Viewpoint - June 16, 2010

Letter: Visioning plan will make bureaucracy grow

Do we really want to add to our (already burgeoning) Menlo Park city payroll and retirement obligation?

A majority of residents, merchants and property owners are objecting to the scope of the Menlo Park downtown "Vision" plan. Maintaining the city's small-town atmosphere is clearly what is strongly preferred.

So why will the consultant be recommending five-story parking structures, several hundred new downtown living units, and four- and five-story commercial and mixed-use buildings? Simply because the city planning staff and the city manager have a vested interest and are dictating the results. To them it means growth.

And, as with most bureaucracies, growth means increased staff, more and increased salaries, and increased retirement benefits.

Just the planning process alone has already cost more than $1 million. How many more desks and more payroll costs will there be in city hall if and when the plan is implemented? And this doesn't even begin to address the traffic, congestion and the reduced quality of life we will all experience.

It's time for the City Council to regroup and take a fresh look at this gargantuan project and learn from a successful small downtown model such as nearby Los Altos.

Robert Ekedahl, Chateau Drive, Menlo Park


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