Almanac

Viewpoint - May 12, 2010

LETTERS

School board president says thank you

Editor:

On behalf of the Board of Education of the Menlo Park City School District, I would like to express our appreciation to the community for its strong support and passage of Measure C, with 76.2 percent voting "yes."

These are challenging times for public education in California, and as you know, the economic decline of the state has significantly impacted funding for education. Recent reports estimate that 23,000 teachers in the state have received layoff notices. It will take many years for impacted districts to recover from the severe reductions of educational programs and services that they have had to implement. I am proud that our community voted to invest in the future of our schools.

The passage of Measure C will help to mitigate the district's financial challenges, which include significant growth in enrollment and a projected decline in state funding and property taxes. The additional revenue generated from Measure C will help ensure that the district can continue to have reasonable class sizes at all grade levels and that our students will continue to benefit from the enrichment services that have set our district schools apart.

I would like to recognize the extraordinary efforts of the Measure C campaign chairpersons. Rebecca Bloom, Shari Conrad, Dana Hayse and Carla Posthauer provided exceptional leadership and mobilized numerous volunteers to actively campaign for this important measure. Thanks to their efforts, voter turnout was higher than any other parcel tax or bond election in the history of the district.

Despite the passage of Measure C, some reductions in expenditures will still be needed in order to balance our budget. The board is committed to ensuring strong fiscal management and oversight as we move forward. We encourage community members to attend our board meetings and comment as we make decisions regarding our budget and educational programs.

The board, the superintendent and I are grateful for the community's strong commitment to keeping our schools strong.

Jeff Child, president

Menlo Park City School District

Board of Education

Look out for bright orange vests and fenders

Editor:

Thank you, Menlo Park, for the weather, which has enabled our family to get around this full-service town by bikes quicker than in our van.

With six kids, we always have an errand to run, a child to deliver! With an autistic daughter, we have been taught that taking even just one day off from biking to school can cause a backslide in her biking skills, so we try not to.

We don our fenders, rain gear and vests to bike even on the drippiest of days. Fortunately for us, Menlo Park has wonderful

weather year-round and there is no season that a little wardrobe

modification can't prepare for.

Thank you, also, to Menlo Park drivers who are always (well, nearly always) supportive of bicyclists and patient with the little ones as they clear the intersections! I just wish Menlo Park had a Costco! Then we'd never have to get into our van.

Michelle Daher

O'Conner Street, Menlo Park

City should build in protections on Bohannon project

Editor:

Those members of the Menlo Park City Council who might be beguiled by the prospect of added municipal revenue from the Bohannon Gateway project should be reminded that any future revenue from the project is a potential, not a promise.

The hotel and other buildings might get built and then again they might not. We won't know for the term of the development agreement — 10, 15 or possibly even 20 years.

Since the market outlook at present is not promising and we certainly don't need another automobile dealer mall fiasco, the council should at an absolute minimum, even if it is otherwise inclined to approve the proposed rezoning and development agreement, insist upon a significant up-front payment in exchange for what is in effect Bohannon's long-term control over planning for the affected area.

In addition, so as to avoid being confronted with obligations that would offset any future revenue from the project by far, the council should insist that Bohannon specify how it will arrange for construction of any additional housing units required by ABAG as a result of additional jobs created by the development — without cost to the city or impact to the existing density of any existing zone.

Finally, the council should insist upon a non-assignability clause that would preclude Bohannon from selling or creating derivatives out of whatever rights it is given.

Anything short of the foregoing will represent the sale of valuable development rights to Bohannon for the proverbial mess of pottage.

James R. Madison

Holly Avenue, Menlo Park

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