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Mayor Andy Cohen to seek re-election to City Council

Original post made on May 27, 2008

Menlo Park Mayor Andy Cohen has announced his intent to run for a second term on the City Council. Mr. Cohen is the first to publicly declare candidacy for the Nov. 4 council election. Two seats -- now filled by Mr. Cohen and Councilwoman Kelly Ferguson -- are up for election.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008, 10:15 AM

Comments (19)

Posted by he has my vote, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 27, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I'm am so happy to see Judge Cohen is willing to serve another four years. He has stood up for the homeowners in our community and not bent over for the the various interests that seek to turn our lovely community into a dense, even more traffic burdened city. He will have my vote, that is for certain.


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 27, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Mr. Cohen showed prudence when dealing with the Park Theater handout scheme. He should be elected again.


Posted by thrilled, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 27, 2008 at 7:53 pm

I don't remember the last time a council member acted with as much integrity as Mayor Cohen demonstrates at every meeting. He cares what people in the community think, and he takes this job seriously. Serving on council isn't a springboard to higher political posts for him.

Does anyone know if Kelly is running again? We seriously need a replacement for her.


Posted by Menlo Dog Owner, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 27, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Any mayor who has a dog as a 'first lady' deserves our support. As a Menlo dog owner, mom, and dog lover, I really appreciate someone who understands that pets are an integral part of healthy, happy lives -- ours and our kids'.

It's great to find a politician who understands the phrase, "If you need a friend, get a dog!" and has acted on it. Another vote for Andy.


Posted by member, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 29, 2008 at 7:46 am

I think Mr. Coehn is a liar.


Posted by Wake up and smell the #@$%, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 30, 2008 at 8:28 am

Before anyone votes for Cohen again, force him to go public with who is advisors are and how many times a week he meets with them. Cohen is a puppet for the old MP no-growth guard that loves the referendum, the law suit and the delays that have put the city into suspended animation. Look at El Camino Real and except for Safeway (which Cohen had nothing to do with) all you'll see is blight. Cohen has had four years to make something happen. He even voted against the hotel at 280 when hotels are always a great source of revenue for any city. If he didn't like the hotel and he knew he was in the minority, he could have taken the lead and negotiated with Stanford and gotten the city a soccer field. Did he try? No, he had one of his typical sulking tantrums and gave up.
I can only imagine who the people above are. Probably people in Cohen's secret advisor club. Wake up Menlo Park: we can do better. "A dog for a first lady"? You gotta be kidding.


Posted by voter, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 30, 2008 at 9:40 am

I hope that all the council members regularly reach out to the public for their feedback.

One of the longstanding problems with MP council is that the five members don't work together very well. Even in this small group, you have lots of factions, when, as a resident, I would rather see a unified council. I don't think that is going to happen.

If you want to blame the blight on El Camino on anyone, blame it on Mickie, Lee, and Nicholas. They knew the dealers were leaving town and didn't do anything to try to figure out what to do with El Camino. And they were supposedly pro-developer! This council is working to fix that mess. There are lots of property owners on El Camino, and a lot of different interests. It's not a problem that can be fixed overnight, but under Mayor Cohen, we are making headway.

Being on council is mostly a thankless volunteer job. The council members spend 20 hours a week or so and take a lot of flak. We are really lucky that Andy Cohen is agreeing to run again. I am grateful to him and to all the council members, even the ones with whom I disagree, for their service to our city.


Posted by watcher 2, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 30, 2008 at 12:08 pm

The car dealerships are on Stanford land, original leases expire in 5 years, Stanford wants to build high density mixed use, including medical offices. Beside Tesla, no car dealer would set up shop at that location, without lease extension guarantee. Stanford will just let it rot until they can get a future council to give them everything they want. Don't expect any changes on that land in the next 5 years. 2 current council members, including Fergusson, are conflicted out from discussing anything about that land because of spousal Stanford employment, current or in the recent past. The ownership pattern on ECR makes it pretty unlikely anything is going to happen in the next 5 years to "upgrade" the strip.
Sand Hill/280 hotel is also on Stanford land. What a huge blight on the "World's Most Beautiful Freeway". Leave it to a Texas based developer to build such an icon. Cohen thought it was too large for the site, and that was part of his reason for voting against it.
The recent Matteson oversize proposal on ECR is a recent example of how developers will try any angle to max out their sites. Residents shouldn't accept the negative consequences of higher density along ECR.


