Recently a letter by Tim Donnelly titled, “Saving our historic buildings” appeared in these pages. He has written before about the Gates House. In those letters and in this one he has repeated misinformation about the demise of the historic house.

The fact is that I, along with other members of the Burlingame Historical Society, did everything we possibly could have to persuade the owner to save the house. Mr. Donnelly’s belief that the society did not do anything is simply not based in any fact. The state laws that he mentions are designed to protect older homes are voluntary.

I would suggest that if Mr. Donnelly wants to save properties, he needs to first educate himself on the laws regarding historic properties and then get more involved in the issue; attend meetings of the Planning Commission and the City Council and participate in a more meaningful way than simply writing letters filled with fiction from the comfort of his own home.

I write this to not only defend the reputation of the society but as a former member of the City Council who was a strong advocate for preservation.

Russ Cohen


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(1) comment


I have been to many Planning Commission hearings and haven't seen Mr. Cohen there. He attacked me on Nextdoor when I posted the demise of the Gates House. He said he worked hard to preserve it, but wouldn't say what, if anything he actually did. He could have sent in a request for the Home to be listed on the State Historical Places list, but he didn't. I asked him if he received a donation from the Brittons, who owned the property, and he would not give an answer. Its interesting that the head of the Historical Society is attacking me for wanting to preserve historical hones in Burlingame.

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