Almanac

Viewpoint - September 1, 2010

LETTERS

Reduced parking time in Menlo will hurt business

Editor:

For years I have complained that the city of Menlo Park is anti-business.

The recent proposal to shorten the time people can park downtown for free takes the cake. Why don't they set up toll booths at every business and charge admission?

The real problem is that we keep attracting the same type of candidates for local office. That is, people who can't think and who have no common sense. This year is no exception.

Pat White

Fremont Street, Menlo Park

Another side to argument for BevMo

Editor:

In last week's letters, Paul A. Lewis lists six points in favor of allowing BevMo to occupy commercial space on El Camino Real.

However, every one of Mr. Lewis' points applies just as well if the space is occupied by a locally owned business. In addition, a regional chain like BevMo, unlike a local business, would suck money not only out of the local economy but out of the city, the state, and possibly the country, while competing not only with long-established local businesses but with its own stores on El Camino in Redwood City and Mountain View as well.

Chains like BevMo and Wal-Mart have a well-established record of putting their own interest first and those of the community a distant second. Finally, Mr. Lewis' statement, "Let capitalism prevail: Let BevMo sink or swim," reflects a sadly myopic view of society in which the only thing that matters is cash and commerce: The citizens of Menlo Park know and deserve better.

I agree with Mr. Lewis that the mailers sent to city residents by Beltramo's et al were self-serving, but that doesn't mean they were wrong.

L. Peter Deutsch

Santa Margarita Avenue, Menlo Park

Redwood City conflicts revealed

Editor:

The Fair Political Practices Commission got it exactly right in its recent ruling against Redwood City Council member Rosanne Foust. The watchdog agency said Foust violated the law when she voted to move the Cargill salt pond development application forward while at the same time receiving a salary from SAMCEDA, a business lobby group that is pro-Cargill.

But sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I raised this issue two years ago when I filed a public records act request in Redwood City seeking information regarding (then) Mayor Foust and her conflict of interest. The city refused to release any information, but the FPPC has now validated my concern.

The conflict of interest issue is not just Foust's. There are numerous Redwood City officials and committee appointees who are walking a thin line on conflicts of interest. For example, Jeri Richardson-Daines, who was appointed to the Housing and Human Concerns Committee, which is responsible for decisions regarding potential housing development in Redwood City, is employed by the Cargill Saltworks developer, DMB Associates.

Nori Jabba, who was appointed to the Historic Resources Advisory Committee, which is responsible for making recommendations to the planning commission on historic preservation issues, is employed by DMB Associates.

Council members Foust, Jeff Gee, Mayor Jeff Ira and Planning Commission Chair Nancy Radcliff all hold board positions on the Redwood City San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has been a force behind the Saltworks project for years; that's its job.

Public servants cannot serve two masters. The ongoing concern is the question of who do these people represent? In their elective or appointed positions, do they represent the interests of their employer, DMB? The Chamber?

Cargill's massive development project to fill in 1,400 acres of fully restorable bay salt ponds is hugely controversial. All decisions on this project must be free of behind-the-scene special interests.

Marsha Cohen

Redwood City

GOP a disappointment

Editor:

I have been a Republican for many years — both a voter and a financial contributor — but no longer.

Now, all I hear is NO! No more taxes! No cooperation! Nothing that will help improve our lives or our country.

Never do I hear we are for better education, more jobs, help to solve the banking situation, or doing whatever it takes to accomplish these objectives. Now, all the GOP wants to do is cut, take from the poor to guarantee tax breaks for super wealthy.

They say they want less government, yet that gave us the Katrina mess, Enron, the banking meltdown, and now the BP fiasco. Republicans have gone AWOL as far as our future is concerned.

We need full and active participation. We need more effective government. We need more jobs. Jobs will help cut the deficit. That's the way we rebuild America. I'm disgusted, and certainly won't vote Republican this time.

Robert Rutherford

Portola Road, Portola Valley

Comments

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 2, 2010 at 11:41 am

L. Peter Deutsch -

With reference to your letter to the editor "Another side to the argument for BevMo," it is ironic that you defend local businesses by stating "chains like BevMo and Wal-Mart have a well-established record of putting their own interest first." True enough.

But you close your letter by noting that "the mailers sent to city residents by Beltramo's et al were self-serving." True enough.

It's not exactly newsworthy that businesses operate in their own best interest. What appears to be newsworthy is that some citizens would like our elected officials to choose which stores are easiest to shop at.

As Mr. Lewis pointed out in his earlier letter that you referenced, we should let consumers decide who wins and loses. I have great faith in our citizens' ability to decide where to spend their money.


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