October 2021

Dear Friends,

It's the end of October already?! Lots happening in our city...please share with others. Click links below to learn more:

1. Selecting Burlingame's new election districts: Monday, 11/1/21 @ 5:30 PM via Zoom

2. Your opinion: should City Council campaign contribution limits in Burlingame increase to $4,900 per person / $9,800 per couple?

3. Burlingame Infrastructure Highlights:

  • proposed sewer rate increase
  • new street lights on Broadway
  • Broadway Grade Separation project advocacy
  • protected California Drive bike lanes
  • Burlingame Station pedestrian improvements
  • Adopt-a-Storm-Drain Program

4. Financial assistance for renters, small landlords, & utility bills

5. Virtual Q&A with Emily, Wednesday 11/17 @ 5PM

6. US 101 Express Lanes in San Mateo County 

7. Burlingame United Against Hate Week 2021, November 14-21

8. Burlingame named #1 Best City to Live in America by 24/7 Wall Street


Selecting Burlingame's New Election Districts: Monday, November 1, 2021 @ 5:30 PM


Our City is transitioning from at-large elections to district elections for City Councilmembers. So instead of voting for all five Council seats during local elections, we'll have five districts and voters will be asked to vote only for the Council seat in their district. Wondering why are we doing this?  Learn more about our transition and reasons for this change throughout California here: www.burlingame.org/districtelections.

Join us on Monday, November 1, 2021 @ 5:30 PM via Zoom when the City will hold its third public hearing about the transition. At this meeting, our consultant, Redistricting Partners, will review three DRAFT district maps they created for us. These maps were drawn utilizing the 2020 census data plus "community of interest forms" and citizen-drawn maps during our extensive public outreach.  

You can find large images of the maps, details, and all the data behind the maps at: www.burlingame.org/districtelections.

Help us create the best, most accurate maps possible by emailing your comments (not to me!) but instead to City Clerk Meaghan Hassel-Shearer at [email protected]burlingame.org.  If you want your public comment read aloud during the meeting, please email [email protected] instead.

Zoom login information for Monday, November 1st @ 5:30 PM:

To access the meeting by computer:
Meeting ID: 890 4128 4220
Passcode: 988315

To access the meeting by phone:
Dial 1-669-900-6833
Meeting ID: 890 4128 4220
Passcode: 988315
Dial *9 to raise hand
Dial *6 unmute/mute

Questions? Contact City Clerk Meaghan Hassel-Shearer at [email protected]burlingame.org or at (650) 558-7203.

Your opinion about raising campaign contribution limits in Burlingame to $4,900 per person / $9,800 per couple? 


Currently, Burlingame law limits individual campaign donations for City Council races to $719.93 per person.  Last week, our City Council had a split vote (3-2) with the majority favoring increasing contribution limits to $4,900 per person. I opposed this change. You can read more about our debate and opinions in this recent San Mateo Daily Journal article. If the law passes during our final vote on Monday, 11/1, this higher campaign contribution limit will go into effect starting in 2022—the same year we transition to smaller district elections with only 6,000 people, versus current City-wide elections with 30,000 people. 

You have one more opportunity to make your voice heard and potentially influence the outcome before we take our final vote on this ordinance. If you have an opinion, please join us via Zoom this Monday evening November 1st at 7PM. Zoom meeting information will be posted hereIf you cannot attend the meeting, please email your comments to [email protected] and our City Clerk will read them out loud before we vote.  Short is best, so please keep your written comments to under a one-minute read.  


Burlingame Infrastructure Highlights

  • Sewer Rates: for the first time in nine years, our City Council will consider increasing sewer rates in order to keep pace with needed infrastructure investments. Although we increased water rates in 2017, 2018, and 2019, our sewer rates have remained stable since 2012. A presentation on this proposed increase and vote will take place on 11/15/21. All ratepayers received a notice in the mail with details, and I strongly recommend reviewing this informative presentation from our 9/7/21 City Council meeting here. If the rate increase passes, the average single family home can expect to pay approximately $5.50 more per month in 2022, 2023, and 2024. Learn more on the City's website FAQ here

  • New Street Lights for Broadway: thanks to a federal grant, new and improved street lighting is coming to Broadway. These beautiful new fixtures will match the Broadway overpass, and will be a welcome safety and aesthetic improvement for pedestrians and local businesses. We appreciate your patience during construction beginning this week, which will require the temporary loss of a few parking spaces for construction staging during the next month or two.  

