December 2020

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Dear Friends,

Happy December Holidays! I'd like to extend a warm invitation below and share some important news: 

  • Monday, 12/21 @ 7PM: Virtual Annual City Council & Mayoral Rotation ceremony -- please join us!
  • Monday, 12/21 @ 7PM: Community Policing Presentation Update
  • shop local gift card campaign 
  • Unpacking the Mandatory Regional Stay at Home Order
  • El Camino Real Renewal Virtual Open House extended through 1/7/21
  • Wednesday, 1/13/21 @ 5PM: Virtual Q&A Conversation with Emily
  • Burlingame Shoreline Park great news & outreach
  • Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan adopted and next steps
  • Trusted COVID-19 Resources

Upcoming Notable Dates:

• 12/21 @ 7PM:  Burlingame City Council Ceremonial Mayoral Rotation & Community Policing Update. Agenda posted here.

• Now thru 1/8 Caltrans ECR Renewal online Public Forum 

• 1/13 @ 5PM: Virtual Q&A with Emily via Zoom or Phone 

View our City Council meeting video recordings and review our agendas here to confirm the location, date, time, and detailed meeting content. 

1) Annual City Council Rotation Ceremony:

I'll share some reflections on 2020 as your Mayor, then pass the gavel to Vice Mayor Ann O'Brien who will share her vision for 2021. Congratulations to Ann and our incoming Vice Mayor Ricardo Ortiz!  It means a lot to all of us when our community joins us for this annual tradition, so we hope you'll Zoom or call-in.  Ceremony and remarks should finish well before 8PM.  If you wish, there will also be a chance for you to make a public comment.  In the meantime, I authored an Op-Ed in for the San Mateo Daily Journal celebrating local innovation that happened during 2020, and I hope you enjoy reading it!  Click here to find Zoom meeting info and meeting agenda.

2) Community Policing Presentation Update:

I'm grateful that our Chief of Police Mike Matteucci will present an update to our community about his Department's important work this year.  In response to the tragic death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter Movement, Burlingame, like other cities across the nation signed the Mayor's Pledge and took action to improve our policies and safeguard all members of our community.  As a follow-up to our Police Town Hall and Community Listening Session in July, Chief will highlight our latest efforts to combat racial bias and revamp how we respond to behavioral health and homelessness calls.  

3) -- please help our local businesses survive COVID-19, one gift card at a time 

Put a local business gift card on your shopping list this holiday season!  Volunteers created to provide an easy portal to purchase gift cards or certificates directly from any of Burlingame's participating stores, services, and restaurants.  Purchase gift cards for yourself, family, and friends -- OR donate them to charity and volunteers will deliver them to Samaritan House or CASA of San Mateo County.  It's free for any Burlingame business to participate, so encourage your favorite merchant to register. The goal is to generate income for local businesses this holiday season and beyond, and to help deserving families. Thank you Burlingame Collaborative volunteers who made this website possible.  Even if your favorite merchant isn't registered, please consider calling them directly to purchase a gift card because it will improve their chance of survival during this remarkably challenging time.  I've bought a few extra as stocking-stuffers for my kids' future trips to Broadway and The Avenue with their buddies.  Questions?  Email [email protected]  

4) Unpacking the State's Mandatory Stay-at-Home Order

I know we're all fatigued and feeling isolated from friends and family this holiday season, but I implore everyone to please follow the letter and spirit of the law so we can keep our community safe and preserve hospital resources. Due to widespread indoor and outdoor social gatherings with friends and family during the Thanksgiving holiday, COVID-19 cases in our county and throughout the state have reached a staggering number. Medical experts tell us contact tracing shows that social gatherings are the reason for this surge.  It's really dangerous right now and hospital staffing is stretched to the limit. Mills Peninsula alone has tripled their caseload since Thanksgiving.  Remember somewhere between 50-70% of COVID spread happens from people who never experience ANY symptoms, and/or before symptoms arise -- so huge numbers of people (like you and me) are unknowingly part of the problem. We must do better.  

The mandatory state law prohibits any kind of social gathering outside of our households (that means outdoor and indoor social gatherings of any size are not allowed, even small ones like two friends meeting in a backyard staying 6' apart) for at least three weeks until the Bay Area's ICU hospital capacity increases to 15% or higher.   

