Almanac

News - September 22, 2010

Current, former officials campaign against Gateway project

by Sandy Brundage

Being out of office doesn't mean you're out of politics in Menlo Park. A group of former council members and commissioners working alongside current office holders hopes to defeat Measure T, a ballot measure asking residents to approve the Bohannon Gateway project.

The group, "Measured Growth for Menlo Park," also has bigger plans. Member Patti Fry described their goal as wanting city planning to be a consistent, consensus-driven process instead of piecemeal, project-by-project approvals that end up changing the city's zoning laws.

"We oppose changes that are driven by unsolicited projects that don't conform to city rules because these lead to developers writing most of our emerging laws and standards," Ms. Fry, a former planning commissioner, said.

"The Bohannon project is a case in point — it may not even start for eight years, or be completed for more than 20 years, but the M-2 planning was put on hold in favor of processing that project, and it changes both the city's General Plan and Zoning rules for its exclusive benefit," she said.

Balancing Menlo Park's budget, revising the city's fee structure, and updating the general plan to include environmental controls such as carbon emission regulations, round out the group's agenda.

Former mayor Paul Collachi also appears on the group's list of supporters.

Current city officials adding their two cents' worth to the group include Planning Commissioner Vince Bressler and Councilman Andy Cohen.

One candidate for City Council, Chuck Bernstein, has also signed on. He has challenged the language used in the ballot arguments supporting Measure T, saying it misled the public as to whether Menlo Park schools would benefit from the project.

Council members Rich Cline and Kelly Fergusson, who support the project, contributed to writing the ballot arguments. They responded to Mr. Bernstein's criticisms by standing firmly behind the language used.

Visit factsnothype.org to see the Measured Growth for Menlo Park website.

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