I agree with Tim Donnelly who lamented the lack of competition in this season’s Burlingame City Council races. Usually we are awash with lawn signs, door knocking is rampant and the community is focused on important public policy. As an elected leader, it’s my favorite time of year.

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(5) comments


Great suggestions and ways to move forward! One of the benefits of district elections is that it can cost a lot less for a candidate to throw their hat in the ring, but, as correctly noted, there may not be people in a district ready to do that. As someone who has been serving as a County Commissioner for seven years I agree that serving in such a capacity is a terrific way to get started in local government and could give someone the courage to jump into running for an elected position. Your other advice is spot on! Go to meetings, get involved to whatever degree you can and make your voice heard.


If renters had housing security, many more would be interested in being on commissions and running for office. But if your ability to remain in your community is subject to the volatility built into the rental market, it is almost impossible. Renters in Burlingame attended council meetings and pled for even the most basic protections for years, all to deaf ears on the council. They even ran a rent stabilization ballot measure in 2016 and garnered a third of the vote when up against the enormous power of the realtor and landlord lobbies. After all that, the council couldn't even muster the will to gather basic data on the rental community's realities. Burlingame has failed over half its people.

Tommy Tee

A downside of district elections: When only one candidate surfaces they automatically win.


But in Burlingame incumbents are very rarely challenged. Amounts to the same thing.


Burlingame's majority of residents are renters. Never have the writer nor any other current council member ever campaigned door to door to renters. Never. Now with her district being heavily populated by renters, will she or other council members deign to enter apartment buildings and actually speak with the voters? District elections have hopefully forced an entrenched elitist council to actually get to know the concerns of over half the population.

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