The order also closes hair salons, personal services, and outdoor restaurant dining for at least three weeks.  Take-out food and pick-up are still allowed.  Retailers may stay open with limited indoor capacity, so allow extra time for shopping.  And please do shop locally whenever possible.  San Mateo County created a terrific, easily digestible FAQ, so please read it here

That said, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The vaccine is here and being distributed to front-line health care workers, and it will eventually reach all who want it in the months ahead.  Things will get better in the not too distant future!  In the meantime, let's all do our part and act selflessly through the holidays to save lives and get our economy back on track.  

5) New El Camino Real Renewal Public Forum by Caltrans -- public comment period EXTENDED through 1/8/21

Learn more about progress made on the El Camino Real Renewal project since the public forums held in January and May/June. Caltrans new online public forum is available for your participation and comment now through January 8, 2021. 
The website features short videos and helpful posters that explain progress made during the environmental phase of this project. This includes important new information about reasonable design alternatives under consideration and the status and health of the trees on El Camino Real. Other features include a closely monitored message board where the public can share thoughts and see others' comments about the project. So far, Caltrans has collected nearly 300 public comments from our community, so thank you for your engagement and please keep it up!  If you haven't done so already, please visit and be sure to explore the presentations, posters, forum, and FAQ in the navigation bar.  

What's Next?  After incorporating all of your comments, here's an estimated timetable which includes future opportunities for public review and input: 
  • Spring 2021: Draft Environmental Document and preliminary design (public input)  
  • 2022-2023: Project Design Complete (public input) 
  • 2024: Construction Begins (tentative) 

6) Join me for my
18th virtual constituent Q&A during COVID-19 on Wednesday, 1/13 @ 5PM.  I strive to be accessible to you during these challenging times.  Visit my events page for instructions about how to dial-in by phone or join via Zoom video conference.  Bring your questions or comments about any City matter on your mind -- or feel free to just listen in.  Thanks for spreading the word by sharing this invitation to others who may not receive my newsletter. You can forward this email, or share the following URL link:

7) Burlingame Shoreline Park (across from the new Facebook/Oculus offices) update and outreach in 2021

The SPHERE Institute, in partnership with the San Mateo Resource Conservation District, is developing a 9.4 acre nature and recreation park on the Burlingame shorefront.  They are making great progress and even earned  $1,000,000 in Federal and State grant funding this year! I'm so excited about this project, I even wrote an Op-Ed in the Daily Journal about it last summer.  Anticipated amenities include native tidal marsh habitat restoration, an improved section of the Bay Trail, lawns and walking trails, water access for kayakers, sail boards, and an education center focused on climate change, environmental justice, and the native ecosystem. The team is beginning to create detailed designs for the park and is seeking community feedback to make the park as fun, inclusive, and accessible as possible.  They want to expand their outreach and make virtual presentations to community stakeholder groups to discuss the design of the park’s amenities among groups with a broad range of focus, not just outdoor recreation groups.  So, if anyone has ideas for groups, venues, or events that can help them spread the word, please provide your name and contact info on this Google form I've created, and I will put you in touch with the project team.  Thanks!  

8) Burlingame adopted our first comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan on 12/7/20

I'm proud of our City Council and community for prioritizing active transportation improvements that will make walking, biking and rolling safer and more accessible in Burlingame!  I'm also delighted to inform you that our City received the top score in a competitive grant from The San Mateo County Transportation Authority providing $1.4 million in Measure A & W funds for bicycle improvements on California Drive (between Broadway and Oak Grove) and pedestrian safety improvements around Burlingame Caltrain Station.  We hope you will stay engaged as we begin designing these important projects. Huge thanks to our City's Traffic, Safety, and Parking Commission (TSPC), our Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), and our Public Works Department staff for shepherding this important project to completion.

9) As a reminder, here are some trusted primary sources of COVID-19 Information:

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe, healthy, and joyful holiday season.

Warmest regards,

Emily Beach 
Mayor, City of Burlingame 

P.S.  If you seek more frequent updates, keep in touch with me via Q&A events via ZoomFacebook, & Twitter. Read my past archived newsletters on my website and please encourage your friends to sign-up to receive my newsletters.  If you send me an email message, I appreciate your patience with my reply during these busy times.