Posted by cc, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 30, 2008 at 1:19 pm

The city can and should impose a fee on property owners who let their properties sit dormant and grow weeds. That's one solution that has been discussed in the recent ECR meetings. Otherwise, those properties will remain eyesores for the next five years!

Is Heyward really not allowed to vote on anything related to Stanford even if his wife no longer works there? That's pretty ridiculous.


Posted by observer, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 30, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Councilman Robinson is no longer unable to vote on issues involving Stanford. He was unable to vote on such issues until this month, but in the future he will be free to cast his vote.

Stanford will try to get high density with medical office on their properties. Certainly Mayor Cohen had nothing to do with vacancies along El Camino. DuBoc and Winkler are back in the news with an e-mail talking about sustainable Menlo Park. They say they are not running but that MP is headed towards disaster by raising salaries and hiring too many new people. Of course if they had had their way, El Camino would by now be adorned with 4 and 5 story condos and office buildings and it would take 30 minutes to go from the Stanford Shopping center to Santa Cruz. Let's also give them credit for the no rent give away on the Burgess pool as well.

Look for the new site
www.sustainablemenlopark.org

A new PAC to support the old majority and their views is in the works.


Posted by sustainable slop, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 31, 2008 at 2:18 pm

The irony is that most of the problems detailed in their email occurred during their term, 2002-2006. How glib of them to pretend that they have solutions now. Where were those innovative ideas when they were mayors of Menlo Park?

It's also pretty funny that they are now jumping on the "sustainability" wagon. During their term, they cared only about the sustainability of developer income. Do they think they will confuse the voters with this ploy? Yes, I know we were dumb enough to vote for them in 2002, but we're not THAT stupid.

Their new websites have been registered by the same public relations/consulting firm, PAA, that they used in their campaigns. You don't hire a pr firm to register your website. So instead of stating coyly that you are not running, ladies, tell us what's up?

Makes me appreciate Andy's candor even more.


Posted by MoreInfoPlease, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 31, 2008 at 9:27 pm

www.sustainablemenlopark.org
Is that the correct website address? - I came up with a "coming soon" page using it.

And please feel free to share their wonderful email with the rest of us not lucky enough to be on their exclusive list!


Posted by observer, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 31, 2008 at 10:31 pm

The site currently, www.sustainablemenlopark.org is in a sort of limbo right now -- they have registered the domain name, and the content you currently see will be replaced, once they get their act together.

More information on that website has become known as was published in the Daily Post. It was registered by a professional campaign firmed owned by consultant Ed McGovern. Mentioned in that article was the fact that McGovern has done work for David Bohannon in the past. Bohannon currently has in the pipeline a huge project he want to build on land in the M2, east of Bayshore.

As for the e-mail in question, it is copied below. Since I got a copy, I would hardly consider it to be an exclusive list.

Finally, I really want to echo the comments made by "voter" above. Being on council is a thankless job. I believe that all the council persons are speing much more than 20 hours per week in these positions. We owe than all much gratitude.
=========
(copy of e-mail letter)

Subject: An Impending Menlo Park Problem
Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 12:38:43 -0400
From: Menlo Park's Future <menlofuture@gmail.com>
Reply-To: menlofuture@gmail.com
To: Menlo Park's Future <menlofuture@menlofuture.talklist.com>

AN IMPENDING PROBLEM

Fellow Menlo Park Residents
Let the discussion begin.

The issue of making our city fiscally sustainable needs to be seriously addressed as the City embarks upon the new 2008-09 budget cycle.

What alarms us is the speed and magnitude of our city's rising employee costs. For example, between 2001 and 2006 the number of Menlo Park employees dropped by 13% (from 260 to 230), but personnel costs for that same time span increased by about 27% (from $16.9million to $21.5 million).

We fear that if Menlo Park continues to increase the salaries and life-long defined benefits of existing employees, and continues to add new employees, our city could fall off a fiscal cliff, just as our state is doing now.

We focus on the employee cost issue because, not because we think our employees are doing bad job , but because about 72% of the city's budget (and 80% of the City's actual expenditures if you include special funds ) are employee related.

In upcoming emails we will define the problem, and with your input, explore our options.

