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pat giorni
Hausfrau Provacateur
Recent Activity
Latest... COMMUNITY MEETING SCHEDULED FOR WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2013 - 7:00 P.M. - BURLINGAME SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICES - 1825 TROUSDALE DRIVE Representatives of Sunrise Assisted Living will conduct a community meeting on Wednesday,1818 Trousdale Drive (Rendering) August 21, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the offices of the Burlingame School District, located at 1825 Trousdale Drive (across the street from the Sunrise project). The purpose of the meeting is to enlighten the public regarding the project status and anticipated next steps leading to project completion.
I know this isn't the proper place, but I can't find the original thread to post this good news in today's DJ... AcquaPazza may have shut its doors in downtown San Mateo.... Taking its place on the corner of Third Avenue and Ellsworth Avenue in San Mateo is Roti Indian Bistro, which moved from Burlingame. ...It's tragic Sunny had to move from Burlingame, but it's still a short bike ride for the BEST onion kulcha in the world.
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2013 on Avenew Attention at The Burlingame Voice
You've gotta to sign in to FaceBook to see my pick of the litter: "Accolades no less than deserved by the Honorable Mrs. Baylock seen here with the Townsman to fill her chair in November.......... Pat Giorni's photo."
These projects originated in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee which consists of Staff, 1 Traffic and 1 Planning Commissioner and voluntary members of the general public. Kudos to Augustine Chou and Jane Gomery for writing and submitting the grant requests. The BPAC meets monthly and the next meeting is July 14, Thursday night from 5:30 to 6:45 at City Hall, Conference Room B (upstairs). Any member of the public is welcome to attend and participate in the "informal" meeting. So join us in working to make B'game a more bike and pedestrian friendly community. Caltrain low on financial fuel LOCAL COLUMNIST I’m getting used to seeing artists’ renditions of new commuter trains fronted by gleaming, streamlined, jet-like locomotives, especially the trains depicted by the high-speed rail people. But the plainwrapper fact of the matter is that just keeping our under-100 miles-per-hour, unexciting, present- day commuter trains running is the real game. Caltrain, the rail commuter service connecting Gilroy and San Jose to San Francisco, is coming up against the same problem that public schools, municipalities and the state are encountering — elusive funding. Started in 1863 as a privately run passenger railroad, and later operated by the old Southern Pacific Railroad, Caltrain fully came into its own in 1992 when it purchased the tracks and right-ofway between San Francisco and San Jose and hired Amtrak to staff the trains. Like the stock market, Caltrain’s ridership has its ups and downs. The average number of weekday rides rose to 36,000 in 2001, fell to 26,000 by 2004, and rebounded to 39,000 in 2009. Now ridership is falling again. This fiscal year, which began July 1, Caltrain expects a deficit of $2.3 million. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 2011-12 fiscal year, when a deficit of $30 million is projected. As they say, something’s gotta be done. The alternative is unacceptable. If Caltrain went out of business, one estimate has it that highways 101 and 280 would require 2½ extra lanes to handle 19,000 more vehicles. Bus lines and BART’s Peninsula segment would likely be swamped. And commuters’ wallets would get hit because, for example, a train trip from Palo Alto to downtown San Francisco only costs a little more than $3 using a discounted monthly pass, while driving a car that distance costs $13.50, when insurance, depreciation and maintenance expenses are included. Caltrain hasn’t been that badly run. Its ridership hasn’t fallen as much as some other transit systems during the recession and its fares cover nearly half of its expenses, much better than the 20 percent that bus fares usually cover. To deal with less revenue, Caltrain must either raise fares and/or reduce service. To its credit, the carrier has solicited public input on its options. At this point, midday trains appear to be the first service that will be cut, probably followed by some evening trains and the Gilroy-San Jose segment. Many in Gilroy who would hate to see that happen. And even though Caltrain fares were raised just last year, there’s a proposal on the table to raise either the basic fare or zone add-on fares by 25 cents. I expect Caltrain is such a good deal that most riders won’t stop using the train because of such an increase. There’s a big push now to find more reliable funding for Caltrain. It is the only major Bay Area transit system that isn’t funded through regular tax streams, with the exception of the Golden Gate Transit District. BART, VTA and SamTrans are all funded in part by sales taxes, and AC Transit by parcel taxes in East Bay counties. Because Caltrain is the child of a joint powers agreement between public transit entities in San Francisco, Santa Clara County and San Mateo County, it has in recent times received approximately 40 percent of its revenues from those partners. But SamTrans, which in the past helped subsidize Caltrain, has decided it can