Viewpoint - July 14, 2010

Letter: Menlo merchants need a stimulus

Whether the Menlo Park City Council chooses to admit it or not, the downtown merchants need some stimulus.

Instead of wasting $1.2 million on questionable consultants, why didn't the mayor and the rest of the council sit down with the Planning Commission and the staff of the Planning Department and tell them: "We want commerce in this town. We want our businesses to grow and prosper. Stop doing everything you can to hinder the process."

The council could take city monies and sponsor a Sunday "wash and wax" for downtown. They could offer some advertising support to merchants and landlords who participated. After we cleaned, painted and generally spruced up the downtown, how about a week-long promotion and sale with all of the merchants?

Involve the Chamber of Commerce and maybe the service groups like the Kiwanis and others. Generally, we should make some noise about what a great little city Menlo Park is, in spite of the long-standing, anti-business environment put forth by a number of city councils.

A promotion like this cannot be a one-time affair, but an ongoing process. We need a city-friendly council and Planning Commission to get this done, not those who propose to bribe a developer with extraordinary fees and taxes or allow special interest groups to stop complementary development (the Derry Project) and leave parts of the city looking like the Bronx.

I'm willing to bet that this "City Stimulus" could be accomplished for a lot less than $1.2 million and the city would be a lot better off. So to the council, especially Heyward Robinson and Planning Commissioner Vince Bressler, let's put Menlo Park first on your priority lists and cancel your personal agendas.

Pat White, Fremont Street, Menlo Park


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