And, by the way, we are NOT running for City Council, but we have gained insights which we'd like to share.

We look forward to hearing from at menlofuture@gmail.com

Mickie Winkler and Lee Duboc

Former Councilmembers


Posted by Gee Thanks, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 1, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Mickie Winkler and Lee Duboc:
"And, by the way, we are NOT running for City Council, but we have gained insights which we'd like to share."

Gee, Wink-Dub, thanks for sharing!
By the way, refresh our memories: Just HOW badly did you lose the last election by, again?


Posted by Just wondering, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jun 1, 2008 at 7:01 pm

How did Matteson's development get on the agenda and why was it on the council agenda and not the planning commission. Doesn't the mayor set the agenda. Is Cohen a double agent? Something doesn't smell right. Isn't there something more important for the council to do aside from schmoozing with a developer who wants to jam a huge development up against a sweet little neighborhood? Maybe Cohen wanted to fast track this development so that he and Fergusson could run for office riding on another referendum. Wow! Another divisive issue for this sick little town to fight about.
Tell this angry sourpuss to give it up. We need more energy and some good ideas.


Posted by Tell me it isn't True!, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 1, 2008 at 7:58 pm

Cohen running again? You gotta be kidding. This guy doesn't even know what the city's problems are. He thinks we have a homeless problem! His latest silly move is to use the city's emergency alert system to tell the citizens that he is holding a forum on homelessness. Talk about not getting it. First, our homeless problem is minimal, so don't blow it out of proportion as a campaign issue for your re-election campaign. Secondly if we do have a homeless problem, Mr. Cohen don't vote against housing and for sure don't push what few below market housing units we get at new developments over to belle haven as though certain people should not even think of living on the west side of the highway.
Maybe homeless is Cohen's feel good issue and the only one he feels comfortable discussing. The budget? nah. The zoning issues? nah. The pension problems? nah. Next thing, you know, Cohen will be wanting a forum on mandatory fire sprinklers. Big visionary, this guy.
PS, Is Cohen using the city's offices for subtle campaign ploys?
Only asking.


Posted by Cassandra, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 2, 2008 at 8:41 am

The homeless problem isn't about lack of housing. Tell me, Tell me, what have YOU done lately to address social problems? Anything?

No single person can fix everything that's wrong with this town. This council is still trying to undo the damage wrought by those who stepped down 1.5 years ago. Mayor Cohen gets very high marks for sticking to his guns and operating with utmost integrity.

The budget is a big issue, but instead of passing judgment now, why not attend or watch tomorrow's council meeting and see what happens?


Posted by Still laughing, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jun 2, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Are the sustainability twins, Duboc and Winkler the very same twins who tried to push the city into an open ended deal with a golf course developer who told the city it could move the top soil around at Bayfront park to create a golf course and soccer fields. This project would have left us breathing toxins that for years have been breaking down ever so slowly.
Was it $19 million that the twins wanted the city to commit to? Where would we be today had these wizards gotten their way? Our existing one million dollar deficit would be so, so much more. Thank heavens the voters saw through their dream and sent it and them out to pasture. We got the best of their slate. We need more like him. Pray, the twins stay out with the cows.
Financial Sustainability, ha!


Posted by Make Some Decisions, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 27, 2008 at 10:43 pm

It is ridiculous how majority of the comments made about Duboc and Winkler are factually untrue. How about adding a comment that makes some analytical sense, or just not exaggerating or being dishonest yourselves? The pool was all about attempting to stop the unions from pushing the town around. If you like unions, then I guess you enjoyed their all out warfare against Duboc and Winkler. The other issue during that time was the Derry Project, you know that fantastic addition to our downtown area, that still after 2-3 years has YET to break ground. Do the math, the "petitioners" that drove that decision to a halt, can now lay claim to MP LOSING millions of dollars of sales tax revenue and property tax revenue.
It's a shame that the "D Word" aka Developer, gets thrown around at anything the people of MP try to create or dream about having. I challenge anyone to drive north or south on ECR, and you tell us what city has remained stagnant, dormant, without ANY growth. As a resident and tax payer, living and owning in MP, I am asking not for huge growth, not for big developer growth, just moderate growth that is good for MP citizens. MP comes in dead last. We need new leadership, not the same ol', same ol'. It's tragic! And you "no growth alarmists" are killing our town.


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