no longer do so. Meanwhile, Caltrain’s other transportation partners, facing their own financial challenges, are lowering their contributions. So, expect a drive to find a reliable tax base to keep Caltrain running. Caltrain has been planning to electrify its entire system for over a decade, but that’s very much on hold until flush times return. Also, Caltrain has been partnering with the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), hoping that the authority can land the big bucks to build its shared railroad corridor down the Peninsula and consequently help pay for a shared electric power network. Trouble is, high-speed rail is running into financial roadblocks of its own. One possible answer to Caltrain’s problems is to remove it from the maze of bureaucracies that have a say in how it’s run, and make it an entirely independent transit system, perhaps funded by a special taxation district covering the Peninsula and South Bay. It would no longer be SamTrans’ stepchild and have to depend on other transit agencies for funding. It would no longer be managed and staffed by employees who also work for SamTrans and be governed by a joint powers board that doesn’t truly represent all the cities along its route. There are overpaid employees at SamTrans/Caltrain, which doesn’t look good when rail service is about to be cut. SamTrans CEO Mike Scanlon is paid $268,600 per year (excluding benefits) for managing 664 employees, while the general manager of the Sacramento Regional Transit (which also has rail and bus operations and 1,088 employees) earns only $175,000. Mark Simon, SamTrans’ top PR person, is paid $150,000 per year, while the top public and legislative affairs manager at 211,000-employee Caltrans (also known as the state Department of Transportation) only earns $108,000. A government- corporation employee of my acquaintance who’s responsible for PR for most of Northern California (where his agency employs 18,000 people), earns approximately $100,000. Caltrain has the chance to reduce its operating expenses as its contract for train staffing with Amtrak ends. This time around, more companies are likely to compete to win the contract. And if BART can operate without conductors, Caltrain should be able to as well. It’s time for Caltrain to evolve even further. Its riders love it, and they’re determined to keep it viable. Bil Paul’s columns run on Thursdays. Reach him at
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2010 on More CalPain on Budgets at The Burlingame Voice
Now that you've sent that email don't get up from the keyboard yet. Send another email to asking for a Special Meeting to be held on Monday, Sept. 27 to discuss the's what I sent. Feel free to copy it..... Dear Mayor Baylock and Councilmembers, As it happens the Planning Commission will not meet on Monday, September 27, thereby freeing up chambers for a Special City Council meeting which I urge you to schedule in order to discuss and take action on a decision to enjoin the Menlo Park, Atherton, Palo Alto law suit against CHSRA To qualify, the suit must be filed before October 2, 2010. Unfortunately the next Regular City Council meeting is not until October 4 which makes moot any further discussion as the City will have missed the deadline. If you call for a Special Meeting I know that our grassroots citizens' organizations will get the public out to attend. You can put out notice in the E-newsletter tomorrow. You can post it as a special notice on the Burlingame website Home page. You can also get a posting in the Daily Journal's Saturday and Monday editions if you act now. And I know you all have email addresses for the hundreds of residents who support your election campaigns. Use them for a mass mailing notice. Everything about this issue moves faster than our townsfolk can absorb before another curve is thrown. CHSRA is playing hardball with spitballs. Council can no longer stand waiting for a slow pitch. Please schedule a Special Meeting. With respect, Pat Giorni
FROM: "HSR-Peninsula Rail Engagement Project (HSR-PREP)" Ask the City Council To Join the Lawsuit Against the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Send This Email Today! There is strength in numbers. This lawsuit could be pivotal in getting the Authority back to the drawing board for the Peninsula segment. Please take 5 minutes to copy, paste and send this email now. This is a Burlingame-specific email, it can be amend for City Councils in other cities. e-mail to: Subject Line: The City of Burlingame Should Join with Others on the EIR Lawsuit City Council Members: I support the City of Burlingame joining the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) lawsuit being filed by Stuart Flashman. By joining with the Cities of Palo Alto, Atherton, Menlo Park, and Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund (TRANSDEF), Community Coalition on High Speed Rail (CC-HSR),Planning Conservation League (PCL) and California Rail Foundation, there may be enough clout to stop-or at least delay-the current HSRA plan for an elevated structure on the Caltrain Corridor. To qualify, the suit must be filed before October 2, 2010. I understand that in a recent closed session the Burlingame City Council "has decided not to take any legal action at this time". We strongly urge Burlingame City Council to reconsider its decision and vote yes on joining the suit immediately. Sincerely, Name Address
Surf's up.....