  • Broadway Grade Separation advocacy: sourcing the required funding ($325+ million) to separate the railroad tracks from the roadway at Broadway is my passion project! Our City Council has designated this a top strategic priority. I feel fortunate that my role as Chairperson of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority provides opportunities to help—since SMCTA oversees and allocates billions in county-wide sales tax for transportation investments. In case you missed it, here is an Op-Ed I co-authored in June 2021 advocating for more federal dollars to support Caltrain safety improvements, particularly in the context of our national infrastructure debate. Through my appointment to the National League of Cities Transportation and Infrastructure Services Federal Advocacy Committee, I've learned a lot this year and have helped elevate our project's profile nationally. NLC highlighted Broadway online, and through subcommittee work I've told our story in small-group advocacy sessions with key Congressional decision-makers. Back home, SMCTA allocated another $1 million to our project in 2021, bringing the total Measure A contribution since 2017 to over $24 million. In the meantime, our City and Caltrain staff are working hard to value-engineer the project to maximize community benefits and cost effectiveness. Although we're well on our way, there is much work ahead to meet our July 2024 construction start goal. You can help by reminding our federal and state representatives how unsafe and congested Broadway rail crossing is, as demonstrated by a tragic fatal auto/train collision in August 2021. Please be safe out there and never ever stop your automobile on the railroad tracks. Keep an eye on future agendas for project updates. 
  • New California Drive Bike Lanes and Burlingame Station Pedestrian Improvements: A new protected bike lane is coming to California Drive between Broadway and Oak Grove. Final design is underway, and construction should begin next year. Once again, San Mateo County Transportation Authority came through with $1.4 million grant to fund this project plus pedestrian safety improvements around Burlingame Caltrain Station. Thanks to the voters of San Mateo County for voting "yes" to the Measure A ½ cent sales tax back in 1988 and 2004! 

  • Join me and Adopt a Storm Drain: Last weekend's "bomb cyclone" atmospheric river was an important reminder about what a powerful role our storm drains play in the safety of our City. Our Public Works team does a great job maintaining and improving all the critical infrastructure we never see (storm drains, water lines, sewers, streets, sidewalks, and roads) and we can help them during storm season by noticing and removing extra leaves and garbage before storms hit. Consider volunteering to provide some extra TLC to a storm drain near your residence, and the City will provide the safety tools you need. Your neighbors will thank you! Learn more about this program here.

Financial Assistance for Renters and Small Landlords 

Unprecedented financial relief is available now for renters and landlords struggling from the pandemic. If you can't afford to pay rent or utility bills, or if you are a small landlord struggling to pay your bills, or if you know someone who fits these descriptions—help is available. Please share these resources.  It's important both renters and their landlords jointly apply to this program to receive rent and utility reimbursement from Federal CARES dollars through the state. You can view the state's dashboard here with the ability to filter Burlingame's numbers. As of today, the average assistance package in Burlingame equaled $16,293. Notable that 60% of Burlingame's applicants earn only 30% of the area median income (AMI). That translates to $54,800 annual salary for a family of four. I'm proud of the fact we increased Burlingame's minimum wage last year because this data confirms we have many low-wage families who live, work, and attend school in town and who are valued members of our community. 

Click here for helpful resources and flyers (in four languages) to learn about how to access these resources locally: 
Visit HousingIsKey.com and/or contact Samaritan House for assistance. Computers are available at Burlingame Public Library to submit applications.  Please spread the word!  

Virtual Q&A With Emily (our 25th anniversary event!) Wednesday 11/17/21 @ 5-6 PM via Zoom or Telephone 

Join me for my 25th virtual constituent Q&A on Wednesday, 11/17/21  from 5-6PM.  Although I miss our monthly coffee shop meet-ups, Zoom is a great way for us to keep in touch during the pandemic. 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 whatever is on your mind -- or feel free to just listen and learn.  Please share this invitation to others who may not receive my newsletter by forwarding this email.  I hope we'll return to Il Piccolo and Copenhagen in the not-too-distant future.   

Click here for Zoom URL and telephone access numbers. I will post a reminder on my Facebook page.  



San Mateo County U.S. 101 Express Lanes (Santa Clara County line to Whipple) opening soon 

The southern segment of the new U.S. 101 Express Lanes (from Santa Clara County line to Whipple Ave) will likely open by January. The northern segment which is currently under construction from Whipple to I-380 is expected to open in Q4 2022. Learn more on the project's new websitecontent is being added frequently. If you want a deeper-dive to better understand the need, project benefits, how express lanes work, I recommend watching these informative videos

Feel free to join my next constituent Q&A to ask more questions about them. I am honored to serve on the Board of Directors for San Mateo County's Express Lanes, so I can be a  helpful resource to you.    


Burlingame United Against Hate Week 2021 coming soon - learn more & join us for terrific events!


Congratulations to us! Burlingame named #1 Best City to Live in America by 24/7 Wall Street

Exciting that 24/7 Wall St. named Burlingame the #1 Best City to Live in America on October 8, 2021! They wrote: "Burlingame residents have among the highest quality of life and tend to make healthy lifestyle choices. Just 15.6% of residents get no leisure time exercise, compared to 22.7% of all Americans. Chronic health issues are generally uncommon, and nearly all residents have a place to exercise." Bravo to our residents and dedicated City staff members, and congrats to our Burlingame Parks and Recreation Department and Public Works Team for maintaining the safety and beauty of our public spaces.



For more frequent updates about City events, be sure to sign-up for the City of Burlingame's weekly e-News here

It's an honor to serve you on Burlingame City Council—thanks for your continued trust in me.  Keep in touch and stay safe!

Warm regards,