set their own campaign contribution limits and that continues under my AB 571 law,” Mullin said in an email. “The intent and purpose of the law, however, was to encourage cities who did not have campaign limits at all, to create them. What Burlingame did is the opposite — they had reasonable limits in place and have chosen to remove them.”

Mullin said he authored the bill after some local races saw single contributions as much as $50,000.

“I’m just surprised that Burlingame, by a split council vote has chosen to remove their locally-imposed limits, especially in light of an eventual move to district elections, which is designed to actually lower the cost of running campaigns,” he said. “It is my hope that cities in San Mateo County that do not have local campaign limits in place pursue limits that are appropriate given the size and nature of campaigns in their respective communities.”
expletive deleted


Oh wow and our State knows what's best for our cities right? Keep drinking the kool-aid!!

Paloma Ave

Did this action just make more difficult for Mike Dumbdumb to run for council?

By the way, he wants you to subsidize his housing cost so that he can afford to live in our great city.

He advocates pack and stack housing so he he has a chance to buy here.

Did the rest of you move here because you want to live in an urban setting? I didn't.

I prefer a suburban setting and he wants to ruin that for all of us.

Keep that in mind next you vote for a council member.


Today’s Burlingame City Council has a short memory. Not so long ago, on order to compete for a seat on the Burlingame City Council, one would have to spend, (and raise) upwards of $50,000.00. For anyone considering running for council, then and even now, this reality might be considered a deal breaker.

In 2007, I, along with my council colleagues, wanted to even the playing field by limiting campaign contributions to $500 for individuals and $1000 for organizations. This allowed the absurd amounts being spent at the time to be decreased so that more individuals would consider the opportunity to run.

Today, it seems, that by raising the limits from the 2007 level of $500, ($719 adjusted for inflation,) to just shy of $5,000.00, the field will be dominated by those with deep pocketed donors and special interest influencers.

An article in the San Mateo Daily Journal on October 23, quoted several current members of council justifying the increase. One implied that voters should “follow the money.” She’s right. But who does? Another said, Nearby cities all have similar limitations, so why should Burlingame be the only city with lower limits? Clearly, she does not remember or was not paying attention to the fact that Burlingame candidates were spending absurd amounts of money, a somewhat unique Burlingame circumstance in the early to mid 2000’s. And yet another was concerned that the City Clerk might feel uncomfortable enforcing the rules with candidates she has come to know. Really? Is it not the City Clerk’s job to enforce the election rules? (The fact that she is appointed by the very council members she is supposed to be overseeing rather than being elected by the public is another story.)

Simply put, raising the limits does not level the playing field as some council members contend, it skews the field and potentially reduces the number of those who might consider public service.

Burlingame will soon be holding elections not city-wide as in years past, but within smaller districts. This is important to note, as campaigning within a smaller area rather than city-wide would suggest that even less money will need to be spent on campaigns, not more.

The logic of raising campaign contribution limits now is not only illogical but unnecessary and misguided.

Barking up the right tree

Time to reread the comments from before. Barking Dog had his teeth in the bone

Mike Dunham, who ran for the Burlingame City Council in 2019, spoke as a member of the public about the importance of compaign limits for local elections.
"If you wanted to tamp down the amount of money you are spending on elections, I would suggest starting there and cutting that limit back down to $250 per person or lower and then peg it to CPI, so you are not worried ab out becoming out of date."

The public and Dumdum should be reminded that he raised the same amount of money for his campaign as Mrs Colson and Mrs Beach and less than 2% of his campaign contributions came from Burlingame residents and over 50% of his campaign contributions came from out of state. His campaign also did ZERO business with local Burlingame vendors. Those too were done out out state.


Wow, now all the special interest groups, developers and real estate agents will pull out their checkbook and get ready to write a big check $$$ in the next election cycle order to have a LOUDER voice.

Ortiz, Colson & Keighran’s reasons for raising the limit from $720 to $4900 could potentially be self-serving. Instead of keeping the bar level, they have upended it.

Thank you, Brownrigg & Beach for voting No.