Toggle Commented Sep 19, 2010 on Doggie Do- Not Run Away at The Burlingame Voice
Anna Eshoo's meeting was by far the best "outreach" done to date about HSR. I have heard a lot of presentations at Caltrain meetings, one in the Burlingame City Council, and in a few other venues over the past 18 months or so. Never before Thursday night has so much information come to light to the public, on the Peninsula at least. Short of getting our hands on an audio recording of the meeting I think it could be valuable to document what we actually heard, not our impressions and opinions. Perhaps the following can be used as a starting point or outline where any who wish could make additions and clarifications. As part of the outside group with no sight of the interior of City Hall, this is what I heard and noted on Thursday night in the order of questions asked: 1. "How would a tunnel be funded?" Morshed answered, A tunnel would be funded with Federal and Private money only if it is found to be the best solution. We have to determine what does it take to build a tunnel. Funding is the least consideration of the project. 2. Asked about noise Morshed replied that "it will be far quieter than today; state of the art rails will produce less clickety-clack; there will be no horn noise when the grade separations are in place." 3. Morshed replied to a question that asked how HSR could justify a $200 fare for a 2 1/2 hour ride when the airlines charge $49 to LA for a 45 minute ride by saying that the fare would be $70-$80 one way, but did not specify between which travel points. Later in the evening Bob Doty clarified by remarking that $49 is usually a "special" airline fare with restrictions. He also emphasized that while the time in the air might be 45 minutes all the attendant time for auto parking, "taking off your clothes" for security clearance and ticketing confirmation takes another 2-3 hours. 4. After reading a question about how property values would be affected, and how much eminent domain is envisioned Eshoo also interjected, "Has HSR outreach been done for realtors?" Scanlon answered, "This is a classic case of fact and fiction. I wish I had all the money to buy the houses. If you are (now) living next to an 1850's train and have the chance to live next to a quiet HSR you ought to jump on it." 5. Martin Engle requested that Sec't of Transportation La Hood's statement be read into the record. "The era of 'one size fits all transportation' must give way to individual community needs." Scanlon said, "I'm in full support of that statement. 6. "How will air quality be improved when HSR does not serve the communities and commuters who clog our Peninsula roads and freeways?" Doty answered, by saying that grade separation will alleviate (eliminate) motor idling emissions that occur now while cars wait for the trains to pass. 7. "How many trains per hour, including Caltrain, will be run on the corridor?" Doti answered that when Caltrain is electrified the service is DESIGNED to operate up to 12 trains per hour in either direction, but the expectation is to run 8 trains per hour in each direction. The service will be dependent on ridership numbers. In 2015 we are anticipating 5 electric trains in each direction (what he didn't add is that Caltrain will be operating diesel trains along with the electric trains until 2025, which would bring the number to 8, when it is expected that the entire Caltrain fleet will be totally electric because the old style Gallery cars will have been replaced); and they anticipate 5 HSR trains in each direction. In future, but he did not specify any date, the expectation will be 10 Caltrain/electric per hour and 10 HSR trains per hour in each direction. 8. "What precautions will be taken on the rail line to prevent suicide?" Scanlon answered that full grade separation and added fencing will help, but added that it is impossible to stop suicide and that attention needs to be done as a Community Mental Health issue. He said that Mark Simon (Caltrain Deputy Director) is assisting in the formulation of a panel to address that. 9. "What public sources will invest?" I didn't write who gave the initial answer: $8-10 Billion will come from private partnership. Surplus revenue will also be used. Phase 1, SF to LA and Anaheim will be completely paid for by the $38 Billion where it will get $9B from Measure A and $12-16B from the Feds. Scanlon answered a follow-up "Will this take money from other transit systems?" by pointing out that the $9.5B bond assigns $950M to beef up feeder transit to HSR. 10. "Will there be a permanent operating subsidy?" Morshed answered that there will be no operating subsidy at all once it is constructed. It is a condition that it must be shown that there is no operating subsidy needed. 