Burlingame residents "Rant ’n’ Rave" 

In a city that enjoys immense affluence, issues can revolve around the bizarre, such as the fate of Tom the Tree, the giant eucalyptus tree that’s uprooting Easton Drive. And though life’s pretty good in Burlingame, that doesn’t take away the right to vent.

On Tuesday night, Citizens for a Better Burlingame hosted a public forum, called a "Rant ’n’ Rave" — a venting session opened to anyone with anything to say about their beloved town. Armed with a microphone and the will to speak, about two dozen people braved the rain and gathered at Copenhagen Bakery on Burlingame Avenue. The rules were simple: Each speaker had three minutes to either praise or criticize something about the town.

"It wouldn’t be a rant and rave without mentioning parking," said Charles Voltz, the co-chairman of the group, who lamented over the parking ticket he received while setting up the forum.

Citizens for a Better Burlingame gathers every week at Copenhagen to chat over coffee. Tuesday’s ranting and raving was the first held by the group, meant to reach out and encourage community dialogue.

An array of topics was covered while the peanut gallery munched on appetizers. The new garbage service was criticized, local media coverage was praised, we don’t have enough trees, we need a performing arts theater, the permitting process is too slow.

Whatever the topic was, speakers took comfort in knowing that the audience had to remain quiet. Carole Soss took a shot at the city’s street sweepers. "I have the perfect job," she said. "You get paid and you do absolutely nothing. You can become a Burlingame street cleaner."

Mark Grandcolas commented on eye-aching commercial architecture.

"I want to go in front of the Planning Commission and I want to let them know that they are dropping the ball on commercial building design review," he said. "Those buildingsdon’t match residential design."

However, most participants acknowledged how fortunate they are to live in Burlingame. Many took time to express gratitude.

"It’s like the most fabulous place to live," Rosalie McCloud said. "But like everything, it could always be better. There are lots of things that are great but are not fabulous. Like, we don’t have Christmas decorations that are fabulous."

"It’s all in good fun but this is giving us all a chance to talk about whatever we want," Cathy Foxhoven said before she took the mic. "I’m going to talk about the fact that Burlingame Avenue and Broadway need to have ash trays put around the garbage cans because we are constantly picking up cigarette butts."

Foxhoven, who is a smoker, said an ordinance that forbids smokers from standing near buildings should be enforced. She said there’s no place to put out cigarettes.

bfoley@examiner.com

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