Who is Dumdum?


I think back to this post when pondering this question:




Barking Dog

Since they voted no, will Mrs Beach and Mr Brownrigg now NOT accept a $4900 campaign donation in the next election cycle? Doubt it...

Paloma Ave

Brownrigg's mommy DID try to buy him a senate seat. But that Josh Becker DID sell us out on SB 9 and Cowardly didn't vote on SB 10!

Apparently developer and real estate dollars mean more than what constituents desire.

When will the voters smarten up?

Gerald Weisl

Russ makes a good point in that with district elections, it should not require as much money to run a campaign as it has for a city-wide election. Matching the campaign limits for the State for a small geographical area seems unnecessary. If the limit is to be increased, how about requiring campaign contributions to come either entirely or with a percentage cap from donors residing within the district? Should Burlingame's council elections be conducted as "grass roots" campaigns or should outside influences and special interests be allowed to have more sway?


This agenda item is scheduled for fairly late in the meeting. I wrote a letter to council under: [email protected] that I hope will be read by the Clerk. Here it is for your reading pleasure:
Dear Honorable Burlingame City Council,

In 2007, the “then” city council voted to put limits on campaign contributions. Some termed it “campaign finance reform.”

The recent discussion of raisin g campaign contributions ignores the notion of “reform” all together.

A s a matter of full disclosure, I was a member of that “then” council and voted in favor of reform. As a past member, I knew how difficult it could be to lean one way on an issue and then consider swaying back. When presented with new information, I could feel confident and justify changing my mind, without the fear of pushback from my colleagues or constituents.

Here’s some new information that may help some council members to reconsider their previous perspectives on raising campaign limits.

A.) The council has always been a body that would consider and some might say relies on consultants if staff was overburdened. Tracking and reconciling the data of multiple candidates could pose the potential undo workload of the City Clerk during campaign season, moving her off of the other important work she is called to attend to. There are outside consultants that can be called in on a temporary basis to help with the heavy lift. This will not only lend expertise it will shield against any potential conflict of interest as well and lighten the clerk’s load.

B.) If your perspective is that many peninsula cities have chosen to raise their limits so we should too, well I’ll remind the council that Burlingame has not always followed other cities. For example, almost every other peninsula city has a city-wide historic survey of buildings. Burlingame does not. Burlingame banned leaf blowers long before any other Peninsula city considered the same. Burlingame lowered the cost of solar panel installation when other cities had not even considered it. Burlingame put funds in emergency reserve when other cities hadn’t had the forethought or courage to do so. Burlingame voted against merging police departments with nearby cities even thought it was the trend at the time.

You get the idea. Burlingame can lead rather than follow when it’s the right thing to do.

I ask the council to leave the contribution level as it stands. It will encourage more candidate diversity, equity and inclusion for years to come.


Russ Cohen


Burlingame banned leaf blowers?

Paloma Ave

Congratulations to the Burlingame City Council for reversing a poor idea!

How about reversing one more poor decision? Considering the recent 20+ power outage how about reversing the natural gas ban?

Remember what MLK said "it's never too late to do the right thing" and the right thing is to NOT limit choices.


The DJ reporting starts with:

In a reversal of its previous split-vote decision, the Burlingame City Council this week opted not to increase campaign contribution limits for its campaigns, and councilmembers voiced approval instead for reducing current limits corresponding with the city’s upcoming switch to district elections.

The change of direction comes after an outpouring of community disapproval of the increased limits, which would have scrapped the city’s $720 cap on donations from individuals and $1,440 cap from organizations and instead deferred to a state law limiting contributions from both groups to $4,900. The city last month approved the switch with a 3-2 vote, and ordinance was headed for final approval Monday.


It seems I am in the minority for now, but just wait until someone else "pulls a Dunham" and raises a ton of money from out of town and out of state just by using some crowdfunding site and a political slant or two. Then a real local candidate with local donors limited to $250, $300 or $720 will be wondering "what happened"? At least it is never too late to change/fix/do the right thing.

Now if only 50+ people would get in a dither about more important issues in town...

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