11. A long question was asked about the possibility of streets and roads closure if no grade separation was to occur in some locations. Again I did not note the person who answered, but the answer was that the "EIR will determine whether streets are closed due to no grade separation. The City Councils will have to make the decision." The follow-up to that was, "So, is tunnel financing and engineering possible?" Morshed answered yes; however tunneling will take more eminent domain. 12. "Why isn't the current Amtrak rail line being improved?" I didn't write the answer but my recollection is that the answer amounted to why throw money after a service that is in a bad state of repair. There may have been a remark about freight having 1st right of way on those tracks. 13. "Is US101 an alternative that might be selected?" Spathing answered that that alternative was studied in 2005. Eshoo then asked, "Did pre-approved plans come with Prop 1A?" Morshed responded that HSR had already concluded that 101 and 280 were not feasible because they are not aligned in a straight line and have too much curvature; and because those routes are not near enough to stations.THIS IS THE WATERSHED MOMENT OF THE MEETING. Eshoo states that she had no idea that a decision had been made about the route and what would be left out. "With all due respect I didn't know that. Who comes up with routes in the EIR?" Morshed answers that that was done during scoping. Eshoo responds that the routes were already limited before Prop1A passed. 14. A question was asked if there would be compensation for diminishing property values and Morshead gave an answer that suggested that a review panel might be established (akin to the SFO Roundtable that was set up for noise mitigation was my thought about what he said). Which led to a comment made by Eshoo, "I did not know there was a pre-approved (I missed the noun) before I voted. Where was the information? Did the Ballot Measure provide the information?" Morshed responded that No, there was no info in the ballot measure.HSR didn't write the ballot measure. There was further Eshoo comment about the sophistication of her constituancy and its ability to understand whatever information is provided. She went on to charge that the HSR website makes it difficult for almost anyone, including herself, to access meaningfull information. 15. A long statement from a constituant was read concerning a response Quentin Kopp had made to a newspaper the day before about the lawsuit decision where he charged the litigants as "mischief-makers." Eschoo asked that we all work to consences and treat all parties with respect. Stop the name-calling. 16. "Is there a Public Relations agency employed by HSR?" Morshead responded that we have extensive public outreach. "Is the PR firm writing the Business Plan?" Scanlon, "No." Morshed: The public outreach contract is now being reviewed for statewide HSR communication. The PR firm will facilitate printing, but not content of the business Plan, mailing, web-site content as part of outreach. 17. "What is the back-up plan if the train is too expensive; what if it is a boondoggle?" Response by Morshed that the HSR Board and the Legislature can stop the project. 18. "Why spend money on HSR when we can't take care of the basics?" (Education, health, etc.) Scanlon replies that public transportation is the best investment for the future. 19. "Why is Pacheco Pass the choice? Is Altamont available?" Morshed replies, "Read the EIR." Eshoo responds, "Answer the Question." Morshead says there are a number of reasons for the Pacheco alternative: there is a less adverse impact on the environment on the whole;the East Bay already has BART; many of the communities within the Altamont alignment are unanimously against construction there. 20. "Will you support a renewed look at Altamont in view of the court decision?" Scanlon answered that the court decision will not affect the project as its findings are minor. 21. "Many seniors used their one-time only Prop 13 exemptions to move to properties that could be slated for eminent domain. Would they be given that exemption again, if they have already used it, should they lose their property to eminent domain?" Answer: We don't know. Morshed responded that HSR is doing everything to avoid eminent domain at all costs, and that he is not aware of any home to be taken. 22. "What is the real cost?"