Viewpoint - January 6, 2010

Letter: City power grab on water use

The majority of the Menlo Park City Council seem to believe that they are our feudal lords, and the rest of us serfs exist simply to be ruled.

Their recent proposal — snuck in during the slow holiday news time to require reduction in lawn size to 500 square feet in exchange for the city's permission to remodel — is brazen in intent and shocking in scope. Even more shocking is the admission by council member Heyward Robinson that his own yard wouldn't conform to the new ordinance.

But, what does that matter? He's got his, so the rest of us can take a hike. I suppose he won't voluntarily downsize his grassy area, any more than Councilmember Kelly Fergusson will voluntarily give up her zoning variance of 2006. Our rulers can live as they like, but I suppose that's too good for the rest of us. At least council member John Boyle has the common sense to oppose this power grab.

Perhaps this is the city's plan for dealing with increasing school registration. Why would families want to move to (or continue to live in) Menlo Park when they can either add enough room onto an existing, inadequate house to accommodate a family, or have a decent-sized lawn on which their children can play, but not both?

More so than many of the controversies that have arisen in Menlo Park over the years, it is critical to the future of our city to defeat this plainly stupid power grab that makes a mockery of property rights and drives families out of the city.

Brian Schar

Laurel Avenue, Menlo Park


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